Review of Week 6th April – 12th April
A very busy week began on Bank Holiday Monday when Teds Brother ran at Redcar in the one mile handicap and Jordan Nason rode taking five pounds off. As the stalls opened Teds Brother seemed to try to anticipate the start but the gates remained shut for that spilt second and as they opened Teds Brother jumped into the air and came out of the stalls very awkwardly and Jordan became unbalanced. This allowed the rest of the field to gain a good few lengths advantage and Jordan had to gather Teds Brother together and put his foot back into his stirrup after losing his iron briefly. Teds Brother managed to get onto the heels of the field as they charged down the straight track. They made some headway three furlongs from home but they soon become under pressure and Jordan after giving the horse a couple of smacks with the whip soon accepted that they weren’t going to be involved in the finish. The horse was always going to need the run and he will strip fitter next time out.
Tuesday saw the third year that Ontoawinner have hired a box at Pontefract for their opening meeting of the season and with plenty of owners in attendance there was a great atmosphere. Blue Maisey made her reappearance in the opening race, a mile handicap and Jack Garritty rode taking five pounds off. Drawn out in stall nine Maisey got a nice break but with a strong early pace Jack allowed Maisey to find her stride and they settled into midfield as the field made their way round the turns of Pontefract. During the race Jack had to shake the reins on Maisey to get her interested and still be competitive. Up the home straight Jack stood up in his irons and allowed Maisey to finish towards the rear of the field. Unsaddling Jack said that the horse was never travelling and although she would come on for the run it was a disappointing effort. Edwin was equally disappointed as Maisey had worked really well in the weeks before the race.
In the last race of the day at Pontefract, Fazza took his chance in the one mile two furlong handicap with Paul Mulrennan taking the ride. After Maisey’s run everyone was a little apprehensive as Maisey had worked better than Fazza for most of the winter, but Fazza loves Pontefract and had run well first time up last year. Drawn better in stall two Fazza jumped out well and although several horses went towards the front Paul allowed Fazza to stick to the rail in fifth place. The front two horses began to take each other on and the field were well strung out with Fazza positioned nicely. As the field approached the turn for home Paul had Fazza in behind two horses that were under pressure and Paul still had Fazza travelling nicely. As the field turned in the straight Paul allowed Fazza to drift to these horses outside and attacked them. At the furlong from home pole Fazza moved up and took the lead but was challenged by a horse staying on from midfield. Inside the final furlong Fazza and this other horses fought out a driving finish and only in the final 50 yards did the other horse get on top and Fazza had to settle for second place. A great run on his come back and Paul unsaddling said that he thought he would win turning for home but was only just denied and Fazza would definitely win races this year. In the last three years in that particular race we have had the winner in Gold Show three years ago, Gold Show was third last year and now Fazza kept up our excellent record in this race.
It was the end to a good day at Pontefract and it was so good to see so many owners in attendance and Fazza’s performance sent everyone home happy.
Wednesday saw two horses carrying the Yellow and White colours. Yourartisonfire kicked off the day’s runners when he went to Nottingham and ran in the one mile and half a furlong handicap and Silvestre De Souza rode. Breaking from the stalls the pace was not overly strong and Silvestre and Yourartisonfire elected to race in fourth place. YAIOF was racing enthusiastically and pulling Silvestre’s arms who kept a tight grip of him and as the field made their way up the home straight Silvestre allowed YAIOF to move up stylishly at around the three furlong from home marker and by the time another furlong had gone YAIOF had pulled Silvestre to the front and into the lead. At this point Silvestre kicked YAIOF in the belly and they went for home and within a few strides they had gone three lengths clear. It was a race winning move and although Silvestre kept YAIOF up to his work inside the final furlong the win was never in doubt and they won by a length and a half with another two lengths back to the third horse. It was a brave decision to allow YAIOF to take his chance in this race as the plan had always been the race at Haydock he won last year but YAIOF’s rude health swayed Karl’s’ decision and it paid off in style.
Just ten minutes later Piceno was up at Catterick and there was every chance of another double being landed with conditions in his favour in the race that he had won last year. He was ridden by David Parkes who took off five pounds in the seven furlong handicap. Breaking brilliantly from stall six they were already a length up after 50 yards. David allowed Piceno to bowl along in front and with no pressure being applied Piceno was tanking along the back straight and railed superbly around Catterick’s tight turn into the home straight. At the three furlong from home marker they were still three lengths to the good with many of his rivals under pressure and not making any headway. There appeared to be only one exception, a horse that had made its way up the rails and was beginning to close. Two furlongs from home David began to get serious as Piceno just started to slow and this rival swept past into the lead just inside the final furlong. Piceno tried to rally but the winner had gone beyond recall. Piceno kept going but he was piped on the line by a finishing horse and they had to settle for third place with seven lengths back to the fourth horse. It was a gallant effort from Pi who gave everything but was ultimately beaten by a very well handicapped horse. In that sort of form he will be winning when conditions are in his favour.
On Thursday Abi Scarlet went to her favourite course Southwell and ran in the six furlong claimer where David Parkes rode taking fie pounds off her back. This was on paper a difficult assignment with the favourite having twenty five pounds in hand on official handicap ratings and the market made that horse four to one on favourite. From the off David got Abi rolling in her first time blinkers and she lead the small field out of the back straight around the turn. As the field hit the home straight Abi was a couple of lengths in front of the rest of the field whilst the favourite came hard up against the stand rail. Inside the final quarter of a mile David got to work on Abi and she was clear of the rest with only now the favourite to beat. Abi drifted across slightly towards the favourite and as the camera angle changed she was still in front well inside the final furlong although things were getting tight. In the final 20 yards it was neck and neck and only at this point the favourite nosed ahead to claim the win. A fantastic effort from our girl who tried her heart out, she was so unlucky not to register another win at Southwell for her owners.
The last of the runners for the week was Fast Shot at Newcastle on Saturday in the six furlong handicap and Rachel Richardson rode taking seven pounds off his back. During the day the strong winds and sunshine had dried the ground out and there was very little soft places left. With the runners running straight into a head wind the plan was to find some cover and then let Fast Shot finish the race off coming through horses like he enjoys although it was expected he would need the run. From the off Rachel tucked Fast Shot in behind a wall of horses that led the field and they were positioned in midfield and travelling nicely. A few horses were being blown around and being tucked in, Fast Shot had some good protection from the wind. As the field went inside the final two furlongs Rachel and Fast Shot were still traveling strongly whilst many of their rivals began to come under pressure, Rachel and Fast Shot manoeuvred themselves around horses dropping back and inside the final furlong Rachel got to work. Fast Shot was gaining on the leader all the time and a smack with the whip propelled Fats Shot closer to the leader and it was only in the final few strides that his lack of race fitness told and a fast finishing horses overtook them nabbing second place from Fast Shot and Rachel and they had to settle for third place beaten just over half a length. A very good reappearance from a horse who traditionally improves for his first run, on this evidence a win isn’t far away.