Evening Treble Continues The Winning Trend
It has been a quiet few weeks with fewer runners due to ground conditions and a couple of bug meeting just finishing. With some moisture in the air the ground has eased a little which allowed a the yard to get a few more horse out and the winners have begun to flow again. The evening saw two meetings being contested and Kevin returned with a treble as Expensive Queen, Sound Reason and Leap Year Lad all took victories in their respective races.
Sound Reason threatened to rise through the ranks of the sprinting division last year but didn’t quite break through. With a progressive profile and early season win looked set to be the stepping stone but unfortunately that never materialised. It has been longer than expected but Sound Reason was back in the winners circle when he took the 5f Wellocks Of William Jackson Food Group Family Handicap at Beverley.
Seen at his best over a stiff 5f, Sound Reason had tended to enjoy easier ground and coming home late in his race. After disappointing so far this season, and possibly not putting in full effort, it was decided that it might be time to change tactics. This did spark a revival of sorts when he attempted to force the issue at Ayr but ultimately just came up short, running a fine race to finish 2nd.
Sound Reason has always performed well at Beverley and looked to back up his run when reading to take on 13 rivals at the Yorkshire track. Billy Garritty was booked for the ride and adopted the attacking tactics once again. It was a strong gallop from the outset as the chestnut Gedling helped to press the lead. Sticking towards the far side, Sound Reason was prominent as his fellow leaders were more towards the centre of the track.
There was no binding place and little would get into the contest. Despite the ground being described as good to firm, Sound Reason travelled great and moved into contention with ease. It became clear that those held up were likely in the wrong spot as they raced past the 2f marker. Moving through on the bridle, Sound Reason quickly took the lead with Billy yet to pose any questions.
The pair edged more towards the centre as they hit the rising ground and with the lead, it was time to go. Sound Reason put his nearest pursuers to the sword immediately as he went to win his race. With the majority of the field struggling to get involved, Sound Reason had a clear break on the field as he charged uphill. He was finding plenty for pressure but the rising ground would sap as much energy as possible. The lead shortened in the final 1/2 furlong but Sound Reason proved brave in front and had plenty left to repel a late charge. All out, he crossed the line to secure a head victory.
It is great to see Sound Reason bounce back to winning ways and he has put two good runs together. New tactics have helped but they may not be the answer all along and it could be that keeping the gelding interested is the way forward. He is still a way off his highest mark so there is no reason to think that he cannot go from this and put together a little sequence of wins.
Across the M62 there was another meeting taking place and it only took 15 minutes for the second leg of the treble to take place. Leap Year Lad has proven a consistent performer this year and he finally got his second career win when taking the 1m2f Visit Racingtv.com Handicap at Haydock.
The spot of Havana Grey proved to be a low burner last season, but this year he has steadily improved with his racing. The early months of 2023 were frustrating with he grey as he was knocking on the door, without gaining that maiden win. Thankfully he ticked that box by winning at Hamilton, coming from off the pace to win comfortably. Unfortunately the summer months ensured the ground when quite quick which went against Leap Year Lad, who ran well but just couldn’t utilise his galloping style.
Doing his best work late on in races, connections felt a step up in trip might be suitable and so headed to Haydock to tackle 1m2f. Sam James took the ride and set out to be positive when Leap Year Lad took the lead leaving the gates. His 6 rivals were happy to let him make the running and Leap Year Lad quickly opened up a clear 1 1/2 length lead. Sam had not question marks in his had and decided tor die him like he would stay all day long.
Whether his rivals didn’t fancy him to stay or they felt the pace was too strong, nobody tackled Leap Year Lad and allowed him to dictate at his pleasure. Turning into the home straight he still had a clear lead and even allowed Sam to glance between his legs. There was still over 1/2 mile to run but as Leap Year Lad stretched out you could see a few nerves. Moving past the 3f marker those in behind had to try and make up some ground. Leap Year Lad was enjoying his time on the front end and continued to gallop on.
Passing the 2f pole was heading into unknown territory. It looked as though it may be a little stretching for the gelding as he was joined for the lead, looking like a bit of a sitting duck. Now Sam had to get animated and asked his mount to find more. From looking comfortable, he then looked likely to be beaten to suddenly looking strong once more. Responding to Sam, Leap Year Lad changed his legs and began to power on again. Taking the lead back again, he kicked on, opening up another clear advantage heading into the final furlong. As he stretched and galloped clear Leap Year Lad put the race to bed, taking the spoils by 1 3/4 lengths.
This was an impressive display and the new trip certainly helped to squeeze out more improvement from Leap Year Lad. It looked as tough he thoroughly enjoyed himself and probably was only doing enough until pressured late on. In the end he has seen the trip out powerfully and winning with ease. The winning owners, My Vein Clinic Syndicate are local to Haydock which makes this victory all the more sweeter. Leap Year Lad will likely stick to this trip now and it is easy to think that he could put another win on the board following this performance.
The juvenile crop of 2023 have made a nice start and there have been plenty of 2yo winners so far this season. As the months have progressed the longer distance races have begun. Expensive Queen hails from a family where stamina is more of the predominant trait and she proved this on debut. Waiting for the right race, Expensive Queen made a winning debut in the 7f British EBF Fillies Maiden Stakes, completing a double at Haydock and Treble on the evening.
Lope De Vega is one of the most popular and successful stallions on the current roster. Due to this his progeny command substantial fees at the sale and Expensive Queen was no different , being a €260,000 purchase from Arqana. She had always shown ability in her homework but even from an early stage she showed that a longer trip than sprinting would be more suitable.
Neil Callan has enjoyed a stellar first half of the season and was doing the steering on debut. Steadily away, the filly took quite a keen tug through the early stages. Neil had to keep her under control but allowed Expensive Queen to move forward and give chase to the leader, who was also the favourite. Once she had settled down, Expensive Queen got into a nice rhythm and found her stride. The field would enter the left handed bend after the first couple of furlongs which would bring them into the second part of the race.
Swinging for home, the order remained the same as the favourite continued to take them along. Expensive Queen travelled smoothly down the straight and as they moved towards the 2f marker she moved up to begin her challenge. With the leader looking to quicken away, Callan just let his filly stretch and keep tabs. It was Expensive Queen who was moving best of all and she cut the lead with every stride, travelling on the bridle. Looming up alongside the leader, Expensive Queen had yet to commit but once she did it was almost instantly race over. Once Neil asked her to quicken the filly showed a very professional attitude and moved through the gears. Taking the lead, Expensive Queen continued to lengthen and the further she went the more she began to assert. With the minimum of fuss, Expensive Queen opened her account at the first try, winning convincingly by 1 3/4 lengths.
It was an impressive debut from Expensive Queen and she really looks like a filly who could have a bright future. She will improve for this experience so to do that on debut was all the more impressive. Discussions will be had as to what the best plan is for Expensive Queen but there could be some nice races to look forward to in the coming months.