Hope and glory - again!
Thursday, August 24, 2017 RSS Feeds

The writer of this news story must declare a vested interest as she is also the owner of the horse in question but is there a more game and consistent horse in training than Hope Is High?

She has long been the apple of my eye but yesterday's extraodinary win at Bath will live long in the memory for the sheer never-say-die attitude of both horse and jockey.

Silvestre de Sousa is of course a class act. He's already been champion jockey once and is on course to be so again this year. We're immensely grateful that three of his wins this season have been aboard Hope Is High - and it arguably should have been four but for the filly's unfortunate stumble on leaving the stalls three starts ago. She still got back up for second to lose out by just a head.

While last Thursday's win was all plain sailing, with SDS and Hope stalking the leader and then taking up the running in the long home straight at Yarmouth to gallop home unchallenged by a facile seven lengths, yesterday's race was more a case of 'if plan A doesn't work, then revert to plan B, C, D or E'. I'm not sure which plan Silvestre was on by the time he crossed the line half a length to the good, his hands nonchalantly resting on Hope's withers as if it had all been so easy, but the point is, even when second last and trailing the rest of the field by some 20 lengths, our heroes never gave up. Eventually finding daylight up the far rail and then showing a great turn of foot to switch to the other side of the track for the better ground, Hope burst clear of the pack to strike when it mattered, and believe me, every win matters a great deal to us, and to Silvestre.

At the start of the year, John said he'd be disappointed if Hope didn't win three races this year. That she has now done, but equally admirable is her level of consistency. Her form figures since joining this stable are 2133-44123211. She really doesn't need to do any more to make us proud and once the turf starts getting too soft she'll be off for a good winter break before hopefully coming back into training as a five-year-old.

In the meantime, Hope Is High should now be qualified for the final of the Bath Stayers' Series on 16 September, having won and also finished third in qualifying heats, so that's where she will go next as long as we're happy that she's come out of the race well and that the ground stays good.

Thanks to Bath Racecourse for laying on such a good initiative as this series with a £21,000 final (there's also an equivalent sprint series). It makes a huge difference as a small owner to have a decent prize to aim for. We know it won't be easy to win the final but all being well, we'll give it a good go. Thanks also to the sponsor of yesterday's race, EY and Guests.

We head next to Epsom on Bank Holiday Monday with Roy Rocket, who is launching his second attempt on the Amateurs' Derby with Ross Birkett. Roy's six wins have all come at Brighton but he has also run well at Epsom, including a third there recently, so we're hoping that he can continue the run of good form which has seen our last three runners all winning.