Ascot – Best Racing On Racing TV Handicap Hurdle
By BG Racing Syndicates On 22nd February 2019
The Way You Dance – 16th February 2019 – Finishing Position 13th of 16
It was a first run over hurdles for fourteen months for The Way You Dance and whilst the result was ultimately disappointing, there was nothing not to like about a Saturday afternoon at Ascot racecourse for a top quality nine race card. Eleven BG Racing attendees with Rory & Sally, Frank & Pauline and Alan & Clarissa taking the six lunches offered by the course in the owners and trainers restaurant, whilst Phil, Cathy, Lawrence, Geoff and Nigel had to “make do” with some delicious complimentary sandwiches, biscuits and cakes in the owners and trainers bar!
The setting at Ascot is spectacular and whilst it was a grey afternoon overhead the weather was dry and fairly warm for February. The ground was perfect and we hoped that The Way You Dance would run well.
Before our action however there was the small matter of seven earlier races and what a treat we were offered. We saw Mister Malarkey book his place at Cheltenham in the Reynoldstown, Clan Des Obeaux win the Denman Chase on his way to an engagement in the Gold Cup, Al Dancer take top rank amongst the novice hurdlers when winning the Betfair Hurdle and Cyrname putting up possibly the performance of the season when treating a top class Ascot Chase field in much the same way as he had treated a bunch of handicappers last time out.
The last named was especially significant for Rory as it was the last leg of a four winner yankee which was an enormous payout!
The 4.30pm race was then upon us and after Liz and Christie had saddled The Way You Dance, we were off to the paddock to meet Harry Reed who was riding for us. The plan was to ride TWYD to win sat just behind the leaders and then challenging in the home straight. Sadly the script did not play out.
The Way You Dance jumped off midfield and took the first hurdle pretty well. He settled about three horses wide in 7th or 8th place and jumped the 2nd and 3rd flights well. In the home straight the first time, he was accurate and the next flight and whilst he was in close to the next, he jumped it well enough and after a quick push away from the flight, he came back onto the bridle and passed the winning post in a close up 8th place with a circuit to go. TWYD jumped the hurdle down the hill nicely, but at the next whilst his jump was accurate, his head came up, on landing, and it looked like he took a couple of strides to come back onto the bridle. Going into Swinley Bottom, it started to look as if Harry was urging him a little to hold his position. He was pushed a little into the 4th last where again he jumped OK, but did not come away from the flight as quickly as he could have and at this point, Harry started to get a bit more forceful with him and after the third last he gave TWYD a couple of cracks with the whip and the writing was well and truly on the wall. He was already dropping away tamely as the field turned for home and well out of shot of the TV cameras, Harry popped him over the last two flights to trail in a long long way behind the rest of the field.
Post race, it was hard to pinpoint exactly what had gone wrong. Harry felt that everything had been happening a little bit faster than The Way You Dance would have liked and that he was close to flat out all the way. The Way You Dance seemed a very tired horse and was breathing hard on the way back to and in the unsaddling area. We later found out that TWYD had lost a front shoe in the race and Harry felt that perhaps there was a little more to come in terms of fitness. In the main we decided that we probably needed to go back to a lower class of race as these are typically not run at such a pace and that possibly a tighter track would suit well. TWYD has won at Worcester, Fakenham and on the all-weather at Lingfield and Kempton and perhaps he is suited by turns and these do slow the whole field down, which perhaps would be better for him.
As disappointing as it was, it was hard to dampen the fact that we had seen him running on a Saturday afternoon at a big meeting where we were well looked after and had thoroughly enjoyed our day. The Way You Dance seems to have taken the race OK and we can dust ourselves off and find a lower class race soon.