Difficult situations can really test you in this sport but it is how you react to them which can prove the most decisive factor. Having been placed under quarantine and without a runner in almost 1 month, Kevin was looking for a quick response when he finally got the horses back on the course. Immediately the signs were good, with plenty of his runners going close but the first winner was proving elusive. Step up Company Asset who ran away with the 1m1/2f British Stallion Studs Captain J C Stewart EBF Fillies Handicap at Hamilton.
Two runs this season had resulted in two third placed efforts for Asset and her latest run at York had been very promising. She looked primed for a win but unfortunately it was just two weeks later that yard was prohibited from making any entries. Obviously this was a big disappointment and having looked in top condition, would she come back as well following a month without a run. Company Asset dispelled any worries in the most emphatic fashion.
There were 8 fillies declared for the contest and despite having the strongest form, Asset was second favourite to the maiden Peach Melba. Drawn the widest of the 8 runners, Kevin Stott would have to make a decision on tactics once underway. When the stalls opened the decision became quite easy as there was a quick dash for the lead. Kevin didn’t want or need to force the issue so happily found his position in midfield, alloeing his filly to tuck in and save some ground. The favourite held the lead and set a decent gallop, closely pursued by a couple of others.
Jumping off on a bend the field were always on the turn for the first 3 furlongs. The leader ensured that they quickly made it through into the straight with gave them 5f to run. Positions remained the same but now they began to free wheel downhill. Kevin was always happy where he was as Company Asset easily tracked her rivals. With little separating the first four or five it looked likely to develop into an interesting race come the business end.
Winding it up front the front, Peach Melba began to increase the pace going past halfway. This was matched by her nearest rivals which included Asset who was stalking towards the stands side. Kevin had moved up to the heels of the leaders, ready to pounce when the time was right. Between the 4f and 3f marker a gap just began to appear, splitting the field in half.
Still running downhill, the race began to warm up moving inside the final 3f. Peach Melba was still travelling strongly in front and it was her rivals who began to work, trying to pressure the favourite. Kevin squeezed Asset up on the outside and the pair drew closer to the front. The final 2f came into sight and suddenly the race changed shape. The favourite was the last off the bridle but the first beat as Company Asset quickened up down the centre. Within a few strides she kicked clear and opened up a couple of length lead with relative ease.
The race was seemingly over and there was just the small fact of the uphill finish that starts 1 1/2f from the line. Company Asset was not stopping and powered up the stiff finsh, stretching further clear. Nothing could match her and the margin was never going to be bridged. Kevin realised they had the race in the bag and began to ease down in the final half furlong, allowing the runner up to close the gap. As they crossed the line the advantage was 3 1/3 lengths but could have easily been double.
Company Asset hadn’t won since her 2 year old maiden victory but this only told half the story. She has been running well in some tough handicaps for the last year but just couldn’t manage to get her head in front. This win has been coming for a while and was well deserved. She travelled well and quickened up very smartly, showing that she is a filly who could go on from this. She has an entry next week at the track and could well run under a penalty. Whatever happens she will be very difficult to beat based on this performance.