Another Treble Brings Up 50th Winner

Starting the week and finishing the week with a treble has seen the season tally hit the half century. Eeh Bah Gum, Lady Raeburn and Bergerac all won in convincing fashion to notch a treble for the team.

Well handicapped horses can be great to follow but also quite dangerous as they become that for a reason. Eeh Bah Gum only joined the team at the start of the year but was without a win since 2018. Having got his confidence back Eeh Bah Gum made it two wins for the year when taking the 5f Madeline Cup Handicap with ease.

Having started the year on the all-weather, Eeh Bah Gum made gentle steps forward to rebuild his confidence. It wasn’t until he hit the turf that he began to really put runs together and managed to gain a well deserved win at Mussleburgh. He continued to build on that with a couple of fine second placed efforts before finding himself on the wrong side of the draw at York for the Jump Jockeys Nunthorpe.

Returning to Musselburgh with Oisin McSweeney back on board, Eeh Bah Gum would only face 3 rivals. Conditions were in his favour and having the plum draw this time around, Oisin looked to be positive from the outset. Sitting handily on the rail, Eeh Bah Gum was just on the leader’s girths from the off. The pace was fair which saw the four runners well bunched up in a diamond formation.

Halfway the track kicks out with a little kink in the rail. Being sat up against it allowed Oisin to just follow it around without getting pushed off it. Eeh Bah Gum travelled supremely well and was hard on the bridle passing the 2f marker. Pulling his way to the fore he edged his nose alongside the leader which put the pressure on his rivals. As the others cam e under a drive, Oisin was sat motionless.

It was pretty clear heading to the final furlong that if Eeh Bah Gum quickened up it was game over. As Oisin loosened the reins his mount scooted clear and put the race to bed. It was a victory procession as Eeh Bah Gum poured it on under minimal pressure. Drawing further away he took the contest comfortably, under a hands and heels ride, stretching to a 2 3/4 length winning margin.

Eeh Bah Gum has thrived over the past few months and it great to see him not just winning but maintaining his form. He loves quicker ground and is taking his racing well so he should be out again soon. With a good record at Musselburgh, Eeh Bah Gum may be heading back across the border to build on his course form.

The Callan/Ryan combination was a winning machine before the jockey departed for Hong Kong. Friday eying at Newmarket was a throw back to those days when they teamed up for a double. Lady Raeburn had knocked on the door a few occasions this year but she finally got her head in front once more when taking the 7f Follow @racingtv On Instagram Fillies Handicap.

Lady Raeburn had stepped up in trip to 6f this season but recently she had been staying on strong over the trip. This led to the entry over 7f which looked likely to suit but was an unknown. Her 4 rivals had all contested races over this trip or even further so it was difficult to assess her chances before the race.

Sluggish from the stalls, Lady Raeburn recovered to chase the leader towards the centre of the track. This all changed after the first furlong with a pair of rivals towards the near side charging through to take over at the head of affairs. The race was completely split with the five runners forming two distinct groups.

Although they had raced on the near side, the group of two were the outsiders of the field. It became clear around 3f that they may be on the wrong part of the track. The field began to get racing as they raced into the dip and towards the rising ground. There was a change of leaders with the centre group now taking over and basically ending the chances of the two on the near side. Lady Raeburn had followed the leader throughout and Callan began to work away to get his filly lengthening and she maintained her challenge on the leader’s coat tails.

As they raced up the hill and into the final furlong, Lady Raeburn was going into the unknown but Neil hadn’t yet gone for everything. The front two had the race at their mercy and sensing the win, Callan now switched out and took the lead. It was here that he asked for full tilt and Lady Raeburn delivered, quickening up and moving away from her rival. Stamina proved to be no issue and Lady Raeburn stretched clear to record a first win of the season by an easy 2 lengths.

It was fantastic to see the filly gain another win and there could well be more to come from her now. Always travelling smoothly she quickened up nicely and the trip proved no issue at all. Unexposed at the trip she could easily go on from this and gain more success through the rest of the season.

The day’s racing was wrapped up just 30 mins later and ended with the treble being confirmed courtesy of Bergerac. Again a small field lined up but it was task completed for Bergerac as he easily took the 6f Follow @racingtv on Twitter Handicap on Newmarket’s July Course.

It has been a frustrating year with Bergerac as he has gone close in some big handicaps and been dealt some poor draws on other occasions. Early season positivity led to thoughts of the big meetings but unfortunately Bergerac went the opposite way. He got back on track last time when Neil was in the saddle, finishing runner up and returned to Newmarket to make up of the narrow defeats this season.

Blinkers were fitted for the first time, having previously tried cheek pieces. Although Bergerac is not un-genuine, there are parts of the race where he can be a little lazy. With just a trio lined up, Neil took control and rousted his mount to the lead. All three of the runners had shown potential to move up in grade but recently had been slightly disappointing.

There was no other thought than to keep the wheels turning as Neil poured it on from he front. Bergerac was being forced all the way with his rival proving quite free before jinking over 4f out. Straight as a gun barrel, Bergerac charged down the centre of the track.

