Although a month has been missed this season the horses have been in fine form since returning to action and now they are really hitting top gear. With the older horses you know where you are at but after gaining a run or two under their belt they were cruelly stopped in their tracks. It was even harder with the juveniles, with many ready to rock and roll close to their first runs. All is now in the past and it was the 3 yr old Rutherford and 2 yr old Hey Jonesy who impressed on their way to giving Kevin a nice double.
Rutherford is one of those horses everyone would love to train, she is tough, genuine, always gives it 100% and loves her racing. After her first career start, where everything went wrong, she has never finished outside the first 4 since. It took until March this year for her to gain her first win but that was followed by two good placed efforts in competitive handicaps. The 3 yr old filly made amends for those defeats when she ran her rivals ragged in the 7 1/2f MBNA Good Stuff Fillies Handicap at Chester.
The daughter of Dutch Art always looked like she would make up into a better filly with time. She has been progressing throughout her career with racing and as she matures. Each run this year has seen her take a step forward so when Kevin declared her for the contest at Chester he felt she could again go well. Having shown a liking for front running, Chester looked ideal for Rutherford.
Shane Gray has been the most regular partner of Rutherford and was on board, looking to be positive from stall 6. Although not the perfect draw, the field only consisted of 7 runners so there was a good chance they could dictate if jumping well. Rutherford did exactly that and with a little bit of rousting along she quickly took the lead and made her way towards the rail. Chester specialist Franny Norton, riding the Stoute trained Vice Versa, was also keen to take control so initially there was a battle on. Shane wouldn’t back down and forced Franny to concede, leaving Rutherford with a length lead through the first furlong.
It is always a fast pace at Chester and Rutherford was not holding back. Shane had grabbed the lead and was keen on setting a tough test. The other jockeys had a decision to make and they chose to leave Shane alone, probably believing he was going far too fast. With Rutherford enjoying the clear daylight in front of her Shane just dropped his hands and let her stride on. The pair were soon a couple of lengths clear but nobody seemed too bothered by it.
As Rutherford was left alone in front there was no change in the order so she was soon baring down on the 3f marker. At this point she had increased her lead to around 3 lengths and was still pouring it on. With each stride she was going further clear and as they began to round the home bend suddenly panic buttons were being pressed. It was clear that Shane had stolen a march on his rivals as his mount was still powering through each yard. The pursuit started but was it too late??
Turning for home they were left with just 2 1/2f and Rutherford had kicked into around 10 length lead. Shane was last to go for the drive and when he did Rutherford responded. It looked like an unassailable lead and with little coming from the pack had Shane stolen it from the front. The pace had been unrelenting throughout and it was certainly going to sap the stamina reserves of Rutherford.
Between the 2f and 1f marker the first signs of distress came from Rutherford. Despite holding a huge advantage Rutherford’s stride just began to shorten. At the same time there was a challenger finally beginning to emerge from the pack. The favourite Shaaqaaf began to get into top gear and set about chasing down the runaway leader. Shane was now full at work and Rutherford was trying hard but the pace was starting to take its toll.
Just the final furlong stood between Rutherford and victory. There was only two horses who had a chance of winning and with Shaaqaaf now flying home it guaranteed an exciting finish. Rutherford was really toughing it out and when the hoofs began to sound closer and closer she suddenly found something else in reserve. The gap had been dramatically eaten into and her rival had got within touching distance. One thing you will never do is out battle Rutherford and she found a little more from somewhere to repel the late thrust. Bravely the chestnut held on by 1/2 length but the two had pulled 6 lengths clear of the third placed horse.
It was an impressive display, setting a strong gallop before showing bravery to repel a late push. Rutherford is still on the upgrade and she looks as though she may get a little further in time also. It was owners Angie Bailey and Peter Tingey’s second winner in as many days and they may have once again found a horse who could take them to the bigger meetings, especially next year when she will be better once again.
When punters see a two year old at York trained by Kevin Ryan they take notice, when it has form in the book then they really have a closer look. Hey Jonesy got within a whisker of making a winning debut so when he turned up at the Knavesmire there was plenty of interest. For all the talk and confidence he duly obliged as he ran away with the 5f Get The Sky Bet Advantage Novice Median Auction Stakes at York.
