Just two days ago Guy Reed Racing enjoyed a home bred winner when Conga made an impressive, winning debut. At the start of the season if you had asked anyone who would be the most likely debut winner from their 2yr old team most would have said a strong son of Piccolo, Three Card Trick. Well it isn’t as though he hasn’t shown good form and the win was worth waiting for as he shed his maiden tag at the fourth time of asking in the 5 1/2f Sha. Intelligent Ideas That Get Results British EBF Novice Stakes at York.
The excitement about Three Card Trick began before he even started any work at all. Why?? Because this chestnut colt was a full brother to Tiddliwinks, the Group 2 and 3 winning sprinter that Kevin trained for the late Mr Guy Reed. Fortunately once Kevin got him into full work it was clear that Trick had inherited some of his brother’s ability. That being said he was a far more mature horse than his brother ever had been and he came to hand rather quicker than would have been expected.
Having impressed at home, Three Card Trick was set the daunting task of starting out at York, where you never get an easy race. Showing his natural speed, Trick travelled supremely well and led throughout the contest. It was only in the latter stages when inexperience kicked in that he relented to the eventual winner. It was a good start to his career which would look even better when the winner went on to be placed in Group 2 company.
Most were thinking a win was a sure thing following his debut, more likely sooner rather than later. The seemingly perfect opportunity came next time out at Ripon. Dropping in trip to 5f he showed blistering speed throughout the contest, arguably going too hard. Trick was the winner everywhere bar the line where his break neck pace looked to have cost him in the closing stages as he was collared in the dying strides. Three Card Trick would not gain compensation next time at Thirsk either, finishing fourth when trying soft ground for the first time.
With 3 runs in the bag he received a handicap mark of 79, one which Kevin thought was below the ability level of his juvenile. Now having a mark the options opened up but Kevin decided to stick with the Novice route. Trick had some unfinished business with York and the novice race with a trip of 5 1/2f looked potentially like the ideal race. He would be joined by 2 of his stable mates, Baldwin and Joey Boy, along with 5 other rivals. On paper the race was not the strongest for a York novice but there were three winners in the field and Broken Spear had an official mark of 89, 10lb clear of Trick.
Tom Eaves had been the man in the saddle for the three runs but with him booked for Baldwin, Kevin Stott got the call up. Three Card Trick had shown good speed in all his runs, a trait that suits York. Again he jumped well and was quickly into stride, moving towards the lead immediately. That lead was of Broken Spear who is a very quick horse and set hard fractions up front immediately. Kevin didn’t want to force the issue but wanted to be close enough and keep the leader honest. Sat just off the lead he had to nudge his mount into the bridle but once in stride, Three Card Trick settled into a clear second place, a couple of lengths off the leader.
There was to be no hiding place in this race and Broken Spear was going at break neck speed in front. They raced just towards the centre of the track and the field was well spread out due to the strong gallop. Three Card Trick always maintained his position and would be the first one to have a pop at the leader if or when the pace was to collapse. It was no surprise to see them blast through the first half of the race, quickly baring down on the 3f marker and beyond.
Those that had been outpaced early on had been under pressure throughout and as they headed towards 2 1/2f from home Broken Spear just continued to up the ante in front. Trick was still going well although Kevin just had to niggle away to ensure he maintained tabs on the leader, keeping his mount up to speed. Those travelling in behind were already working hard, with not only the leader to get to but Three Card Trick still going well and they could see a hard task at hand. It was actually Trick’s stable mate Baldwin who was sat just on his tail who was probably the one travelling best of all, moving into the race dangerously.
Moving into the final couple of furlongs and Broken Spear was still going great guns, with no questions being asked just yet. Kevin now started to really wind his mount up and Trick started to lengthen, closing the gap on the leader. As they passed the 2f marker everyone of the field was hard at work, apart from the two up front. Three Card Trick just edged closer and closer to the leader. Jamie Spencer had yet to move on the leader and if he had anything extra in the tank then the last furlong could be an exciting prospect. Kevin was continuing to wind his mount up and shifting through the gears, Three Card Trick was now beginning to really quicken up.
Although the field were starting to finish the gap to the leader was still a couple of lengths. Broken Spear moved passed the 1f pole with a narrow lead over Three Card Trick. Now Spencer pressed the button but the response was not enough. The leader now couldn’t maintain his run and gave way to Three Card Trick who was in full stride and aiming for the wining post. Quickly opening up into a length lead, Trick was now striding out and looking strong. Broken Spear was swallowed up by a couple who were finishing but they couldn’t match Trick’s turn of foot. Having shown good speed to track the pace throughout he was now showing his power, getting stronger the further they went. With just daylight in front of him, Three Card Trick moved clear and galloped all the way to the line to secure an impressive 2 length victory.
People may question the strength of the race but Three Card Trick won very well and a lot can be said for the way he performed throughout the contest. Showing good speed to chase a strong gallop he then quickened up well and saw out every yard of the trip. It could be that his natural ability took him through his previous races and now he is really starting to mature. Strengthening up all the time he looks as though 6f will be his trip and he certainly looks a promising prospect. Kevin was fortunate to train the classy Tiddliwinks for Mr Reed and it is great that his brother looks talented too. He is certainly a better horse than his brother was at this stage of their careers and it is likely that he will only improve with time. There may be one more opportunity for Trick to run bit what race will be a decision made nearer the time.