It was a thrilling finish and one that really went right to the line. In a head bobbing battle to the line, Tagur and Ted’s Brother crossed as one with few willing to stick their neck on the line and determine the winner. Well the winner was announced as Ted’s Brother but it was short lived as a stewards’ enquiry determined interference and duly demoted the winner. This decision promoted Tagur to first place, giving Harriett Lees her second winner in a week when the pair won the 1 Mile Bet Placepot At totesport.com Amateur Riders’ Handicap at Chelmsford.
Tagur has been Mr Consistent throughout his career, rarely running a bad race but in turn only notching one win. He has deserved more but the limited success has meant that he has remained in the 60’s with his handicap mark throughout his career. After showing good form he then put in a poor effort last time out so Kevin felt that a few changes may help. Changing of headgear, back to cheek pieces, stepping back up in trip and a change of jockeys. Tagur was declared for the Amateur race with Harriett Lees taking the ride, fresh from her first success earlier in the week.
There was only 7 declared for the event but it still looked a very competitive race. Once the stalls opened it was clear that there was going to be a fight for the lead. Tagur was away well so immediately he went forward but was pressed on the outer by favourite Paddy A and Venutius moved up the inner to take the early lead. Harriett was full of confidence and held her position well through the early stages, sitting on the leader’s girths and keeping the fav to her outer. It was a good gallop being set but the 7 runners travelled closely together as they passed the first furlong.
Amateur races can be quite daunting, especially when you are faced with experienced, quality jockeys. Harriett was still on cloud nine following her winner and she took that confidence into the race, not giving an inch to her counterparts and maintaining her perfect position. Tagur was enjoying himself and travelled smoothly. With the pace remaining strong it wasn’t long before the leader was taking them along the back straight and baring down the home bend. This was just over 3 1/2f from home and it was at this point that Simon Walker, on board favourite Paddy A, tried to make a decisive move. Increasing the tempo he quickened up around Tagur’s outer to force the issue. It would have been easy for Harriett to panic, seeing a quality jockey make a move such as this, but she played a patient role. Tagur also moved forward to maintain his position in the 3 but Harriett didn’t go with the fav, rather just kept tabs on him, staying in a position to strike when the time came.
Galloping around the bend and the favourite now had control of the race in front as the long time leader began to struggle. This left Tagur hot on his heels and as they swung into the straight he still travelled well. Passing the 2f marker and Simon Walker began to get to work but it didn’t prove to be a decisive move. Harriett was still sitting confidently and had yet to ask Tagur any questions. Travelling smoothly on the inside, Tagur now moved up dangerously to pull alongside the favourite. The pair had a slight break but Ted’s Brother was beginning to make a run from behind and after switching around Paddy A, was starting to get a run.
Three were in a line at the 1f marker and now the battle was on. Harriett was getting a tune out of Tagur and the chestnut was battling away on the inside. It was the fav who was first to crack and started to wilt under the pressure. This left Tagur and Ted’s Brother to edge forward and take the lead, with the pair eye to eye. They had just 1/2f to run and nothing could separate the two with both horses not giving an inch. Both jockeys could smell victory and were doing everything in their power to try and find that little extra something to tip the scales in their favour. Although he had weakened away from the lead, Paddy A was still thereabouts, just 3/4 length down and still trying hard to rally. His chance of victory was gone but with 50 yards to go the battling Ted’s Brother edged in towards Tagur which closed the door on the fav. Simon Walker had to snatch up whilst the two in front continued their battle. The pair flashed past the post with nothing to split them. Even watching a slo-mo replay provided little clarity and so it was down to the judge to call.
Harriett had to wait to hear the call come out and unfortunately this time the photo did not go her way. Going down by the narrowest of margins, a nose, but suddenly there was a sign of hope when the stewards called an enquiry. They investigated the running of the winner, after he came across the third placed Paddy A. The stewards determined it to be a significant move across, causing interference and in turn felt it had been a serious infringement. With this they decided that a demotion was the only action to take, which promoted Tagur to first place and giving Harriett her second winner of the week.
All winners are great but it isn’t the best way to win a race. Tagur travelled well throughout and showed a brilliant attitude to battle away to the line. Obviously he crossed the line in second but it was so close that he isn’t an undeserving winner. It was great for Harriett to follow up her win with another. She showed bags of confidence but also she continues to improve in the saddle, tidying up her style and showing good tactical awareness. Ted’s Brothers’ connections are likely to appeal so we will wait and see the outcome of that but as it stands Tagur has his second career win. He has deserved it and owners Mr Andrew Turton and Mr John Blackburn have been patient with him, narrowly missing out on too many occasions. We will see what happens now but this run will be a huge confidence boost for Tagur and Harriett, who is going from strength to strength.