As the season rolls on and Royal Ascot looms ever nearer it is the time of year where juveniles can really start making a name for themselves. Trainers are now afforded more options for their 2yo’s and it’s time to find out which route you will be going. The new system has given the division plenty of Novice races early in the season but now we get to see which juveniles will be heading into Group company and which ones may need to go down the handicapping route. Yousini notched his second win when making all in the 5f RacingUK In HD EBF Novice Stakes at Carlisle, leaving connections to dream about which road to take from now.
Sired by Siyouni, Yousini always looked the part and matched that with his work at home. From early on he looked useful, which is always something nice to tell owners. Well Middleham Park Racing have a few more people to tell so with a good few people starting to dream, the pressure was ramped up a couple of notches as Yousini prepared for his debut. Slowly away he was soon showing inexperience but thankfully his class shone through and a late surge saw him make a winning debut at Hamilton. Yousini had proven Kevin right and immediately stated that he was a juvenile with a future. Obviously the only question was now what plans would Kevin be making.
An early closing entry, for the Group 2 Railway Stakes, was a sign of intent and showed just where Kevin felt the colt’s future may lie. Royal Ascot was a very tempting option with Kevin feeling his colt was good enough to be competitive. The only problem was the inexperience he had shown on debut, something that he wouldn’t get away with in the ultra competitive environment of a Norfolk or Coventry Stakes. Thankfully MPR always put the horse first and agreed with Kevin that another Novice race would be the best option moving forward, there would be plenty of time for pattern company if he could prove himself once again.
After a few weeks it came time to look for races and there were plenty of options for Yousini. Carlisle was chosen thanks to it’s stiff nature, something that was felt could help the horse out as he looks like a future 6f prospect. The 5f contest attracted 7 declarations and although it looked a winnable opportunity, Yousini would line up against a couple of strong candidates. Rockin Roy was unlucky not to be 2 from 2 whilst Lorton had been eyecatching on debut in a strong race. With Yousini’s penalty he would have to concede 3lbs to Rockin Roy and almost a stone to everything else. Despite this the punters were as confident as connections and Yousini would be sent off the 6/5 fav.
Tom Eaves was in the saddle once again after steering Yousini to victory on debut. Tactics are very hard with juveniles, inexperience means things can change from run to run and it’s not until a few runs that you may get a feeling that they need to be ridden a certain way. The one thing that Kevin doesn’t like is to break their stride when jumping well so when Yousini pinged the gates, Tom found himself quickly into the lead. Drawn alongside his main danger Rockin Roy, the pair were both smartly into stride and immediately settled down at the front of the field. Racing through the first furlong and the two winners were neck and neck as the rest of the field filtered in behind to race 2×2, following the leading pair. Downhill the pace was decent and they headed into the bend with nothing to separate them as they held just over a length lead.
With the experience out in front there would be no hiding place as the strong gallop would test them. Although Yousini sat a little further wide as they rounded the bend, he lost no ground and his fluffy sheepskin noseband was bobbing into the lead as the two raced alongside one another. Only a newcomer found things happening a bit too quickly which meant that as the field moved into the second half of the race there was still six of the seven runners in close proximity of one another. By halfway the track straightens up and with the leading pair moving powerfully in front, those in behind had to start trying to make an impression. One by one they came off the bridle as the screw was being well and truly turned. Yousini and Rockin Roy were still trading blow for blow in front and with both travelling well it was who would crack first. Like a top poker player, Tom and Danny Tudhope were waiting to play their hand, seeing who may crack first and calling their bluff.
Moving into the final couple of furlongs and the race started to look increasingly like a match up between the two main protagonists. Newcomer Eljayeff was running a big race and was the only one who looked like getting involved in this stage but ultimately the two leaders were proving too strong. It was Tudhope who kicked first and this move almost instantaneously got Tom into action. The pair now kicked on to try and settle the score. Neither managed to get any advantage although Yousini just edged into the lead between the 2f and 1f marker. With all repelled there was just Lorton who began to stay on and was looking to gatecrash the party.
Passing the 1f marker and Yousini had his nose in front. The battle was really on and every time he managed to eek out a little advantage, Rockin Roy would reel him back. It was neck for neck and bob for bob. The race was far from over though and Lorton soon chucked hi hat into the ring as he was starting on well and as he switched around the leaders he started to close in on them. The leading pair only had eyes for one another and neither was giving an inch. Deep inside the final furlong and still nothing could separate them. Lorton was trying hard down the stands side but could never get on terms and although the gap was closing it was the leaders who would battle out for the win. Up and down the lead changed with every stride. As the they flashed past the line it was as one and the judge would now be called to earn his pay cheque. On first glance it did seem as though Yousini had his head down on the line, something that could well be a deciding factor. Yes his head was down but the more and more replays were shown the closer the photo seemed to get. Thankfully connections were not held ins suspense for too long as the judge called out number 1 the winner, Yousini!!
There was a lot to like from this performance and although people can always look at winning margins as a statement of performance, Kevin learnt far more from Yousini’s win here. The winner and runner up went great guns throughout the contest on a track that takes some getting once they hit the rising ground. A more settled approach would probably have suited both horses. Yousini showed good speed, attitude, bravery and then saw the trip out strongly. Also he had to concede weight to another smart 2yr old and the trip is probably just on the sharp side. It does seem like 6f will suit in time and now Yousini probably deserves a crack at pattern company. There are plenty of options throughout the next few months so it keeps all at Middleham Park Racing dreaming big.