Very little changed throughout the contes and Neil kept the revs up. Moving into the final 2f, Bergerac had his leading margin cut. Pressed he maintained the pace whilst Neil began to ease him on. It was as close as anyone would get to him and closing on the final furlong, Callan kicked into gear and went into his drive. The response was not immediate but Neil wasn’t giving his mount time to think and drove him on. Bergerac knew what he had to do and changed his legs, pulling clear. The race was over as Bergerac strode out to secure the win by 3 lengths.

This race looked the perfect opportunity for Bergerac and it was nice to see him go through and win. The blinkers looked to have kept his mind open the job and it could be that they stay on for the next few runs. He is a good horse and could certainly step up into the top handicaps. York may be the next port of call for him, having there last season and it would be great to see him get build on this win.

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Treble To Start The Month Off

August is an important month for the team with York’s Ebor meeting just weeks away. It is a big meeting so to go into the week in good form is always a boost. Dubai Jemila, Aleezdancer and Spiritofthenorth racked up a treble to kickstart the month and continue the good form of the yard.

This year saw the introduction of the Dubai World Cup Breeze up sales hosted by Goffs. With 72 lots up for sale, the selected lots offered progeny to suit worldwide racing with an array of stallions. Dubai Jemila made history as she became the first winner from the sale when taking the 7f British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies Novice Stakes at Ayr.

Starting her career at Beverley, Dubai Jemila began over 5f. Very green from the start and showing her inexperience, she stayed on towards the end of the race, being strongest at the line. Although she had shown plenty of speed in her home work, it seemed as though a sterner stamina test was needed following her debut.

Only five runners would line up at Ayr but it looked an interesting novice race. Dubai Jemila was taking a fair step up in trip, adding 2f on to her debut run. Despite going up against a previous winner, who would be carrying a penalty for that success, the filly was vying for favouritism but ultimately would be 11/8 second fav.

Tom Eaves took the ride and was positive from the start. Having jumped well, Dubai Jemila led through the early stages. There was no competition for the lead so Tom was able to dictate a steady pace. Racing through the first couple of furlongs the field headed into the left handed bend with very little separating the 5 strong field.

There was very little change in the race until Tom decided to increase the tempo. Nobody committed too early and the five runners travelled well into the home straight. Dubai Jemila could try and kick from the front but it was all about timing. With no pressure Tom just allowed his filly to travel where she was happy.

Increasing the tempo at the 2f marker, Dubai Jemila looked to stretch her legs and quicken. This created a domino effect as all her rivals matched this move. The sprint was on for the finish and all five runners had their chance. Dubai Jemila was lengthening under a drive and continued to hold the advantage along the rail.

Moving into the final furlong Dubai Jemila looked under big pressure from a couple of rivals. This trio began to move away from the others as they battled it out for the lead. Although she continued to find more, Dubai Jemila lost the lead and was headed. Tom was still getting a tune from his filly and she dug deep for him. Changing her legs, Dubai Jemila rallied and went again. Looking to overcome the head deficit she quickened up once more. The lead changed hands once more with 100 yards to run as the chestnut came back at her rivals. Grabbing the lead back, Dubai Jemila now started to stride out and was getting on top the further they went. Hitting the line well, she secured a first win by 1/2 length.

Dubai Jemila showed a great attitude to win and looks like a filly who has a bright future. Although she made the running, there were signs of inexperience still and she will continue to improve with racing. The step up in trip really suited and it even looks as though Dubai Jemila could get a touch further in time.

Three year olds can be a difficult age group to place. They are young horses coming on from their juvenile season and are maturing all the time. Aleezdancer had proven himself a smart enough 2yo when conditions suited and he was back to winning ways when taking the feature 6f Wilmot-Smith Memorial Handicap at Ripon.

Aleezdancer began the year off a mark of 91, which would see him competing in some tough handicaps. Connections always knew he would require ease in the ground so it would be a case of waiting for conditions to suit. Last year he had shaped as though 7f would be his trip and that is what Aleezdancer started over this season. Having run well over the trip it looked as though a win was waiting to come although it may be an autumn campaign when the gelding would be likely to get his preferred going.

Unfortunately when everyone else was enjoying a hot summer, Aleezdancer was praying for rain. He went up to Newcastle for a 7f handicap as the Tapeta offers lower going when the heat has the opposite effect. Running well for a long way, Aleezdancer just weakened late on and suggested that a drop back to sprinting may be the key to getting back to winning ways. Although there would be plenty of options, it was Mother Nature who would decide when Aleezdancer would tackle 6f once again.

The feature race attracted just 5 runners but they were a quality bunch, sown by Aleezdancer being the lowest rated off 89. Good to soft going was perfect but it was interesting to see the 3yo back sprinting. Kevin Stott has been enjoying a good run of form recently and was back on board. Jumping on terms, Aleezdancer tagged on to the leader, sat just behind as they charged through the first furlong. With the small field size, they race towards the near side as the leader took the rail and blazed a trail.

Dropping in trip can be tricky with the race having a different tempo but Aleezdancer showed good early speed and travelled well. The early pace had been strong but it soon steadied up as they raced down towards halfway. It was at this point that Kevin just had to nudge his mount along to maintain his position. The lead had changed hands as Dakota Gold moved to the front and this was exactly who Aleezdancer had tracked from the start.

Moving towards the 2f marker Kevin felt his mount come good underneath him as Aleezdancer cruised through on the bridle. Suddenly he loomed up alongside the leader but Stott wanted to take a bit more time. The leading pair began to edge away from the others as they took each other on. Aleezdancer looked to be going the better but he was up against a talented veteran.

