The Gatekeeper wins on Champions Day at Ascot!
WINNER 98 OF 2023: THE GATEKEEPER, trained by Charlie Johnston and ridden by Joe Fanning: The £200,000 Class 2 'Balmoral Handicap' over 1m on British Champions Day at Ascot.
He has had a great season, before lining up here on the prestigious 'Champions Day' card. He has won a Class 2 at Newmarket and also at Goodwood this year, but this, the most valuable pot of them all!
Drawn in 4 on the far side, he broke very well and was soon leading them along. Joined at the halfway point, he was just headed for about 1/2 a furlong, but when pushed along, he regained the lead 2f out. Three lengths ahead inside the final furlong, his lead was reduced towards the finish, but he was always doing enough, winning by a length.
"The Gatekeeper is hanging tough and is going to win The Balmoral." Watch the full race replay here: https://www.attheraces.com/racecard/Ascot/21-October-2023/1625
Joe was interviewed by Oli Bell on ITV Racing, as they came back in and said: "These big Saturday handicaps are good to get. He's had a long year, but he has kept going - he's a tough horse!"
Timeform rated it as a career best 108 performance, saying: "Found a bit of progression to take this valuable prize, underlining his effectiveness on soft ground, though was always to the fore in a race where few landed a blow and raced in the favoured far-side group, too; led, joined over 3f out, led again over 2f out, quickened a couple of lengths clear around 1f out, closed down late on but always holding on"
See the official photo gallery, here: https://meganrosephotography.photoshelter.com/gallery/Race-6-The-Gatekeeper/G0000wL9S_ySqLn4/C0000o1_RJSqcAxg
Read The Racing Post story, here: https://www.racingpost.com/news/reports/i-was-never-in-any-danger-front-runners-rule-supreme-as-the-gatekeeper-strikes-at-25-1-aoDfF9F1MGhm/
Syndicate manager Mike says: "Congratulations to his owners on the biggest win of his career, taking his career earnings to £220,000. He has had a truly fantastic year and Charlie and his team have kept him in super shape, putting in an impressive career best. I was thrilled to be there to give him plenty of pats and to celebrate with owners - that's how you end a season!”
WINNER 99 OF 2023: ZIGGY'S DREAM, trained by Alice Haynes and ridden by Kieran O'Neill: The 'BetMGM: It's Showtime Fillies' Restricted Novice Stakes' over 6f at Wolves.
Our 2-year-old daughter of Inns Of Court has had a busy season, after winning on debut and taking 2nd in the Lily Agnes Fillies Condtitions Stakes at Chester (to our own Ziggy's Phoenix!)
Drawn wide in 8, she jumped well and Kieran was able to get her across just in behind the the favourite, who led. As they came to the home bend, the two of them asserted over the rest of the field and had a sustained dual down the straight. She ran on well in a head bob finish, so a photo was called, but not long after they passed the line, she was announced as the winner, prevailing by a short head. There were 2 and a 1/4 lengths back to the 3rd horse.
"And it's just Ziggy's Dream, I reckon!" Watch the full race replay here: https://www.attheraces.com/racecard/Wolverhampton/21-October-2023/1725
Timeform rated it as a t77 performance, saying: "Without the headgear this time, returned to form from out of the blue to record a first success since debut; prominent, led under pressure 2f out, challenged 1f out, just held on"
See the official photo gallery, here: https://www.jahphoto.co.uk/-/galleries/wolverhampton-horse-racing-2023/october-2023/21st-october-2023/race-3
Kieran said to us after the race: "Well done guys - she was alert out of the gates and travelled, just idling a bit in front, but she battled it out well"
Syndicate manager Tim says: "Alice was there and was very happy for the filly, as she says that she has grown and will certainly be a nice big filly for next year. That's a nice way for her and her owners to finish her season - well done everyone. Now one more winner needed to bring up the century for 2023!"