There are many things that are looked at when Kevin heads to the yearling sales, pedigree, attitude, physical specimen etc. The one thing that will always spark his interest is if there is a horse going through related to one of his current or recent inmates. Salateen was a very smart juvenile and 3 yr old for Kevin before continuing his good career elsewhere. When another son of Amanda Carter was spotted at Tattersalls December sale, Kevin needed to see him. It took How Bizarre a little more time to get into the winner’s enclosure than his brother but he showed the brave family trait when making all to win the 1 Mile mint bet.com The Home Of Refreshing Odds Handicap at Southwell.
When How Bizarre first took the eye of Kevin it was a different type of horse than his brother had been. He had had the benefit of seeing Salateen after a great preparation from Grove Stud, who were selling at the breeze ups and could showcase his ability when galloping. How Bizarre, a Society Rock colt, was further from the finished article and although he looked like time would be needed, he showed the same athletic and fluent movement when showing himself. Due to the time of year and the possibility of needing time, Kevin was delighted when he snapped the chestnut up for just £15,000.
Time was How Bizarre’s friend and it took until last September for him to make his debut. He was gelded early in the year in a bid to help him grow and strengthen, which soon saw him come to hand. Fourth on his first run showed plenty of promise, especially when he also combined that with signs of immaturity. It looked as though he would be winning races, possibly sooner rather than later. Unfortunately he couldn’t quite gain that first win in two subsequent starts where immaturity proved to be his downfall. How Bizarre couldn’t quite match his counterparts so Kevin decided to leave him until a 3yr old, happy with the experience he had gained but wanting to let his physique mature to match.
Having come to hand early enough, How Bizarre made his return at the end of January. On handicap debut he attempted to make all, pulling out a big lead when kicking for home early. The leader all the way up to the final 150 yards where he was collared, just getting tired late on without having race sharpness on his side. It was a very positive run and pointed to a promising season ahead. Unfortunately there were limited options since that run and so Kevin would have to wait. Owing to limited options and then terrible wet weather, it was back to the all-weather when the option of Southwell came along.
Shane Gray has started the new year well and had been the man in the saddle for How Bizarre’s return so therefore kept the ride. It was a step up in trip for the chestnut but a drop in grade to a class 5, although on paper it looked a very competitive race. Shane would be donning the orange silks of Mr Rahman, who had purchased the gelding following his Newcastle run.
This time of year is always quite tricky to work out 3yr old handicaps such as this race. There are some who have been performing well throughout the winter, some returning following good juvenile seasons and some who were backward whose form doesn’t look great but have now matured ready to fulfil their potential. How Bizarre went into the race with a run under his belt and form so confidence was high that he could go one better, with improvement also expected. Shane decided that his last run had shown enough promise that he would employ similar tactics. When the stalls opened How Bizarre was quickly away and soon into stride. Although he had wanted to go forward, Shane got a little bit of help as Bizarre wanted to get on with it, just pulling a little hard initially. With favourite Mametz Wood also pushing forward it created a strong early gallop, which How Bizarre managed to get on top of and lead.
There were still signs of immaturity coming from How Bizarre as he carried his head a little awkwardly through the first 3f of the race. Despite this he had settled into a nice rhythm and held a length lead over the field. Every move was being tracked by the favourite on his heels, with little to separate the six runners. Heading into the bend, Bizarre took the field along but Shane could feel he wasn’t on the right lead. Trying to get his mount to change legs, Shane was doing all he could with the reins but unfortunately Bizarre didn’t heed the warning. As they entered the bend he ran wide, unable to take the correct route. Thankfully he didn’t race too wide and did attempt to help Shane out. No interference occurred and the favourite was still latched onto his heels. There was an opening along the rail which The Night King exploited and moved up to press the lead.
Rounding the bend into the home straight and the field only had 2 1/2f to run. How Bizarre was forced to race towards the centre thanks to his handling of the bend and it was now that Mametz Wood came to throw down a challenge. The Night King had closed along his inside and now Moltoir attempted to go round all 3 to challenge down the stands side. How Bizarre still held sway but was now being heavily pressured from all sides. Shane now had to get serious which was hard to do as Bizarre still continued to carry head quite high.
Moving inside the 2f marker and now the lead was cut to just a neck as the favourite came to threaten. There was still two other big pushes from Moltoir and The Night King and it seemed as though How Bizarre was just a sitting duck. Although he had gone hard early, hung around the bend and carried his head awkwardly he still held the advantage and was now responding to pressure. Slowly he began to drop his head to a more natural position and this helped the chestnut to begin to lengthen. Favourite backers must have been starting to count their money but Bizarre had other ideas.
From the 2f marker to the 1f it had looked as though Bizarre was going to be swallowed up. As they moved inside the final furlong The Night King and Moltoir began to weaken. There runs were spent and suddenly it became a two way battle for the lead. Mametz Wood was still the favourite and most likely winner but he had not counted on a tough foe. Now Shane was getting a real tune from How Bizarre who was finding more and more. The lead was still Bizarre’s and he now started to increase it inch by inch. Moving clear by 1/2 then 3/4 of a length, How Bizarre started to assert. Now with his rival out of his eye line, Bizarre just began to lug right. Shane corrected his mount and with just 100yards to run it was now race in the bag. With a length lead, Shane even had the luxury of easing down, allowing the runner up to close the winning margin to 1/2 length.
The win kept the good form of the yard going and it was great to see How Bizarre capitalise on the promise shown on his return. He showed a very likeable attitude and was very brave in front. Everything Shane asked of him he got and Bizarre won despite still showing signs of immaturity. He has a long way to go still and once he irons out these little kinks he could be open to plenty more improvement. Mr Rahman had made the move to buy How Bizarre so it was nice that the horse rewarded him immediately. What happens next will depend on what the handicapper does and how the weather fairs, but he looks a promising sort with a brave attitude.