Spinatrix & Connor Beasley Photo by Louise Pollard
The phrase ‘horses for courses’ could have been coined for Spinatrix at Ripon as the popular mare brought up her fourth win here at ‘Yorkshire’s Garden Racecourse’ in the Ripon Cathedral City Of The Dales Handicap.
Michael Dods’ mare has run a total of 11 times with us, finishing second five times and third on the other two occasions she has run there.
The six-year-old has been second in the last two renewals of the Great St Wilfrid Handicap, and earlier this year she went on to Pontefract for a Listed race the day after losing out to Out Do on the Saturday and was only narrowly beaten there too.
Given her preference for cut in the ground, the dry summer has limited the sprinter to just five outings this term and Dods is hoping she will be fresher than most for some targets between now and the end of the campaign.
Conor Beasley, who gets on so well with Spinatrix, was just able to hold off last year’s Mill Reef winner Supplicant by a head.
“I’m relieved and delighted. We’ve been struggling with her this season because of the ground,” said Dods after the 7/2 success.
“She deserved that. We decided to miss the Ayr Gold Cup as the ground wouldn’t have been in her favour and I’m glad we did – it was nearly too quick for her today.
“She’s just a superstar. She’s in good form now and as long as she’s fine she’ll go to Newmarket next week for a Listed race.
“She’s a fresh horse, so she could do well between now and November.”
Beasley was full of praise for the six-year-old, adding: “She was second in two good races in the space of two days in August.
“Two down I tried to nick a couple of lengths and when they came at her again she stuck her neck out like she always does.”
Another speedy filly for Dods is Mecca’s Angel, who has landed two nice prizes recently but she will not be seen again this season.
“I had a chat with her owner and we’ve put her away for the year,” said Dods.
“She would have had to be supplemented for the Abbaye and she’s quite ground dependent, she needs a bit of cut, and it looks like being dry over there.
“We’ll put her away and then we can dream about next year when she’ll be running in all the big five-furlong races.”
Michael Bell might have a nice prospect on his hands in the shape of Them And Us who made a winning debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Stakes.
Sent off at 16/1 given Bell’s paucity of first-time out winners, he came with a strong late run under Willy Twiston-Davies to beat Especial, who had a previous outing under his belt, by half a length.
“I rode him in a piece of work at home and advised Mr Bell to run him over this trip (six furlongs),” said Twiston-Davies.
“I’m a bit surprised he knew enough to win first time out as Mr Bell’s horses tend to need a run and not many win first time out.”
Laidback Romeo was on the mark for Clive Cox, who also had winners at Chester and Newmarket.
Sent off the 15/8 favourite for the Ripon Land Rover Nursery Handicap, he wore down long-time leader Lear’s Rock to win by a length.
“It was a bit close and there’s not much between being a hero and a zero when one goes off like that,” said winning rider Ryan Tate.
“When they go that far clear you normally think that if you can get within a length you will wear them down.
“It’s all about next year with him now.”
Mick Appleby’s Brigadoon (8/1), second at Thirsk last week, went one better under Jason Hart in the CHS Vehicles Handicap.
Graham Lee was in double form courtesy of David O’Meara’s Never Up (8/11 favourite) in the Wanderin’ John Handicap, and Bryan Smart’s 16/1 chance Meadway in the SIS Live Handicap.
It was a close call for the final standings of the ‘Top Trainer’ & ‘Top Jockey’ 2014 tallies, Graham Lee’s double on the day saw him finish just 5 points behind leader Danny Tudhope who was at Haydock on the day.
David O’Meara was crowned ‘Top Trainer’ after narrowly missing out to Richard Fahey last year.