When looking at a race you can sometimes say that a certain horse should win because they deserve to. What is deserved doesn’t always happen as the horse still needs to perform to gain any victories and they are certainly not handed out. The Great Heir had stepped up from his first run to his second and on the face of that he certainly deserved to get his head in front, which he did when taking the 5f Visit The All New racinguk.com Novice Auction stakes at Redcar.
French bred, The Great Heir was picked up at the Arqana yearling sales last August. His sire, Pedro The Great, was a high class juvenile himself but having been at stud in France since his retirement he has rarely been seen as a sire on these shores. Always looking like a sharp and early type, The Great Heir just wanted to get on with things from day one. Having come to hand very early and relishing all the work put in front of him, Kevin was happy to get him onto the track at the earliest possible date. Unfortunately the weather plagued the ground in the early weeks of the season so there was no option but to wait until the testing conditions had eased.
The end of April was the date when Heir would make his debut at Thirsk and it was full of promising. Having shown good speed throughout, inexperience just tole towards the end as he finished a gallant fourth. He would improve from that performance to finish second on his next start at Beverley. Having shown the benefit of a run to lead the field throughout 4 1/2f he was just collared late on by a well supported newcomer. It was a step in the right direction and Heir looked sure to be winning sooner rather than later. Winners had come out of both races and when Vintage Brut, winner of the Thirsk race, went and won the Listed National Stakes, it showed that his form stacked up.
The Great Heir looked to be crying out for 6f but Kevin wanted to try and find a nice winnable opportunity first. When the race at Redcar came along it looked ideal despite a large field of 15 runners declared for the contest. Heir had the best form by quite a way with many of his rivals either making a debut or needing to step up on what they had shown. He had a favourite’s chance and was sent off just that at 15/8 with his nearest market rival Essenza, who had a debut 2nd to her name, 7-2. Shane Gray is the man who owner Dave Stone likes to call on and he was in the plate once again with a simple plan in mind.
Experience can be vital for these types of races and The Great Heir was smartly away, easily getting into his stride. This allowed Shane to just drop his hands and let the colt run. From his stall of 6 there was plenty of options but Redcar does tend to see them race up the centre of the track. Having jumped into the mix for the lead Shane was happy to when Arthur’s Spirit, drawn next to him, went forward to vie for the lead with Cheerupmylove. This gave Heir a nice lead and he tracked across to sit on his rival’s tail. It was a nice gallop as the field converged into an arrow formation through the first furlong.
With the leaders going strong the field quickly flew through the first couple of furlongs and this pace had a few of the back markers already working. Heir was travelling well with a bit of cover and kept tabs on the leaders with relative ease. The pace wouldn’t cease though and the horses further back were soon trying hard to close on the front half dozen. Passing the halfway mark and it became evident that the final push was going to be a test and whoever came out on top would need to see out every yard of the 5f.
Passing the 2f pole and now Shane began get lower in the saddle as Cheerupmylove looked to kick from the front. Despite the strong pace she carried on going and it looked as though she would be the one to pass. Those who had given chase were soon put to task and knew that the outsider was going to be a challenge to pass. Heir stuck his head and maintained his position as Shane wound him up through the gears. He didn’t show an immediate turn of foot but he was not going back either which meant he was still the biggest danger. They were lining up for a crack at the leader but most had been repelled. As these began to wane and back pedal there was a couple of slow starters who were now moving through to join in and the final furlong looked set for a 5/6 way shootout.
The Great Heir was starting to gain momentum and as they headed into the final furlong he was begging to get into top gear. Now Shane had got him up to the leader he changed his hands in an attempt to get a second run from his mount. Now he had lined up with Cheerupmylove, Heir was in full swing and edged into the lead with 150 yards to run. He pulled is way into a length advantage and looked full of running. Unfortunately experience had only been seeing horse in front of him come the finish so once he hit the front it was a bit of a new sight for him. Shane had to keep him going and although he was holding those who had raced with him, there was a late flourish from the newcomer I Believe In You. For a second it looked like this may be the run to take the win. The Great Heir was doing enough but once he heard the rattle of hooves he realised not all was done. Shane was keeping him true and the juvenile found a little more to repel the late challenge to win by 1/2 length form Cheerupmylove.
It was great result for owner Dave Stone who was enjoying his first winner for son Oliver, who had designed new silks for The Great Heir. With them all there to cheer him on, Heir did a fantastic job to get his head in front and continue his progression. Before the race it was felt that he would appreciate 6f and after this performance it has confirmed that. Being French bred, The Great Heir is eligible for the French premiums, a bonus system for winners in France. This could well be an option next for Heir with a 6f Conditions race being in the search criteria. He has done well so far and a 40% bonus on top off any winnings is certainly worth taking a shot at. Tough and game, The Great Heir would prove the ideal type to travel across the sea to hopefully plunder a nice pot and pay the way for connections.