You wait two years for a win and then grab two in the space of just four days. Company Asset hadn’t got her head in front since her 2 year old days before scoring at Hamilton last week. She looked to have enjoyed that and duly repeated the feat back at the Scottish track, winning as impressively once again when overcoming trouble in running to take the 1m1f Book Now For Music Night Festival Fillies Handicap.
Having won well last week it was quite obvious that the handicapper would be as impressed with the performance, which could mean a good rise in the weights. Asset had come out of the race great and was bouncing at home so Kevin, along with Hambleton Racing’s Simon Turner, decided that it was worth running the filly under a penalty, striking whilst the iron was hot. Already entered it looked like a perfect scenario, same conditions, same track and very similar company. The only question mark was whether the race would come too quick.
Despite the 6lb penalty, punters felt that the in form Asset was the one to beat and she was sent off favourite to back up her win. Kevin Stott was once again in the saddle and felt the race would pan out very much the same as the last one. Having quickened up nicely to win, Kevin planned to adopt the same tactics, hoping he would get a good gallop up front.
When the stalls opened It became clear that Kevin could do exactly as he had hoped. There was a dash for the lead and the majority of the six runners tried to go forward. Running quite keenly, it was Celestation who won the fight and took up the lead, although closely followed and being forced into a strong gallop. Asset dropped in to only have one behind her and Kevin was going to play the waiting game.
The first half of the race saw the field on the turn as they ran around the loop that is synonymous with Hamilton. Little changed in the order and Asset was giving the front four a couple of lengths head start. As they reached the top of the hill and entered the straight there was a sudden change in the complexity of the race. Celestation hung badly left off the bend, costing herself a couple of lengths. With this the joint fav, Euro Nightmare, was carried out too leaving Set In Stone to shoot up the inside and take up the running. This continued to keep the pace up but also allowed Kevin to close the gap and he was quickly on his rivals heels.
Company Asset had avoided all the trouble and was travelling well but so too were the 3/4 in front of her. Running downhill, the pace never ceased and the jockeys were winding up form a long way out. There was still just over 3f to run when the leader made the best of her way home, getting the field racing a long way out. Celestation and Euro Nightmare, who had been caught up in the trouble, were now on an even keel and comfortably matched the leader to close the gap. Asset was stalking all the way but Kevin just had to niggle at her to ensure she kept tabs with her rivals.
The lead changed by the 2f marker as Set In Stone quickly paid for an early challenge. Celestation and Euro Nightmare now settled down to battle it out for the lead. Company Asset still travelled well but was finding a little bit of trouble staring at her. Set In Stone was rapidly retreating, causing Kevin to avoid her if he wanted a clear run. This in turn meant he had to switch left but then left him with a decision. Did he sit and hope for a gap between the three in front or switch around them, getting a clear run but covering far more ground. Kevin chose the brave route.
Moving between the 2f and 1f marker Asset ensured that Kevin’s brave route was justified. There was a moment when the smallest of gaps appeared. Asset was full of running so when Kevin went for it the 4 year old filly quickened up and burst through. Within strides she had changed the shape of the race, taking the lead and looking strong. They only had the uphill final furlong to run and Asset was looking strong. She did begin to hand slightly under pressure but when Kevin pulled his stick through and corrected her she powered clear. Seeing out every yard of the trip she again stretched into an impressive margin, crossing the line with a 2 3/4 length lead.
It was another fine performance from Company Asset and she really showed that she is thriving this season. This win came under a 6lb penalty so there is no doubt that she will now have much tougher assignments but she does look like a filly going places. The distance really helped her and she should get another furlong too and if so more improvement could still be in the tank. Hambleton Racing enjoyed a stellar season last year and have really started to fire again now. They have many owners and it is great to get them into the winner’s enclosure, hopefully there will be many more to come.