Another Racing Ahead writer comes out on top while Ben Morgan has an up and down month
Ben Morgan has an up and down month, and is usurped by Fergie!
David Egan eased Mountain Angel to the front two furlongs out, a bold move with a long way to go on testing ground. His body language radiated confidence as he sat motionless with a double handful. I was confident because he was an unlucky loser last time who looked handicapped to win soon.
He liked soft ground and stayed the trip well so I was almost doing cartwheels when he was still clear a furlong from home. However, Egan now started to ask his mount to give him more. I was getting more anxious also as some from the back where starting to pick up momentum and he had been in front for what felt like a year.
The £60 I had on at 11/2, which looked a surefire investment 20 seconds earlier, was firmly in the balance. Even in the last 50 yards I thought he might just hang on but in the last few strides the fast finishing Buzz put his head in front and chinned Egan and myself on the line. A heartbreaking blow as a big win was taken from me in painstaking fashion. If held onto for longer, would he have won? I’m not sure.
Just two hours later, my nerves took another bashing. Flying Pursuit looked the bet of the year in the Ayr Gold Cup as the ground got more and more testing.
He loves soft ground and six fur- longs and he was a free each-way wager at 12/1. A £10 each-way bet was enough considering the run I found myself on and I was cursing my luck as he ended up leading a group of three on the far side, miles from the main pack. He never stood a chance to be honest but I was impressed with how well he battled on for third and I’m sure if he had some company earlier on, he would have won.
It was Cambridgeshire weekend seven days later and although my two main bets were running away from Newmarket I took an interest in the majority of races.
Unfortunately, all my selections at Newmarket lost, except the red hot jolly, Ten Sovereigns. Tricorn couldn’t get going in the big one, while Pretty Pollyanna and Arthur Kitt were also disappointing.
Fortunately, the first of my main bets, Jack Reagan (£20 at 11/4) won very cosily at Market Rasen on hurdle debut. His connections sent his brother (The Statesman) hurdling and he hosed up on debut at Ludlow so I was expecting a similar performance. He pulled hard early and continued to yank at Tom O’Brien’s arms throughout the race so it was impressive to see him not only last out the race but doing so without really coming off the bridle.
My other bet of the day was my old friend, Baydar, who coincidentally shares connections with Jack Reagan. After an unlucky run last time out at Chester I was expecting a consolation windfall this time around.
Turning in, he was going as well as anything but as the eventual winner, Surya, made his move, Baydar and Harry Bentley found themselves in a bit of a pocket.
Bentley remained cool, which I normally prefer but this time I would rather he panicked and got him out as soon as he could. For every second he sat still, Surya was putting a length between himself and the field and by the time the gap appeared the race was gone along with my £30.
The following weekend, late showers ruined any chance I had of winning big. I was most keen on First Eleven, Projection and Laurens and conse-
quently put them in a monster £15 trixie.
First leg, First Eleven, hosed up last time and I was convinced he was a group performer but I didn’t envisage the ground being a problem. As it was one of the first races that day, the murmurs about the going being softer than described didn’t really get communicated.
He got to the leader’s tail turning in but that was as close as he got as began to paddle up the straight. That loss meant I couldn’t win anything substantial but Projection gave me hope of making a small profit as he took a tactical renewal of the John Guest Racing Bengough Stakes.
I was then pretty keen about my final leg, Laurens. I backed her singularly as well because I felt the bookies got it wrong big time by pricing her up at 10/3 on the morning of the race. She had just taken down ‘the best miler’ we have seen for years and yet the bookies were making Wind Chimes favourite.
I wasn’t having that, and neither was Laurens. She kept it simple, popped out, made all, quickened and just about held on at the finish. She looked as if she would win by miles at one point but perhaps the tacky ground just told in the final furlong. I picked up £275 from that victory and I was pretty content with that.
It still should have been more, as narrow defeats, and I mean narrow, haunted me again. Beat Le Bon couldn’t quite get up at Redcar but finished with a fair rattle, while Ripp Orf couldn’t quite get to Raising Sand. Lihou was a close fourth in the big sales race at Newmarket and Dawaleeb ran Give It Some Teddy very close, conceding plenty of weight.
After so many close seconds, I could feel my attentions slowly turning to the jumps but I felt that I should have a bet on Arc day.
My wager on Defoe was more a show of loyalty than a carefully calculated bet as the ground didn’t soften up like I thought it would. However, a £10 each-way bet on Mabs Cross yielded £152 as she won the Abbaye in good style.
I was at Chepstow the following Saturday where I had an enjoyable day with three good winners. My girlfriend chipped in with a few as well as she rather rudely, yet quite wisely, decided to listen to my co writer Paul Ferguson as he was doing a piece on the big screen.
He tipped Grand Sancy in the next race which he kindly sponsored and of course that went and won while my selection, Paddle your own canoe, came second. I accepted defeat gracefully but just watch your back Ferguson!
While I was downloading dating apps propped up against the bar at Chepstow, Baydar was running again at York. I had to invest despite the fact he was stepping up to two miles for the first time.
Two furlongs out I was glad I did. Late on though he got involved in a ding-dong battle with the strong staying Arrowtown, which he unfortunately lost. Another £40 down the Baydar drain and I still await the day he cashes in on his low mark.
After a busy month mixing it in both codes I will be glad to settle down to pure National Hunt action in November. Happy Jumping folks!!
If The Cap Fits