York Double For The Ryan’s
Every Yorkshireman and Yorkshire trainer loves a winner at the Knavesmire, the premier track in the north. Owner Steve Ryan has had to be patient this year but in the latter stages it has proven to be very fruitful, getting better at York’s final meeting as he secured a double courtesy of Apiarist and Irish Nectar.
Big, scopey and a lovely mover, Apiarist ticks many of the boxes to make up into a lovely colt. He was always going to be a work in progress but had shown enough his year that there could be a nice race in him this season. After a disappointing run last time out, which may have been a blessing in disguise, Apiarist broke his maiden in the valuable 7f British EBF £100,000 Final.
From day one Apiarist had shown himself to be a lovely colt but he was never going to be an early season type. As the year went on he got stronger and stronger, eventually making his debut at York in mid July. It was a promising debut which was followed up by a narrow defeat on his second start at Thirsk. That was two good efforts, which both had stated that a win was just around a corner. Unfortunately a lack lustre display next time, where tactics caused him race too free, proved to be quite disappointing.
The final was an obvious race for the colt with a huge prize on offer. Having shown form around York and with a decent field likely, it seemed as though the race would suit. Tom was in the saddle once again and was looking to get his mount to settle early on, giving the colt the best chance to run his race. This proved to be quite simple to implement as an early dash allowed Tom to steady his mount from stall 5. Camped at the rear of the field, he would have to pass almost all of his rivals if he were to capture the contest.
Ground conditions looked testing with sods of turf kicking up from the recent wet weather. Despite this the pace was strong and the field quickly swung around the bend and into the straight. although he was at the back of the field, Apiarist managed to take the shortest route round as his rivals kicked off the bend. Seemingly he was happy on the ground and made some headway off the bend, edging up and moving into midfield.
The pace increased around the 3f marker and Tom just nudged his mount along to keep his position, and also move through the gears. They got racing and the final couple of furlongs would be a real test of stamina. Between the 2f and 1f poles the field got split apart as Sailthisshipalone burst through to lead, a rival that had beaten Apiarist at Thirsk. Apiarist was now hitting top gear and picked off his rivals as he made a beeline for the breakaway leader.
Entering the final furlong Apiarist was in third spot, down a couple of lengths. He was in full swing now though and moved into second, despite edging left under pressure. Tom quickly got him balanced and went after the leader. Looking to avenge his defeat from Thirsk, Apiarist was getting stronger in the latter stages and threw down his challenge with 1/2f to run. He edged to the lead, and whilst his rival was not laying down, Apiarist just had enough. Galloping through the line, he secured his first win by a neck and securing the big prize fund.
Apiarist was always going to be a better 3yo so whatever he did this year would be a bonus. To secure a big prize like this is some bonus to have and it will do him the world of good to get his head in front. That will be him for the year now and there is a lot to look forward to next year. The way he strides out suggests that a mile would suit him next year and possibly a touch further in time.
Just over an hour later, the champagne was popped again as the beige silks were seen flying down the Knavesmire. Irish Nectar was looking to back up his latest win and did so with an impressive turn of foot to take the 5f Parsonage Hotel and Cloisters Spa Nursery Handicap.
It took Irish Nectar a little longer than expected to win his first race. Early on he had threatened that a win was a given but it took until his fifth start to earn that elusive victory. New tactics, which were patient, as well as the ease in ground could well have been the catalyst for that and he would face the same here. Shane Gray took the ride and was looking to implement the same winning methods.
Looking to steady him from he start, Irish Nectar slightly went against that as he just ducked right. This was no issue as it meant that he would settle at the rear of the field. The pace was frantic and after 1/2f Irish Nectar was well off the pace, not that Shane worried at any stage, even though he was well over 10 lengths down. There was no hanging about and the race did seem to be quite ridiculous as the leaders were closing round 42mph.
Patience must have been difficult for Shane as he saw his rivals go off in the distance but even at halfway he had yet to move. It was here that he began to just work away and Irish Nectar responded, just quickening up to close the gap marginally. To see the in running odds would have been interesting as they would soon change. Passing the 2f marker the leaders had to start working but the pace dramatically slowed and it was only Irish Nectar who was quickening. Despite being 4/5 lengths down, half their deficit to earlier, Irish Nectar suddenly looked like he would be a huge player int he finish.
Swooping down the stands side, Irish Nectar just continued to pass rivals until he had just the leader in his sights. Entering the final furlong he was coming with a wet sail and it looked as though the lead was his in matter of time. He didn’t get to the lead until late on but once he did he just swept by the leader. Powering on through the line he stretched clear to win by an impressive 1 3/4 lengths.
Both jockey and horse impressed here. It is very easy to panic when you have a lot of ground to make up but Shane rode with ultimate confidence. He had a very willing partner who also showed a good attitude to race alone before quickening up. There doesn’t seem to be any more races for the 2yo and so he will likely be given a break now. The way he finished off the race shows that 6f should be no issue next year and the big 3yo handicaps should be ideal for Irish Nectar.