Having the race between them the leading duo would fight it out for the final furlong. Kevin asked his mount to go and win the race which Aleezdancer obliged. Quickening up he edged his rival and began to find more. His rival was brave once headed and tried to rally. It was neck and neck with 1/2f to run but it was at this point where Aleezdancer found a bit more. He had plenty more to give and started to power on, moving away from his challenger. Hitting the line well, Aleezdancer earned his first win of the season by 3/4 length and arguably a career best performance.

It was fantastic to see Aleezdancer get his head in front and he confirmed that 6f is his trip. Having travelled well he quickened up nicely and was strong at the line. It suggests that a bigger field could be ideal for the gelding where they go a really strong gallop. He travels very well and this could benefit him far more. Ground is key but there are plenty of options in the Autumn and the plan would be to head to Ayr now, with the Silver Cup a likely target.

A good day turned into a great day with the treble completed in Ripon’s finale. Spiritofthenorth has been one of the most consistent performers but not always been the easiest to win with. That all changed with a brave performance in the 1m4f Goodbyeflys Ripon Racecourse Stable Staff Championships Handicap.

From 22 career efforts Spiritofthenorth had finished in the first three on 16 occasions. That sort of consistency is hard to come by and especially when he also transferred it to the NH sphere. Having had a nice break since running over hurdles, Spiritofthenorth had returned to the flat with a good run over 1m2f. The way he stayed on that day suggested that trying 1m4f for the first time could be beneficial.

Kevin Stott was in the saddle again and felt he had figured out the 5yo. His tactics were clear from the off as he drove his mount into the lead. There was a challenge for the early lead but Kevin was determined to dictate and ensured Spiritofthenorth was the one to take control. Despite winning the early battle he was continually challenged which meant there was a strong gallop up front.

Although it took a while down the back straight, the field eventually settled into their positions as Stott let his mount stride on. Now that everything calmed down, he could give Spiritofthenorth a bit of a breather and let him find a sensible rhythm. The five runners galloped down the far straight and almost in single file, heading into the home bend.

Swinging around the bend allowed Kevin to fill the tank up, giving Spiritofthenorth another breather. It was a waiting game in front, trying to perfect the time to kick on and stretch the field. Entering the home straight they still had 4f to go, a long way to run. Kevin loosened the reins to allow his mount to lengthen and increase the tempo. His nearest pursuer couldn’t match this and weakened away to leave other rivals the chance to have a go at Spiritofthenorth.

From 3f out Kevin got into his drive. Spiritofthenorth responded but lengthening his stride in front. He had a bullseye on his back from the off and was under pressure. As they raced on to the final 2f the race split up with Spiritofthenorth pulling away with one other. The leading pair were taking each other along which saw the rest toils in their wake.

All the way down the straight Spiritofthenorth had looked like a sitting duck but they didn’t know how much he had in the tank. Every time his rival got close, Spiritofthenorth would go again. Kevin was asking and his mount was answering. It was when they passed the 1f marker that Spiritofthenorth looked on top. He had been holding his rival at bay and now he began to power on. There were no further challenges coming and Spiritofthenorth pulled away, galloping out to a 3/4 length victory.

Horse and jockey both deserve huge credit for this win. Kevin Stott perfected his tactics but he had a very willing partner with Spiritofthenorth. The trip was a first but he saw out every yard and looks sure to stick to this stamina test. He showed a great attitude all the way down the straight and was well on top at the line. Spiritofthenorth is consistent but also very versatile so the options open to him are countless.

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Shaladar Becoming A Hamilton Fan

Getting on a run and unlocking the winning feeling can really help horses fine a new level of form. It took Shaladar a good number of runs, a new trip and a course he has seemingly taken a liking to, to capture winning form. Having shed his maiden and finished second at Hamilton, Shaladar earned is second win in impressive fashion taking the 1m 1/2f German Done Kebab Handicap.

Although it didn’t feel like it last year, Shaladar has proven to be a a bit of a slow burner. He had gone close a few times but it took until June this season to find out what his ideal conditions were. Once the 3yo was stepped up to an extended mile, he really put his best foot forward to secure a first career win. What was even better, Shaladar then backed that run up with a couple of second placed finishes, maintaining his form for three races on the spin.

Despite showing good recent form, Shaladar had only been raised 4lb since his win and remained on a mark of 73 after his runner up efforts. Although well beaten in second last time out at Leicester, it was a career best effort. Dropping back down in grade to visit Hamilton once again, Shaladar would be partnered by Tom Eaves who had guided him to his sole victory.

The 8 strong field that lined up promised to set a fair gallop and that was immediately true as the gates opened. Shaladar had shown a liking to patient tactics and Tom adopted them, settling the gelding at the rear of the field. With a couple of rivals wanting to push on, the pace was a good tempo which would continue around the top of the loop and into the home straight.

Entering the top of the home straight the ground begins to run away from the horses, as they begin a downhill run. The leaders had tried to steady things up but now the field could free wheel down towards the stiff finish. Tom was watching on from the back of the field and could react to his rivals moves. Increasing the pace stride by stride, the field ran down past the 3f marker almost hitting top speed. This was the point that the leaders tried to kick from the front and stretch the rest.

