Seven Brothers A Returning Winner Once Again

The new turf season is upon us as Doncaster’s Lincoln meeting raises the curtain on 2022. It is always a time for excitement and expectation, with everyone wanting to get off to a flyer. Seven Brothers has proven to be an early starter, winning first time out in the past two years and that trend continued as he took the 7f SBK Price+ Gives You The Best Odds Handicap on his seasonal return.

Having won at Town Moor last season, Seven Brothers was returning to a happy hunting ground. Unfortunately following his win, form proved to be quite poor and this meant that he would begin this season 2lb lower than last. Although all 3 previous wins had come over 6f, there was a piece of form over 7f that arguably was one his best performances. Therefore when he was declared for the competitive contest, there was confidence that he could recapture some form and give some foundations to build upon for the rest of the year.

The race was typically ultra competitive with a real mix of opposition. Seven Brothers was towards the head of the market but like many of his rivals there would be a question mark of race fitness, against those who had runs on the all weather. Kevin Stott was on board and had quite a fluid mindset going into the contest, riding as he found the race unfold.

Seven Brothers jumped quite well but hampered slightly when leaving the stalls. Quickly he recovered and got into his stride, moving forward to lead the field. Although not left alone in front, his rivals seemed happy enough with the pace being set. Seven Brothers set a nice even gallop which would favour all runners.

The 18 runners were spearheaded by Seven Brothers but with a sensible pace, it meant that the field were well bunched through the first half of the race. Recent weather meant that the ground had ridden a little bit dead on the opening day but further sunshine dried it our further. Moving down past halfway all runners had their chance if good enough. Kevin loosened his grip on the reins passing the 3f marker, allowing his mount to lengthen and wind up the tempo in front. This injection of pace did change the complexion of the race, as the field began to work and cover the leader’s move.

Heading into the final 2f the first two, who had been the first two throughout, quickened up and moved clear of the field. Kevin was now in full drive and was getting the response he asked for. Seven Brothers was being challenged hard but was not relenting and kept his nose in front. It was a titanic battle between the front two and passing the 1f marker there was barely daylight between the pair. Whilst that was going on up front, the favourite, along with a few others, were cutting into the deficit. Seven Brothers was beginning to get on top of his long time rival, just edging a little further with each stride. He was bravely holding on in front as the calvary came to throw down their challenge. Stott and Seven Brothers were not to be denied and showing strength and bravery the pair fought their way to a 1/2 length victory.

Obviously it is clear that Seven Brothers enjoys the feeling of running fresh with 3 of his career wins coming on his seasonal debut. Once again he showed a brave and game attitude, repelling challengers and galloping all the way to the line. It will be interesting to see what the handicapper does with him but hopefully this season, another year older, Seven Brothers can build and improve on this win.

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Welcome Double To Get Back On Track

Cheltenham is here and is rightly takes centre stage in the racing world. Whilst the National Hunt stars trade blows, it means that the flat is getting ever closer and a double at Newcastle got the excitement building. Two horses who looked to have bags of potential got wins under their belts with Monsieur Jumbo breaking his duck and Ben Macdui winning for the first time since his debut.

Carravagio was one of the mots exciting young stallions last year when his first crop began to hit the track. Monsieur Jumbo was the only one of his progeny that ended up at Hambleton Lodge but he certainly took the eye from day one. Physically he ticked all the boxes and when his early work matched up, there was excitement surrounding the grey colt. Unfortunately his early promise, starting with a runner up debut, didn’t quite pan out. Although Monsieur Jumbo went close a couple of times, his juvenile season was quite underwhelming and it was hard to think that he couldn’t gain his first win. That first career win came at the first try in 2022 when he took the 7f MansionBet Proud Partners Of AWC Novice Stakes.

Over the winter Monsieur Jumbo did very , filling into his frame and giving the impression that maybe he could go on this year. Quite possibly the disappointment of last season could be put down to immaturity but Monsieur Jumbo would need to prove this quickly. Coming to hand early, Kevin had the choice of races but opted for the Novice route. Monsieur Jumbo would line up at Newcastle to take on 10 rivals, stepping up to 7f for the first time.

