To make your debut in Listed company is a bold statement in itself and it is not something that Kevin takes lightly. With an eye catching fourth, Galadriel went into many people’s notebooks. The first win took a little longer than expected but a combination of tough tasks and variety of trips just didn’t allow Galadriel to get off the mark. Dropping back to 5f she showed all her class when taking the EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes.
This season has been the first that Kevin has trained for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum and it has produced some good 2yo winners so far. Galadriel was one of the home bred juveniles that was sent and immediately she took the eye on the gallops. Impressing and coming to hand early on, Kevin was keen to get her on the track early and when he did so the entry told people quite a bit about the filly. York is one track where Kevin likes to introduce his nicer juveniles, so when he did so with Galadriel that spoke volumes but to do so in the Listed Marygate Stakes just emphasised that. After showing so much inexperience early and being detached at the rear of the field, Galadriel stormed home in the final furlong to finish an impressive fourth, catching the eye of everyone who saw the race.
It was clear that Galadriel was above average so Kevin decided to let her take her chance in the Albany at Royal Ascot. Unfortunately tough conditions and a bad draw meant she could never land a blow but she had shown up for a long way. Stepping up in trip next time out didn’t prove to be suitable for her either, with the extra furlong just being too far. Despite not being able to gain the first win it was clear that Galadriel was a winner waiting to happen and a drop in trip would surely enable that.
Kevin had a few options open to him and now Galadriel had gained a handicap mark there were a number of races in the calendar. Beverley was the chosen track with the 5f trip there looking ideal for the filly. The novice event attracted 10 declarations and it was a tricky race to weigh up. Galadriel brought the best form to the table and looked the one to beat. The best form against her was quite hard to figure out with one rival being off the track for 122 days and another only having run in a match race. Their debut runs had worked out well and the Richard Fahey newcomer had to be respected but it was Galadriel who would be sent off favourite.
Tom Eaves had yet to enjoy a winner in the famous yellow silks but had come close on a few occasions. Unfortunately the draw had not been kind to Galadriel but Tom was set to be positive, feeling he was on the best horse and also needing to overcome the wide berth. Galadriel proved that she had not lost any of her speed, despite stepping up in trip the last couple of runs, and was smartly sway. The angle of the stalls does throw the wider horse away from the rail but as they converged together it was clear to see Galadriel was towards the fore. Prisma, who had the plum draw, was the only rival that could keep Galadriel from the lead and set a strong pace as they completed the first furlong and began to head to the right handed turn.
There was a fair distance from first to last as the strong gallop was proving too much for some. Galadriel sat just over a length in second spot and travelled smoothly through the first half of the race. Turning right handed Tom allowed his filly to stretch out and she cruised in the slipstream of the leader. Beverley has the stiff finish in the final furlong so the strong gallop meant that it would be a test. The main market rivals to Galadriel were struggling to get into the contest through the first half of the race and would need to make up a lot of ground to do any damage.
Galadriel was hard on the bridle moving into the final couple of furlongs and it was her that she took the lead as the pace setter capitulated. Second favourite Band Practise was making a lone furrow towards the centre of the track but would soon be joined as the field fanned out to make their challenges. Having grabbed the lead Tom just squeezed Galadriel on to make the most of it. The filly quickened up and moved over towards the rail as her rivals were working hard to close the gap. It was the newcomer Say It Simple who was the biggest threat but Galadriel had moved into a couple of lengths lead.
Tom was now driving along, hands and heels, as they headed into the final furlong and began the uphill run. Holding a comfortable lead there was a gap to the rest and Galadriel still looked full of running. Tom was yet to get serious and unless there was a big challenge then he wouldn’t need to. Her rivals were beginning to stay on up the hill but nowhere near quick enough as Galadriel was doing the same. Tom afforded himself a little check over the shoulder and realised the race was more or less sewn up. Just a quick back hander and Galadriel ensured the race was over as she stuck to her task in front and ran out a ready winner, taking the race by 1 1/2 lengths.
After a couple of tough races and then a trip that didn’t suit it is great to see Galadriel off the mark. She had the best form in the race and won with a bit in hand. Having travelled well, showing good speed, she then stayed on well up the hill. The way she won the race was the hard way, being out in front on her own for two furlongs. Stepping back into pattern company will again happen and this performance shows that she could be quite flexible regarding 5f and 6f. Galadriel is the first home bred winner trained by Kevin for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum so that is the icing on top of the cake.
Not only are the horses in flying form but it seems as though they are not happy to be just winning in singles. Since the start of August Kevin has sent 10 winners but 8 of those have come thanks to doubles on the cards. Both Dandy’s Beano and Last Empire have won on multiple occasions this season but these wins took their careers to new heights.
Last Empire entered this season with just one run to her name. She was possible under the radar on her first outing but now she has certainly stamped her authority and shown that potentially she could be a class act. Making her handicap debut at Haydock, Last Empire destroyed her rivals in the 6f Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry Handicap, completing a hat-trick for the year.
The daughter of Pivotal was typical of her sire’s progeny. A powerfully built filly it was clear that she would only get better with time. Although she made an outing on the track, Kevin knew that her 3yo season would be where she could thrive. Following that debut run late in October, connections immediately put her away until this season and the patient approach has paid off so far.
Returning to action at Hamilton, Last Empire relished soft conditions to comfortably shed her maiden in a Novice event at Hamilton. It was clear that she enjoyed the easier going as she powered through the soft conditions. This meant Kevin headed back to the Scottish track for another Novice race where the ground had a little more give than the sun baked tracks here. Again the 3yo filly jumped out, tracked the pace and then kicked clear proving far too strong for her rivals and making a statement that she was one to keep an eye on.
When the handicapper gave his verdict, Last Empire received a mark of 80. There were plenty of options around for the filly but the summer heat meant everywhere was racing on fast ground. Once the weather broke and easier conditions were on offer, Kevin immediately got Last Empire entered up and the 6f Handicap at Haydock was the race chosen. It would mean that she would be taking on her elders for the first time but it would be a good test to see where Last Empire stood.
Owned by Clipper Logistics, Danny Tudhope is usually the man in the saddle as he is the owner’s retained jockey but the Scot was called up for the Shergar Cup. This left Sam James with the opportunity to ride and he duly delivered. There were 3 withdrawals from the contest leaving 8 runners to line up. Last Empire was seen as a danger but not the main contender and so she was left to go off at 5-1.
Last Empire has proven to be very straight forward in her wins this season so Sam continued that trend. It was a very level break for the entire field and Last Empire was right there from the off. From stall 2 she tracked over as the field shifted from the centre to stands side. Settling down, Last Empire was tracking the leaders but there was very little to separate the entire field as they were well bunched together. Although they initially moved over to race towards the rail, Fantasy Keeper decided to move back towards the centre. Being placed on his outside, Sam was forced to go where his rival wanted to and so raced down the centre. The field were well fanned out and they race almost 8 abreast through the first couple of furlongs.
