Ben Mor­gan didn’t find Good­wood so glo­ri­ous dur­ing a frus­trat­ing month

Racing Ahead - - CONTENTS -

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

Jack Hobbs

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