Obviously Shaladar had the entire field to pass if he were to win so Tom angled him out around 2 1/f out. As he did so the gelding began to pick up and moved up smoothly down the outside. Moving into the final 2f the leaders were already beginning to wain and those who had raced towards the rear were looking to come home the strongest.

Between the 2f and 1f marker, Shaladar and eventual runner up Under Fox began to pull away from the rest of the field. It seemed as though the race was between this pair as they hit the rising ground. Although Shaladar had come under pressure before his rival, it was him who was getting stronger as the stamina kicked in. Tom went for full throttle moving into he final furlong and he got the response required. Lengthening and quickening, the bay gelding moved to the front and had all the momentum. Sweeping past his rival, Shaladar stayed every yard of the trip well and ran out a ready winner, securing his second C&D win by 1 1/4 lengths.

Shaladar has really strung together a nice run of form and looks like he could be quite progressive at this trip. He looks to enjoy coming off a strong gallop which bodes well as he steps up through the grades. An end to end gallop looks ideal for him but he went away from the runner up this time and won with a bit in hand. Hambleton Racing have enjoyed another fine season and they may just have a 3yo who could keep racking up the wins.

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Another Double Added To The Tally

The horses are in fine form at present and the winners are flowing. Saturday provided some fantastic racing throughout Britain and it is always the hardest day to get on to the scoresheet. Thankfully Catch The Paddy and Cotai West provided the team with a nice double.

Catch The Paddy may be a work in progress but he has made a bright start to his racing career. The son of No Nay Never has not only proved quality on the track but a legend to deal with. Strong and laid back, Catch The Paddy took another impressive step forward in his career when winning the 6f Sky bet In Running Nursery Handicap at York.

Having made his debut over C&D, when catching the eye finishing runner up, Catch The Paddy has done nothing but improve. Filling the same berth second time out, he made no mistake when on the third try at Hamilton. With his two conquerors both going on to be placed at Gr2 level, it was interesting to see what the handicapper might do. An opening mark of 82 seemed fair and so Catch The Paddy was aimed at York for his nursery bow.

It was a small field of 6 that would line up and looking through you could possibly say most could be improving off their mark. Catch The Paddy looked potentially the one who could be well in and the punters would send him off the 5/4 fav. Kevin Stott has already bonded well with the colt and took the leg up on him once more.

The pace came from the one contender yet to ever try 6f. It was a good gallop set and this allowed Kevin just take on to the pace and settle in behind the leaders. The field raced towards the far side of the track as they flew through the early stages.

Due to the small field and strong pace, the race would heat up a long way from home. By halfway they began to spread out as the jockeys manoeuvred into their challenging positions. Catch The Paddy was moving sweetly and pulled his way closer to the front. As the leaders started to come under pressure, Catch The Paddy moved up and was challenging for the lead. Kevin hadn’t moved a muscle but his mount had taken him all the way there. His nearest market rival immediately looked to cover the move and switched out from behind Paddy.

Passing the 2f marker and now Kevin pressed the button. Lengthening, Paddy moved clear and pulled Dare to Hope along with him. The leading pair quickly moved away from the rest and looked to have it between them. Catch The Paddy was not into top gear yet and was under pressure from his rival. Lengthening all the time, Paddy started to edge ahead as they moved into the final furlong. Now he had momentum and was starting to hit top gear. Holding 1/2 length advantage, Catch The Paddy could now power on, pulling further away the further they went. His last 1/2f was his best and by the line he had kicked clear by 2 lengths, with the rest well spread out.

Catch The Paddy is a lovely prospect and has done nothing wrong so far. He bumped into a couple of smart juveniles themselves and he looks like a really nice colt in the making. Far from the end product, Catch The Paddy will be better with racing and you may not see the best of him until next year. He does hold an entry in the Gimcrack Stakes back at the Ebor meeting. Catch The Paddy has certainly shown he deserves a crack at a race like that but if it comes too soon there is also the big nursery at the same meeting.

Unlucky is a hard word to use in racing sometimes because you never know what might have happened if it did all go right. Cotai West looked like she was full of running when no gaps opened up for her last time and could be seen as an unlucky loser. Whether or not that would have happened, nobody knows but she made no mistake when winning the 5f Brain Tumour Charity Handicap at Newmarket.

Having made one start as a juvenile last year, Cotai West proved to be ultra consistent in novice/maiden company. Having finished placed on her first four starts, Cotai West broke her duck on the fourth attempt. She earned a fair mark of 71 when stepping into handicaps for the first time. At Beverley she got no run at all, locked up behind horses for 4 1/2f of the 5f contest. It did seem as though she was unlucky so connections were hopeful she could put that right before long.

Shane Gray travelled down for the ride as 6 runners would line up. In the race was a filly who had finished only a neck ahead of her last time out but who had since won. This meant that Cotai West had a 9lb pull from last time, which felt like a big plus for her.

The pace was strong from the off as the field converged together and aimed for the centre of the track. Shane looked to get his filly settled early on and she tucked just off the leader. They blasted through the first half of the race as the favourite led the field a merry dance. Cotai West has certainly matured through racing and travelled smoothly for Shane.

