Kingman is one of the most promising stallions at the minute, already producing top quality horses in his short career. The yearlings were well sought after and sold very well in the first offerings from the sire. When Kevin and Hambleton Racing managed to snap one up for just £35,000 it looked like a good deal all round. The owners had to wait but Wild Hope got off the mark with a first career win when he decisively took the 7f Wreay Handicap at Carlisle.
Although his work was good last as a juvenile it was always felt that Wild Hope would do better with time and racing. Everything seemed to suggest that he would appreciate up to a mile but he had enough speed to see the track early on and contested a couple of 6f Novice races. Two good runs in decent races suggested that a win was not far off but unfortunately it didn’t quite work out when stepped up in trip. Despite not winning it was clear there was an engine there and he would come back a stronger horse as a 3yr old.
Returning on a mark of 74 it looked as though Wild Hope have improvement in him for the season ahead. The comeback run at Leicester was full of promise, finishing third he would improve for the run and looked sure to break his maiden very shortly. Somehow the handicapper didn’t see it as such and actually dropped Wild Hope 2lb, which made his job a little easier and did open up more options moving forward.
Carlisle was chosen for Wild Hope’s next run and he would line up against 9 rivals. Kevin Stott was reunited with the gelding after missing out on his last run. Looking like an improver the money came for Wild Hope and he was eventually sent off the 5-2 joint fav.
Drawn in stall 8 Wild Hope was quickly away and into stride allowing Kevin to track over towards the rail from the outside. There were a couple of runners drawn lower who wanted to go on so Wild Hope settled into third as they were soon into the right handed bend. Having been into a good rhythm from the off, Hope was swinging around the turn on the right lead and took it with ease, chasing a strong pace. The leader stayed away from the rail so Kevin did like wise, rather than knocking his mount off stride.
Keeping towards the centre of the track proved to be right call as they swung into the home straight and past halfway. The leader stayed away from the rail and drifted towards the middle of the track which the others followed suit. Having raced on the outer, Wild Hope was now well placed as he had less ground to give away and would eventual get the rail on the stands side to race alongside.
Having taken a keen hold throughout the contest the leader was caught moving inside the 2f marker. Wild Hope cruised up his inner and quickly took charge with Kevin yet to pose any questions. Whilst his rivals were hard under the drive, Wild Hope had moved through with ease and now looked to have control of the race. Not wanting to disappoint his mount, Kevin got lower in the saddle to squeeze him on. The response was ok but it wasn’t a devastating turn of foot. The lead began to creep wider as the gelding began to lengthen.
Heading to the final furlong, Wild Hope held just over a length lead but it was here that he thrived. Now in top gear Wild Hope started to power on and stretched his margin. The further they went the bigger the advantage was becoming and Wild Hope turned the race into a precession. Nobody had an answer and looked one paced compared to the winner. Kevin kept him up to his work and the pair took the the win by a comfortable 4 lengths, although it could have been wider.
It is lovely to see Wild Hope off the mark and reward all his owners in Hambleton Racing. Having shown plenty of promise last year he had already shown that he had a workable mark and he improved from that return to win at Carlisle. He has always looked like a horse who would get a little further and the way he won suggests that he could be better over a mile. Having travelled very well, Wild Hope stayed very strongly and in truth could have won by further. He will be reassessed by the handicapper but he looks the type to continue his upward curve of improvement.