Fontwell – Butler & Co Racing Tax Specialists Handicap Hurdle
By BG Racing Syndicates On 22nd January 2019
My Brother – 14th January 2019 – Finishing Position 4th of 12
A good group of shareholders made their way to Fontwell Park, hoping to see My Brother record his first win. Darren Howard, Chris Ritchie and Lawrence Grima, joined Nigel Roper and Phil and Cathy Boyle at the Sussex track. The ground was fine and BG Racing had the services of champion jockey Richard Johnson in the saddle. The plan was to try to settle My Brother him in the rear early and bring him through late in the race.
Our race was first on the card, so we did not have long to wait before heading to the pre-parade ring to watch Liz and Anna (who had accompanied My Brother to the track) get him saddled up. We were soon in the main paddock meeting Richard and preparing for the race. My Brother jumped off at the back on the inside and whilst he was keen early, he was not pulling badly and jumped the first OK and the second very nicely. Turning down the back for the first time, he did get a bit keen and pulled hard for a little way on his way to the third which he jumped nicely. He was also fine over the 4th but lost a few lengths when they hit the sand that forms the top bend. Whether this was due to the kickback or the change in surface, he noticeably dropped three lengths off the rear of the field coming round the bend and he lost the ground before the turn itself, so it was definitely the surface rather than the bend that caused the issue.
He was still looking to travel comfortably and jumped the first in the home straight just fine despite a horse in front of him making a mistake. He got in tight to what would be the last on the next circuit which maybe cost him a length but did not really do much damage. After making the turn into the back straight for the last time, he looked to be travelling well and about to move up from last place, but he did not see a stride and put down badly at the first down the back which sent him back off the rear of the field. It was approaching three out down the far side that the field noticeably quickened with Wind Place and Sho who was eventually second, taking about five lengths out of My Brother on either side of the flight which My Brother jumped OK, albeit a little slowly as he was not picking up as well as the others. He was definitely under a ride as they hit the sand for the last time and he made no impression round the sand bend remaining last despite the urgings from the saddle. As they straightened for home and came back onto the grass he finally started to pick up and jumped the second last well. He was still in 11th of 12 between the last two flights but was up to 7th jumping the last. He clipped the top of that hurdle but it was not a huge error and he stayed on well to take 4th near the line beaten 2 and 3/4 lengths, 1 and 1/4 lengths and 2 and 3/4 lengths, 6 and 3/4 lengths in total.
Not what we had hoped for, but a visit to the winners’ enclosure to unsaddle and Richard was very helpful with his post-race comments and a change of tactics next time might just bring My Brother the win that he deserves.