Lately Major Jumbo has been catching the eye, especially with his electric speed where he has been utilising it to burn off his rivals. At Wolverhampton there was a change in tactics and Jumbo won like a horse who is still improving taking the 5f 32Red.com Handicap.
Major Jumbo has been kept busy over the winter and since reverting to the all-weather he has picked up a win and two seconds. His latest start saw a very close loss where both horses ran off a true line but the pair pulled well clear of the rest. Many thought Jumbo was a shade unlucky so when Kevin sent his grey to Wolverhampton there was a score to be settled. Wild Approach, his conqueror, was also declared having gone up 6lb whilst Jumbo had been put up by 5lb following their Newcastle tussle. With this rise in the weights Kevin decided to offset it by booking Lewis Edmunds and using his 5lb allowance. With all this weighed up the punters took to the grey and sent him off the 7/5fav.
With 6 very fast horses lining up Lewis was looking to get his mount settled, which was easier said than done. The last thing he wanted to do was have a mad battle up front with everything forcing each other and setting a silly pace. When the stalls opened Jumbo was smartly away as usual and initially held the lead. Quickly the two horses drawn alongside him were bustled along and pushed into the lead. This gave Lewis the lead he wanted and he tucked Jumbo in behind them to sit third. Unfortunately Jumbo didn’t like having horses in front of him and wanted to go quicker than he was being allowed to do. This led to his head coming higher and Jumbo began to pull hard to try and get Lewis to let him go faster. The young apprentice was not having it and managed to wrestle his mount under control with the grey settling after the first furlong.
The pace was very strong throughout and quickly the leaders took the field into the bend, past halfway. With only 6 runners there was little to separate the field but the leaders tried to kick from the front and the injection of pace did have an affect. It was Wild Approach and Blitz who were vying for the lead and as they increased the tempo their rivals had to make a move to try and keep tabs on them. Around the bend Lewis just loosened his reins to let Jumbo stretch out and match the leaders pace.
Straightening up the field passed the 2f marker and now it was time to chase down the long time leaders. It was Blitz who kicked on and started to get on top of Wild Approach. Lewis now tried to lay down his challenge and whilst Jumbo was still going well he was running short of room. With the final furlong looming he was going to need a gap if Jumbo could lay down a challenge to the leader who was now edging clear.
Little had got into the race but as they moved into the final furlong Jumbo got the break he wanted. Daylight now opened up in front of Jumbo and Lewis grabbed hold of him, pushed through the gap and went in pursuit of the leader. Major Jumbo now showed a different aspect to game and he began to pick up, immediately cutting into the deficit he had to Blitz. With Lewis now in full drive he really got a tune out of his mount and Jumbo quickened up. The leader was not stopping but it was Jumbo who was shifting through the gears and reeling him back with every stride. It was between the to of them but with just a couple of hundred yards left it was obvious that Jumbo would prevail. Coming down towards the centre of the track he picked up Blitz and then went past him all in one, swift move. There was no time for a response but Lewis didn’t stop in the saddle and pushed Jumbo all the way out to win by 1 1/4 lengths.
This was Major Jumbo’s career best performance, not only winning off his highest mark but he showed that he was able to adapt to different tactics. Owner, Mr T A Rahman has certainly made a flying start to 2017 and Jumbo really looks like a promising sprinter for him. The handicapper will again reassess Jumbo and his mark of 82 will certainly get a big jump following this win. He is an exciting 3 year old and could be set for some top races when the turf season rolls around.