They got racing by halfway as the strong gallop forced them to challenge the leader. With the small field, there was plenty of daylight for Shane to aim for and he rousted his filly along moving into the final couple of furlongs. They were 3-4 spread across the track and all looking like they had chances as the field hit the rising ground. The leader was proving very game and very hard to pass as they repelled the challenges.

Passing the 1f marker and Cotai West had just about pulled alongside the leader. Her known rival Vaunted was also making late headway and it would be a thrilling finish. They went at it hammer and tongs, with a late flourish looking to join in. Cotai West hit the front with 100 yards to go but couldn’t quite pull clear. She was viewable to one last surge but the filly had enough left in the tank, holding on to a neck advantage.

After the misfortune last time out it was nice to gain a bit of redemption here. Cotai West has done nothing wrong since her debut and looks to have a bit more to give. It did look as though she was only going enough in front, so could have been keeping a little to herself. Cotai West can travel well and pick up so she may be better suited to a higher grade or bigger field and she certainly looks likely to be winning again soon.

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Alia Choices Flies On The Knavesmire

Queen Kindly’s career highlight came at York when she took the Lowther stakes. It may not be on the same level but her daughter, Alia Choice put in a career best at the same venue. Having had a few differing trips and tracks, it looked as though the Knavesmire provided the perfect solution as Alia Choice bolted up in the 5 1/2f Sky Bet Go-Racing-In-Yorkshire Summer Festival Handicap.

Although bred to be sharp, Alia Choice didn’t make the track until late last year. She certainly made up for lost time when she improved on a debut fourth to then win at the second attempt at Chelmsford. Returning to the same venue for her third start, Alia Choice managed to finish runner up and secure an opening mark of 80.

Since stepping into handicap company, it has been quite tricky to figure out just what trip Alia Choice wants. Trying 6f and 5f, she had put some good efforts up but not really progressing like she had threatened to do. Staying on late over 5f but then looking like she didn’t get home over 6f, the next run would be key to the filly. There could not have been a better race coming up than the 5 1/2f trip at York. It looked tailor-made for Alia Choice as she lined up against 14 others.

Kevin Stott had only missed the ride on Alia Choice once, unfortunately when she won. As she left the stalls the early pace, which was expected, was frantic leaving her settled in mid division. Through the first furlong the leader had the field stretched out showing blistering pace. As they separated out the field chased the leader down the centre of the track and there was a good 8-9 lengths from first to last.

Blink and you miss it as they charged past halfway. Already there were some of the field coming under a drive. The leader was not for stopping and looked to kick off the front end. Kevin gave Alia Choice a little squeeze to get closer and she edged around rivals to inch closer. Having latched onto the tails of the leaders, Kevin just had to manoeuvre to get a clear run. Passing the 2f pole Alia Choice came back onto the bridle and moved out from behind the leaders to challenge.

Alia Choice was absolutely cantering as her rivals struggled to match her move. Kevin held his filly together until 1 1/2f out and when he loosened his grip she took off. Easily opening up a length lead, Alia Choice now went for home with just a furlong to run. Initially there was one rival to come and give chase and whilst it looked like a big danger, it was immediately quashed. Changing her legs, Alia Choice went again and scooted clear. The final 1/2f was a victory lap as she put more and more distance between herself and the rest. Alia Choice bolted up by 3 3/4 lengths and could easily have been more.

Before the race it did feel as though 5 1/2f could be perfect for Alia Choice and it certainly looked true here. Throughout the race there was very little worry as the 3yo filly cruised into contention and then quickened up when asked. The way she put distance between herself and rivals was a sign of a talented filly and it looks like she could now be really coming to herself. She always looked a nice filly and with every race she is hitting her potential. The handicapper will be looking to stop her now so it will be interesting to see what plans lie ahead. Hopefully this beautifully bred filly could pick up some black type in time.

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Fine Evening Double Continues Strong Form

The horses are in fine form of late and it was the older brigade who provided the team with another double. Consistency may not be their strength but on their day they are talented. Rathbone took the feature at Hamilton whilst the tough Ventura Rascal followed suit just 17 minutes later at Pontefract.

When he is on a going day, Rathbone is very talented. It isn’t the easiest job trying to figure out when that might be but he has earned plenty of prize money throughout his career and always pops in with a couple of big wins. This time last year he had thrown away his chance in the race but this time around he made up for it by taking the 6f G4 Claims Not At Fault Claims Made Easy Scottish Stewards Cup.

Hamilton has not really been too kind to Rathbone in his previous attempts. Whether it was the track or his own ideas but the sprinter has never really performed as he can. Always slowly away when running at the track, he has looked unlucky at times and possibly a bit uninterested at others. Characters like Rathbone do frustrate but they are easy to love, especially when they have an engine. The only issue is trying to find the keys to start it.

The field was made up of 10 crack sprinters and Oisin McSweeney took the leg up, aiming to continue a purple patch of his own. When the stalls flew open it did have a feeling of deja vu as Rathbone found himself shuffled backwards to sit towards the rear. Oisin didn’t panic though and knowing the horse he just left him alone to find his own rhythm. With only the favourite behind him, Rathbone would need to pass the majority of the field if he were to win.

It was a strong gallop through the first half of the race and the leaders had stretched the 10 runners out. Rathbone had lost a little bit of ground to the field but Oisin still didn’t rush and just nudged his mount along along to get him rolling around 3f out. Last year the pair had been in the same position but made up a lot of ground very quickly and weakened late on. Learning from this, Oisin was patient and allowed the race to develop before him.