For the next furlong the field raced in two lines of four. Last Empire travelled smoothly and despite the testing ground the pace was strong enough. Her wins had all come on a track with a stiff finish so there would be no problem in seeing this trip out well so when Sam had her to the fore and travelling well, he was confident that a test would suit. Moving past halfway the field were all still in with a chance but it was no that one or two of the jockeys were just starting to cajole their mounts.
Sam was motionless heading into the final couple of furlongs and this was in stark contrast to his colleagues. They were all now hard at it to try and take control of the race but it was Last Empire who cruised through to take the lead. The 3yo filly looked as though she was cantering and this offered Sam the chance to sit and wait. She moved through to lead by a 1/2 length and now Sam loosened the reins, ready to get into his drive. Last Empire took that thought away immediately because once allowed to stretch on she did just that. Her stride lengthened and she comfortably went over a length up.
Passing the 1f marker Sam decided to ask the filly to maintain her run and he got the expected response. It was all very easy for Last Empire who turned the screw and started to forge clear. Whilst her rivals battled it out between themselves, Last Empire just aimed for the line and powered away. It was all so easy for her and Sam hardly had to work for his riding fee. Although he had to give her a little nudge, hands and heels, Last Empire was doing it all very easily and had put the race to bed in a matter of strides. She peered clear to win by an impressive 4 1/2 lengths.
This was very impressive form Last Empire and she made a statement with that performance. Obviously the handicapper will now be looking to give her a fair hike in the weights but Last Empire is a filly full of potential. She relishes these conditions which comes as no surprise being by Pivotal and therefore the end of the season could offer some big targets. There is a chance that Last Empire will continue to get better with time and may well be a pattern performer. Whether that is this year or not is something that connections can have a chat about but if not then something like an Ayr Silver Cup could be perfect for the 3yo.
When you talk about a filly who is thriving then look no further than Dandy’s Beano. With 3 wins to her name already this season, she continued this upward curve when taking the 5f Scottish Sun Handicap at Ayr.
This season has really seen Dandy’s Beano take her form to another level and in no part that is due to the hood being fitted and ground. Since learning to relax in her races, Dandy’s Beano has been able to really reserve her energy which has seen her powerfully finish her races. As she has shown a liking for some ease in the ground this has really helped her take control of races and then maintain a high cruising speed in tough conditions.
Ayr had suffered from a lot of rain and the ground was forecast to be heavy which meant only 4 runners were declared. This was narrowed to just 3 on the day as the rain never ceased and the ground was set to be very testing. Kevin Stott was renewing his partnership with the filly as the pair were sent off the odds on favourite.
Simplicity was the order of the day and Dandy’s Beano jumped out into the lead, quickly taking control and leading the trio. Kevin decided to head towards the stands side rail, feeling there was fresher ground on that side. As they raced through the first couple of furlongs the 3 runners were racing in single file, all tight against the rail. Dandy’s Beano set a good gallop but was travelling well within herself on the front end.
Super Julius was the first to break the line moving in the second half of the race. Dandy’s Beano had enjoyed a length lead throughout but her rival angled out to begin their challenge. Kevin allowed his filly to travel as his main rival moved up to threaten. The back marker He’Zanarab was hard at it and was having to be driven along to keep tabs on the front two.
Between the 2f and 1f marker the two market leaders started to wind things up and there was nothing between he pair. Having jumped well and travelled smoothly, Dandy’s Beano now had to work to try and maintain her advantage. Super Julius was alongside now and proved a big danger as the pair headed towards the final furlong to fight out the finish. Kevin had to get into full drive and now the two were in a ding dong battle. They had dropped their rival and it was a two horse race for the final 200 yards.
Neck and neck the lead changed hands with every bob of he head. Dandy’s Beano was really in a battle now but she was proving up to the fight. Kevin asked for everything and he was getting it in spades. Nothing could separate the leading pair and there was only 1/2f for one of them to assert. Dandy’s Beano was to prove the strongest as she inched her nose into the lead again, then stretched it out. She was seeing it out better and the margin slowly opened up. Hitting the line, Dandy’s Beano had secured her fourth win of 2019 by a neck.
It is great for all involved in Hambleton Racing to be celebrating yet another win from this filly and it’s hard to know just how far she can go. This win was off a career high of 83 and so there will be a new personal best to follow. It’s clear that she enjoys cut in the ground so this time of year is ideal for her as we will soon be entering the final few months of the season. She has shown a great attitude in her wins this season so it would be no surprise to see her continue this fine form.
The first win can do so much for a horse’s confidence. Instead of finishing behind their counterparts they get the feeling of going past rivals, maybe making all and not seeing a rival, giving them a platform to build on. So often after that first win they can thrive and hopefully Lady Erimus and George Mallory can now build upon their first career wins, going on to further success.
Juveniles are a blank slate at the start of the season, they could be anything and whilst there is so much optimism, there are also so many questions. Mix in a first season sire and it offers even more of a puzzle as there is not family history to research. Due Diligence had a very short sprinting career so there is little to go on with regards to his progeny. Lady Erimus came to hand early to race over the minimum trip but it was winning the 1m British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies’ Nursery at Thirsk where she really showed her true colours.
Bought as a foal, Lady Erimus is the first horse that the Riverside Racing Syndicate have had in training. She took to her work well and came to hand very early on in the year. Unfortunately Kevin did feel that she would need further than the minimum trip but at the same time she was bursting for a run so his arm was twisted. Her first couple of runs combined a lack of experience and unsuitable trip which saw the filly struggle to get involved. Fortunately those runs taught her some good lessons and it also meant that some longer trips were on offer for her third run. Stepping up to 7 1/2f for her third run, Lady Erimus took a big step forward, showing a lot more promise.
Nurseries were the order of the day when Lady Erimus received a mark of 60. Unfortunately there were very few races open to the filly and she made her handicap debut over 7f at Catterick. The sharp nature of the track really played against Lady Erimus and she struggled to land a blow. Thankfully there was an option just around the corner which should be a lot more suitable. Stepping up in trip to a mile, the race at Thirsk looked likely to be the ideal test. The handicapper had given her some more help by dropping Lady Erimus to 57.
There was only 6 runners declared for the contest and with recent rain, the ground would ensure it was a proper stamina test. Tom Eaves came in for the ride, the first time he had sat on her in public. Lady Erimus was sent off the outsider of the field but Tom chose to be positive from the off. Jumping out just a stride of the lead, Lady Erimus had to be driven along to move forward. Callipygian had been quickly away around the outside to lead but Lady Erimus responded to Tom and moved up to give chase sitting in second spot after the first furlong.
