How Bizarre is one of those horses that everyone would love to own. Going out and front running he is brave and always gives it 100%, giving everyone a good run for their money. Unfortunately his running style is one of the hardest to pull off but his gutsy attitude means he has battled to be there or thereabouts all season, putting in some very good performances. If any horse in the yard really deserved a win then it was How Bizarre and he duly delivered when taking no prisoners in the 7f Royal Regiment Of Scotland Handicap at Musselburgh.
Having finished his juvenile season after three runs, all resulting in fourth placed efforts, How Bizarre started early this year. It was the first time we got to see his aggressive tactics and they very nearly paid off with Bizarre finishing second. He got a couple of months break before having another go on the all weather. Again he led throughout the race but this time he managed to go one better and shed his maiden tag in a Southwell handicap. Winning off a mark of 69 the handicapper only put him up 3lb to 72 and Bizarre looked like he had a workable mark for the turf season ahead.
Following his first win, How Bizarre went on to run another four times through the season. On three occasions he filled the frame, gaining 2 seconds and a 3rd, but being beaten by small margins. It meant that his mark remained around the same but the second win was proving to be elusive. On every one of his defeats he went out on his shield and connections were hoping for a win for his brave performances.
After finishing second on his penultimate start at Musselburgh, going down by just a neck, there was a perfect race back at the Scottish track. Having shown a liking for the course Kevin decided that it was the best option. He would be racing off 72 and renewing rivalry with the horse who beat him last time out. It was a stronger looking contest and Bizarre was one of the lowest rated runners lining up, which showed the strength of the race but meant he would in receipt of weight. Shane Gray has been his most common jockey and was back in the saddle after missing out lat time.
From his draw in stall 3 Shane had a great opportunity to employ the positive tactics that Bizarre loves. Jumping well he was quickly into stride and with the one inside of him not willing to go as fast he managed to take the early lead and cross over to the rail. There were a couple of others that wanted to be positive but once Shane had moved over to the rail they took the lead off him. Although not taken on for the overall lead he was pressed which meant the race would be run at a good gallop and there would be no hiding place.
It is only 1 1/2f before the field hit the bend when racing over 7f at Musselburgh and Bizarre held a 3/4 length advantage as he began to swing right handed. The whole field hit the bend right meaning the maintained their positions, not allowing How Bizarre to steal any march in front. Shane was happy to sit with quiet hands on board his mount which allowed him to stride on. Very little separated the 7 runners and this contest would be a battle due to the strong pace being set. Whoever was to win would need to see out every yard of the trip.
Turning for home and into the straight How Bizarre took them past halfway and into the business end of the contest. The advantage was getting narrower with Poet’s Dawn and Cookie Dunedin closing in and starting to line up their run. With a slender advantage Bizarre took them inside the 3f pole and towards the final couple of furlongs. Shane was still relatively easy in the saddle giving the sense that his mount was full of running.
Hitting the 2f marker and the race really took a turn and it began to take shape. Poet’s Dawn had pursued throughout but now started to weaken and Cookie Dunedin was under pressure to deliver a challenge. Shane began to wind Bizarre up and in typical fashion the head came up higher but his stride lengthened. How Bizarre was finding in front and it now looked as those just held off the pace were to be the biggest challengers. The red silks of Cheveley Park came into view as Regulator came through with a strong looking run and brought along Super Florence.
Baring down on the final furlong and it did look as though Bizarre was a bit of a sitting duck. Regulator had come through swinging on the bridle whilst Shane was working on his mount. The pair started to pull away from Super Florence who was looking a little one paced so the finish would be between the leading pair. Regulator moved alongside How Bizarre and the writing was on the wall. Or so it seemed. The chestnut loves a fight and as soon as he caught a glimpse of his rival there was more to come. Within a few strides the race changed again and Regulator suddenly came under strong pressure. He had gone from travelling to not finding much. This was Bizarre’s domain and he loved the grind. Finding plenty for Shane, How Bizarre began to assert and go on top in the final 100 yards. Pulling out all the stops he edged clear to win by a game 1/2 length.
This was a very pleasing result as How Bizarre always give it 100% and this attitude deserves success. He set a strong gallop but then found for pressure and battled bravely. He broke the heart of the runner up and despite his ungainly head carriage, once Bizarre gets going he is hard to get past. It is fantastic to get another winner for Mr Rahman and with a genuine fella like this he will surely get plenty more fun days out from him. How Bizarre will always just do enough so the handicapper can’t be too harsh on him for this win. There will be other options for him but he could well find improvement again next year with a winter on his back to help him grow once more. He is one of the most fun horses to watch and his record just shows that he won’t go down without a fight.