Catterick 8th March 2017
What a transformation we have seen in our 4yo Becky the Thatcher since she went hurdling, and more proof was again in evidence at Catterick on Wednesday`s card (8th March `17)
This Mares Novice Hurdle turned out to be a repeat of the Mares race at Wetherby on 4th February when the same three horses were the only serious competitors in the race.
An even longer round trip this time then for the pillaging yards of Mrs Sly (Cambridgeshire) with her All My Love,and Mr Skelton (Warwickshire), who`s brother Harry did a U turn on the motorway and headed back North to take the ride on Golden Vision when the Fontwell card was abandoned.
Mark Howard on duty for RUK went for All My Love, the Racing Post concensus was for Golden Vision, with the Bookmakers not able to make up their minds, so both went off as joint 5-4 favs, whilst a certain mare in the Hammond yard slowly drifted from 4-1 to 9-2 to 5-1, with the eventual SP of 6-1 .
A two horse race then ? surely it was just another case of which marauding Southern Trainer would take home the pot. ? or was it ? Maybe our Becky had other ideas !!
With hindsight its easy to sound smug, as one or two of my small band of followers might point out, because there was nothing to be smug about as the two Southern protagonists went 8 / 10 lengths clear of Becky in the back straight, and I was tearing up my betting slip, throwing in the towel, and saying to fellow member Andrew…”looks like 3rd place at best today”
Young Finian O`Toole though had other ideas…and, admittedly through the benefit of watching the race replay, it was a joy to watch this young 5lb claimer refusing to admit defeat as he kept urging Becky to get back into the race.
As they turned into the straight, commentator “Tommo” said she had 10 lengths to find, but, because of the RUK camera positioning at Catterick, spectators watching the big screen have only an almost head on sight until they jump the last.
So whilst it was obvious Becky was staying on, it was very difficult to judge how much ground she was making up…..until they came to the last when it became clear she had only THREE lengths to make up.
The two leaders then made a right Horlicks** of the final hurdle.
**Definition… Horlicks is a mess, a muddle. Chiefly Slang”though the origins of the slang are not certain. One theory is that the word Horlicks began to be used in the Thirties as a polite alternative to the word “bollocks”. (info courtesy of Google)
To Continue…..The two 5-4 jt favs., were now visibly tiring, unlike our Becky, who jumped the last spring heeled, then responded magnificently to Finians urgings to sprint up the run in and win going away with plenty in hand.
Post race comments from the jockey were more centred on just how well she jumps, and what a prospect she has become, whilst Micky Hammond was already mapping out plans for Beckys next race.
Difficult to get carried away with winning a £5k Mares only Novice Hurdle at Catterick on a Wednesday afternoon, but Golden Vision, on the day, had a rating of 116, so it was no mean performance by our horse, who will probably now be raised up to 120 ish
Lets hope we`re still ahead of the handicapper.
And don`t rule out the chances of seeing her on the flat again soon either, as she has a mouthwatering rating of 59 , of which Mr Hammond is most certainly aware.