Monday’s Racing Review at Wolverhampton
February 13, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Joe Fanning: In the familiar silks of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum doing what he does best, riding winners (Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Monday’s action at Wolves was lit up by a 63/1 treble from jockey of the moment and new AW title leader Joe Fanning but at the same time the whip debate once again reared it’s ugly head to trigger a fresh row. Nicky Mackay gave heavy odds-on favourite Stars In Your Eyes a remarkable ride to just win after the filly had huge problems going left-handed around Wolves’s turns. The official winning margin was just a nose but John Gosden’s runner must have covered at least 100 yards more than all the other runners. But in striking his mount 10 times Mackay fell foul of the stewards and copped a ban he described as ‘disappointing’.
Fanning was seen at his best to get Canadian Danehill a first win since July 2009 when he defied a wide draw to run out a ready winner of the opening sprint. Silver Linnet was all the rage last week at Kempton when making all on his stable debut for John Butler but it was the runner-up that day, Good Timin’, re-opposing on 6lb better terms who was backed into favouritism. Neither were a match though for Canadian Danehill who was once rated 94 but won today off just 50. It’s unlikely at 10 and after 128 runs there will be many paydays left in the old boy but his win at least confirms that Robert Cowell is back in form having had three winners from his last five runners now.
Mark Johnston’s stable jockey completed a quick-fire double for brilliant up-and-coming Scottish trainer Keith Dalgliesh when the loveable Hinton Admiral got his head in front to win the six-furlong seller. It was the eight-year olds 16th win from 64 starts and he remains a serious force at plating level. The Fanning/Dalgliesh team are hitting around the 24% strike-rate over the winter and the team reamins very much of interest.
In the 3.40 maiden Stars In Your Eyes justified strong market support to win by the narrowest of margins after jockey Mackay had to work a minor miracle to keep his mount from going through the fence. Gosden has been running some of his lesser lights so far this winter and in three previous starts Stars In Your Eyes had looked limited and not progressive. Aside from nearly running out she travelled strongly this time and if she had handled the track she surely would have won comfortably. Mackay said she had just ran green and you would have to be a brave man to back it next time in a handicap.
It was Mister Fizz, McGowan Racing’s danger 20/1 e/w selection who was next best and certainly has a race in him. The big disappointment in the race was the Johnston newcomer, Madrilene, who plugged on but was ultimately well beaten.
The same connections weren’t long off the score sheet though as Enery just got the gaps in time to score by half a length, complete Fanning’s treble and give him his 54th win of the all-weather season. Enery had failed to score in five maidens for Mahmood Al Zarooni last year and with a record of three seconds you would be forgiven for thinking the son of Teofilo had attitude problems. But he seemed game enough today and looks the sort Johnston will tweak further improvement from now handicapping.
Availed Speaker and Island Melody ran well too and pulled a long way clear of the other pair. Island Melody needs a good pace and may do well in a bigger field.
The feature, the 4.40 Class 4 handicap over a mile and a furlong and a half, was won in storming style by Reachforthebucks. Having just his tenth start he is already on his fourth trainer having been moved from Gavin Blake to Michael Wigham (whom he won three times for) and then Rae Guest. He was quite disappointing for Guest in his two starts for the stable but shaping better than two ninth-place finishes suggested. A move to Jane Chapple-Hyam saw him improve on his yard debut and he was well-backed today, coming from last to first under a confident Adam Kirby to pick up the leaders and win well. He has always had a touch of class and could be one to keep an eye on for the next couple of months.
Dubai Bounty disappointed having won so-well over course and distance last time but off top-weight it may have been too much of an ask for Gerard Butler’s mare to take her Wolves record to 3-3. West End Lad is on a tough mark but will pop up soon enough at a price when the handicapper relents a bit.
One who the handicapper may have flattered with an opening mark of 70 was Samedi who was well-beaten at 11/8 favourite for the Fanning/Johnston combo in the 5.10. Another transferred from Godolphin to Johnston’s yard after just one start for Al Zarooni last year, she was found a weak maiden last time out and just took advantage. With no obvious pace in the race Fanning tried to give Samedi one of his famous front-running rides but was headed before the final furlong and offered little resistance.
Berlusca made a winning debut for his new yard and after twice being beaten off 66 found improvement with Keiren Fallon up and the extra furlong in his favour. Lana won at the course last time out and finished fast for Hayley Turner without threatening an eased-down Berlusca. It’s hard to argue it was a strong race and for form fans only Berlusca is worth a look at next time.
In the concluding seven furlong handicap Piccolo Express did his best to replicate Reachthebucks as he came from last to first to gain his fourth career win, his third over course and distance and the first time for a jockey other than J P Guillambert. Russ Kennemore and Brian Baugh have been in decent nick recently and it was no surprise to see him go in at a big price of 11/1. Chester Deelyte is one to take out of the race. Having two surprise five furlong wins to her name she had her stamina to prove over this longer trip but the way she charged home suggests she may have even won under a more aggressive ride. Shirley Teasdale has now won twice on the horse and finished second from three rides. For a 7lb claimer she is pretty useful and we may find some of her mounts over-priced in the coming weeks.