With Kevin Stott in the saddle, Monsieur Jumbo was quickly anchored towards the rear of the field. He was in good company as the main market rivals were in a similar position, taken back to gain cover throughout the early stages. The free going leader ensured there was a decent pace on up front and therefore the field charged through the first part of the race. Monsieur Jumbo travelled well for the first part of the race and always had the favourite in his eyesight.

Although there was plenty of racing left, it was clear passing the 3f marker that the race was suiting those coming from behind. The strong gallop was always going to test the field but with big outsiders on the front end, it did appear that closers would fight out the finish. Kevin just stalked the favourite and as his rival made headway, Monsieur Jumbo was like his shadow. The pair cruised through the field, sliding between rivals to move into a dangerous position.

Heading into the final couple of furlongs the fancied runners came to the fore, and did so with ease. Stott was the first to lay down their challenge and lowered himself into his drive. Jumbo began to lengthen as he joined the favourite, with the pair edging towards the stands side. This move applied the pressure and the two now started to move away from the rest. Although first to come under a drive, it was Monsieur Jumbo who suddenly looked the stronger. The favourite had travelled with ease but once let down, didn’t find the same as Jumbo.

Passing the 1f marker, Monsieur Jumbo held the lead and started to turn the screw. Shifting through the gears and lengthening all the time, Jumbo was thriving with his new trip. The further they went the stronger Jumbo looked and was always edging the favourite. His lead grew inch by inch as the grey strode out to claim a 3/4 length victory.

It was great to see Monsieur Jumbo get his head in front and hopefully it is just the springboard for him. He has always shown plenty of ability and maybe now he has come to himself, physically and mentally. Throughout the race he travelled very well, picked up with ease and saw out the trip powerfully. It will be interesting to see where he goes next but there is lots to look forward to as the turf season approaches.

Only 30 minutes later the double was complete with Ben Macdui taking the 6f Betway Handicap. The second leg of the double came from an entirely different type of career path to that of his stable mate. Ben Macdui hit the ground running in his career, storming home in his debut run as a 2yr old. That win was backed up by a fine 2nd in the Group 3 Molecomb stakes. It looked was though the world was at his feet, but that high was the peak of a steady decline from the now 4yr old gelding.

Ben Macdui’s 3yr old season was not only disappointing but raised so many questions. The answers were hard to come by as the gelding slipped down the handicap mark run after run. Despite this, the signs were still there at home with Ben Macdui showing ability. Obviously this was not transferring to the racecourse and 2021 was a year to forget.

Promise was shown when he returned to action in February and with that run under his belt, Ben Macdui headed to Newcastle to try 6f once again. Only 5 runners lined up and Stott took advantage of a great start to immediately grab the lead. Quickly into stride, Ben Macdui spearheaded the field and set a fair gallop. The stalls had been positioned in the centre of the track but Kevin slowly edged over throughout the first few furlongs to take the field towards the stands side.

With a target on his back throughout, Ben Macdui travelled to the 2f marker with a length lead. The trip has always been a question mark for the gelding and he would tested in the latter stages with his rivals lining up behind for a crack at him. The short priced favourite came through looking full of running and was soon on the heels of Ben Macdui. Kevin wanted to use his momentum and kick off the front so loosened his reins and tried to get his mount to lengthen through the gears.

Ben Macdui proved to be a tough nut to crack and entering the final furlong he still held sway in front. The fav had cruised through but could never get closer than a neck on Ben Macdui who continued to find for pressure. His other rivals were trying hard but the gelding was beating them off with valour. Bravely with his head to the floor, Ben Macdui powered home to win by 1/2 lengths, showing bravery throughout.

Confidence is high and this may be the tonic for Ben Macdui to reverse the trend of the past year. The first win since 2020, Ben Macdui showed all the right traits in winning and if he can maintain that then the upward trajectory should take off. From a high of 102 to a winning mark here of 80, there is plenty of room to manoeuvre so hopefully he can go on from this performance.

