Genki Makes it Three for Charlton
1 (22) Genki 14/1
Roger Charlton became the first trainer in 56 years to saddle three winners of the Blue Square Stewards’ Cup when Genki landed the spoils by a length under Steve Drowne.
The Beckhampton trainer equalled the record of Fred Armstrong, whose victories came in 1950 (First Consul), 1951 (Sugar Bowl) and 1953 (Palpitate). Charlton’s previous Blue Square Stewards’ Cup triumphs came with Harmonic Way in 1999 and Patavellian four years later.
Genki, the subject of each-way support this morning, was sent off at 14/1. The five-year-old, fourth in the seven-furlong Abu Dhabi International Stakes at Ascot last Saturday, prevailed from stall 10.
High-drawn numbers appeared to have a significant advantage through the first half of the six-furlong race but as the runners came out of the mist approaching the distance, it was Genki’s rain-washed purple silks that held sway.
Charlton said: “I couldn’t see most of the race. I saw the start and the last 50 yards and that was it. I was relaxed because I thought we didn’t have a chance with the draw. The high numbers seemed to have the advantage, and then suddenly there he was.
“I didn’t think Goodwood would suit him so the Stewards’ Cup was second choice really. The Wokingham was first choice but, without wanting to sound critical of Ascot, he couldn’t go a yard on the ground that day.
“He ran a great race at Ascot last week over seven furlongs but he missed the kick. He has missed the break his last two starts so I decided to practise hitting the break at home. We tested him twice this week and he missed it both times. You can’t win the Stewards’ Cup if you miss the break, so I thought that was our chance gone when he missed it slightly again today.”
Genki’s four career wins have come on good and good to firm going but Charlton was unperturbed by the soft conditions today.
He said: “I thought the ground would inconvenience the others more than us. I always thought he would like soft ground but funnily enough he has never raced on it before.
“Let’s hope the handicapper wasn’t watching too closely. We can’t be greedy - at the moment he’s a handicapper and we’ll go for another valuable handicap. He could go to Dubai this winter, we’ll go where the money is.”
STEVE DROWNE - WINNING JOCKEY
Steve Drowne, riding his second bluesquare.com Stewards’ Cup winner after Patavellian in 2003, also for trainer Roger Charlton, said about Genki: “This is a lovely old horse.
“He has done well because we were well behind at half-way. I always had the ones covered on my side (stands’ side) and at half-way I thought I would win hands and heels my side but not get to the others.
“Then he has picked up and gone and got them. He is quite versatile (as to trip) and settles well. He missed the kick the last twice for some reason and, while he was not sharp out today, he broke on terms with them and travelled very well.
“He is a game horse. To be honest, we must have been 10 to 15 lengths down on the far side group. He has done well to pick up - he has hung a bit into the middle of the course but only to keep company with the far side.”
IT’S KNOT EVENS AND ODDS’ DAY
Dandy Nicholls ran six in the Bluesquare.com Stewards’ Cup and “hit the bar” when Evens And Odds, ridden by William Carson, finished runner-up in the colours of Dab Hand Racing.
Evens And Odds, from stall 16, was a length behind winner Genki (stall 10), and three-quarters of a length in front of topweight Knot In Wood (stall 11), ridden by Barry McHugh. Markab (stall 13), trained by Henry Candy, took fourth.
Nicholls said of Evens And Odds: “He’s run grand and now it will be the Ayr Gold Cup.
Evens And Odd’s joint-owners are known as Dab Hand Racing, aka Alan Pirie, George Taylor and Derek Pearson. Pirie said: “I’m delighted with his run because the ground went against him. The jockey was super. We won at Newmarket earlier in the year, got greedy and ran him in the Victoria Cup under a penalty. That took the guts out of the horse and Dandy’s done brilliantly to get him back. He’s got the weight back on him. We won the Ayr Gold Cup last year with Regal Parade and we’ll try to win it with this horse.
“We had five horses in training, but lost two in claimers in the last two weeks, so we’ll go to the sales this autumn and try to restock. We might stick at four because it’s an expensive game.”
Richard Fahey, who trains Knot In Wood, said: “He’s a legend and has run the race of his life. Any horse to run off that sort of mark and finish third in the Stewards’ Cup must be special. The horses drawn high probably went too quick - Paul [Hanagan] who rode in the race said he couldn’t believe how quick they went. The owners have had some great fun with Knot In Wood and won plenty of prize money.
“I’ve entered the horse in a sprint at Taby in Sweden - it’s the only Listed race in the country in which he has no Group penalty. I’m going to strongly consider that. It’s run at about the same time as the Ayr Gold Cup so he can’t do both.”
Knot In Wood’s owner, Jonathan Gill said: “He’s run a blinder under topweight, especially after picking up a 3lb penalty for winning last week. He’s run his heart out. He means the world to us and keeps improving every time he runs. He’s a genuine as the day is long and you cannot get better. I’m not disappointed, but I’d love him to win one of the big sprint handicaps. The draw, the weather, everything changes on the day and there’s a lot of luck.”
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