Switching to the far side of the group, Rathbone made up ground with relative ease. Whilst his rivals were under a drive moving into the last 2f, Rathbone came through strongly, picking off rivals one by one. Oisin was just nudging away as they came into contention and waited until the rising ground to kick for home. With 1 1/2f to run they laid down their challenge and Rathbone joined the leaders.

Having made up ground relatively easily, Rathbone had the final furlong to go and win the race. He would only do enough and up against some very willing rivals, the final furlong would prove a real battle. There would be a trio battling for the win as they managed to pull away from the rest. Rathbone just nicked the lead but he was to be rallied against. As he stuck his neck in front his nearest rivals would find again to give it one last shot. Oisin was asking for everything and getting it from a very brave Rathbone. Just as his rivals came to him with 50 yards to run, Rathbone dug deep and found a little extra. The trio flashed past the line and although it was close, it did look as though Rathbone had held on. The result would prove that as he took the feature by a head, with the second place being a dead heat.

There is always a “good un” in Rathbone every season and it was fantastic to see him take the Scottish Stewards cup. He is a very talented sprinter when he wants to be but this season he has been the most consistent of his career. This win will see a rise in the weights but it may not be high enough for the Stewards Cup at Goodwood, which would be the next option. If it isn’t then he may still go for the consolation race and some of the top handicaps following that. He is certainly good enough to take one of these heritage handicaps and hopefully Rathbone will have an opportunity to do just that.

The team didn’t have to wait long to complete the double, merely 17 minutes later Ventura Rascal gained his first win of the season. There aren’t many who could match the 5yo’s attitude and this was on full show when he took the 1m Caygill Family Optional Claiming Handicap at Pontefract.

Generally he has always been a very consistent horse and last year saw Ventura Rascal notch 3 wins in a fruitful season. The start of this season didn’t begin as expected and after a couple of below par efforts, Ventura Rascal had a small wind op. It did look to have benefitted the gelding with two solid efforts following. When he received a terrible draw at Chester last time out, a line was put through that as Ventura Rascal looked likely to be winning again soon.

The optional claimer saw 9 runners lining up with a variety of handicap marks owing to the race conditions. Sam James has enjoyed a successful season so far and took the spare ride on offer. Tactically it was straight forward, be as positive as possible although the draw may dictate just where he could sit. Jumping smartly, Ventura Rascal was quickly into stride and his rivals didn’t look too interested in taking the lead. Sam happily tracked over to dictate the pace and held the lead.

It was a nice, even gallop throughout as Ventura Rascal was allowed to stride out. Moving past halfway the field began to climb as they bared down on the left handed bend. Sam started to turn to the screw at this point and increased the tempo out in front. Ventura Rascal edged further away from the field and entering the home bend he held a couple of lengths lead. Sam was continually winding it up as they swung around the bend and as the pair past the 2f they kicked for home.

Ventura Rascal had committed and caught many of the field flat footed. Although his nearest pursuer was trying hard, he also began to hang left under pressure, giving Ventura Rascal a little more breathing space. With a furlong to run he still held sway and he is a very tough horse to get past. Despite the rising ground and fast finishing favourite, Ventura Rascal was always finding for pressure. He had kept a little bit to himself and when the lead closed, the game 5yo stuck his head out once more to earn a 1/2 length win.

Ventura Rascal is cracking horse who always tries. He had shown that he was beginning to really come to form and he earned this win the hard way. Once he gets his head to the lead it will take a hell of a battle to take it away from him. Moving forward he will likely be in similar contests to last year and ultimately the race he won at Ayr during the Gold Cup meeting would be a nice one to aim for again.

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Well Deserved Double

Sometimes you don’t reap the benefits of solid performances. When this is the case it is nice when the elusive win finally comes. Although still in the infancy of their careers, Match Play and Crypto Quest were both gaining their first career wins at Hamilton after some near misses.

Nurseries have now started and this opens up so many more options for the juvenile team. Having been one of the first 2yo runners for the yard, Match Play became the first winner of a nursery when he took the 5f British Stallion Studs EBF Nursery Handicap.

Owned and Bred by Steve Parkin, of Clipper Logistics, the Dandy Man colt came to hand early on and shaped like a nice 2yo. This looked to confirmed when he made a promising debut, finishing 3rd at Leicester. Unfortunately the following two runs would actually work against the colt, with a step up to 6f proving the wrong choice and then terrible, sticky ground at Haydock just holding Match Play back. With these excuses in mind, connections did not loose faith in the colt and a win was surely just around the corner.

Once the handicap mark was released for Match Play it did feel very fair moving forward. Heading to Hamilton he would only be facing 3 rivals but it was a competitive race. The least experienced runner in the field, Match Play would be vying for his first win with conditions finally looking to be in his favour. Danny Tudhope was riding for his boss and gave a confident ride from the off.

Jumping from stall 3 Match Play was the fastest away and Danny looked to get over to the rail asap. Having landed in front, the pair could now dictate as they free wheeled down the hill. There was very little separating all four of the field and there would be very little change throughout the contest.

