Ashforth's Angles: Antiphony trying the patience of us all

Jack Kennedy

Jack Kennedy: could be in for an entertaining ride at Sligo

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

 By David Ashforth 6:00PM 3 AUG 2016 

IF AT first you don’t succeed, try, try again. At first Philip Hobbs didn’t succeed and he did then try, try, try, try, try, try, try again. Then he gave up and sold Antiphony to Gordon Elliott for £6,000.

The new Elliott version of Antiphony makes his Irish debut at Sligo (5.30) and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.

Antiphony marked his first appearance on a racecourse with aplomb, showing Richard Johnson who was boss at Exeter last November, where he defied all attempts at restraint, hauled himself into the lead and then fell back, exhausted.

Conor Smith must have misbehaved and as a punishment was put on board when Antiphony returned to Exeter. Led, weakened, fell.

For his next performance, at Huntingdon, Antiphony acquired a hood and reacquired Johnson. The Racing Post reported “the headgear didn’t work and he took a fierce hold before finishing tailed off.”

It was a case of pulled hard, last of 12 finishers at Kempton before Smith grappled Antiphony into second place at Southwell. Perhaps a corner had been turned.

With their traditional optimism, punters made Antiphony favourite for his next two runs. At Fontwell Ciaran Gethings discovered a new problem. As the Racing Post put it, “not finding much when awkward last, hung left.” With Smith in charge again at Wincanton, Antiphony “refused to settle and was much too keen and jumped several flights slowly.” He still managed to finish second in both races.

On May 4 the bad boy finished last of nine finishers at Newton Abbot. Owner Michael Sargent and Hobbs decided enough was enough. Antiphony went to the Sales and on to Elliott’s County Meath stables. Will Antiphony do what he’s supposed to for Jack Kennedy? Don’t miss it.

Nor Brighton, which kicks off with the Celebrating 233yrs Of Racing At Brighton Handicap. The first race, in 1783, was won by a horse called Puff, which reminds me that it’s the Pride Festival in Brighton this weekend.

Thanks to Jim Beavis’s The Brighton Races (2003) I am able to tell you that from 1784 the Prince of Wales was a regular attender at the August meeting. Sadly, the present Prince is a non-attender although it does allow me to mention the Private Eye cartoon showing Charles bending over a flower and saying, “Now tell me, how long have you been a tulip?”

The card is, as Brighton cards invariably are, dominated by tricky handicaps. The trick is to enjoy the racing in the face of betting adversity.  

Scanning the card, my eye lingers briefly on Miss Inga Sock (how did she get that name?) in the 2.30 and on Let’s Be Happy (how do you do that?) in the 3.00 before alighting on Flag Of Glory (5.00).

Now a nine-year-old, Flag Of Glory has spent most of his adult life giving Michelle Edden a lot of fun in amateur riders’ races. She rarely rides anything else, with 43 of her 49 career rides, including four wins, on Flag Of Glory. A sliding handicap mark and course and distance success offers some hope. 

Horse Racing News | Racing Post

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