Normality was certainly not a word that could be used to describe 2020 and racing was just like every other business and sport in the world, having to adapt to the unknown. An area that was really hit were the breeze up sales, which is usually a plentiful source of 2yr old winners. With sales being rejigged and dates changed it meant that Follow Your Heart wouldn’t be placed under the hammer until July. In contrast to that, this year he has made an early and distinct statement as the colt shed his maiden tag at Wolverhampton in the 6f Betway Novice Median Auction Stakes.
Despite arriving at Hambleton Lodge mid way through 2020, Follow Your Heart made an impression with his home work. Unfortunately he would have to wait until September to make his debut and he was well supported to make it a winning one. After falling out of the stalls, Follow Your Heart showed inexperience and never got involved, weakening in the latter stages to finish 5/7. The first run can sometimes be hard to draw conclusions from this one seemed quite clear. Ability had been shown at home but not transferred to the track. The answer was Follow Your Heart must still be a bit weak and time would be his friend.
After running out of time for the turf season, Kevin determined that Follow Your Heart would be given his break and could come back for the all-weather. Looking to have grown and strengthened, Follow Your Heart picked back up his good home work and came to hand nicely. Connections were keen to try and get a run into the colt before the flat season kicked off and Follow Your Heart was sent down to Wolverhampton for his second start.
The race consisted of two runners who set the benchmark regarding ratings. Follow Your Heart was again supported and he would be sent off the 9/4 joint fav with the 66 rated Kath’s Toyboy. Kevin Stott took the leg up and would have to overcome 9 rivals to get off the mark.
Drawn in stall 7 Follow Your Heart was steadily away and Kevin took his time to get the colt into stride. Initially shuffled back the early dash slowed down and allowed Follow Your Heart to be pushed up and attach himself onto the back of the field. Without being able to get closer to the rail, Kevin had to sit towards the outside as the field charged through the first furlong. Follow Your Heart quickly took hold of the bridle and just wandered around for a few strides as Kevin tried to keep him under control and balanced.
The pace was clearly strong as the leader had the field stretched heading into the home bend. With 3f to run there were gaps appearing between the 10 runners and Follow Your Heart was still 2/3’s of the way down the field. Kevin began to work in the saddle to get his mount striding out and hold on to those in front. Unfortunately he had to go right around the outside with a wall of rivals inside and in front.
Kicking off the bend the leaders quickened up as they tried to steal a march. Follow Your Heart had made up good ground and slingshot off the bend. Despite making good headway, the longer trip round meant that he still had a few lengths to make upas he made his charge down the centre of the track.
Kevin was cajoling and working his mount down the straight and initially couldn’t cut into the lead. With just over 1f to run, Follow Your Heart changed his leg and started to put his head down. He loomed up large on the outer but was showing distinct signs of inexperience. Follow Your Heart looked full of running but wasn’t quite doing it correctly. Taking the lead with 100 yards to go he wandered into his nearest rival, hanging left and causing Stott to grab hold of the reins and make adjustments. Straightened up, Follow Your Heart quickened again and suddenly pulled away to a couple of length lead. There was a flourish from the back markers but Follow Your Heart had put a seal on his first win, taking the contest by a comfortable 1 1/4 lengths.
Follow Your Heart had pleased at home and showed his ability on the track. There was plenty of times throughout the race where inexperience showed but this shows that there is a lot more to come rom the 3yo. He showed a nice turn of foot and did win with a bit in hand. Follow Your Heart will continue to learn on the job and looks a nice prospect moving forward fro the season ahead.