Runner Up, runner up, runner up. Digitals’ first three runs all finished with the same result and the same debrief from the jockeys. Having done nothing wrong It was frustrating to see a row of 2’s next to Digital’s name but at the same time he had shown a high level of form. Thankfully his time came at the fourth try when Digital shed his maiden tag in the 5f British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes.
The son of Kodi Bear had been one of the first 2yo runners for Kevin and kicked off with a highly promising debut at Newcastle. Showing good speed he just lost out late on to a rival who would go on to compete in group company. At the end of June he would be out again, turning to the grass at Doncaster. Once again he showed great speed but again he bumped into a smart rival, this time that rival would go on to win a listed race next time out.
Following his second run Kevin decided to geld Digital and with the procedure being straight forward it was only a month before he hit the track again. It was another contest over the 5f trip and would be at the local track of Thirsk. Sent off the 6/4f showed that he brought the best form to the race but the same story unfolded. Digital led everywhere bar the line, collared late on by the fast finishing Umm Kulthum. The filly would go on from her winning debut to finish 3rd in the Group 2 Lowther on her next start.
Digital had 3 runner up spots to his name which can sometimes be a bad sign but that certainly wasn’t true for the gelding. He had been a bit unfortunate to bump into some smart rivals. Kevin did have the choice of nurseries but decided to stick with the novice route as he lined up the gelding for Musselburgh. After the declarations came out Digital was set to take on 6 rivals but the race revolved around two. Significantly was a maiden too but had a 15lb higher handicap mark due to his exertions in pattern company. Despite this connections were confident that Digital had more to come and was better than his current mark of 81. Tom Eaves had been on board in all previous runs and retained the ride heading to Musselburgh.
Although races are never straight forward it did feel as though it may develop into a match between the market rivals. Drawn towards the outside of the 7 runners, Digital was quickly away and showed his usual speed. This allowed Tom to shift over and race closer to the stands side rail. Penombre set the early pace and this gave Digital a nice lead as he settled well through the first furlong. His main rival was tucked into his slipstream as they galloped along.
Tom allowed Digital to stride on where he was happy and the gelding did so, set into a nice rhythm but not doing too much. Musselburgh is a quick track and this lent itself to a strongly run race. Heading towards the halfway point and already a couple were being left as the pace proved too much. Digital travelled smoothly and held over a length lead on favourite Significantly. Just before the 2f marker the track has a little kink which can throw the runners away from the rail. Tom continued to let his mount stride on and the pair loomed large to challenge for the lead heading into the final 1/4 mile.
One by one the runners started to come under pressure apart from the two market leaders. Digital continued to power on, cruising on the front end, hard on the bridle. Significantly now edged out from behind Digital to ready his challenge and tried to close in on the front. Digital took up the lead and now it seemed as though the match may start to take place. As Tom continued to sit quietly, Significantly suddenly had a little nudge from his stablemate which sent him further out towards the centre of the track. With the final furlong looming, Tom now began to wind his mount up and try to put the race to bed.
They were 3 deep across the track with Digital leading the way. It was the Karl Burke pair who were chasing hard but Jacattack had the first crack at the lead. As his advantage got cut to 1/2 length, Tom now got into his drive to get Digital to find more. The gelding did that but he was matched by his rivals. Significantly started to get into top gear down the outside and pressured his stablemate for second spot. The race was far from over but Digital was now beginning to find for pressure. With 100 yards to run the favourites began to assert with Jacattack just starting to weaken out of it. Significantly had one last chance of a crack at the leader. The favourite got to Digital’s girths, a move he had felt before. This time out he had more left in the tank and repelled the move. With the feeling of pressure he dug deep and find more, moving away once again to secure his maiden victory by 1 length.
Digital deserved this win and he did so showing a mature attitude. Again he had blistering speed but he settled nicely which would help him at the business end of the race. He had to dig deep a couple of times at the end of the race but did so and repelled his challengers. It was impressive to see him beat a rival off level weights where in a handicap he would have received a stone. Digital is continuing to improve with racing and his mentality has really matured. It now looks as though 6f could be in his remit and he will likely take the step up next time out in the Wetherby’s 2yo stakes at Doncaster. It is great to have a nice, improving 2yo and Highclere Racing look to certainly have that on their hands with Digital.