Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Last Tuesday we took Roy to Brighton full of confidence that he could oblige in a relatively weak amateurs' race, and he duly obliged by four and a half lengths under the best amateur rider in the business, Ross Birkett.
Having come out of that race in bouncing form, he returned this Tuesday to the track that has become almost his second home for what looked a much tougher assignment. Carrying a 6lb penalty for his previous win (though that was actually the amount the handicapper had put him up by anyway), Roy, now six, looked to have a bit to find with three three-year-olds on the upgrade, notably a Cheveley Park homebred from Sir Mark Prescott's stable named Palisade.
Reunited with John Egan, who won three times on him in 2015, Roy dropped out to his customary position as whipper-in of the field, and was beautifully settled through the early stages. Palisade's rider Luke Morris kicked for home with three furlongs to run and quickly went five to six lengths clear of the chasing pack. A furlong out it still looked as though Roy would be a good second at best, but with John driving him hard for home up the hill, our dear old boy showed true grit to reel in the leader and pounce exactly when we needed him to in the shadow of the post. At the line, Roy was a head in front of Palisade, with the two of them 15 lengths clear of the rest.
It's hard to remember enjoying a race more than that one, and we thank Roy and John for giving us so much fun over the years. God willing, Roy Rocket, now a Brighton favourite with his five wins all having been at the track, will be back in Sussex for the big August Festival meeting.
We were also thrilled with Cottesloe's comeback run at Newmarket on Friday night, again in association with John Egan, when he failed by just half a length to return with a win having been off the track for almost five months. Now seven, Cottesloe has demonstrated with that good second-place finish that he retains his enthusiasm for the job and we hope to have him back on course at Chester on 10 July.
The horses have been posting some really pleasing performances this season. We've only had 11 runners on turf, for five wins (a 45% strike-rate), two seconds, a third and a fourth. We hope to be adding to that tally in the coming weeks.
Please click this link to watch the replay of Roy Rocket's fifth victory.