Long gamble pays off for top handler
TRUST Colin Tizzard to get it right. The Milborne Port trainer entered handicap chaser Health Is Wealth for both the 2m and 3m2½f races at Newton Abbot last week.
After much deliberation he opted to run in the longer affair – and the outcome was that the eight-year-old scored his first victory since May, 2011.
Tizzard said: "Health Is Wealth is a versatile horse and I don't see why he can't win at any trip as long as the opposition is weak."
That theory swayed the handler towards the staying race because he believes the Anshan gelding is better running off a big weight against poorer horses rather than carrying a low weight against better opposition.
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Thursday proved his point. The marathon was a class five affair – the first time Health Is Wealth had been dropped to that level – and he was top of the handicap while the two-miler had class four status where he would have been bottom weight.
To lessen the burden Tizzard called up 7lb conditional Conor Shoemark and the teenager did a very competent job on his first ride for the stable sitting the 11-4 chance a couple of lengths behind the front-running Monty's Revenge before making his move towards a three-length triumph two out on the quick ground he relishes.
Shoemark, who had taken advice from regular jockey Brendan Powell, said: "Health Is Wealth was fantastic and jumped brilliantly – his jumping kept him in the race. He travelled like a dream and he was the best horse on the day."
The 19-year-old is attached to the Gloucestershire stable of Fergal O'Brien and has now ridden 11 winners from 58 mounts this season.
Tony Gale – spokesman for owners Gale Force Five – was equally enthusiastic: "Our horse idled when in front and after the last Conor gave him a couple of cracks and he won really well.
"His previous three wins had all been at Plumpton in the spring of 2011 over distances up to 2m4f but Thursday showed us that he did get this additional trip as he was jumping in his own comfort zone.
"Everything went right for us and Conor got on really well with him. We will keep him in races of 3m-plus and I hope we can also use Conor's services in the future."
Health Is Wealth had run in first-time blinkers on his previous outing at Stratford five weeks earlier but on Powell's recommendation the blinds were omitted this time and cheek-pieces re-applied.
Powell felt the blinkers had an adverse effect when the horse faded into a well beaten sixth on that occasion over 2m7f but what might have been more significant then was that the gelding returned with a leg injury, the result of being struck into.
Tizzard was represented in the Newton Abbot two-miler through the indefatigable Mibleu, ridden by the yard's new conditional Eddie Linehan.
The 13-year-old produced his usual wholehearted effort in the 72nd race of his life and looked the winner two out only to be cut down by bottom weight Bennys Quest, saddled by Neil Mulholland from Limpley Stoke near Bath. Mibleu was beaten six lengths with a further 13 back to the third.
Owners Chasing Gold were delighted with Mibleu's performance after a tame effort at Worcester nine days earlier. Spokesman Tom Chadney said: "Mibleu ran a splendid race and he was really back to his best form. The good/firm ground conditions were in his favour and the race was run at a decent pace being three seconds faster than standard.
"Eddie Linehan gave him a fine ride and finished a bit disappointed as he felt he got to the front a little too soon but he said he seemed to have so much horse under him going down the back straight and he wrongly allowed him to go on.
"I told him experienced jockeys have all made the same mistake with Mibleu and next time he will be aware."
Next time could be this weekend as the French-bred gelding has been entered for a hasty return to Newton Abbot on Saturday.
No Woman No Cry – owned by Tizzard's brother Robert and Robert's wife Sarah – had a busy time running on both days of the Devon meeting, finishing third in handicap hurdles on Wednesday and Thursday under trainer's son Joe.
By David Briers