Laa Rayb By A totesport Mile
1 (3) Laa Rayb 25/1
Laa Rayb defied his low draw and a 25/1 starting price to run away with the totesport Mile by two and a quarter lengths under a dream ride from Jimmy Fortune.
The quirky Mark Johnston-trained gelding, successful in a French Group Three last term, sported first time blinkers as he lined up in stall eight.
Having missed the kick, Fortune took the decision to drop his mount in and by the time the 20 runner-field straightened up for home, Laa Rayb was travelling smoothly on the heels of the leaders. When the gap appeared inside the final quarter mile, the five-year-old gelding quickened clear for an impressive success.
Fortune, who was registering his third victory of the meeting, revealed: "Mark told me to make the running but I missed the kick and when that happens here you have to drop in and hope you can get a run through them. The ground is so much better on that rail but he’s won well - he’d have won from anywhere. He’s a bit of a character and the blinkers have obviously made a difference."
Johnston now leads the 2009 Glorious Goodwood trainers’ table with four victories.
The Middleham handler said: "You can’t give up on a horse with this much class. He’s got a lot of miles on the clock, he’s got a few quirks and he’s probably benefited from a bit of a gap between races as well. We deserved one dream run from four badly drawn horses. Look at how well Lovelace finished from an impossible draw.
“ I got it wrong and told Alan Munro (rider of Crackdown) to come round the front but he’s finished out the back so clearly the way to do it was to get across. Jimmy got the best of it and that was the way to do it.
“I had four badly drawn horses and on paper each had a good chance, particularly Lovelace and Dubai’s Touch. I said before the race that if I got a good draw, I’d win this but I thought Lovelace would be the one.
“Laa Rayb is a high-class horse of Group race calibre. He’s had his problems but the blinkers, along with a bit of a break between his last race and this have helped him. The horse needs to be right and perhaps hasn’t looked in love with the game at times. It was a case of getting him here in the best condition possible and perhaps a bit of juice also helped, I don’t know. You have to keep running and trying to find the key.”
SPECTAIT LOOKS ON AS LAA RAYB ROMPS HOME
Owner J P McManus and trainer Jonjo O’Neill are synonymous with jump racing, but they teamed up to grab some decent prize money in the totesport Mile.
The O’Neill-trained Spectait, who was bought as a jumping prospect, finished second to Laa Rayb and one place ahead of Docofthebay. This was Spectait’s second outing in the race - he won it in 2006 when trained by Sir Mark Prescott.
Guy Upton, representing Gloucestershire-based O’Neill, said: “We’re delighted with that - it was a cracking run and this was always the plan. He didn’t travel that well early, but when he got out he flew home, even though it must be said the winner scored with a bit in hand. Our horse had to come wide which didn’t help.
“He might go back jumping at some stage, but he’s running well on the Flat and is picking up some decent prize money. He was disappointing over hurdles, despite winning first time out, but he’s in great form now and he might find it easier in conditions or Listed races.”
Spectait wore ear plugs, and Upton said: “He’s very sensitive to noise, as you could see when people began clapping as they came in [to the winner’s enclosure]. He reared over in the stalls at Doncaster and we think that was down to noise, but he’s just a sensitive horse.”
Docofthebay was unruly and had to be withdrawn before Royal Ascot’s Hunt Cup, but trainer Jamie Osborne said: “It was unfortunate what happened that day - the ground at Ascot and the draw would have suited him better. He was a million to one from his draw today [stall 3] and the juice wouldn’t have helped - with that in mind he’s run a great race.
“He’s worn blinkers and run well in them in the past, but they were winding him up in the stalls at Royal Ascot, so I made a compromise and put cheekpieces on him today.”
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