Jar­dine hop­ing Na­keeta can go one bet­ter than his Ch­ester Cup dis­ap­point­ment in Northum­ber­land Plate

The Herald - Herald Sport - - RACING -

The form­book says that Na­keeta was beaten by just a short head in the Ch­ester Cup.

How­ever, Iain Jar­dine could be for­given for think­ing that it was more like 50 yards and the luck of the draw.

How­ever, the trainer is hope­ful that Na­keeta has things in his favour when he lines up to­day for the John Smith’s Northum­ber­land Plate at New­cas­tle.

Na­keeta was drawn 15 of 17 in the Ch­ester Cup mean­ing that his jockey, Roys­ton Ffrench, was forced to go wide of the field for the whole two miles, two and a half fur­longs of the race while the win­ner, No Heretic, had an eas­ier pas­sage from stall five and Jar­dine was left with mixed emo­tions.

“I was de­lighted that he ran a su­per race but we were only beaten a short­head,” he said. “What could Roys­ton do? That’s where we were drawn and Roys­ton did ev­ery­thing right but he’s gone fur­ther than the win­ner. And they prob­a­bly didn’t go as quick as we’d have liked as well. He loves to come off a re­ally strong pace so I think this race will be tai­lor-made for him. And he’s not drawn too badly in stall nine.”

Nine might prove to be Jar­dine’s lucky num­ber to­day but there is also 10, for the num­ber of times that La Ba­cou­et­teuse has won for the yard, while Shrewd has been an­other solid per­former with five wins from his last eight starts and Jar­dine is well on course to bet­ter his pre­vi­ous best sea­sonal to­tal on the Flat.

The Northum­ber­land Plate may just be one more win­ner on the board but, with a £92,385 cheque to the win­ner, it would fur­ther help to put Jar­dine on the map since he moved to his new yard at Cur­ruther­stown in Dum­fries from where Len Lungo trained Mir­jan to win the Plate in 2004.

Na­keeta has been some­thing of a work in progress for Jar­dine. He said: “He’s not a big horse but he’s a strong horse and he’s had time to de­velop and ma­ture.

“He’s still rea­son­ably treated. I don’t think we’ve seen the ab­so­lute best of him yet and he’s got a big chance. We just need a bit of luck.”

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