Danny kept hold of his mount throughout the contest as Match Play travelled smoothly out in front. As the track levels out it gives the runners a few strides before the finish stiffens up. His rivals were struggling to get on terms, which allowed Danny to remain patient. Heading towards the final furlong, Danny loosened his reins and began to ask Match Play to go and finish the race. The colt proved more than willing and quickened up. He quickly went clear and the result was done. Danny only had to do the bare minimum on board as Match Play strode out to a comfortable 1 1/4 lengths.

Although the form and results didn’t quite back it up, Match Play had shown plenty of ability and looks open to further improvement. He showed good natural speed which allowed Danny to take his time before kicking up the hill. Obviously the handicapper will be reassessing him now but Match Play could put a run of performances together now and continue on the upgrade.

Far from straight forward but ganging a well deserved victory, Crypto Quest was taking his first career win when completing the double. Having finished runner up on threes occasions, Crypto Quest was not winning out of turn when taking the 6f Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing Handicap.

Stalls issues had been a little bit of an issue in the past and it did see Crypto Quest’s record being quite patchy. He never put two good runs back to back so this was the worry when he headed to Hamilton. Narrowly defeated last time out, it did look like a good opportunity but Crypto Quest would need to break his trend.

The 3yo contest attracted 6 runners and it was a trappy little affair. Oisin McSweeney was in the saddle and his 5lb claim could prove key. Slightly awkward away from the stalls, Crypto Quest went straight to the front as led at a brisk gallop. Racing downhill forced quite a strong pace which played to the strength of Crypto Quest as he dictated the contest.

There had been quite a bit of shenanigans before the start of the race with loose horses and reluctant loaders. Whether this played a part in the race or not is questionable but Crypto Quest was professional throughout and looked far more straight forward. Having set strong fractions, he could fill up the lungs before hitting the rising finish. Oisin looked to utilise his position and started to wind up passing the 2f marker.

Very little could get into the contest and as the field hit the rising ground Crypto Quest and eventual runner up Liv Lucky started to pull away. It was the latter who was travelling strongest as they moved into the final furlong but once push came to shove, Crypto Quest found more for pressure. The pair had looked each other in the eye but Crypto Quest was never headed and this gave him the encouragement to go again. It was the final 100 yards where he fully regained control of the race and kept on strongly, securing his first win by 3/4 length.

This was a well deserved win for Crypto Quest after some very good placed efforts. What is even more pleasing is that he has put two good runs together, something which tended to be his achilles heel. It will be interesting to see how much of a rise he gets for this win but hopefully this is just the start of an upward trajectory now.

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Fast And Loose Takes Advantage For Maiden Win

Field size numbers have been a matter of contention for a few years now with many differing options as to why they are happening. Unfortunately trainers must do right by their own horses and although it is not great to see, when you can take advantage of the situation it can be a hug benefit. Fast and Loose took on just 2 rivals and gained his first success when winning the 6f Novice Stakes at Catterick.

The 3yo son of No Nay Never made just the one start as a juvenile but returned to action this year looking more like the furnished end project. After a couple of placed efforts in Novice company he stepped into handicaps off, what looked like, a very fair mark of 80. It also coincided with a step up in trip to 7f which he had looked to be crying out for. Unfortunately the new trip proved too far. Returning to 6f for a fair effort, and better than the bare result, at York he then filled the runner up spot in another maiden at Ripon.

Fast And Loose could easily be seen as unlucky or maybe a little un-genuine with the placed efforts next to his name. It just seemed as though his day hadn’t come yet and Kevin was to try cheek-pieces to help the gelding concentrate at the business end. Lining up in a race of 3 runners is always interesting regarding tactics but Kevin Stott was only going to do one thing when the gates opened.

Sent to the front immediately, Fast And Loose led at a brisk gallop from the pair of rivals. It was the fav who gave chase but stuck on the outer, she ran quite keen, failing to settle. Fast And Loose was happy out in front and travelled comfortably as they headed into the left handed bend. Realistically it did look like a match race between the front two and that is how it developed.

Fast And Loose was in control of the race from the get go and with his main rival failing to settle, the writing was on the wall a long way from home. Kevin kept his mount together swinging off the bend and into the home straight. He waited in front to see what his rival would do but there was minimal danger. He wound it up passing the 2f marker and this increase in tempo did see the outsider getting dropped. Fast And Loose lengthened and although he did just edge of a straight line he had the race in complete control. The favourite was proving to be quite difficult but she was never really picking up to challenge. As they moved into the final furlong, Fast And Loose now went and won the race, quickening up and moving clear. He was showing a little bit of loneliness in front but Kevin kept him up to his work to secure a 1 1/4 length victory.

It wasn’t the most fascinating race to watch but Fast And Loose did everything he needed to do and won well. This could be the nice confidence boost that he needed and there is plenty of scope for improvement. Whilst the cheek-pieces did help him here, they may not be required moving forward and handicaps will now be the route. Fast And Loose should remain on the same mark and he and now really build on this first career win.

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Orta Is The Pride Of Yorkshire

For Yorkshire folk there is no better place to have success than at York. It is our premier racecourse and the majority of Northern trainers will have plenty of runners at most meetings. Highbank Stud, owned by the Wainwright family, is based just outside of York but the cheers could be heard further afield when Forza Orta provided them with a first winner at the track in the 1m4f William Hill Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap.

