Thursday 25 May 2017

Hoof It lands York gamble as Chandler's run continues

Ashley Iveson

Hoof It, owned by top golf agent Chubby Chandler and golfer Lee Westwood, landed a gamble in the Sky Bet Dash at York to stake a strong claim for next Saturday's Stewards' Cup at Glorious Goodwood.

The Mick Easterby-trained 3/1 favourite powered to the front on the far side in the competitive handicap, putting the race to bed in the final furlong under a strong drive from Kieren Fallon. Tajneed was three-quarters of a length back in second with Ginger Ted third and Fathsta fourth.

Chandler also looks after last weekend's British Open champion Darren Clarke, as well as Rory McIlroy.

"Not quite as good as Sunday, but not far off! The idea is the Stewards' Cup now. He's a great horse and Kieren likes him," he said.

"Lee is in the gym today, he's going to America next week and he didn't want to disrupt his routine.

"This is a great horse. My mate told me to sell it last year, but I said what's the point? We only do it for a bit of fun and we'd probably never find a horse as good as Hoof It. I just want to know why he doesn't run more often -- I love it! You get quite a buzz when your horse is favourite and there's 40,000 people cheering it on.

"Me and Lee like to think we know what we're talking about when it comes to racing, but we don't really. "He's going to Goodwood next week and hopefully Lee will be there for that.

"This is the only hobby Lee has got and it's probably my only hobby as well. It's been a hell of a couple of weeks, but we won't be celebrating quite as much as last week. I'm driving, anyway. Mick is talking about going to Doncaster after Goodwood, but I wouldn't mind a trip to the Breeders' Cup."

Fallon added: "I rode a bad race and he got me out of trouble. I went to the wrong side and he did well. I probably would have gone sooner if I could have done. When he gets there he idles a little bit, so the way the race was run was a blessing in disguise really.

"He probably had a harder race than I wanted to give him. The Stewards' Cup is only a week away, it depends how he comes out of this race. It wasn't ideal.

"He's still a big baby and I don't think you will see the best of this horse until next year."

"He's a hell of a horse," said Easterby. "Chubby first got into racing when we tipped him a horse in a selling hurdle at Wetherby a few years ago. I told him I wouldn't mind training one in his colours and here we are.

"He'll go to Goodwood next week, and then the race I'd like to run him is the Portland at Doncaster. It's over five and a half furlongs and that would suit him down to the ground."

William Hill cut Hoof It to 7/1 favourite from 12/1 for the Blue Square-sponsored Stewards' Cup.

Twice Over showed his class when bouncing back to form with a Group Two success in the Sky Bet York Stakes on the Knavesmire. The triple Group One winner, trained by Henry Cecil, put three disappointing runs behind him to justify the faith of his connections.

The 5/2 shot was brought from the rear of the field by Tom Queally to grab the race by the scruff of the neck and beat Ransom Note (12/1) by a length and a quarter, with the heavily-backed 2/1 favourite Dominant in third.

"He's a very special horse to all of us," said Queally. "I'm delighted he's back to winning ways. He might have lost his way for a couple of races, but he's back where he belongs -- in the winner's enclosure. It took him a few strides to get into top gear, but once he got there, there was no stopping him.

"He was the class horse in the race and he won like it."

Queally went on to complete a double in the Sky Sports Median Auction Maiden, guiding Jedd O'Keeffe's 7/1 shot Satanic Beat to a taking victory. Tim Easterby, nephew of Mick, had saddled four winners on a magnificent Friday and was back in the winner's enclosure with Last Bid.

The 7/2 chance was completing a hat-trick under Ted Durcan in the Sky Bet Mobile For iPhone Nursery at York.

Meanwhile, Stuart Weld, a cousin of Rosewell House maestro Dermot, saddled his first winner when Vital Plot gained compensation for an unlucky defeat at Tipperary last Sunday by taking division two of the Poolcourt Ltd Beginners Chase.

The seven-year-old gelding, which fell at the last when leading at Tipperary last weekend, finished best on the short run-in to collar the 7/4 favourite Goban Saor by three-quarters of a length.

The runner-up wandered about when apparently holding the upper hand approaching the final fence, and Brian O'Connell's mount took full advantage at odds of 7/2.

Commandment (10/1) set the pace until headed by the principals after two out and finished a further eight lengths back in third.

"He was unlucky at Tipperary last Sunday but gained compensation here today," said Weld.

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