The son of Excelebration was picked out by owners Mr & Mrs Pallister at the Goffs UK sale and it has proved a shrewd purchase. Having come to the yard looking like a lovely prospect in time he has gone from strength to strength, looking like a bull of a horse and a real powerful sprinter. Although he had shown ability on the gallop he suddenly took that to another level which prompted Kevin to start looking at the calendar for races, so he could unleash Hey Jonesy and get his career started.
Carlisle was picked out for his debut, the race had come at the right time and it was a bonus that it was just down the road from where the owners live. Jonesy had shown plenty in his prep so it was no surprise to see him perform well, pressing the leaders before just failing to get up by a nose. It was a lovely debut run and confirmed that Jonesy was a talent to follow. Kevin loves to have a 2 year old runner at York so he immediately looked at the Knavesmire for Jonesy’s next start.
There is never an easy race at York so despite just 7 runners being declared, Hey Jonesy faced a tough task. There was a little bit of form in the race and a couple of well touted newcomers but it was Hey Jonesy and Staxton, a winner on debut, who headed the market. With Staxton being a previous winner he was conceding 4lb to Jonesy, allowing for the penalty he received, and the punters felt this was enough for Kevin’s juvenile, sending him off 11/8 fav.
Kevin Stott was in the saddle and keen to make the most of Hey Jonesy’s experience. With a run behind him, it was felt that he could improve and would understand racing a lot more. This was proved true as Jonesy bounced our of the stalls and quickly took the lead, spearheading the field. Kevin was happy to let him get on with it and dropped his hands, letting Jonesy bowl along. Staxton was quick to measure his rival but couldn’t match his early speed and had to settle behind Jonesy alongside the Kevin Frost trained The Throstles.
The pace was strong from the outset and Jonesy had grabbed a 1 1/2 length advantage over his rivals. Again he showed a very professional attitude, running as though he had been doing it or years. The ground was easier than it had been on his debut but Jonesy was gliding through it and seemed to be enjoying it even more. They race through the first half of the race with no change in the order and neatly bunched up behind Hey Jonesy but the second half would prove a different prospect.
Kevin wasn’t hanging around and continued to let Jonesy go through the gears. Despite still being 3f from home the pace increased and this suddenly changed the complex of the race. Towards the rear of the field some of the newcomers began to show the strain as they worked hard to try and close the gap on the leader. Jonesy was still travelling well and his nearest pursuers started to get the hurry up, keen to lay down a challenge. Between the 3f and 2f marker Jonesy opened up and turned the screw on his rivals. The Throstles had been hot his heels but began to struggle once the pace increased so it was left to Staxton to attempt to snatch the lead from Jonesy. As his jockey got to work he kicked away from the rest in pursuit of Hey Jonesy but Kevin was still sitting motionless in the saddle whilst his partner was pouring it on in front.
Disappointing a horse when they are travelling so well has cost many winners and Kevin was keen not to do so. Staxton had moved to his girths so Kevin changed his hands and asked Jonesy to put the race to bed. They were just 1 1/2f out when Jonesy quickened up and hit top gear. When Staxton couldn’t match his rival it became clear that there was only one winner. The rest of the field were too far behind to challenge so Jonesy just had to keep going forward now. The final furlong was all about Kevin keeping Jonesy up to his work. Fortunately he didn’t have to worry as the juvenile was enjoying himself and powering clear. The pair were getting stronger and strode clear from their nearest danger. There was no stopping Hey Jonesy and he was opening up an impressive margin. Passing the line he had put 2 3/4 lengths between him and Staxton, earning an decisive victory
Jennifer and Kenny Pallister know everything that racing has to offer, having owned horses for many years. It was two years ago when they purchased Strummer, their first horse with Kevin, and introduced their son John to racehorse ownership. Having enjoyed a winner they decided to go again and certainly look to have found a horse who is going to give them plenty of fun. Hey Jonesy has done everything right so far and was certainly impressive earning his first career win. He looks on the upgrade at home and will continue to improve with racing. The Goffs UK sales race, back at York during the Ebor meeting, looks the most obvious target. The huge pot is well worth a crack and Jonesy looks well above average at this stage. Having got his first win there could be bigger days ahead for the colt