Treble To Start The Month Off
August is an important month for the team with York’s Ebor meeting just weeks away. It is a big meeting so to go into the week in good form is always a boost. Dubai Jemila, Aleezdancer and Spiritofthenorth racked up a treble to kickstart the month and continue the good form of the yard.
This year saw the introduction of the Dubai World Cup Breeze up sales hosted by Goffs. With 72 lots up for sale, the selected lots offered progeny to suit worldwide racing with an array of stallions. Dubai Jemila made history as she became the first winner from the sale when taking the 7f British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies Novice Stakes at Ayr.
Starting her career at Beverley, Dubai Jemila began over 5f. Very green from the start and showing her inexperience, she stayed on towards the end of the race, being strongest at the line. Although she had shown plenty of speed in her home work, it seemed as though a sterner stamina test was needed following her debut.
Only five runners would line up at Ayr but it looked an interesting novice race. Dubai Jemila was taking a fair step up in trip, adding 2f on to her debut run. Despite going up against a previous winner, who would be carrying a penalty for that success, the filly was vying for favouritism but ultimately would be 11/8 second fav.
Tom Eaves took the ride and was positive from the start. Having jumped well, Dubai Jemila led through the early stages. There was no competition for the lead so Tom was able to dictate a steady pace. Racing through the first couple of furlongs the field headed into the left handed bend with very little separating the 5 strong field.
There was very little change in the race until Tom decided to increase the tempo. Nobody committed too early and the five runners travelled well into the home straight. Dubai Jemila could try and kick from the front but it was all about timing. With no pressure Tom just allowed his filly to travel where she was happy.
Increasing the tempo at the 2f marker, Dubai Jemila looked to stretch her legs and quicken. This created a domino effect as all her rivals matched this move. The sprint was on for the finish and all five runners had their chance. Dubai Jemila was lengthening under a drive and continued to hold the advantage along the rail.
Moving into the final furlong Dubai Jemila looked under big pressure from a couple of rivals. This trio began to move away from the others as they battled it out for the lead. Although she continued to find more, Dubai Jemila lost the lead and was headed. Tom was still getting a tune from his filly and she dug deep for him. Changing her legs, Dubai Jemila rallied and went again. Looking to overcome the head deficit she quickened up once more. The lead changed hands once more with 100 yards to run as the chestnut came back at her rivals. Grabbing the lead back, Dubai Jemila now started to stride out and was getting on top the further they went. Hitting the line well, she secured a first win by 1/2 length.
Dubai Jemila showed a great attitude to win and looks like a filly who has a bright future. Although she made the running, there were signs of inexperience still and she will continue to improve with racing. The step up in trip really suited and it even looks as though Dubai Jemila could get a touch further in time.
Three year olds can be a difficult age group to place. They are young horses coming on from their juvenile season and are maturing all the time. Aleezdancer had proven himself a smart enough 2yo when conditions suited and he was back to winning ways when taking the feature 6f Wilmot-Smith Memorial Handicap at Ripon.
Aleezdancer began the year off a mark of 91, which would see him competing in some tough handicaps. Connections always knew he would require ease in the ground so it would be a case of waiting for conditions to suit. Last year he had shaped as though 7f would be his trip and that is what Aleezdancer started over this season. Having run well over the trip it looked as though a win was waiting to come although it may be an autumn campaign when the gelding would be likely to get his preferred going.
Unfortunately when everyone else was enjoying a hot summer, Aleezdancer was praying for rain. He went up to Newcastle for a 7f handicap as the Tapeta offers lower going when the heat has the opposite effect. Running well for a long way, Aleezdancer just weakened late on and suggested that a drop back to sprinting may be the key to getting back to winning ways. Although there would be plenty of options, it was Mother Nature who would decide when Aleezdancer would tackle 6f once again.
The feature race attracted just 5 runners but they were a quality bunch, sown by Aleezdancer being the lowest rated off 89. Good to soft going was perfect but it was interesting to see the 3yo back sprinting. Kevin Stott has been enjoying a good run of form recently and was back on board. Jumping on terms, Aleezdancer tagged on to the leader, sat just behind as they charged through the first furlong. With the small field size, they race towards the near side as the leader took the rail and blazed a trail.