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Spiritofthenorth’s Wait Is Over

It is very unusual to have a maiden 5yr old at Hambleton Lodge, especially when the career record has a 66% strike rate of being placed. Spiritofthenorth has been the bridesmaid on so many occasions but that can no longer be said as he gained the all deserved first career win when winning the 1m1f Play 4 To Win At Betway Handicap at Wolverhampton.

Having knocked on the door during his younger days, it was last year that was the really frustrating season. Spiritofthenorth ran 6 times, finishing in the places on all of his runs, splitting the results 50/50 between runner up and third place. He couldn’t seem to catch a break so Kevin decided too turn to a tried and tested method to see if he could find the key to wining. After schooling the gelding over hurdles, it was clear that Spiritofthenorth could certainly jump and so he would have a try in the NH sphere in late 2021. Again running with credit on all three starts, Spiritofthenorth hit the crossbar on all three hurdle runs.

It is very hard not to become a little despondent with all the close calls but we are in a sport which doesn’t give you anything. With a mark 5lb lower on the AW, Spiritofthenorth headed to Wolverhampton to kickstart his 2022. Sam James was a late call up for the ride and he continued his confident recent run of form. Jumping well from the widest draw of all, Spiritofthenorth was quickly into stride and made a move forward down the outer. Sam kept checking his inside and with a clear run he moved across to take up the overall lead, grabbing the rail for good measure.

Spiritofthenorth lead for the majority of the contest although he was joined for a small time down the back straight. Sam had set a good gallop throughout but would increase the tempo as they entered the home bend and moving into the final 3f. Kicking off the bend and slingshotting into the straight, Spiritofthenorth laid down his challenge 2f from home and told his rivals to try and catch him. Opening up a clear length advantage, Spiritofthenorth did give his rivals a sniff of victory as he hung into the centre of the track passing the 1f marker. This saw the lead dwindle but sam was not to be denied and ensured his mount not only kept up to his work but kept moving forward. Pulling his stick through, Sam got the response he wanted and Spiritofthenorth battled to the line, holding on the a 1/2 length lead to gain a first career win.

Although it has taken longer than expected, Spiritofthenorth’s win was very satisfying. All connected with Middleham Park Racing have been very patient but they never lost the fait so it is great to give them this win to celebrate. It could also work as a confidence boost for the gelding and the first taste of victory could hopefully give him the fuel to back this win up.


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Digital Hits a Career High

Consistency is hard to find with sprinters but Digital has certainly been more dependable than most so far in his career. Steadily rising up the handicap, the only poor runs he has had up this point have been in some top class races. Although connections do not like to make excuses there have been a few queries and it was thought that he may well do better again this year. Digital took his best race to date when winning the 5f Betway Handicap at Southwell.

Last season was a strong year for Digital and he was probably a shade unlucky to only have one win to his name. Having reached a mark of 90 he didn’t perform to his usual standards in the Portland, his last run of the season. That was certainly put behind him when he returned to action this year and throughout the winter her has looked as though another winter break has done him the world of good.

Coming to hand early, Kevin decided to test the AW with Digital, a surface he made his debut on. After a fine effort, finishing third on his comeback at Southwell, Digital would drop back to 5f at the same venue. Although he ran a blinder, that first run of the year was sure to blow away any cobwebs and returning to the minimum trip would be a bonus. Only 6 would line up for the contest but it was a strong and competitive field for the £30,000 race.

Kevin Stott was back from his own deserved break and took the ride. The experienced speedsters set strong fractions from the off and Kevin got a lovely lead through the early stages. Settled just off the leaders, Digital travelled comfortably on their heels showing that a return to 5f was no issue at all. They blistered through the first couple of furlongs and were soon baring down on the final couple of furlongs. Blink and you would miss it.

As they entered the final 1/4 mile the leaders attempted to kick from the front but their moves were covered. Kevin gave Digital a squeeze and the gelding moved up to challenge, looking the stronger. Once Kevin got the sniff of victory he quickly went for home but under a strong drive Digital drifted over to the far side. Thankfully the burst of pace had taken him far enough clear to avoid any interference. The favourite Zarzyni tried to give chase but the acceleration shown from Digital proved to be the game changer. Galloping all the way to the line, Digital took the feature race and secured his third career win.