It was fairly brisk pace being set and as the leader moved across to take the rail, Lady Erimus just had to switch around to avoid the leader’s heels. This move saw Lady Erimus move up to the girth’s of the leader as they galloped down the back straight. After the first couple of furlongs the pace eased down as they headed down towards the left handed bend. The six runners moved into the long sweeping bend with little separating them and would soon be facing the second half of the race. Lady Erimus was always keeping the leader honest and inched into her lead as they rounded the bend.
Some distress signals were sent out by a few runners as they began to exit the bend. One who started to come under pressure was the leader and Lady Erimus capitalised on this, travelling nicely on her outer and took control of the race entering the straight. Tom probably would have liked to get a lead into the contest for longer but he didn’t want to disappoint his filly so made a positive move 3f from home. There was a long way to run but he decided to get Lady Erimus to stretch and it proved to be a shrewd move. Suddenly Lady Erimus had the field on the stretch and she opened up a 1 1/2 lengths lead.
Passing the 2f marker and Tom now went for broke. Holding the lead he got serious, asking Lady Erimus to go and put the race to bed. Her rivals were bunched up behind, still 1 1/2 lengths to make up but nothing was was proving to be a major danger just yet. Lady Erimus was proving game in front but she just started to wander off a true line. Tom quickly adjusted to get his filly balanced and straightened her up. Having drifted into the centre of the track, the move had just allowed her rivals to close the gap and eat into the lead.
Lady Erimus had seen her lead halved as she moved into the final furlong and still all of the 6 runners looked to be in with a chance of winning. Having got his filly straightened up, Tom now asked her some serious questions and he got the response he was asking for. Having looked like a sitting duck, as her rivals lined up to challenge, Lady Erimus found some more in front. She really stuck her head down and started to go on again. With 1/2 furlong to run she began to show her stamina and galloped on. Lady Erimus galloped all the way through the line, forging clear once more to gain her first win by 1 1/4 lengths.
It is great to see the delight on owner’s faces especially when it is their first ever winner. The Riverside Racing Syndicate were on hand to welcome Lady Erimus to the winners enclosure and hopefully now she can build on this. She really enjoyed the step up in trip and also seemed at home on the ground. Tom took a positive approach and he had a very game filly at hand. She has already got an entry in another nursery but Kevin will probably have a look at what the handicapper does before deciding on what the next move is.
This season looked like it could be a coming of age year for George Mallory but so far it had been slightly disappointing. After a promising juvenile year, which always seemed too soon for George, his 3yo season was where he could improve and show his trued colours. It has taken more time than expected but George Mallory headed to Haydock to win the 1m2f Rainhill Handicap and shed his maiden tag.
The son of Kingman had come from the Arqanna Breeze Up sales after impressing Kevin. He knew he was getting a horse who do better with time and a trip but once he got him home, George Mallory impressed in his work. The Convivial Maiden at York, one of the hottest maidens of the year, was where George Mallory would make his debut which was full of promise. Unfortunately he didn’t build on that but it was felt he was too immature to do so as a 2yo. Kevin decided to geld him following his third run and put George Mallory away for the winter.
With a starting handicap of 70 there seemed to be plenty of options for the season ahead this year. Unfortunately George Mallory just hasn’t fired so far and it has led Kevin to try various options with the gelding. Different trips, tactics and ground types have been raced with in an attempt to get George Mallory off the mark and fulfil his undoubted ability. With each run it was getting more frustrating as his homework was as good as ever.
George Mallory was sent to Haydock and there was one more tactic that was to be implemented which had not been used before. Tom Eaves travelled down to Haydock following his win earlier in the day to partner George Mallory. This time around George Mallory would be ridden positively and although this had been tried before, Tom was going to be even more so and attempt to jump out and lead.
Lining up against 8 rivals, George Mallory was well away and as none of his rivals were that keen to go on Tom was gifted the lead. Having been drawn wide Tom kept straight and took the field through the first furlong along the far side rail. When they passed the kink in the track, the field began to drift over towards the centre of the track to race down the back straight. Through the first couple of furlongs George Mallory had dictated at a steady enough pace and would continue to lead as they moved towards the home bend.
Tom allowed his mount to continue to edge over as they got closer to the bend, readying him to take the left hander. With a length lead, George Mallory entered the bend with his ears pricked, seemingly enjoying being out in front. Tom still shunned the rail though and raced just off it as they swung around the bend. This move was because they wanted the better ground when entering the home straight which was centre to stands side.
With 1/4 mile to run George Mallory took the field into the home straight and now just injected the first bit of pace. His rivals had left him alone throughout the contest but were stalking his every move. Tom just loosened the reins on his mount and the tempo increased down to the 3f pole. The field had edged over to race closer to the stands side rail which had seen the 9 runners fan out, readying their challenges.
George Mallory travelled well as his one by one his rivals came under pressure. Tom just had to pull a pair of goggles down at the 2f marker before he asked George Mallory to quicken up. He was the last one off the bridle but his rivals had moved up menacingly, with challengers coming from both sides. The lead had been cut to just a neck now and for a few strides George Mallory looked like he could be swamped. Tom sensed this and really began to work on his mount who showed a gritty side which hadn’t been seen before.
Having repelled Firewater, who had tracked him throughout the contest, George Mallory headed into the final furlong with a 1/2 length lead. Despite having his first effort pushed back, Firewater rallied for one more crack. This time he got even closer to the lead but George Mallory dug deep and fought back. Again he repelled his rival and found so more in front. With 1/2f to run he finally saw off Firewater and moved away again. This was George’s day and he powered through to the line, opening up a length advantage and gaining his first career win.
It has been longer than expected but George Mallory is finally off the mark and this can be the stepping stone to better things. He has always shown plenty of ability but unlocking it was proving to be problematic. George Mallory showed a great attitude when challenged and had to dig deep on a couple of occasions. In the end he has won well and he could well be adaptable with trips in the future. It looked as though the positive tactics really suited him and it could be the way to ride him now. If this gives him the spark it should do then George Mallory could really go on now and improve through the ranks.
The season has slowly been building up with more winners coming in each month. Over the last few weeks the horses have really hit a good vein of form and August has kicked off well. When Princess Des Sables and Master McGrath both won it took the tally to 7 winners in the first week of August, a timely run of form with Ebor week fast approaching.
Last season Princess Des Sables was a winning machine, racking up four wins on the bounce. Unfortunately this season hasn’t really started on any sense of the word and two runs had ultimately been very disappointing. Well she bounced back to form in the most impressive fashion when running away with the 6f Roscoe Roofing Fillies’ Handicap at Haydock.
Sometimes you can get an idea at home that a horse, especially a filly, may not have trained on from 2 to 3 yrs old. This definitely wasn’t the case with Princess Des Sables but from her first engagement this year things didn’t go right. Her intended return was set for Newmarket, where the filly decided the stalls were no longer as inviting and she refused, ending up getting loose. There was only one thing for it and Princess Des Sables was immediately sent to the experts, Gary and Craig Witherford, to reintroduce her to the stalls and iron out any kinks.
