There is no better feeling than heading into an important race meeting or festival with the horses firing on all cylinders. Haydock hosts the Group 1 Sprint Cup and the support card offers 3 days of competitive racing. With Kevin tuning up his Gr1 winner Brando and future star Hey Jonesy for the main event, he would love to see some positive signs. Well Conga and Everything For You certainly did that when they notched an impressive double at Haydock on the eve of the big day.
Mr Guy Reed was a legendary figure of racing, with his famous yellow, black and pink silks carrying his home bred stars to hundreds of wins. Kevin was very lucky to train for the great man and following his death his legacy continues with his Copgrove Stud still producing winners every year. Many of the families are still going through the training ranks and Conga continued a long line of winners when making the perfect start in taking the 6f 32red.com British EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes.
Out of Palais Glide and sired by Footstepsinthesand, Conga looked on paper like she could be a quick juvenile. When she arrived from Copgrove stud thats exactly what her physique said, a strong and powerful filly. That being said she did have a lot of size and scope about her so once she started working it was clear that she had ability but time would help to bring this out. Kevin opted for the patient route and as the months rolled by, Conga grew and strengthened to the point where she could really carry her powerful frame. Although a slow process she came to hand relatively quickly once she really started to mature and so from planning for a month away, Kevin was suddenly looking for entries following an impressive piece of home work.
Haydock is a lovely track to introduce juveniles, being a nice galloping course with a wide open and welcoming sight to the 2 year olds. Unfortunately with it being such a high class venue you really have to take a good one there as many trainers opt for the same place with their good uns!!! When the declarations came out, Conga would only be lining up against 10 rivals, with many in the same position as her of being unraced. Kevin Stott has enjoyed a fruitful season so far and was booked for the ride.
Due to recent weather the ground turned soft which meant the field was cut to 7 runners following some withdrawals. Now the race was all unraced fillies’ apart from one who had shown no form so far. The punters latched onto Kevin’s filly and she was sent off the 11/4f to make a winning debut.
With the field being so inexperienced it is very hard to read a race before they have run. Kevin likes his juveniles to have an uncomplicated introduction, something they can enjoy. This means wherever they land when leaving the stalls is fine, let them get into stride and help them through the early stages. Kevin (Stott) knows this having ridden many of those juveniles and so when Conga just jumped a little steadily he didn’t immediately look to kick her on. Instead he let the filly find her stride, initially positioned towards the rear of the field. All bar one were newcomers but quickly a few knew their job sooner than others. With a lead now, Conga found her stride and pulled her way forward to sit just off the leaders.
Moving past the first furlong and the field all settled into their positions. Soft ground and inexperience meant the pace was steady and this allowed the fillies to comfortably find their rhythm. Conga was moving nicely just in behind the leaders and had enough space to manoeuvre around, depending on whatever her rivals would do later in the race. There was no change through the first couple of furlongs and by the time they were baring down on halfway, Conga had pulled herself through to sit ever closer in third spot.
There was a little injection of pace at halfway with the leader, Sarasota Bay, moving a length clear. The second went on and so to did Conga with the trio just having a small break to rest. Having shied away from the rail the leader now edged back across towards it. This move cut off the line of the second placed filly but it opened up a huge gap for the rest. Conga was moving well and had clear daylight as she now came through on the outer of the leader. There was still plenty of racing to be done but Conga was putting herself into contention quite easily moving into the second half of the race.
Kevin was holding his filly together as they moved towards the 2f marker. Conga was moving powerfully and closing in on the lead. Although they were now inside the final couple of furlongs there was so much racing left, with the ground sure to test these newcomers. Kevin just started to wind up his filly, going through the gears slowly to preserve some some energy for the last, hard yards. The trio of long time leader, Sarasota Bay, Conga and well fancied Aldana started to assert with 1 1/2f to run. Kevin was the least animated of the three jockeys but soon he would need to get serious with his mount if they wanted to make a winning debut.
Looming in on the final furlong and it started to look like the winner would be coming from the leading trio, they had earned a few length break to the rest. Conga moved through to really press for the lead and with Sarasota Bay now under hard pressure, the chestnut swiftly moved to the front. Aldana had hit a flat spot just before the 1f marker but was now rallying to fight for second spot and give chase to Conga. Obviously inexperience started to show as she hit the front and without the benefit of anything to run against it could easily have gone wrong with some wandering in front. Kevin knew this and immediately changed his hands to get a little tighter grip on his filly. Now he had no option but to go for home and moved impressively into a length lead. Aldana overtook Sarasota Bay and tried to go with Conga but there was no stopping the chestnut. She was clear and she was really learning the task at hand. The further they went the better Conga was looking and she was powerfully running to the line. Kevin never had to get too serious as the pair strode out to an impressive 1 1/2 length debut win.
