Ripon + Bottle Means Only One Thing
Same track, same race, same time of year and same result. Justanotherbottle has proven to be a real lover of Ripon throughout the last few years. Not only has he won their feature race, the Great St Wilfred but he also owns the track record and took his winning tally to 4 when taking the 6f Ripon Races Ladies Handicap.
Last year Justanotherbottle put up an extremely impressive performance when wining the corresponding race. Not only did he win the race but he smashed the track record by almost a second. Thaw would prove to be his last win and despite a couple of good efforts following that, Justanotherbottle hadn’t managed to capture the same level of form.
His first few runs of this year were again below par and Justanotherbottle had dropped 13lb due to this. Being another year older, there were worries about whether he might be just starting to feel his age. Once the weather the weather changed and the sun began to appear, the 9yo started to come to life again and his homework proved that. It was a clear choice to head back to Ripon in a bid to find that winning form again.
Sam James was booked for the ride as the pair would line up against 5 rivals. Thankfully he is a very easy horse to ride once the stalls open but the first part is the trickiest. With a history of naughtiness in the stalls, you have to time everything just right with Justanotherbottle. Sam got it spot on, pulling the hood off at the last second and firing out of the stalls with perfect timing. Switching left, Justanotherbottle got to the front and tracked over towards the rail.
You can always tell when Justanotherbottle is on a going day as he simple tanks into the race and through the first half he travelled like a dream. It was Sam’s first time riding the gelding but he made the right call as he waited on board the leader. As his rivals cam under pressure, the gap closed but there was no panic and Justanotherbottle continued to gallop powerfully under Sam. With the sprinter continuing to travel, it was clearly a good day and Justanotherbottle proved to exuberant at his favourite track.
Moving into the final furlong, Justanotherbottle had cruised to this point and once he was asked he responded. Although he edged left, the 9yo had plenty left in the tank and was holding his rivals. Sam never had to get really serious and the pair comfortably held off the challengers to win by 1/2 length.
It was great to see Justanotherbottle back to his best and it is clear that Ripon is his happy place. You know by halfway in a race whether or not he is going to have a chance. Justanotherbottle travelled impressively throughout the race and had plenty in reserve for the challengers late on. He will be aimed at the same races as always, with the Stewards Cup at Goodwood and then back to Ripon for the Great St Wilfred.