It was great to see the 4yr old back to winning ways and he did so impressively. Travelling powerfully he quickened up nicely and this could be a positive moving into the new season ahead. Sprinters tend to peak with experience and time, allowing their physical attributes to flourish, which could be the case for Digital. He will again be looking at a mark in the 90’s so it will be interesting to see if he sticks to the AW or waits now for the turf season which is just around the corner.

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Chrysos Makes No Mistake

Price tags can bring expectations but one common phrase is always that “horses don’t know how much they cost”. Chrysos is by the superstar American stallion Medaglia D’Or and has all the physical attributes which explains why he could take the eye at the sales. Thankfully he can gallop too and proved that when galloping his rivals into submission in the 1m Watch Racing Free Online At Coral Novice Stakes at Lingfield.

The powerful colt made his debut closer to home, when going to Newcastle at the beginning of 2022. It was a run full of promise and certainly showed connections that they could have a winning waiting. Racing a little keen early on, Chrysos then cruised into contention and was the one to side with heading into the latter stages. It was at this point that experience came to the fore with Chrysos just looking a little green before getting tired in the final 1/2f. The winner had form behind him and would be given a good mark of 88. When the second placed horse went out and bolted up just 12 days later, it seemed as though Chrysos should be a major player on his next run.

Little over month later he would travel to Lingfield for another 1m novice. When the declarations came out it looked as though the race would revolve around Chrysos. If he could improve then he would hard to beat as all known form was not as strong as his debut. Jamie Spencer had been on board for the first run and was booked again as the pair would dominate the betting, going off the even money favourite.

On the best horse, Jamie kept it very simple and took the race by the scruff of the neck. Bouncing out from the gates Chrysos took the lead and would not relinquish it throughout the race. Setting a good gallop he was chased by nearest market rival Mizmar but would prove too strong for him and the other rivals. Jamie stayed away from the rail down the back straight, allowing his mount to use his stride and take the bend at a smoother angle. Chrysos was in complete control and never looked in danger at any stage of the mile contest.

When they rounded the bend and straightened for him, around 1 1/2f out, Chrysos was still cruising on the bridle. The rest were under pressure but more importantly his nearest rival could not make any inroads on the lead. Chrysos  could probably be left to himself but Jamie was keen to educate the colt too and got into his drive passing the 1f marker. The lead quickly opened up and confirmed the win. As they neared the line the gap did diminish with a little easing from the saddle but also some signs of inexperience too. Having not seen a rival, Chrysos easily shed his maiden tag by 1 3/4 lengths.

Chrysos is a big, powerful and athletic colt who showed all those traits when winning here. The form shown from his debut run was good enough to win this contest and with improvement it did seem as though it was his to lose. He couldn’t have been any more impressive and Jamie gave the colt the perfect ride, allowing him to utilise his stride. Chrysos has been impressive so far and it will be interesting to see what options are coming up for the colt. There may be a return to Lingfield and a step up in class in the near future.

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Regally Bred Alia Off The Mark

Breeding doesn’t always guarantee success but it can certainly be a pointer in the right direction, giving the most reliable source. When you cross a Group performing mare and high class stallion, the expectation is obviously going to be there. Alia Choice is the first progeny of the Group 1 placed Queen Kindly and she gained the vital win when comfortably taking the 5f Glyn Hopkin Novice Stakes at Chelmsford.

The 3yo filly had taken some time to get to the track, only making her debut in late 2021. Owned and bred by Mr Jaber Abdullah, Alia Choice made her first start at Newcastle, contesting a competitive 5f Novice. Showing her inexperience, Alia raced a little keen before just getting tired in the latter stages, finishing a very promising 4th on debut. With the winner of the contest rated 90 and third coming in at 85, the form of that run was strong increasing the promise shown on debut.

