Even And Odds Wins Bluesquare.com Stewards' Cup
1 Evens And Odds 20/1
Even And Odds stormed to a neck victory in the Bluesq.com Stewards’ Cup under 5lb claimer Billy Cray to give “Sprint King” Dandy Nicholls a third victory in the six-furlong heritage handicap.
Nicholls, who partnered Soba to victory as a rider in (1982), sent out Tayseer (2000) and Gift Horse (2005) to triumph was delighted with the Dab Hand Racing-owned 20/1 shot.
The North Yorkshire trainer said: “I am very pleased for Billy - every day he works hard. I am not so sure that there are many plans with a horse rated what he is. He has to go for the Ayr Gold Cup now and I am sure that he will acquit himself well.
“I have never had any doubts about Billy but he’s not as good as I was!
“Dab Hand Racing claimed The Tatling off me and sent him to Milton Bradley and they won a Group One race, so there you go, and Regal Parade is another lovely horse for them.
“Evens And Odds weaves, worries and wanders but Kevin Ryan thought he would win the Dewhurst with him as a two-year-old.”
Cray has been with Nicholls since the start of the season. The apprentice decided to try his luck as a jockey after watching the sport on TV and joined the British Racing School in Newmarket aged 16 despite having never sat on a horse. An initial spell with Dominic Ffrench Davis was followed by six months with Alan Berry.
Cray, who was partnering his 41st career winner, said: “Dominic got me going and it was him who advised me to move to a bigger yard.
“I didn’t ever think about us winning, I just kept riding. I knew mine would stay further so I just kept going and hoped I’d get him (Jonny Mudball).
“The plan was to follow Prime Exhibit, who is in the same colours, and take it up there earlier. This lad gets a bit further so I just tried to miss a couple of lengths early on.
“Its brilliant to win this race. It’s the biggest win of my career by a long way and it’s good to ride for Dandy because he gets all of the sprinters up there and they always run well at the big meetings.”
Premiership footballer Jonathan Woodgate was at Glorious Goodwood today rejoicing in a cracking effort by his horse, Jonny Mudball, in the Bluesq.com Stewards’ Cup.
One runner often gets away from the field only to be reeled in on the line in sprint handicaps, and that was Jonny Mudball’s fate as he went down by a neck to Evens And Odds. The runner-up, who is trained in Cheshire by Tom Dascombe, beat the third horse, Prohibit, by a length and a quarter.
Woodgate, who was nicknamed Jonny Mudball by friends in his home town of Middlesborough, said: “I’m over the moon and Tom’s done a great job with him. The horse suffered an injury and didn’t run as a two-year-old, but Tom was patient and it’s come right. My whole family are really pleased.
“This is something different, and when your horse runs as well as this you’re so pleased. I’ve got two horses with Tom and one with Chris Grant - you never know, one day I may increase the string but I’m happy with what I’ve got.”
Dascombe was pleased, but the 9lb rise in his horse’s handicap mark may have cost him victory. Dascombe said: “It killed him. Off 97 or 99 he would have been alright, and the irritating thing is he’ll go up again for finishing second, but he’s run a great race and the owner is happy. Our other horse, Noverre To Go, has run a blinder too [finishing fifth], although the ground has probably gone against him because he needs it very fast.
“I just wonder whether handicaps are going to be too tough for him [Jonny Mudball] now, and it may sound stupid but we may have to think about Listed races.”
The Robert Cowell-trained Prohibit finished third, and assistant trainer Greg Chung said: “We’re thrilled to bits. The horse has done nothing wrong all year yet has won just one race at Kempton. He’s travelled supremely well in the race once again and keeps knocking at the door - he deserves to win one.
“We chose draw 12 because it was the highest of the draws that were left, and ideally we would have been a little higher, but the winner’s come from the middle so no complaints and Eddie [Ahern] gave him a fine ride.
“The horse has been relatively busy up to now so I wouldn’t be surprised if Robert sits back and has a little think before planning his next run.”
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