Having been educated back into the stalls process Princess Des Sables duly passed her test and could get back on to the racecourse. Her two runs following were well below her best and the chestnut just didn’t fire at all. With her homework being good, both runs were real head scratchers and no excuses could be found. The handicapper did give her a little leeway and Princess Des Sables saw her mark drop to 84, the same as her last win.
There were plenty of options for the filly but Kevin waited until a fillies’ only race came along. Haydock offered that opportunity and there were 8 runners declared for the contest. There was rain forecast but it didn’t come in time so the field ended up with 6 going to post. It was a tight looking race and coming off two poor runs, Princess Des Sables was set to go off as the 12/1 outsider.
Tom Eaves got the leg up on the filly but was quickly back off when they got down to the start. Going down early, Tom then dismounted for Princess Des Sables to be loaded by Craig Witherford. Once in the stalls Tom could then get on board, all a process to keep the filly relaxed. She was just that until the gates opened. As they crashed back Princess Des Sables was straight out and jumped into the lead. Quickly into stride she took control of the race as Tom allowed her to stride on. She wasn’t given a soft lead and as the field settled down behind her they kept her honest, sitting as close as possible. Through the first furlong the entire field was separated by only a couple of lengths.
Princess Des Sables was setting a strong gallop and with no hanging about they were soon heading down to halfway. Tom had given the filly a loose rein and she strode on to stretch the lead to just over a length. The field were just starting to separate as the tempo continued to increase. Although going well on the front end there was 3f to run and Princess Des Sables had been going great guns so it would still take a strong second half to maintain this pace being shown.
Between the 3f and 2f Princess Des Sables really began to open up and her lead continued to grow. Now she had them all at it and moving to the 2f marker she was over 2 lengths clear. Initially there was little able to match the leader and suddenly she had them all on the bak foot. Tom had little option but to kick on but he knew there was still a way to go. Starting to push his filly along Tom got the desired response and Princess Des Sables pulled away, quickening clear from her rivals. Well over a furlong to go the chestnut had slipped the filled and just poured it on, doubling her margin.
Suddenly the race seemed as though it could be over. Moving to the final furlong Princess Des Sables held a 5 length lead and if anything she was getting stronger all the time. Any worries that she had gone too hard were dispelled. The stride was still strong and although there was a battle going on behind her it was only ever going to be for the runner up spot. Princess Des Sables pressed on and the distance to the rest just grew and grew. Although Tom ensured she kept up to her work, Princess Des Sables just blitzed the field and won by an astonishing 8 lengths.
Shock? Yes but not that Princess Des Sables bounced back to wining ways but just how impressively she did it. Making all on a strong gallop she didn’t just grind them into the ground she quickened away and showed a good turn of foot. From almost halfway she had the race at her mercy and there won’t be many more impressive winning margins than this over 6f. It is great to see her back to her best but no doubt the handicapper will not take it easy on her now. With two entries this weekend there is no doubt that she will have to take a chance under a penalty because a double figure rise is sure to come her way.
It’s always important to get a good team of 2yr olds, they are the future of the yard and can set a trend moving forward. Kevin has built a good reputation of sourcing and training juveniles with this season being no different. The juveniles have really been firing, if not winning then making some very positive starts to their careers. Master McGrath did just that on debut, going close and it only took him one more run to get off the mark when he took the 5f Slug And Lettuce Christmas Party EBF Maiden Stakes at Sandown.
The son of No Nay Never had come form one of the very best breeze up consignors, Grove Stud. You know when they have put the groundwork in that the horse is coming with the best possible chance of reaching their potential. Master McGrath was no different, a strong colt who looked like you run him the next day. It wasn’t quite that quick but after showing all the right signs at home, Kevin took the colt up to Ayr for his debut. Showing inexperience in the preliminaries, Master McGrath put that to one side when trying to make all over 6f. He just got caught late on but had shown all the right signs, suggesting that a win would be coming sooner rather than later.
Having shown plenty of speed on debut, Master McGrath opened up plenty of options with races over 5f and 6f looking equally as good for him. Sandown was plumped for and it would mean a drop to the minimum trip for the colt. He would be due to take on 9 rivals but Master McGrath arguably was the one bringing the best form to the table. Kevin Stott made the long journey south for the ride, retaining the partnership from debut. Vasari was the only other in the field who had finished in the frame on debut and was vying for favouritism with Master McGrath. Eventually it was McGrath who would get the nod and was sent off 13/8 fav to go one better this time around.
Sandown does pay to be on the pace and against the rail. Kevin wanted to utilise both the horse’s speed and experience and bounce the colt from the gates. Master McGrath was fast away but Kevin wanted to ensure that he didn’t give away that advantage and bustled his mount along. His market rival Vasari was also well away and too showed speed which mean that Kevin couldn’t quite get right across to the rail. With a narrow advantage through the early stages Master McGrath set a strong gallop which had a couple struggling to get into stride.
The field blitzed through the first couple of furlongs and Master McGrath’s rivals were not letting him get away with things easy in front. They pressed throughout and really forced the issue. Kevin took the brave call and just kept on kicking from the front ensuring the pace was rapid. The field bunched up around and behind Master McGrath, there was no hiding place.
Passing halfway and Master McGrath was almost joined for the lead, first on his outer and then up the inside by Vasari. Kevin had been nudging away for the last 1/2f but now heading into the final couple of furlongs his colleagues became more animated. Master McGrath was going nowhere and repelled those out wider but was getting a strong challenge form his market rival who drew up alongside, going eyeball to eyeball. This move spurred Master McGrath on and once he felt the presence he drew away for a few strides, pulling a neck clear of Vasari.
Kicking on down to the final furlong the challengers who had threatened were now starting to toil in Master McGrath’s wake. Kevin now asked for everything and although the colt did go to quicken up he just edged left initially. Kevin quickly rectified that and once he got him back on an even keel the lead opened up to 3/4 length. Vasari couldn’t respond to this and just dropped off the leader leaving the fast finishing Sand Diego to throw down a challenge on the outside. Master McGrath held a length advantage but he had 150 yards to repel his rival. One trait he had already shown on debut was that Master McGrath was game and he would see out every yard of his trip. His rival got to his flanks but Master McGrath found that little bit more and with 50 yards to run that was decisive enough. Kevin felt that in the saddle and knew it was job done. He already began to ease his riding and the pair crossed the line with a 1/2 length margin.
It was nice performance from Master McGrath and he has got his career off to a good start. Showing blistering speed he did it the hard way and showed a tenacious attitude to fend off challenges from all around. He saw the trip out well whilst also showing speed so going forward he looks like he could be equally adept over 6f and 5f. He does hold some nice entries and Kevin will assess the colt along with talking with connections, The Masters, before deciding what route to go down. He is a lovely colt and has certainly shown plenty of promise.
