Following a disappointing season what you need to do is try and get confidence back and Pennsylvania Dutch has certainly done that in the past week. Having gone all through 2018 without a win to his name he has doubled his career tally in just 7 days. Winning at Thirsk on his seasonal return, Dutch travelled to Musselburgh to take the 5f racing.tv Handicap on his next start.
Pennsylvania Dutch had shown great speed and attitude when winning over 6f at Thirsk. This win came off a mark of 70 and it was clear that the handicapper would reassess him following. The rise was a fair 5lb which meant he could take in the same grade next time out and Kevin didn’t waste any time, looking to strike whilst the iron was hot. Although there were plenty of options coming up, he decided to try something new with Dutch. Having shown great speed in his winning run, Kevin dropped the gelding to 5f only his second attempt at the trip.
Set to line up against 8 rivals, Pennsylvania Dutch was given the help of up and coming apprentice Sean Davis who would offset the 5lb rise with his allowance. Musselburgh is a very sharp track but winners can come from anywhere and varying tactics work on the track. Obviously with the trip being an unknown the tactics would just have to develop once the race got underway.
He was once again fitted with eyeshields which had worked so well last time out and again kept him nice and relaxed. Jumping on terms he slightly hopped out of the stalls which allowed Sean the time to settle into the race. The pace quickly got up to speed and it was, as usual, a strong gallop. This saw Dutch settled towards the rear of the field, racing with just one rival behind him. Although back in the field, he showed that the early gallop was no issue as he travelled well. Tactics were completely different but it didn’t seem to bother Dutch.
There was no hanging about and the first half of the race went by in a flash. Passing the 3f marker and the track has a little shoulder that gives a little kink in the track. This tends to throw the runners away from rail and as they did, Sean switched towards the centre of the track. Dutch is a big, long striding horse and as he moved into clear daylight Sean started to pump along getting him to lengthen. Moving towards the final 2f and Pennsylvania Dutch was starting to get into top gear, passing his rivals in a few strides. As he loomed down the outer the race started to take shape and he had gone from the rear of the field to challenge for the lead.
Having made a move Sean had no choice but to try and maintain his run. Pennsylvania Dutch had come through to fight for the lead and whilst he looked to have the measure of most, Lathom was cruising on his inside. Also switched out was Burmese Blazer who now sat in Dutch’s slipstream. It did look likely to be between this trio as they entered the final furlong and it was Dutch who started to take control. Lathom had come off the bridle now and the response wasn’t as strong as it had looked. Sean was in full drive and he was getting a great tune from his mount. Burmese Blazer was now the main danger as the pair started to pull away from the rest.
The final 150 yards was a 2 way fight and for much of it a clear winner could not be called. Dutch had been pegged back but he was not stopping and continued to find for pressure. His rival had swept through in one move but looked to have met his match once the pair began to battle it out. The closer they got to the line the more powerful Pennsylvania Dutch was getting and his 6f form started to show. Sean changed his hands and pulled his stick back through to his left hand. One more backhander and Dutch found some more. He changed legs and quickened up again to put the race to bed. He strode out to a comfortable 3/4 length winner, hitting the line well.
Pennsylvania Dutch has really started the season well and looks to be in great health. He has been able to utilise a dangerous mark and is going the right way once again. Now he seems far more relaxed which is allowing him to perform to his best. Obviously the handicapper will take a close look once more and Dutch can probably expect a similar rise this time around. It was impressive to see him handle the drop in trip and this certainly gives plenty of options moving forward. He already has an entry in the book and there are lots of races coming up for him so Kevin may well go again whilst the 5yo is flying.