At the turn of the year there were not too many options over the minimum trip so Alia Choice would wait until February to get back on the track. Limited races meant that the 3yo would have to travel south to Chelmsford but she would ensure it was a worthwhile journey. The level of form on show was not as strong as her debut effort, so Alia Choice would be sent off the 5/4 fav. With the promise shown and Kevin’s horses history of improving following their debut, there was confidence behind the filly.

All-weather championship leading jockey, David Probert, was booked for the ride. Not the fastest away, Alia Choice quickly settled to chase the lead through the early stages. Experience and this cover meant that the filly settled a lot better this time round and she travelled supremely well throughout the contest. Getting a toe through the first couple of furlongs the field entered the bend with very little separating all 7 runners.

Swinging off the home turn and under 2f to run, David edged Alia Choice out for a run. Having travelled well to this point the filly moved through the gears and looked to chase down the leader. As the race developed the leader continued to travel powerfully in front as the rest were under a drive. Alia Choice was making good progress and was soon to change the face of the contest. Under a strong Probert drive, Alia joined the leader and forced their hand. Now, for the first time, the leader cam under pressure and quickly surrendered the lead. Momentum was with Alia and she began to really move through the gears. The final furlong allowed Alia Choice to stretch clear and the filly powered away from her rivals to secure a first victory by a comfortable 2 1/2 lengths.

It was great to see Alia Choice learn from her debut experience and put in a professional performance like this. Settling well, Alia travelled smoothly throughout and was then able to quicken off that pace. Once Alia had joined the lead there was only going to be one result and she put the race to bed with ease. It is always important for owner/breeders to gain wins with their well bred progeny so it was fantastic to do that for Mr Jaber Abdullah. Having taken time to hit the track, Alia Choice can make up for that this year. With just two runs under her belt there is a lot of potential and it was be very interesting to see where she can go from this performance.

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Sweet Glance Gains Early Christmas Bonus

In recent years there have been many incentive schemes introduced and promoted throughout British Racing, trying to give something back to the owners. Sweet Glance not only earned her first career win but she collected a GB Bonus for all her owners involved with Hambleton Racing. The daughter of Ardad was making her second start and took the 5f Watch Racing Free Online At Coral Restricted Maiden Stakes at Wolverhampton.

Sweet Glance had been a slow burner, making her debut late on in the season. This was of no concern as her 1/2 brother, and stablemate, Sound Reason had a similar story and his career has been on an upward trajectory so far. Starting with a very promising effort, Sweet Glance tackled some testing conditions to finish fourth and looked like a win should be upcoming sooner rather than later.

One of the issues with a late debut is that you run out of races on the turf so it was clear that Sweet Glance would need to race on the all-weather or wait. Having been patient for so long and the filly looking in great shape, connections wanted to try and get a win under her belt and so she headed to Wolverhampton in December. The 5f Maiden attracted 11 declarations but it looked a good opportunity with all known form not the strongest. Sweet Glance had the unexposed form and had strong claims if handling the artificial surface. Shane Kelly was the man in the saddle for this evening run.

Stall 1 can be the plum draw or a disaster, depending on how well you break. Sweet Glance was well away enabling Shane to get a good pitch up along the rail. There were a few looking to make the running so Sweet Glance just sat off the leaders as they darted down towards the bend, after the first furlong. The pace was strong throughout and Shane was ensuring his filly stayed within touching distance as they charged around the left handed bend.

The field were quickly through the first half of the race and slingshotting off the bend into the straight. This took the runners into the final 2f and the race was on. Having been the one giving chase throughout, Sweet Glance turned for home behind the leaders. This gave her a nice slipstream but Shane would need to find a clear run when the time came. Thankfully he had the horse underneath but for the leaders did get a small break as they bared down on the final furlong. Sweet Glanced done some good work late on last time out so she had plenty of time left if reproducing that. Under a strong drive the filly changed her legs and quickened up. Angled out to get a clear run, Sweet Glance started to quicken up and chase down the leaders. There was no sudden burst but the gap was closing and the further they went, the stronger Sweet Glance came on. Nicking the lead just 50 yards from home, the bay filly galloped all the way to the line and took the win by 1/2 length, proving too strong.