There can be some tough decisions with horses and then sometimes there are ones that are made for you. Alotabottle won impressively on his stable debut and it seemed a pretty good bet that the handicapper would be just as impressed. With this in mind Kevin decided to go again just 5 days under a penalty and it proved to be no issue for the chestnut gelding who was even better when running away with the 7f 28th August Is Ladies Day Handicap at Catterick.
Having finished off powerfully at Epsom, Alotabottle had won with what looked like a little bit in hand. It was hard to judge how the handicapper may assess the race but a 6lb+ rise would easily be justified. Having already made the entry at Catterick Kevin gambled and declared Alotabottle who would be racing under a 6lb penalty. To offset this a little young apprentice, and title challenger, Sean Davis was booked for the ride to take off 3lb. Tuesday morning is when the new handicap marks are released and so Kevin would find out in the morning whether or not he had made the right call. The 7lb rise to 69, meant that Alotabottle would be racing that afternoon technically 4lb well in on future runs.
Although it looked as though Alotabottle had plenty in his favour there is always an unknown factor of backing horses up. Catterick also offered a different test to Epsom so it would be far from a penalty kick for the 3yo. That being said he would be lining up against weaker opposition this time round. Despite holding the best form Alotabottle was to be removed as favourite and eventually allowed to go off as the 11/4 second favourite.
Catterick is a fast, sharp test and knowing this there is always a strong gallop set on the shorter races. Jumping well, Alotabottle landed in the lead but Sean didn’t drive him along unlike some of his colleagues who were eager to get forward. There was a mad dash for the lead and this created a strong gallop through the early stages. It was the favourite The Big House who sept around the outside and took the overall lead as the field settled down after the first furlong. Sean was happy to take a lead and Alotabottle slotted in behind the pace.
The ground was kicking up showing the effects of the rain as the runners headed down towards the home bend. This took them through the first half of the race and the tempo remained high as the favourite kicked on in a bid to make all. Sat in fourth spot Alotabottle was positioned on the outer and this was ideal with the softer conditions. More often than not, the runners will shirk the far side rail the ground goes softer. This gave Sean a perfect line without anyone on his outside keeping him locked away.
As they headed left-handed and raced downhill the leader took them into the final 3f. For a few strides Sean just nudged Alotabottle along to keep tabs with those in front. The chestnut did lengthen and maintained his position, readying himself for the challenge in the home straight. The leader was going well as they began to exit the bend and suddenly had a few of his rivals at it. One was Alotabottle who just needed riding along to try and quicken up.
Hitting the straight and The Big House attempted to kick clear and although he did quicken up he hadn’t put too much between himself and the pack. Alotabottle really came good passing the 2f marker and quickened down the centre to press for second spot. Sean had begun his work first but had not been hard at it. As Alotabottle moved up dangerously, Sean was still just coaxing him along whilst his rivals were now under strong pressure. The field had fanned out across the track but it was The Big House and Alotabottle who were starting to draw clear down the centre. The leader was responding well for pressure as Alotabottle gave chase.
Moving into the final furlong Alotabottle had drawn up alongside the leader and now Sean went for home. With a couple of flicks Alotabottle quickened up and passed The Big house to take the lead. There was little coming from out of the pack and even if there was it looked clear that Alotabottle was finishing the strongest. Now he was starting to hit top gear and as the pair began to draw clear Sean just came him up to his work with hands and heels. The race was put to bed and the final 1/2 furlong was how far the winning distance would be. Alotabottle was getting stronger with every yard and strode clear to win by a comfortable 3 1/2 lengths.
Alotabottle made it a perfect start to his time at Hambleton Lodge with 2 wins in the space of just 5 days. He really is a horse on the upgrade and no doubt this win will again have caught the eye of the handicapper so another substantial rise may be in order. With that in and there are plenty of races coming up next week and Kevin could well try and stay one step ahead by sending the chestnut out once more. He is certainly improving and there is still more to come from Alotabottle.
Winner of 2 Bumpers and 3 Hurdle races, Beyond The Clouds showed his class in the NH sphere, gaining a mark of 142. This season Kevin wanted to try to the 6yr old on the flat and after a couple of decent efforts he managed to get off the mark in fine fashion at Ripon, taking the 1m4f Visit ripon-races.co.uk Novice Stakes.
Running over hurdles Clouds had to stay 2m but those races are run at completely different speeds to anything on the flat. This can make it quite difficult to judge what may be the best trip when converting to the flat. One thing Beyond The Clouds has always shown is a bit of speed during his homework which Kevin felt would suit starting over 1m2f. His first two outings, at Beverley and Pontefract, saw the chestnut come up against some fancied southern raiders. He shaped ok on debut but then looked like a step up in trip was required on his second start. The form of those races was strong though with a few of the runners going on to run well in handicap company off fairly decent marks.
Stepping up to 1m4f was set for his next run and the race at Ripon took the eye immediately. Again there were some southern raiders travelling up for the race and due to weight for age allowance, Beyond The Clouds would be faced with giving 10lb to his rivals. Tom Eaves retained the ride as the two would line up against 9 rivals and this time around were viewed as outsiders. The market had the race almost between three horses with the rest at double priced figures and above.
With two runs under his belt, Beyond The Clouds knew a lot more about the flat game and was quickly away from the stalls. Tom was keen to utilise this and drove him along for a couple of strides, keen to go forward. With the three market leaders all drawn around him, Tom may have felt there would be a battle for the lead but it was Beyond The Clouds who grabbed the initiative and took the field along. Favourite Two Bids settled in behind the lead with Navajo Pass and Final Orders tracking him themselves.
It looked as though Beyond The Clouds was setting a fair gallop with the field well strung out down the back straight. This didn’t look obvious though with the favourite who took a keen hold and cut the lead as Danny Tudhope fought to try and keep him calm. Beyond The Clouds travelled nicely in front and seemed to enjoy his new role as he stretched out down the straight and took the field through the first half mile. As the back straight took the runners away from the stands they thinned out to race almost in single file, all in the slipstream of Beyond The Clouds. The pace did seem to settle down the further they went and without anyone taking him on, Tom was able to dictate and fill up the tank comfortably.
Moving towards the home bend and passing the 7f marker, Danny Tudhope made a move. Releasing his head strong mount, the favourite swept around Clouds to take the lead and going on by 1 1/2 lengths. Tom didn’t panic and maintained his rhythm, happily surrendering the lead. The field had no begun to get stretched out and as they entered the bend the front four just started to get a little break from the rest. This quartet contained the three market leaders and Beyond The Clouds, who was now in pursuit of the free going Two Bids.
The leader really turned up the tempo around the home bend and as they straightened up for home had created a good break between the two groups of runners. Tom was matching every move made by the leader and as they hit the straight, with 1/2 mile to run, the race really started to take shape and heat up. Navajo Charm was the first one of the leading quartet to come under pressure as he tried to maintain his position. The leader strode on in front but as Tudhope looked over his shoulder he could see that Beyond The Clouds was hot on his heels, going just as well. Moving on down to the final 3f and the race was between the front four as there was now clear daylight to the rest of the field.
