Good morning all,
Fakenham yesterday was cold, but very enjoyable, and was made even more so by the remarkable antics of “the naughty boy” (that's from assistant trainer Laura Gretton) Yourholidayisover, who once again showed his dislike of passing the winning post in front with another tremendous display of, well, whatever you want to call it. Petulance? Not really, but I can't think of a better one. My homage to this character is on the main piece.
Racing loves a rogue, be it human or horse. Rogues give racing colour, give us stories to tell, something to talk about on the journey home.
In equine terms, jump racing has no bigger rogue than the wonderful Yourholidayisover, who added another to his greatest hits (misses?) collection yesterday. More of that later…
Back in 2012, a less than notable debut effort in a Clonmel bumper for David Kelly gave little indication of traits to come. He wasn’t seen out for a year after that, by which time he’d moved to England and was with Middleham trainer Pat Holmes. A few starts on the Flat saw him achieve little, but a switch to hurdles saw him in a different light. Three runs to get his handicap mark saw him show some ability, but once going into a handicap won at the first time of asking, he won a little race in the spring of 2014 at Carlisle. So far, so good…
Back on the Flat, he found winning hard, often staying on late to claim a place but he simply couldn’t get his head in front. Indeed, many comments he received tell a story of a horse that tried – “kept on well final furlong”, “stayed on late” – and were yet to give the true nature of him away. But, when all was said and done, he’d still only won the once and a change of scenery was decided upon. At which point Worcestershire trainer Tom Gretton was the man tasked with doubling his tally.
Back to hurdles and four more places followed, but then the first inkling of his wayward tendencies followed when second at Hereford over fences. He led at the last, but was “unable to quicken”, and got picked off late. A couple more places were to come but a change of headgear saw a change of fortunes too. An easy win at Plumpton, where he quickened away to win after the last suddenly looked like he had a bright future ahead of him. How little we knew.
For on his very next start, back at Plumpton, he pulled out one of his great non-finishes under Felix De Giles. Cajoled into the race by Felix, he received a great ride, with his jockey fully aware of his antics and delivering him perfectly with just six strides to the line. However, Yourholidayisover had other ideas and no sooner had he gone a head up, decided that was enough. Remarkably, he couldn’t hold on for the three strides and allowed Instinctive to get back up. He hit 1-100 in running. It wouldn’t be the last time.
Other near misses were to follow. Cartmel – “found little and headed last 75 yds”. Fakenham – “led before last, just over 1 length clear last, driven and found virtually nil 100yds out, headed last strides”. And Fakenham again – “still held together before last, ridden flat, one pace.”
Poor old Yourholidayisover had developed a habit of chucking races away when winning them would have been easier. He’d become a pre-race punters nightmare, but an in-running layers dream. In short, a rogue. Loveable, maybe, but a rogue all the same. Sedgefield two starts ago merely confirmed what we knew, as once again the words “found nil” appeared in his post-race comments, having looked the winner at the last. And so to Fakenham yesterday – where Adrian Heskin was charged with the task of putting his head in front. Once again he cruised up behind the leaders, came to win it at the last where a good jump took him two lengths clear. It’s 22 strides to the line from the last and for 16 of them he looked like holding on. But once again, he managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, deciding once again that winning was overrated, and allowed By Rail to get back and beat him. He touched 1-100 on the run in again.
That defeat took the running total to a grand sum of 2 wins from 68 races. In his defence, he’s been placed another 23 times, so it’s not like he doesn’t pay his way. Just make sure that if ever you’re down to your last fiver, and he’s in a match with, well, anything, you find something else to have a bet on…..
Don’t ever change, you old rogue.
Today and it's Newcastle I go to to try and find a winner. Call me a wrong ‘un, but I do love a Class 7 handicap and Newcastle has two of 'em. Money has come for Mr Potter in the first of them at but I prefer the claims of I Am Dandy, who has been in decent form at the track and will appreciate the drop back to 7f. Add in the first time tongue tie that might help his finishing effort, and this does look a golden chance for him to get off the mark.
Good luck with all your bets today, David.