When you get a horse who has won a brace of races in quick succession but then doesn’t gain the third it is very easy to draw conclusions. Alotabottle notched two wins from his first two runs since joining the team at Hambleton Lodge. He narrowly went down when bidding for the hat-trick and there were a few whispers after that run that maybe Alotabottle had been found out by the handicapper. He put paid to those opinions when taking a big step up in class and winning the 1m Sandra And Ted Roberts Memorial Handicap at Carlisle.
Alotabottle arrived at the yard just over a month ago and it was clear to see that he was a well handicapped horse. He won on stable debut and 5 days later backed it up with a second win under a 6lb penalty. Both wins were impressive and with the second being on a Tuesday, the handicapper would not have time to reassess him if Kevin went to enter him quickly. That’s exactly what he did, again running Alotabottle under a 6lb penalty and again looking like he would be well in. It seemed as thought the plan had worked when the chestnut came with a late run but this time he just ran out of steam, going down by the narrowest of margins.
Kevin had asked Alotabottle to runs 3 times in quick succession and he had earned a little bit of time before his next run. Alotabottle had raced over 7f and although he had won with a bit in hand there was a stage in each race that he hit a small flat spot before quickening up well and staying on powerfully. It looked clear to connections that he would get 1m so that was the plan going forward if the right race came along. The race at Carlisle ticked all the boxes although it would be a big step up in class for the 3yo and the first time he would be taking on his elders.
Kevin had utilised Sean Davis’s claim in the last couple of runs, offsetting the penalties. Due to Alotabottle taking a step up in class his weight was lowest of the 8 runners, with his rivals running off higher marks. This meant Sean kept the ride on Alotabottle as he was early able to do the weight as well as taking off 3lb. The punters knew about the older horses in the line up and what they could expect to see from them, so it was a pair of 3yo’s who headed the market. Harvey Dent would go off the 7-2 fav but he was closely followed by Alotabottle at 4-1, with the pair the most likely to improve to win this race.
There was a contrast in styles from the market leaders. As the stalls opened Harvey Dent was very quickly into stride and jumped straight into the lead. Alotabottle was away well too but on his inside there were a few rivals who were determined to get forward. This left Alotabottle to settle into midfield through the early stages as the favourite set a strong gallop. There was just 2f to race before the field would take the right handed turn and the strong gallop meant they were quickly on to it. Sean just had to niggle a couple of times as Alotabottle didn’t quite have the same natural speed that the leader was showing.
Sweeping around the bend Alotabottle suddenly took a tug and pulled himself a little closer on the outside. There was plenty of distance separating first to last and Harvey Dent continued to pour it on in front. If Alotabottle was going to see out this new trip then he would need to get every yard as the gallop being set was going to ensure it was a true test.
The leader had gained a couple of lengths break around the bend and entering the top of the home straight he had the field on the stretch. Sean was working away to get Alotabottle lengthening and as they swung off the bend he headed towards the centre of the track. Harvey Dent stuck more to the far side and held a couple of lengths lead but began to track over as he came under pressure. Alotabottle was starting to get going and had come through to give chase over 2f from home.
Moving into the final couple of furlongs and it was the market leaders who were set to do battle. Alotabottle had quickened up nicely to cut the deficit and now moved up to Harvey Dent’s girths. Very little had got into the contest and it seemed as though the race was between the front two. as they settled down to fight it out they took each other along and were putting more distance to the rest.
If there was any chink in the armour of either of the front two then the final furlong would certainly find it. The pair were now eyeball to eyeball but it was Alotabottle who seemed to be the stronger. Passing the 1f marker the track raises up and the stiff finish would sap the remaining stamina and energy. Harvey Dent had been in front from the off but was just starting to show the effects of the gallop he had set. Despite being the guaranteed stayer of the front two it was Alotabottle who was proving strongest. The chestnut edged his nose to the front and never looked back. He had ground it out to get the lead but once there he found another gear. With 100 yards to run, Alotabottle quickened up once more and moved into a length lead. He now had momentum on his side and was thriving over the extra distance. With every stride he went further clear and afforded Sean the opportunity to ease him down before the line. Alotabottle relished this new trip to win by 2 1/2 lengths.
Alotabottle is a fast improving 3yo and with just 9 runs under his belt there could be much more to come from him. It did look like the trip would be ideal but you never know until to try. The gallop was strong and the stiff finish really tested stamina but Alotabottle got the trip standing on his head. He beat some hardened handicappers and decent 3yo’s which means that the handicapper will almost certainly be impressed with this win. It is clear that Alotabottle is thriving at present and is a nice prospect moving forward. With the style of this win it wouldn’t be a surprise to him get a bit further next year and if he can continue to develop, Alotabottle could well develop into a smart handicapper.