Two Codes… Two Winners
Jason Fildes of Highclere’s northern syndicate tracks two horses who have had emphatic wins – one at the close of the National Hunt season and the other in the opening Flat season
It is a fascinating time of year for racing with the National Hunt season drawing to a close and the Flat season just starting. It has therefore been very pleasing to have winners under both codes within seven days!
Evander enhanced his growing reputation with a fifth success at Ludlow recently. Always at the head of his field in his usual front-running style, he fought off opposition carrying less weight than him to come home a ready winner.
He has now run 14 times, winning five and placed seven – he has an extraordinary record and a lovely horse to be involved with. His trainer, Oliver Greenall, has decided that’s enough for this season so he’ll go out into the fields at Stockton Hall Farm in Cheshire for a summer of eating grass with the sun on his back – hopefully! He will then return to training in August to build up for a restart over fences in October.
Meanwhile one of our promising Flat horses, Spycatcher, started his season off in style with an emphatic first success at Pontefract. He ran four times last year as a two-year-old without quite winning. On his first start at Redcar, he stumbled coming out of the stalls and was a long last after the first furlong of a six-furlong race. But he managed to pass most of the 20-runner field in a fast-finishing fourth place.
His astute trainer, Karl Burke, whose yard at Spigot Lodge, Middleham is in great form, decided to go for a big prize in the Acomb Stakes at York’s Ebor meeting.
Although there was no crowd at the meeting last year, we had a large group of enthusiastic owners present and despite starting relatively unfancied at 20-1, Spycatcher ran an absolute cracker of a race to finish second – he was in front 50 yards from the winning post but was just caught close to home by Gear Up, who went on to win a Group 1 race in France.
After the excitement of York, Spycatcher disappointed at Doncaster next time, overheating before the start on a hot day, before being on the wrong side of the draw in his final start on soft ground back at Redcar, finishing second. As he didn’t therefore win a race last year, we started him off in a Novice this season and he duly obliged – easily. It’s now up to Karl as to his next target, but we should know more after a stable visit. He’s a horse to follow this season!
Highclere – Jason Fildes