Progressive at 3 and earlier this year, Forza Orta looked a staying prospect going places. Having won on his second start, which came in between chasing home a couple of unexposed types, there were signs that top handicaps could be in his future. This led a few quick runs with premier meetings coming thick and fast. Unfortunately a couple of very below par efforts just scuppered his rise up the handicap.

Heading to York, confidence was high if Forza Orta could bounce back to his best. Dropping in grade meant that he would be sent off as one of the fancied runners in the 8 strong field. Kevin Stott was in the plate and gave a ride of confidence and patience.

Settling the 4yo towards the rear of the field, Forza Orta would stalk his rivals through the first half of the race. The pace was an even gallop, shown by a couple going a little keenly early on. Travelling smoothly at the back, Forza Orta looked to be showing a little more spring in his step. Arguably his best performance came over C&D and the galloping nature of the track looks tailor made for the gelding.

Little changed as they swung around the top bend, taking the field into the home straight. With around 4f to run, those towards the rear just began to edge closer, readying for their challenges. Forza Orta began to make a bit of headway down the outside and had a good clear run for when Kevin pressed the button. From the 3f marker, Forza made smooth progression to pass rivals. Kevin let his mount stride on and suddenly the pair were closer to the lead.

There was a moment where Kevin had a choice to make. Forza Orta was cruising as he challenged for the lead. Feeling like he didn’t want to disappoint the horse, Kevin decided to move through the gears and lay down his challenge. Forza Orta quickened up to snatch the lead passing the 2f marker. He had to go for home now and Kevin quickly got into his drive to kick for the line. Despite going easily to this point, there was still a bit to go so Forza Orta would need to show his steel.

Having pulled away from his rivals, there was just one more challenger going the party. Breaching the gap at by the 1f pole, the eventual runner up was going to give one last push with 200 yards to run. Forza Orta was always doing enough, and whilst he couldn’t go again, he had plenty left in the tank to repel. Responding to each push and nudge from Stott, Forza Orta kept his rival at bay to secure a win on the Knavesmire by 3/4 length.

It was fantastic to see Forza Orta bounce back to his best and there was no better place to do it. The win was a very emotional one for the Wainwright family, who saddle lost Martin late last year. He had been a huge racing fan and turned that into a business, setting up Highbank Stud which his son Tom now runs. Forza Orta has always been a slow burner and he does look like the type to continue improving with time and racing. The very top handicaps will be in his sights, hopefully a few more trips to the Knavesmire can occur in the future.

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A Winning Farewell From True Warfare

With the July sales upcoming many yards are having a little shuffle with their current rosters. Entries were made a couple of months ago and since then many of the lots will have been running, giving connections options of what to do when the sales arrive. True Warfare is one of those horses and he secured a final win for the team when taking the 7f Summer Breaks At Western House Hotel Handicap at Ayr.

The Siyouni colt had made a winning debut in December and looked a nice 3yo prospect for when the turf season came around. Unfortunately he couldn’t repeat that feat when trying to carry a penalty over 1m, a furlong extra than his Novice win. Despite being a little disappointed, it was clear that he ran a little bit gassy, owing to the break between runs.

Sticking to the 1m trip, True Warfare entered handicap company off a mark of 78 at York. Unable to get into the race, he ran below par which was a little bit unexpected. Having raced on softer conditions, Kevin decided that the trip and better ground could be key in the future. With the July Sales, at Tattersalls, coming up he sent the colt to Ayr for potentially his final run for the yard.

Danny Tudhope was on board, as the pair were returning to 7f. Dropped a couple of pounds, True Warfare had been allowed to drop in grade for this run. With plenty of pace on and a trio vying for the lead, Danny tucked in behind the early pacesetters to track the lead. Although Ayr is a nice, galloping track, the 7f start has the field gently turning from the off. It quickly takes the field into the bend which means positioning can be key.

True Warfare had a lovely sit throughout the first half of the race and travelled nicely off a fair gallop. The better ground looked far more suitable for the colt and the field were quickly around the long, sweeping bend. Moving into the top of the home straight takes the runners into the final 3 1/2 furlongs and there was to be no let up in the pace up front.

As the pace had been fair throughout the contest, many of the field were still going well heading towards the final 1/4 mile. Danny had his mount stalking the leaders but this race would turn into a bit of sprint for the last 2f. It was passing the 2 pole that the pace increased and the dash for the line was on. Matching the leaders, True Warfare began to shift through the gears to five chase.

The leaders kicked off the front and this ensured that those further back were struggling to land a blow. True Warfare had quickened up to match his rivals but was just struggling to cut into the lead. He was taking to time to really hit top gear but the final furlong would offer him a bit more time. Switched to the outside, True Warfare was making headway but the leaders were proving very game in front. Danny continued to work and cajole in the saddle, asking for everything from his mount. True Warfare was finding with every stride and was reeling in the leaders inch by inch. It wasn’t until the final strides that he managed to get upsides. Once he did the momentum was on his side and he grabbed the victory by just a head.

True Warfare proved very game in his win, finding under pressure and galloping all the way to the line. He had a pair of very tough rivals to overcome, so to do so shows a very willing attitude. Having travelled well, it showed that the better ground really suited. Hitting the line powerfully, True Warfare will surely be adept at either 7f and 1m. He will head to sales now and whatever happens there, True Warfare will surely be winning again soon, whether for current or new connections.

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