The front two even had a small break on their two closest rivals and now it was who would show their hand first. Tom loosened the reins and asked Clouds to begin lengthening ready for a big final push. Navajo Pass and Final Orders were hard at it to try and catch the leading pair but heading into the final 2f Tom kicked on and snatched the lead. Beyond The Clouds quickened past the favourite and immediately went a length up. Two Bids tried to match the move but couldn’t and Tom had really committed to this challenge. Now there was no other choice but to go for home and Beyond The Clouds responded by opening up his advantage. Navajo Pass was staying on for pressure and was now challenging the favourite as Final Orders had been dropped.
Having gone clear, Clouds could now move across and he took the rail for the final furlong. The lead had grown to over 2 lengths and it was a case of if Beyond The Clouds could see it out. Tom was now all out and he had a very willing partner as Clouds stuck to the task at hand. Navajo Pass was staying on to take second spot but was never catching the leader. Beyond The Clouds maintained his run and despite the lead closing he crossed the line to earn his first flat win by 1 1/4 lengths.
After a good debut, a below par second outing, this win was very pleasing and Beyond The Clouds showed his true quality. Not only did he win well but he had to give 10lb to the others which is a fair amount. The longer trip looked to really suit him and now handicapping will be in order. Obviously he is 6yr old so it was a belated start to his flat career but Beyond The Clouds is very lightly raced so there could still be so much more to come from him. The form of his races has worked out well so it will be interesting to see how the handicapper judges him. Although it’s taken time, Beyond The Clouds is certainly a nice recruit to the flat game and can hopefully carry Mr Guy Reed’s famous colours to some bigger days.
The football season is just around the corner but before that kicked off there was a different kind Super Sunday for the team. Glass Slippers and Major Jumbo picked up a pair of listed races with Brando finishing 2nd in the Gr 1 sandwiched in between.
Pattern success is always important but even more so with fillies as their future can be boosted with a career in breeding. Glass Slippers had managed to finish in the frame on her last couple of runs in listed and Gr 3 company. The black type was in the bag and all that was left was to capture that pattern level win. She did just that with a very brave performance, taking the 6f Prix Club Hipico Santiago – Prix Moonlight Cloud Listed race at Deauville.
Owners Terry and Margaret Holdcroft are well know in the racing game having owned and bred some top quality horses. Their Bearstone stud has long been a breeding operation of the highest standard, producing winners at the highest level. When Kevin received a Dream Ahead filly last year the pedigree spoke for itself, with winners throughout and quality to match. Glass Slippers quickly showed that she could continue the trend of her dam Night Gypsy and proved so in a fruitful 2yo campaign.
Having made a pleasing debut, finishing 3rd behind a Gr 3 winner, she was then incredibly unlucky in running on her next run. Slippers was off the mark at the third try and then immediately picked up a conditions race following. Unfortunately heavy going scuppered her first foray into pattern company, on her final start in the Gr 3 Firth Of Clyde. It was a promising season and showed she had a bright future ahead.
Returning this year, Slippers had thrived over the winter and was set for a season of pattern racing. Unfortunately 7f on unsuitable ground wasn’t the ideal start but from then Slippers has improved with every run. A solid performance at Haydock, when dropping back to 6f was followed by a near miss at Ayr over the minimum trip. Flying home Slippers went down by just a neck after racing on the wrong side of the track. Stepping into group company on her next start, Slippers finished a good fourth at York in the Gr 3 Summer Stakes. She had earned the black type and proved that she was up to the grade so Kevin set about looking for the winning opportunity that Slippers deserved.
Deauville was immediately picked as he next destination with the 3yo Listed race the choice. There were 8 runners declared but with just one fellow Brit travelling over the form was always a question mark as to how the field compared to one another. Tom Eaves has ridden the filly on all bar one of her runs and travelled across to partner Slippers once again.
On her previous run Glass Slippers had shown a more prominent racing style so there were plenty of options for Tom regarding tactics. Slippers has been getting quicker from the stalls with every run and was well away again. Drawn towards the centre of the track Tom stayed straight to see how the race developed and immediately there was a strong push for the lead. It was a good early pace and Tom settled his filly just behind the leading trio, sitting just over a length off in 5th position.
The field stayed away from the stands side rail despite the leader, Bravo Sierra, being poisoned closest to them. Glass Slippers travelled nicely in Tom’s hands and stalked the pace through the first half of the race. They were quickly through the first 3f where the straight course joins the round. The strong early pace had settled and steadied which allowed Slippers to creep up. The filly maintained her speed so as the leaders slowed it down she closed up to get closer to the front and move into 3rd spot.
Travelling smoothly Glass Slippers past halfway almost in the lead. Tom was keeping it simple and allowed his filly to travel where she was happy. There was no distinct move to press the leaders but that is exactly what Slippers was doing and had moved through to vie for the lead. With 2 1/2f to run it probably wasn’t where Tom expected to be but Slippers was travelling so well that he left her alone, trying to wait before laying down his final challenge.
There was very little separating all 8 runners but moving into the final coupe of furlongs it was Slippers who spearheaded them. She had come through to the lead travelling hard on the bridle. The race had changed complexion without any major moves but all did still look to be in with a chance. Having hit the front Tom decided to make the most of it as they headed to the final 1 1/2f and now went for home. Glass Slippers moved into a length advantage as Tom began to get into his drive.
Hitting the 1f marker and the race really unfolded. Glass Slippers quickened away, although edging left slightly in the process, leaving the majority of the field in her wake. Only Bravo Sierra could go with the leader and moved through on her inner to lay down a challenge. It was between the leading duo and Bravo Sierra had quickened up to the girths of Glass Slippers. Tom now had to get serious and asked his filly for all she had to repel her rival. As Slippers felt her rival close up she found a bit more and edged a little clear again. Unfortunately that moved was covered by Bravo Sierra and the margin closed up to 1/2 length. With only 50 yards to run Slippers was stretching for the line but she was under strong pressure all the way. Bravely she was repelling the late thrust but her lead was diminishing with every yard. Glass Slippers was not going to be denied though and with her head to the floor she saw it out to win by a short head.
Nobody could deny that Glass Slippers deserved this win after some good efforts. She travelled well throughout the race but then showed a really gutsy attitude when challenged throughout the final furlong. It is fantastic to get a win at this level for Terry and Margaret Holdcroft and no doubt Glass Slippers has now got a bright future when he racing days are over. Going forward she will no doubt be contesting Group company again and there should be plenty of options at home and abroad in the foreseeable future.
There hasn’t been many more consistent horses than Major Jumbo in recent years and throughout his career. Amazingly he has only finished outside the first three on seven occasions, which is an impressive stat for a sprinter. This year was always going to test that record as he stepped up to pattern company but Jumbo has picked up where he left off last year and gained his first success of the season in the 6f MBNA Queensferry Stakes (Listed) at Chester.
