Star Shield wins again
Unlucky not to back up his win from Doncaster last time out at Yarmouth (headed before finish), yesterday at Ascot, we were clear about the race plans before the race. Scott McCullagh, apprentice to Mick Channon knew exactly what he needed to do. Hold up, wait, wait, wait and then press the 'go' button (and prey the gaps appeared!)
There was little pace in the 1 mile contest and Star Shield sat at the back of the field, a good 12 lengths between himself and the leading horse, but Scott sat nice and still, keeping him bowling along and not too free. As other jockeys in front started to work. he sat and let Star Shield move past slowing horses and as the pace increased, he pressed on. At the one furlong pole, we were praying the gaps would be there, as he burst through to take the lead and ran on well to win by 1/2 a length.
The plan worked superbly and as Scott got off him in the famous Ascot winners circle, he said how the horse loved going though horses and really buckled down. He then had to rush off to drive to Chepstow for two late evening rides - one a winner for his boss Mr Channon, so very well done Scott!
We have a saying at Middleham Park Racing "any day you have a winner is a good day", but having a winner at Ascot is always special and for one owner, an emotional one, as it was "a lifetimes ambition."
Very well done everyone and thank you to Sarah and Bertie from the David O'Meara yard for their hard work and getting home late - Bertie (who led him up) says "great to have an Ascot winner and makes these long days rewarding!"
So our fine form continues, as that's now 46 winner for the year and today really is SUPER SATURDAY! We have runners contending races worth over £500,000 at Ascot, Chester, Newmarket and York. Two at Listed level and five in Class 2 races, including the £200,000 John Smith's Cup and Burnt Sugar defending his crown in the £120,000 Bunbury Cup at HQ.
Best of luck everyone!