Ben Morgan didn’t find Goodwood so glorious during a frustrating month
Ben Morgan endures a frustrating - but instructive - month
The only bet I could muster up in the run up to Glorious Goodwood was a £15 e/w wager on Jack Hobbs in the King George. The ground was perfect for him, the step back up to 1m 4f suited and everything looked in place for a big run. Unfortunately, as soon as he turned for home he was off the bridle and dropped through the field like a stone, which was incredibly hard to watch.
I remember feeling the same frustration with Found last year as she kept getting beat but then went on and awarded my unwavering faith by winning The Arc impressively. Needless to say, I hope Jack Hobbs can pull off a similar feat.
Glorious Goodwood arrived but was met by heavy showers which changed the ground dramatically and dashed most of my hopes for the week in the process.Fortunately, Expert Eye ran before any of the rain came and confirmed to everyone that he has a huge amount of potential. In my view he looks as exciting as any horse since Frankel, partly because his trainer would not try him so highly at two if he never rated him as top class. The way he travelled past some very good two-yearolds was taking and when Atzeni went for him he lengthened well and pulled away.
Like Sir Michael Stoute said afterwards, he wouldn’t want too much further than a mile as I think he might not find as much once off the bridle due to his high cruising speed,but either way he looks a juvenile to follow.A £10 win bet returned £50 and that was as good as it got all week.
A pattern was emerging as every hour, one of my fancies got pulled out due to the ground. I had already backed Headway, a solid second in the Coventry at Ascot, when his owners’ racing manager stated he probably won’t like the ground. I sat waiting for him to be pulled out,but he wasn’t and he duly got beat which left me rather annoyed as £20 went down the drain.
The more it rained, the more I fancied Profitable in the King George Stakes. Clive Cox’s horse was an impressive second in the King’s Stand on ground that he shouldn’t have liked;with this in mind I was expecting a victory on the rain softened ground.
What I didn’t factor in was the fact that Battaash could be something out of the ordinary. Charlie Hills’ sprinter never looked like losing when he hit the front and although I was hoping he may paddle the last 100 yards, I never believed Profitable would catch him and resigned myself to losing another £30.
A further two quiet weeks followed Glorious Goodwood where both luck and interest evaded me but it got to the point where I didn’t have a whole lot to report for the readers of Racing Ahead. With this in mind, I went out chasing a good story a week before my deadline.
Kevin Ryan sent out the improving Weekend Offender at Ayr on the Monday and 11/4 looked generous so I placed £15 on the nose.I watched the race when I got back from work and despite a muddling pace, the manner of the victory was impressive.
The front two pulled well clear and Weekend Offender got the better of the battle and ended up winning a shade cosily.A result that brought home £56 and also a horse to follow as the runner up Royal Regent looks a winner in waiting next time out as he shouldn’t bump into too many Weekend Offenders in 10 furlong handicaps in the north.
Two days later it looked like the plan was coming together as the incredibly well-in Maori Bob came home at 5/1 under a very confident Lulu Stanford. Michael Bell’s improving stayer had earlier split Joshua Reynolds (rated 91) and Arab Moon (rated 90) at Newmarket and given he pulled a little clear of Arab Moon you would have thought he might have rated mid 70’s if the handicapper was being generous. So when I saw a mark of 65 next to his name I was in shock, and if you factor in Lulu Stanford’s 5lb claim you end up with a certainty. I was very confident and if I had been in form I would have ploughed in with my maximum stake, but given my form was indifferent I played cautious and stuck a tenner on the nose and collected £60.
The monetary returns wasn’t as important as the confidence that result gave me as I now went into the weekend confident that a big win was just around the corner.
And given a bit of luck, it would have been.My big bet of the weekend,Learn By Heart, looked an improving type and judging by his manner of victory at Doncaster he looked to be a good bet at 3/1. I struck a £50 win bet hoping he would go from the front as I thought he was a guaranteed stayer on the ground. Instead, Andrea Atzeni kept him tucked in fourth place and the order didn’t change much as Hey Gaman was gifted an easy lead and won from the front.
After such disappointment I was hopeful that an old friend could help me out.Wall Of Fire’s form figures look indifferent of late but I know he comes alive at this time of the year and he looked a good bet in the Geoffrey Freer stakes. I placed £5 e/w at 14/1 and my confidence grew the more Josephine Gordon scrubbed him along up the straight, as he does take some rousting before he hits top gear.The front- runners were falling back through the field as Defoe andWall Of Fire took it up.I was adamant Hugo Palmer’s horse was about to squeeze up the rail and win by two lengths when Atzeni carelessly darted Defoe across to the rail and forced Josephine to stop riding and reroute, easily losing two lengths, which is more than the eventual distance he lost by.
As a stewards enquiry was called,every television pundit stated how the result wouldn’t be changed because of“the way the rules work”– which left me wondering, why on earth have we got rules in racing which favour the guilty party?
Wall Of Fire apparently wasn’t gaining at the line but to get a horse likeWall Of Fire into full momentum from a virtual standstill takes more than 100 yards. Basically the rules allow a horse to hinder every other horse but as long as they do it far enough out so everyone can say “well he had plenty of time to get back up if he was going to”. I have no doubt that the rules have to change, let’s hope it’s not too long before they do.
To top off a frustrating weekend, Barwell got touched off by a lick of paint at Doncaster which sent another £20 to the bookies. A tricky month, but I am fairly confident I have a few gems up my sleeve to help me win it all back next month.
Wall of Fire