Year after year, race after race, Major Jumbo has seen his handicap mark rise. He stepped up through the grades and took his form to a new level least year when competing in the very top handicaps. After winning the Coral Sprint he saw his mark rise to 107 which really put him on the border of pattern company. Kevin felt that was the next step for the grey and he would be well up for the challenge.
Returning at the opening weekend of the season, Jumbo was immediately pitched in at Listed level, finding only Invincible Army too good in the Cambridge Stakes. Group level was next and on his following three runs, Major jumbo went on to finish 3rd, 2nd, 3rd in Gr 3/2 over 5f and 6f. The July Cup was a step too far at this stage but he was far from disgraced at the top level.
Kevin felt that it was important to get Jumbo’s head in front after some fine efforts and there was an obvious choice coming up next. Having finished 2nd last year, the Queensferry was ideal and offered him a drop back to Listed level. Obviously there is never an easy race at this level but once the declarations came through it was clear that Major Jumbo was the best horse in the race if he could reproduce his recent level of form. Kevin Stott was booked for the ride as the pair were set to take on 9 rivals.
Major Jumbo is very uncomplicated so when he got stall 3 it made up Kevin’s mind. Jumping smartly Kevin was eager to get to the front and drove Jumbo along to do so. Unfortunately Gold Filigree was away just as quick and being drawn inside didn’t allow Jumbo an easy passage across, attempting to keep the grey out. Immediately the field were into a bend and Kevin knew he wanted the rail ASAP. He never let up and after going through the first furlong he managed to get across and lead, setting a strong gallop.
There was to be no let up throughout the contest and Jumbo poured it on from the front. Chester is a very quick track thanks to its’ tight nature and Kevin was looking to use this to his advantage. Holding a length advantage he just tried to steady it up a little as they headed down towards the halfway point. Jumbo travelled well on the front end and had some of his rivals already in trouble passing the 3f marker. Continuing on the left hand turn Kevin was waiting for the right moment to kick off the front.
Heading for home and passing the 2f marker Kevin got the field on the stretch. Major Jumbo lengthened and opened up his lead to 1 1/2 lengths as the field began to separate out. Winding it up the lead extended and as the pair swung into the home straight Kevin pressed the button. Holding a 2 length lead he asked Jumbo to slingshot off the bend and the grey was more than willing. It had been strong fractions throughout the contest but Jumbo quickened up and went for home.
Moving into the final furlong Jumbo had slipped the field and just had 200 yards to the line. Only Miss Celestial and Rock On Baileys could get anywhere near the grey but they had over 2 lengths to make up. The only question now was how much did Jumbo has left in the tank. That question was answered emphatically as the grey just continued to stride clear. Kevin kept him up to his work but in all honesty the race was over. Major Jumbo found and found again to stride out by a smooth 3 1/2 lengths, going one better than last year.
Major Jumbo deserved this win and going into the race he was the one to beat. Nothing is ever given and he still had to go out and prove he was the best in the field. Jumbo showed great pace and controlled the race from start to finish. He showed his usually gutsy attitude and once he kicked from the bend there was no catching him. This was his first win at pattern level and there is no doubt now that it is where he belongs. There are lots of Group races for him to contest and he will be stepping back into that company now.
Although he couldn’t make it a hat-trick on the day Brando put in a stellar performance when finishing runner up in the Group 1 Prix Maurice De Gheest. Having won the contest 2 years ago this was a stronger renewal and arguably a better performance.
Many had written the 7yr old off after he finished 7th in the July Cup. The ground that day was probably a touch too quick for him and he proved his doubters wrong with a top performance back at Deauville. Showing his customary high cruising speed, Brando burst through 1 1/2f out. After kicking clear of the rest he attempted to chase down Advertise and looked like he might just get there. Unfortunately the winner proved just too strong but Brando went down fighting, missing out by just a neck.
Nobody at Hambleton Lodge had lost any faith in the stable star and he showed everyone exactly why not. This year it just seems as though ground is now maybe key to him, with another year on his back he seems to be appreciating a little more juice. One thing for sure is that there are few sprinters who have proved more consistent at the highest level. For the past 3 years he has won 3 Group 3’s, a Group 1 and been placed in a further 5 Group 1’s. He does deserve another Gr 1 to his name but everyone knows just how hard they are to win. One thing he has proven is that age is just a number and Brando will be back at the top table for the Haydock Sprint and Champion’s Sprint this season.
Whenever a horse is moved it is like starting over for the trainer. If there is form in the book then it can give you an idea of what you can expect or even give you an idea of what might suit. Despite this it still means that you are starting fresh as all trainers have their own ideas and methods. Alotabottle had shown enough promise in the last year and he made the perfect start to life at Hambleton Lodge when taking the 7f Frank Buckle Handicap at Epsom.
Last season saw Alotabottle begin his career and over 4 runs he showed enough promise to suggest he was a winner waiting to happen. After qualifying for a handicap mark he received 64, finishing a good third at Newcastle on his final start of his juvenile season. Over the winter he was gelded and returned to action at Beverley but just failed to get involved, running over the minimum trip and subsequently Kevin got the call to train Alotabottle.
The Mukhadram gelding arrived after being dropped to 62 and Kevin set about to create a plan moving forward. After working him at home he felt that 7f could easily be an option regarding trip but whatever suitable race came along would be where he could start out. Despite the long trip south, Epsom looked the perfect race so Alotabottle would make his debut a long way from home, tackling 7f for the first time.
Danny Tudhope is a man in form as he pushes for the jockeys championship so when he was available for Alotabottle Kevin didn’t have to think twice about booking the Scotsman. With little experience of the chestnut tactics were left to Danny and it looked like it would be dependant on how the race unfolded. There were only 7 runners heading to the start but like so many of the 3yo handicaps it looked a trappy affair. Alotabottle had shown enough in his races that the punters felt he was ready to get off the mark and the chestnut was sent off the 5/2 fav.
Jumping from stall 2 Alotabottle set off on terms and was away well. Vying for the lead from the off there was a sudden injection of pace from the outside as Rosamour kicked on to take the lead. The pace had increased to be quite strong and this left Danny to sit patiently, seeing his mount just demoted to 5th position as they quickly headed into the back straight before the home bend. They settled down through the first couple of furlongs and the field congregated together to race 2×2 and Alotabottle was positioned on the outside just over 2 lengths from the leader.
Descending into the bend Alotabottle just took a keen couple of strides. Danny quickly got him balanced swinging around the bend and onto the right lead. The pace didn’t relent and the leader took them sharply around the left hander and into the home straight. Still sat in fourth spot Alotabottle swung into the straight with Quirky Gertie directly in his eyeline. They were heading past halfway and the camber of the track rolled the field back towards the rail. Winding it up the leader was increasing the tempo passing the 3f pole and this caused Danny to just begin to work a little, getting Alotabottle to lengthen too.