This was a very good display from Sweet Glance who’s performance was better than the margin of her win. It was a strongly run race but she did her best work in the final 1/2 furlong. Sweet Glance is a big filly who will fill into her frame in time so there should be more to come. She is far from the finished article so to gain a win like this is a huge plus, especially on a track that possibly would be the most suitable. Time will be beneficial so Sweet Glance will be given a break now and look forward to 2022, where she hopefully emulate her brother.



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Professional Debut From True Warfare

If there is a stallion who has stood out over the last couple of years it has to be Siyouni. The French star has been making headlines with superstar progeny winning some of the world’s biggest racing. Any time you get the opportunity to train offspring form these stallions is a boost and True Warfare is a colt who has immediately stamped himself as an exciting prospect. The strong, athletic colt made a winning debut when taking the 7f Coral Proud To Support British Racing EBF Novice Stakes at Southwell.

True Warfare arrived from owner Mr Steve Parkin, of Clipper Logistics, and immediately took the eye. It was easy to see why the colt went for 150,000gns with his physical attributes. Thankfully he matched that with his ability on the gallops too, showing a lovely action. For a big colt he did come to hand quite early on but a couple of growth spurts meant that any plans were nudged back each time. Connections were more than happy to be patient with the colt and it was proven to be the correct call. Even when time ran out on the turf, Kevin and the owners felt that a run on the all-weather would be important for True Warfare.

Homework had been good from the 2yo but education was always the most important aspect of his first run and the result would be a bonus. Ready to go, True Warfare was declared for the 7f contest with Kieran Shoemark booked for the ride, retained rider for Clipper Logistics. The 12 runners lining up were quite a difficult bunch to work out and it looked as though the contest was quite open.

Bouncing out form the stalls, True Warfare showed a professional attitude as he was quickly into stride and to the fore. Vying for the early lead he disputed without doing too much. This was good as the leaders didn’t take each other on which led to a nice, even gallop. Using his athletic stride, Kieran allowed the colt to travel in his hands as the True Warfare looked happy out in front.

The even gallop gave all the field a chance as they rounded the bend and headed towards the home straight. True Warfare again showed he was at ease on debut, taking the bend with no issues and maintaining his position at the head of the field. As they bared down on the straight the leaders started to wind it up. Kieran let the reins out and squeezed his colt, getting him through the gears and gaining momentum.

Taking the overall lead entering the final 2f, True Warfare was now under a drive and looking the strongest. He was beginning to hit top gear but it was the final furlong where he could really strut his stuff. The further they went suited True Warfare better and in the final 150 yards he could really stretch out. Having held a marginal lead he now found his feet and began to power away. There were shades of inexperience, with is natural, especially as he had been in front for so long. True Warfare galloped all the way to the line, under an educational ride, to secure a debut win by a comfortable 1 3/4 lengths.

Not only was this an impressive performance but a very professional one. True Warfare was well away, into his stride and led the field from start to finish. That is a hard thing to do on debut and he showed a great attitude throughout. Although he won well the trip looked as though it may be the minimum for him moving forward but that may not be the case when he has finished maturing. True Warfare will now be put away for next year and it will be very interesting to see where he can go from this performance.

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Rockprincess Thrives For New Trip

Sometimes just a small adjustment can be the difference and a step up in trip of just a furlong can unlock the key to winning. Rockprincess had been performing at the minimum trip all season but once she was upped to 6f, the first career win followed. Owned and Bred by Bearstone stud, Rockprincess took the 6f Natalie And Lauren Dealhoy Nursery Handicap at Redcar.

Terry and Margaret Holdcroft of Bearstone stud have a long and successful partnership with Kevin, non more so than with superstar mare Glass Slippers. With a long history of producing winners, Bearstone Stud’s colours are very popular on the northern tracks and it is always nice to add to their bloodlines with success. Rockprincess is a first foal so this becomes more important at times and it was nice to see the filly gain her success at Redcar.

