Dark Moon Back On The Rise
When a horse begins to slide in the handicap it can be very hard to put a halt to it, especially if there is no obvious reason why. Dark Moon Rising had mixed it with some very smart 3yo’s last season. Winning a conditions early in the year, he then went on to challenge in pattern company throughout the season. Thankfully he bounced back to winning ways to win the 1m4f Betting Better With Sky Bet Handicap at York.
The son of Night Of Thunder has struggled this season and there have been many things tried to help him recapture his best form. Trips, headgear and tactics have all been changed and tried, all to no avail. It was back on soft ground that saw Dark Moon Rising show a revival and with a staying on third over 1m2f, he would head to Knavesmire with confidence behind him.
He was given every chance by the handicapper but like all York handicaps, it was a competitive contest. Tom Eaves took the ride and took his time from the off, settling his mount towards the rear of the 9 runners. Although officially described as good, the ground had ease in it and looked to be on the slower side. The pace was fair as they raced down the back straight and past the stable yard. This would take them into the long, sweeping left handed bend which would enter the top of of the home straight.
Dark Moon Rising travelled comfortably at the rear of the field, taking the shortest route all the way round. When they swung into the home straight the leaders edged immediately off the rail and tracked over to the stands side. York is wide enough anyway but this move meant that nobody could complain about an unlucky run. Tom had plenty of room towards the centre of the track and started to nudge his mount along to get him lengthening and in a rhythm.
With Dark Moon Rising making headway down the outer of the field, the race changed complexion with the lead changing hands. Tom was working away as they passed the 2f marker and whilst he was getting a good response, the two up front travelled powerfully. Dark Moon Rising was passing rivals and staying on but he had over 3 lengths to make up on the leaders.
Once the leading pair began to battle away they pulled away from the rest, leaving it to Dark Moon Rising to chase them down. Tom was asking for everything and he was getting the response he asked for. Inch by inch they were cutting into the lead and moving into the final furlong, the gap had been drastically cut. Dark Moon Rising came through to join the leaders now he looked to stronger of the trio. The wind was in his sails and Dark Moon Rising took the lead with 1/2f to run. The further they went the stronger he looked and the 4yo continued to stride away. Kicking clear, he took the win by a comfortable 1 1/4 lengths.
It is great to see Dark Moon Rising back to form and on the evidence of this he can build back up to a higher level. There were times when all connections were left scratching their heads but Dark Moon Rising looks to be a solid middle distance performer. Ground could be the key to the 4yo, and he seems to appreciate bit of juice in the ground. There is a good handicap back at the Knavesmire for the Ebor meeting and this would be the most obvious choice for his next run.