Racing inside the final couple of furlongs and the lead changed hands as Quirky Gertie took over, travelling well on the bridle. Now the rest of the field were working hard to try and close the gap. Alotabottle wasting through the gears but at this point was maintaining his position rather than closing the gap to the leader. A few of his rivals had moved up alongside as they all now gave chase to the strong travelling leader.
It was taking Alotabottle a little bit of time to find top gear and this allowed Quirky Gertie to kick clear entering the final furlong. The advantage was still only a couple of lengths as the leader committed for home. Alotabottle was responding to Danny but still had quite a bit of work on his hands to try and overcome the leader. He started to get rolling but there was only 150 yards left and Quirky Gertie was certainly not stopping. Danny was now really getting serious and Alotabottle responded well. Changing legs he now found top gear with 1/2f left to run. Suddenly he quickened up to halve the deficit and the race looked there for the taking. The leader was not stopping but Alotabottle had the momentum and was finishing off powerfully. Surging down the outside, Alotabottle reined in the leader and in one fell swoop he took the lead. Maintaining his run through to the line Alotabottle pulled clear to make a winning stable debut by a nice 1 1/2 length margin.
Alotabottle was trying a new trip on a difficult track and passed with flying colours. It did take him a little bit of time to find his feet but once he got balanced and rolling the 3yo finished the race powerfully. The trip looked like it suited him well and in the end it was an impressive performance. Although he snatched the lead late on, Alotabottle managed to put a good distance to the runner up and this will go down as a smart performance. What happens next will be down to how the handicapper views this performance. There are plenty of races available to Alotabottle and it will be interesting to see how far he can go as he is an unexposed proposition at this trip.
Early on in the season Kevin was limited with his 2yr old runners, knowing that the majority of them were 6f plus types. Now the season has progressed and the juvenile races are even up to a mile now the 2yr old team is really hitting it’s stride. Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum has already enjoyed some nice performances from his juveniles, especially with Juan Elcano and Rhea going on from winning debuts to be placed in pattern company. Yorkshire Gold followed in their footsteps when making a winning debut at Leicester in the 6f British stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes.
The son of Muhaarar was bought by Kevin and Steven Hillen at Tattersalls Book 1. It did take £160,000 to secure the colt but he really looked the part, with a strong physique. Once the work started he showed all the right signs but then, as is so common with youngsters, he went through a growth spurt. Patience is always important with 2yr olds and it did Yorkshire Gold the world of good because he matured well continuing his nice work at home.
Having come to hand the next step is to get out on the track and so Kevin sifted through the entry book to find the right race. Yorkshire Gold’s pedigree sent out mixed signals, being by a champion sprinter in Muhaarar but out of dam who was listed placed at 1m2f with relatives being similar. Everything at home suggested 6f was the right starting point and when the race at Leicester came along it seemed as though the track would suit too, with a stiff finish.
Eight runners were declared for the contest but when the weather turned the ground heavy and very testing the field cut up to just five runners. Despite the smaller field, the remaining runners were the more fancied runners with a winner in the field as well as a pair of runners who held decent form. Yorkshire Gold was joined by one fellow debutante. Andrea Atzeni, retained rider for Sheikh Obaid, was down at Glorious Goodwood so Kevin Stott was booked for the ride.
Although there were only five runners to load it did take a little longer than usual. Gold had been in there a while when they were held by the starter. The colt began to get a little fractious, nothing over the top but just ready to get on with things. Kevin kept him settled but when the gates opened the pair were a little slowly away and surrendered a few lengths to the field. It was experience to the fore as the two debutantes were both at the rear of the field. Kevin just rousted his mount into the bridle and through the first furlong the colt had made up the lost ground to tag onto the rear of the field, moving over to the stands side.
Heavy ground meant that the jockeys were always going to try and find the best ground so the leader, Always Fearless, tracked over the stands side rail. Yorkshire Gold was just running green at the rear of the field and required all the support of Kevin who was niggling away to keep tabs with his four rivals. It was a fair gallop being set in the conditions as the field quickly galloped through the first half of the race. Yorkshire Gold was really not understanding the job at hand as Kevin got a little more animated. He had to change his hands and work away, trying to get get his mount one the right lead and balanced. By halfway he had just dropped back a little to sit a couple of lengths away and would need to learn on the job.
It was always felt that Gold should be doing his best work late in the race but he was going to have to overcome his inexperience in order to do so. The front three were all travelling smoothly and began to drop the previous winner in the field who now separated Yorkshire Gold and the leaders. The pace did increase between the 3f and 2f marker which meant that the finish would certainly be a test. Yorkshire Gold was being driven along and as they hit the 2f marker he did begin to pick up a bit, forcing Kevin to switch around Silver Mission who was backtracking into the colt.
Heading inside the final 2f the race suddenly changed in complexion. The smooth travelling Always Fearless and Dark Regard came off the bridle to leave debutante Bright Valentine with a narrow lead. Yorkshire Gold had to switch all the way round towards the centre of the track but started to come good and make headway as well as Silver Mission gaining a second wind. The race now looked open to all of the five runners and the finish would sort out these juveniles.
The penny really began to drop with Yorkshire Gold and from the 2f marker he made some nice headway to challenge the new leader Bright Valentine. As the pair headed to the 1f marker they dropped the experienced trio and it became clear that the race was between the two debutantes. Moving inside the final furlong and Gold had cut the lead to 1/2 length, impressively learning with every stride. Still Kevin was driving him along hands and heels, changing his hands, playing with the bit to try and get Gold to finish the race strongly. The colt responded and now looked the part. Although he still ran around a little green he stuck his bight white blaze into the lead. Picking up the lead with just over 1/2f to go, Yorkshire Gold had momentum on his side and was finishing the race strongly. Kevin maintained his hands and heels ride but once the colt had got his head in front it was game over. He began to assert and pulled away from his nearest challenger. Once he opened up a couple of lengths advantage Yorkshire Gold even had the time to prick his ears, showing he was enjoying himself. Crossing the line Yorkshire Gold had made up plenty of ground to then go on and win by an impressive 1 3/4 lengths.
Experience and education are the most important things for juvenile’s on their first runs. It is what shaped them for their future so they need to enjoy it. Once Yorkshire Gold missed the break and then ran green through the first half of the race you were just hoping he would begin to learn and finish the race well. As the penny began to drop and he started to make up ground the expectations did change but still education was most important. Then when Gold’s quality kicked in and he quickened up to challenge it just shows how impressive and promising a performance this was. Kevin gave the colt a lovely ride and Gold managed to win with a hands and heels ride. The way he finished the race does suggest that he may get a touch further, especially when you look at the dam’s side of the pedigree. Obviously Yorkshire Gold is going to improve a lot for the experience and he does look like a very promising colt. Pattern company may be calling and a race such as the Acomb could be one to think about in future.