FELLOWES CONSIDERS CESAREWITCH ASSIGNMENT FOR IMPRESSIVE BYRON HILL
With the sun shining, racegoers were treated to a thrilling seven-race card on Friday afternoon, which was headlined by the MansionBet Beaten By A Head Colwick Cup Handicap.
With eye-catchers a common occurrence in these parts, it’s always worth taking your notebook when watching the racing at Colwick Park and we sent Nick Seddon to speak to the winners on the day…
Byron Hill could head for Newmarket
The feature race was the £25,000 Colwick Cup Handicap, which for the first time was run over two miles since its inception in 2015. Despite a few late withdrawals on account of the going, the field was a classy one and it produced an impressive winner in the form of the Charlie Fellowes-trained Byron Hill.
The four year old had to dig deep to reel in the front-running Speedo Boy, but showed plenty of stamina reserves under jockey Louis Steward and got up within the shadows of the post to prevail in a photo finish.
And Fellowes revealed after the race that he is eyeing up a potential tilt at the prestigious Together For Racing International Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket on 9th October with his improving gelding. He said: “He’s a very big horse and I’ve loved him from the day I bought him, but he’s always been a real project and a real time horse. The syndicate have been so patient and we’ve just really taken our time with him.
“I was always a little bit concerned about the two miles because he’s got a lot of speed on his mum’s side, so he wasn’t guaranteed to stay even though he’s by Kingston Hill. He stayed that no problem today and he’s only going to get better as he’s still got a lot of maturing to do.
“We’ve got no immediate plans but we may look at the Cesarewitch or something like that if he improves enough.”
Bashkirova looks a smart prospect
The most impressive performance of the day however came from the William Haggas-trained Bashkirova, who made a taking debut when winning the MansionBet Best Odds Guaranteed Maiden Stakes.
The three year old daughter of Pivotal has plenty of appeal on pedigree, being a granddaughter of four-time Group One heroine Russian Rhythm, and after taking a little while to get her affairs intact early on she quickly got the hang of things and produced a powerful drive to pick up the 2-5 favourite Diamil and win by a neck.
And Fallon couldn’t hide his excitement about her future prospects after the race. He said: “She learned on the job. It was quite an even break for everyone and she was a little bit slowly into her stride but I think the leader went a really strong gallop early on into the first bend.
“I didn’t want to take her off her feet and rush her and I just let her find herself and get into a good rhythm. I just tried to follow the favourite through who was on the rail and she’s picked up really well.
“She’s a lovely big honest filly and she did everything that you’d want her to first time out. She’s very well bred and has done everything right today so she’s very exciting.”
Mejthaam looks a sprinter to follow
The four-runner MansionBet Watch And Bet Handicap looked a particularly tricky puzzle to solve for punters, with each of the four having conceivable chances of success, but it turned out to be a procession, as the front-running Mejthaam produced a relentless performance under Ben Curtis.
The three year old was having her first start over the minimum trip this afternoon and she showed plenty of speed from the get-go, setting a pace that the second-placed Fantasy Master couldn’t live with.
And Curtis feels that there could well be more to come from Shadwell’s homebred daughter of Exceed And Excel. He said: “We were back to five here and she was able to jump out and bowl along and she sustained it very well to the line, so it was a nice performance.
“She travelled beautifully to two out over six at Kempton last time out and then one came to her - she was still in front at the furlong pole but just faded in the final 150 yards so the step back in trip has definitely worked.
“I thought that was a nice performance, she went the wrong way early doors but when I turned the taps on halfway she put the race to bed well. She’s very straightforward, if you had seven of those a day you’d ride until you were 60 so she’s a pleasure to ride.”
Scarlet looks one to follow
The eye-catchers didn’t stop there and the Ed Walker-trained True Scarlet was a particularly taking winner of the MansionBet Extra Places Fillies' Handicap over a mile and a quarter.
The four year old, returned at 7-2.b looked as though she had nowhere to go on the inside rail, but showed plenty of courage to slip past the in-form Babindi under Paul Mulrennan, who revealed after the race that he feels there could be more to come from her yet.
He said: “A furlong down I was thinking please god open up and fair play to the filly, she pulled it out the bag. She’s travelled round beautifully and shown a great attitude and the split has come at the right time. She actually lost both front shoes there and I could feel her discomfort underneath me but she’s a nice filly and hopefully there’s more to come from her – I think she’ll stay a bit further as well.
“She’s done that well with 10 stone on her back and she was brave to go through that gap. I liked the way she galloped out afterwards with only two shoes on and hopefully there’s more to come.”
The filly shares her name with Mulrennan’s daughter and he added: “When I was having my cornflakes this morning Scarlet was saying ‘you’ve got to ride a winner today dad’, so happy days!”
O’Shea is off the mark!
It proved to be an afternoon to remember for amateur jockey Adam O’Shea, who rode his first ever winner in remarkable circumstances on the John Stimpson-trained My Brother Mike.
The seven year old was a 25-1 shot coming into proceedings and was trading a lot higher at the two furlong pole, when the front-running pair Mahanakhon Power and Jeddeyd kicked clear of the field.
However, O’Shea kept his cool and reeled them in with a remarkable late charge – one which came after hitting an astonishing high of 930-1 on the Betfair Exchange. It didn’t faze the budding jockey though, who explained after the race that he felt he’d always get there.
He said: “It was always the plan just to hold on to him for as long as I could and about a furlong out the plan was to kick and go. They went fairly quick early, which helped me massively so I just settled him and got him into a lovely rhythm.
“They kicked from a long way out in the straight so I knew it was going to play in my hands and he was good enough to get there in the end. He’s quick and he keeps galloping so I always thought I could rein them in. I ride him every day at home so know I him well.
“That was my first winner and it was just brilliant. It’s a massive moment for me and I’m just lost for words. I’ll remember that for a long time!”