Dropping in trip can be tricky with the race having a different tempo but Aleezdancer showed good early speed and travelled well. The early pace had been strong but it soon steadied up as they raced down towards halfway. It was at this point that Kevin just had to nudge his mount along to maintain his position. The lead had changed hands as Dakota Gold moved to the front and this was exactly who Aleezdancer had tracked from the start.
Moving towards the 2f marker Kevin felt his mount come good underneath him as Aleezdancer cruised through on the bridle. Suddenly he loomed up alongside the leader but Stott wanted to take a bit more time. The leading pair began to edge away from the others as they took each other on. Aleezdancer looked to be going the better but he was up against a talented veteran.
Having the race between them the leading duo would fight it out for the final furlong. Kevin asked his mount to go and win the race which Aleezdancer obliged. Quickening up he edged his rival and began to find more. His rival was brave once headed and tried to rally. It was neck and neck with 1/2f to run but it was at this point where Aleezdancer found a bit more. He had plenty more to give and started to power on, moving away from his challenger. Hitting the line well, Aleezdancer earned his first win of the season by 3/4 length and arguably a career best performance.
It was fantastic to see Aleezdancer get his head in front and he confirmed that 6f is his trip. Having travelled well he quickened up nicely and was strong at the line. It suggests that a bigger field could be ideal for the gelding where they go a really strong gallop. He travels very well and this could benefit him far more. Ground is key but there are plenty of options in the Autumn and the plan would be to head to Ayr now, with the Silver Cup a likely target.
A good day turned into a great day with the treble completed in Ripon’s finale. Spiritofthenorth has been one of the most consistent performers but not always been the easiest to win with. That all changed with a brave performance in the 1m4f Goodbyeflys Ripon Racecourse Stable Staff Championships Handicap.
From 22 career efforts Spiritofthenorth had finished in the first three on 16 occasions. That sort of consistency is hard to come by and especially when he also transferred it to the NH sphere. Having had a nice break since running over hurdles, Spiritofthenorth had returned to the flat with a good run over 1m2f. The way he stayed on that day suggested that trying 1m4f for the first time could be beneficial.
Kevin Stott was in the saddle again and felt he had figured out the 5yo. His tactics were clear from the off as he drove his mount into the lead. There was a challenge for the early lead but Kevin was determined to dictate and ensured Spiritofthenorth was the one to take control. Despite winning the early battle he was continually challenged which meant there was a strong gallop up front.
Although it took a while down the back straight, the field eventually settled into their positions as Stott let his mount stride on. Now that everything calmed down, he could give Spiritofthenorth a bit of a breather and let him find a sensible rhythm. The five runners galloped down the far straight and almost in single file, heading into the home bend.
Swinging around the bend allowed Kevin to fill the tank up, giving Spiritofthenorth another breather. It was a waiting game in front, trying to perfect the time to kick on and stretch the field. Entering the home straight they still had 4f to go, a long way to run. Kevin loosened the reins to allow his mount to lengthen and increase the tempo. His nearest pursuer couldn’t match this and weakened away to leave other rivals the chance to have a go at Spiritofthenorth.
From 3f out Kevin got into his drive. Spiritofthenorth responded but lengthening his stride in front. He had a bullseye on his back from the off and was under pressure. As they raced on to the final 2f the race split up with Spiritofthenorth pulling away with one other. The leading pair were taking each other along which saw the rest toils in their wake.
All the way down the straight Spiritofthenorth had looked like a sitting duck but they didn’t know how much he had in the tank. Every time his rival got close, Spiritofthenorth would go again. Kevin was asking and his mount was answering. It was when they passed the 1f marker that Spiritofthenorth looked on top. He had been holding his rival at bay and now he began to power on. There were no further challenges coming and Spiritofthenorth pulled away, galloping out to a 3/4 length victory.
Horse and jockey both deserve huge credit for this win. Kevin Stott perfected his tactics but he had a very willing partner with Spiritofthenorth. The trip was a first but he saw out every yard and looks sure to stick to this stamina test. He showed a great attitude all the way down the straight and was well on top at the line. Spiritofthenorth is consistent but also very versatile so the options open to him are countless.