All winners are cheered and celebrated, whether you are involved in them or just a fan to maybe have been lucky enough to have a couple of quid on. There is one winner that is arguably the most pleasing on the eye, the fast finishing, nabbing the win in the dying strides, making up heaps of ground type win. Justanotherbottle is not known for that but snatched a win for the jaws of defeat in fine style when taking the 5f William Hill Catterick Dash at Catterick.
Over the last few seasons Justanotherbottle has been a staple in the big sprint handicaps. at the start of 2020 he arrived at Hambleton Lodge as Kevin added another crack sprinter to an already top team. He was certainly an exciting addition as everyone at Hambleton Lodge had seen the talent of him, having come up against the gelding enough times. The 6yr old was versatile over both sprinting trips of 5f and 6f so the options were plentiful for the season ahead.
Although you get a history on the horse each trainer will always learn a lot from their interactions with them. No matter what they have done in the past, the early training and racing is a learning curve for both trainer and horse. Different routines and methods can ultimately have different affects, that is why there are such things as the Horses In Training sales. If it was an exact science then you wouldn’t see horses improving with moves to different trainers. Justanotherbottle had already proven himself so Kevin knew that he would be going straight into some top races for the season ahead.
After a couple of promising runs the last two had been below par. As said before everybody was still learning about the horse and he had shown enough to suggest that a win was coming. Having won over both trips and on a variety of ground types it left plenty of options open. After a run in the Portland handicap he had 5 weeks before he headed to Catterick for one of their flagship races of the flat season.
The 5f contest attracted 10 runners and they were all very much well known sprinters. Like Justanotherbottle they had all run in tope handicaps and although they were not on their highest career marks, it showed the standard of the race. Kevin Stott has been his main pilot for the year and was once again in the saddle. The price of 18-1 was a reflection of Justanotherbottle’s recent form but a return to his best could make a mockery of these odds.
Justanotherbottle has had a couple of issues with the stalls in the past and this crept in again at Catterick. Although not being unruly to the point of being withdrawn, Justanotherbottle reared as the stalls opened and subsequently was on the back foot immediately. Kevin has had the best season of his career and riding with so much confidence which was on show again here. He left the horse alone, took his medicine and left Justanotherbottle to find his feet. Sitting last he tracked over with the main body of 12 runners towards the stands side rail.
Copper Knight raced alone on the far side but it was Militia who set the pace and it was a strong one as they quickly headed through the first couple of furlongs. Justanotherbottle was well behind and must have been a good 4/5 lengths off his nearest rival. The race wasn’t holding still for him to play catch up but Kevin decided to play his hand late, if possible.
Past halfway and the leaders kicked on trying to make the best of their way home. Despite the increase in tempo, Kevin still waited. One by one the runners came under stronger drives was they attempted to challenge the leaders but nothing could yet get past. Moving into the final couple of furlongs and Kevin just began to niggle away but his colleagues weer far more animated. Justanotherbottle started to increase his stride length and inch a little closer to the field.
Militia had led from the outset and suddenly managed to break away, opening up into a a couple of length lead 1 1/2f from home. Now Kevin decided it was time for Justanotherbottle to make his challenge and angled the chestnut around the wall of horses. Once daylight was seen, Justanotherbottle started to pick up, attempting to cut into the deficit. He quickly picked off one or two rivals as he quickened up and moved forward menacingly. Whilst those immediately ahead of him were toiling, Justanotherbottle was hitting top gear.
Out in front Militia entered the final furlong with his lead intact and very little in the way of danger. Along the rail Count D’orsay was beginning to make inroads but to the centre of the track Justanotherbottle was really hitting top gear. Kevin was now asking for everything and his mount was responding, eating into the lead with every stride. The race was suddenly between this trio but which one would come out on top was still up for grabs. With 100 yards to run Militia held sway but was looking more exposed to his two rivals finishing strongest. Justanotherbottle was flying home but Count D’orsay was doing likewise along the rail. The pair took the lead away but Justanotherbottle had the edge, he grabbed the lead in the sting strides, proving too strong and gained his first win for Kevin by 1/2 length.
This was an exciting and impressive win from Justanotherbottle who really rallied when Kevin asked him. Having made the running or been ridden positively since joining the yard this was a completely different approach and he did very well to make up that ground with conditions as they were. Obviously it was a race dictated by circumstances as he reared at the start but it was great to see him overcome that and finish in style. Winning this time of year means that there could be another run before his break as he clearly handled the ease in the ground so we will see what options are coming along for Justanotherbottle.