Attempting 6f for the first time and entering handicap company off a mark of 55, this looked the best chance for Rockprincess to improve on her form shown so far. There was 19 runners due to line up, creating a very competitive nursery. Tom Eaves, rider of Glass Slippers, donned the silks once more.

The field size gave the jockeys a dilemma with plenty of turf separating stalls 1 and 19. Despite this width their was only two jockeys who decided to give the near side a go. Tom rode to his draw and with his filly showing good speed, the pair held the lead on the far side. Rockprincess travelled strong for the off and the soft ground held no issue for the filly.

Leading from the outset nothing really gave Rockprincess much trouble. She travelled easily throughout the first half and Tom just allowed the filly to scoot over the rain softened ground. As their rivals cam under pressure by the 3f marker, the writing was on the wall, even from this early stage. Rockprincess continued to travel easily on the bridle, allowing Tom to remain motionless in the saddle. This not only relieved the pressure but allowed the filly to maintain her speed whilst exerting less than her rivals.

Although she never relinquished the lead, Rockprincess did see it diminish, so 1 1/2f from him Tom gave the filly a squeeze. This helped to stem the tide and 1/2 length was as close as anyone would get. Once Tom asked the question, Rockprincess kicked on again and with plenty left in the tank she was finding more whilst her rivals challenges were waning. Step by step the gap opened up once more and Rockprincess took her first career win by a comfortable 2 1/2 lengths.

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Magical Is A Late Season Star Again

There are certain factors that see horses come alive, whether that is a track or ground conditions. For Magical Spirit he seems to save his very best for the latter stages of the year. Obviously that is not the only time he has seen the winner’s circle but the chestnut has put some top performances in late season appearances. Having knocked on the door all season long he cut through the field to win the 6f Vertem Investing In The Future Handicap at Doncaster.

Year in year Magical Spirit has improved and taken his form to new level. Last season’s Ayr Silver Cup win was a career high that really put him in contention for some of the top handicaps coming into 2021. It didn’t quite work out, although it was far from disappointing as he knocked on the door all season long. Just beaten in the Shergar Cup and then a solid fourth when defending his Silver Cup, Magical Spirit looked as though he was ready to pounce once more and he duly obliged at Doncaster.

Lining up against 9 rivals with Tom Eaves in the saddle, Magical Spirit probably recognised many of those alongside him. Small but competitive competition for the Class 2 event, Magical Spirit didn’t make the best start, as he was half in the air as the gates opened. That left Tom with no option but to sit tight and not force it early on. Now situated at the rear of the field, Magical would have to pass all of his rivals to win the contest. Ground conditions were soft so the gallop was never going to be crazy and it was a nice, even pace throughout the early stages. The field converged into one towards the stand side which offered Magical Spirit plenty of cover.

Despite the testing conditions underfoot, the race was to develop a long way out and passing halfway the pace increased. This had a domino effect and one by one the field cam under pressure to try and lay down their challenge. Magical Spirit started to make some smooth headway and Tom just angled him out, coming down the near side. With his mount going well the last thing he wanted was to get stuck behind horses.

The handicapper would have been pleased between the 2f and 1f with all the 10 runners in with a chance and spread wide. Magical Spirit was beginning to motor and the race really broke apart moving into the final furlong. Those who had been towards the fore were paying for their early challenges and gave way to the closers from the rear. One of those making headway was Magical Spirit who began to storm down the near side. This move was matched but Magical Spirit had more in the tank. Neck and neck for the lead, Magical then changed his legs with 100 yards to go and found top gear. The ground was being eaten up and Magical Spirit began to assert. Pulling further and further clear in the last 1/2 furlong, the margin continued to grow until reaching 2 1/4 lengths as Magical Spirit secured a smart win.

This win was well deserved and even more impressive than the margin of victory was that it was a new career high winning mark of 92. This will certainly push Magical towards the 100 mark which will see the top sprint handicaps in his sights next year. There could be one more run for the 5yo as he is obviously in top form but the options are limited. With a new mark to contend with it may be that the gelding has to return to Doncaster for a first tilt at pattern company on the closing weekend of the season.

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