Sometimes a change can be the best thing for a horse, giving them something new to think about or look at can spark a new lease of life. With flat horses it can be a little schooling session or even a try at hurdling. This was an angle used with Scrutiny and although he didn’t really shine in the hurdling sphere it certainly helped spark him back to life. When he arrived at Hambleton Lodge, Scrutiny had only run on the flat once in just over a year but it wasn’t long before he got back to the winner’s enclosure. He earned his second win of the season when he travelled smoothly to take the 1m1/2f sporting jobs.co.uk Handicap at Wolverhampton.
Having gained his win on the AW early in the year, Scrutiny continued a decent level of form. He transferred it to the turf with three solid runs, although he couldn’t quite get his head in front again. Despite some good efforts the handicapper was in lenient mood and dropped him a few pounds. Obviously there were plenty of options but Wolverhampton stuck out with a race that almost matched his win exactly.
The 0-65 handicap was over C&D and the level of rivals was similar to what he beat back in February. Scrutiny has a real affinity with female jockeys and apprentices, his wins have come in amateur rider and apprentice races (apart from his first). With Kevin not employing an apprentice he looked for the best available and Connor Murtagh, attached to Richard Fahey’s, was booked for the mount.
Scrutiny has been enjoying his racing and especially when they go a good gallop, allowing him to travel strongly throughout the race. Unfortunately a draw of stall one was going to be a challenge for Connor, trying to find cover without being completely smothered and boxed in. Jumping well and with little willing to go forward, Scrutiny had a wide open look heading down into the first bend. Connor sat patiently and after the first 50yards a pair of rivals swooped round the outside to take up the running and give Scrutiny a nice lead. As always is the case at Wolverhampton the pace was generous which allowed Scrutiny to get into a nice rhythm.
Racing down the back straight and through halfway there was little change in the order. The pace remained fair and nobody could make an excuse about that. Scrutiny moved well for Connor who was sticking as close as possible to the rail. With the leaders going well and doing just enough in front, the race would develop in the latter stages.
They began to head into the home bend and it was here that the first injection of pace came. Now the leading pair tried to stretch the field, readying themselves to kick off the bend and set sail. Scrutiny matched this move with ease and maintained his position in third, stuck tight to the rail. The field began to race as they moved inside the 3f marker as those sat further back now had to try and close the gap left in front.
Turning for home and the leaders now hit top gear and kicked for home, using their advantage. It was a move that looked quite decisive as those towards the rear were struggling to get involved. On the other, Scrutiny was still hard on the bridle and as the leaders swung off the bend they opened up a lovely gap straight along the rail. It would have been easy to get excited with his horse going so well but Connor sat and waited. Knowing he didn’t want to get there too soon but also not wanting to disappoint the horse, Connor had a decision to make. He just started to wind his mount up, edging him ever closer to the front.
The final furlong marker came into view and there was now a trio in line. As Scrutiny joined the favourite Servo the race was certainly on. Shamlan now started to weaken so it was left to the pair to scrap it out. Now Connor decided he could wait no more and kicked his mount into gear. Scrutiny quickened up and took a length out of the favourite. It looked a winning move but as soon as he gained his advantage the stride just shortened up a touch. Servo was rallying in second and there was a late dash coming from back marker Beatbybeatbybeat. Now Connor was all out to try and keep scrutiny up top his task. As the favourite edged closer and the rattle of Beatbybeatbybeat’s hooves could be heard, Scrutiny suddenly realised that all was not actually done. With 50yards to run he found a little extra for pressure and repelled the late challenges coming. Crossing the line he held on by a neck and a further neck to third.
Back to form and another win is fantastic for Scrutiny who could make his mark again in the near future. Owner Lizzie Butterworth had to be patient with him and he is paying her back with some good efforts to cheer on. The AW definitely looks his preference and with the summer looking to keep the ground very fast at present he may need to take to the artificial surface for now. It would be great to gain a win with him on the turf so an Autumn campaign may be ideal when the ground eases a touch.