Confidence is one of the most important traits in all sport. Getting that winning feeling can spark something that sees form and ability soar. This is no different with horses and the feeling they get passing horses and getting their head in front can be a key to success. Ventura Rascal got off the mark just 2 weeks ago but he quickly doubled that win tally when he took the 7 1/2f Skidby Handicap at Beverley.
The son of Fountain of Youth had long been knocking at the doo, improving with each run and getting ever closer to his first win. Having gained that last time out at Catterick, Ventura Rascal came out of the race very well and with a 4lb rise connections were keen to get him back out again and strike while the iron was hot. Being raised to 67 did allow Ventura Rascal to sneak into a 0-65 contest still and staying in the same grade he headed to Beverley with Kevin Stott taking over in the saddle.
Ventura Rascal lined up against 7 rivals and had a lovely draw in stall 2, sitting close to the rail. The 3yo was rapid out of the stalls and quickly pulled his way to front. Kevin didn’t fight him but was wary of his rivals as he tried to inch closer to the rail. Ventura Rascal was setting a strong gallop, so much so that he got the length lead he need to allow Stott to drop his right hand and shorten their route.
There was no hanging about and Ventura Rascal kicked on down to the swooping left hander that brings them downhill. Having sprinted away initially Kevin now wanted to ease his mount a little to allow him to fill the tank. The gelding responded well and steadied his pace but it was still a fair gallop. They moved into the final 1/2 mile with the lead as Ventura Rascal free wheeled along filling up more and more readying for the uphill finish.
Coming out of the bend they past the 3f marker and Ventura Rascal was pressed for the lead by The Big House, the rival who had been on his tail throughout. As his rival moved up it looked an early move and Kevin was wary of getting racing a long way out. He just squeezed Ventura Rascal along and the gelding started to lengthen whilst his rival quickly came under pressure. One by one the field came under a drive to close in on the leader but Ventura Rascal was starting to shift through the gears. Baring down on the 2f marker Kevin was waiting to kick from the front. When he pressed the button Ventura Rascal found for pressure. The move looked to have the measure of most of his rivals but tracking his every move was Elixsoft. Just after the 2f marker there was a cut away and this offered space up the rail for those in behind. Kevin had anticipated this and quickly made a bee line for the rail, ensuring any challenger would need to go the long way round.
The move over to the rail was done safely and 1 1/2f from home Elixsoft had nowhere to go. Ventura Rascal was in full flow whilst his main danger lost a little ground to get a run. With a lead of just over 1 length Ventura Rascal was about to hit the rising ground as Stott now asked for everything from his mount. Quickening up on the front end the advantage increased to over 2 lengths and Ventura Rascal on had 150 yards to go. Kevin was keeping him up to the task in hand and although Elixsoft was finishing too it looked as though there wasn’t enough time left. Stott had a glance round and saw he was in charge with 1/2f to run. Although he was keen to keep Rascal going he did ease up a little. Elixsoft closed the gap but Stott knew what he was doing and was always holding his rival. Ventura Rascal secured his second career win but a comfortable 1/2 length.
It was nice to see Ventura Rascal go back to back and this win looked a little more comfortable. Having come from off the pace last time, Ventura Rascal added another string to his bow by making all and showed a great attitude to do it all from the front. The winning margin did get narrower in the latter stages but he had enough in hand. Owners Middleham Park Racing are bagging winners left, right and centre at the minute and it would be no surprise to see Rascal adding to the winners column again.