It is always nice to have a winner in the famous silks of Guy Reed and especially with a filly who is keeping the good family going. Conga has taken time to come to herself but in the last month she has really blossomed into a very good looking horse. Importantly she looks to have the ability to match it this was impressive on debut. She will improve a lot for the run and looks an exciting prospect moving forwards. Kevin will take his time with Conga and asses what is the best option next time out.
Racing isn’t a sport where you always get what you deserve. With a winner on the board and the ground looking ideal, Everything For You looked to have a serious chance later on in the card. Having been so consistent all year it was great to see him finally gain the well deserved win when he ran away with the 1m2f Download The Unibet Casino App Handicap, giving both Kevin’s a double on the day.
Everything For You has been a slow burner but always looked to have talent. After some good results it really did look like this season could be his to flourish. Well it certainly looked like that may happen when he returned with a fine effort on his seasonal reappearance at Chelmsford, finishing second and showing that he really needed the run. Unfortunately he had to wait until his next run which was a little bit frustrating and he did well to finish 6th in a competitive York handicap, on ground that was too quick for him. With these two efforts a win was surely just around the corner. The ground eased for him and everything did seem to be in his favour but unfortunately his next two runs would result in another two second placed efforts. One was to a very well handicapped rival whilst the latter would see him have troubled run throughout the contest.
Unlucky, maybe, but the form was solid so Kevin was confident when Everything For You headed to Haydock. The ground had decimated the field with 5 non-runners, almost halving the field to just 6 competitors. That said the fancied runners held their ground meaning it would still take some winning, even though Everything For You was to be sent off the 5/2 fav.
Everything For You broke well and from the plum draw he aimed to keep the rail. Although jumping on terms to end up at the front, Kevin wanted cover so did no force the issue. With this Awake My Soul was allowed to take the lead as Kevin slotted in just behind to get a lead and some cover. Everything For You was just vying for second place through the early stages with the other 3 runners filtering in behind this. The pace was fair and would ensure the race would be a true test.
Around 7f out Everything For You just lost his place as Swiss Storm moved up down the outside. Kevin just nudge his mount along for a couple of strides to maintain his place and not allow him to lose focus. They raced away from the rail down the back straight but as they began to close in on the bend, Swiss Storm edged into the lead. Now the field were racing 2×2 but Everything For You continued to race just in behind the leader. As the field entered the bend they continued to elect to race away from the rail.
Halfway around the bend Awake My Soul quickened up once again to retake the lead and inject pace into the race. Now with a length lead he had stretched the 6 runners before turning for home. With 1/2 mile to run they swung off the turn and into the straight, with the leader making a beeline for the stands side rail. Everything For You tracked over with he rest off them bu his perfect pitch through most of the race now proved to be the worst spot to be in. Racing in clear daylight he needed nudging along to stay with the leader, but so to did a few of the field as the race continued to heat up.
Awake my Soul had been the culprit of racing quite a way from home but passing the 3f pole he quickly surrendered the lead. Both Everything For You and Frontispiece had been pushed along to get into contention but the pair suddenly came back onto the bridle and vied for the lead. Kevin and William Buick were working away on their mounts but it was nothing serious yet, they were moving through the gears ready for the test ahead.
Moving into the final couple of furlongs and it was Frontispiece who held the lead, with the pair now moving clear down the centre of the track. Everything For You was only 1/2 length down and gradually closing that gap. With little looking like coming from behind the last stretch seemed likely to be a battle between these two. Still the two jockeys had yet to go for everything but were getting more and more animated in the saddle. Kevin was really getting Everything to move forward and he had pulled level with his rival 1 1/2f out. The rest was going to be a test of stamina and heart.
The race was settled moving into the final furlong but the winner was not. Everything For You edged to lead for the first time and looked to be stronger of the pair. Although still moving forward the reaction from his rival was not to give up, he would make it a real test. Now Kevin got serious and with each question his mount answered. Although bravely trying to hang in there, Frontispiece had no answer to the leader. Now Everything For You began to assert and he moved a length clear with 150yards to run. Whilst he rival were toiling, Everything was relishing conditions and powered clear. The lead grew and grew, with the only question of how far. Crossing the line the answer was a clearcut 4 1/2 lengths.
Nobody can deny that this win was well deserved following some strong performances from Everything For You. He relishes any ease in the ground and he seems as though he is still improving with racing. With this in mind he could well be a good horse to follow at the back end of the year and he looks sure to pick up a big one shortly. It was very nice to see Mr Rahman have another winner an with this fella he could well have a fruitful end to the year. He will get a hike in the weights for this but it wouldn’t have stop him in this performance so deserves it. There is a good handicap at Ayr’s Gold Cup meeting and this could well be next in line. If he can continue this type of form then there’s no reason to think he can’t come in once again.