York begins its four-day Ebor festival on Wednesday
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Ashforth 5:50PM 16 AUG 2016
Almodovar is a strapping beast who impressed me last year and whose reappearance I was looking forward to. In May, David Lanigan’s four-year-old won a Kempton handicap imperiously off a mark of 93 and then stepped up to the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Having travelled well in front he was ultimately put in his place by Dartmouth and Highland Reel. Almodovar hasn’t run since, probably wouldn’t want the ground too fast and seems unlikely to turn the tables in the Juddmonte International (3.40) but he’s a horse with the potential to progress significantly. It would be nice to see George ‘Slim’ Baker pass the post first.
A question of attitude
It would also be nice to see Repeater triumph in the Fine Equinity Stakes (4.20). Repeater is a horse who has devoted himself to driving people mad. If he had been in On The Waterfront, Repeater might have said “I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender, I coulda been somebody. But I didn’t want to.”
As a two-year-old, while deciding what he wanted to do when he grew up, Repeater won a maiden race by a nose and a nursery by a head.
Even then jockey Seb Sanders remarked, “He gave me a hard time but he’s got plenty of ability.”
Sir Mark Prescott applied his considerable skills to Repeater’s lack of commitment and, as a three-year-old, he was beaten only two lengths in the Group 2 Doncaster Cup. The Racing Post noted, “travelled beautifully, has a bright future as a stayer.” Repeater would often travel beautifully but decline to arrive.
In 2014, after a series of disappointments, it was felt that Repeater might benefit from the proverbial “change of scenery.” He was sent to David O’Meara.
Hooded for the first time, Repeater again ran well in the Doncaster Cup, third beaten less than two lengths. Hopes were raised that 2014 would be his year. It wasn’t, although in the Northumberland Plate, having been last of 19 into the straight, Repeater “made prodigious ground” and finished third.
A week later, in a Listed race at Goodwood, Repeater was “reluctant to race and left 12 lengths.” He hit the front in the final furlong, looked certain to win but “idled and was headed in the last strides.”
In October 2014 Repeater was sold for 20,000 guineas, joined Miss Amanda Mooney in Ireland and was sent hurdling (!!!). He couldn’t win off a hurdle mark of 86 and this year has returned to the Flat, his handicap mark, once 109, having slumped to 75.
With blinkers added to the hood and relieved that there were no hurdles, Repeater offered encouragement at Leopardstown, finished second at Chester and then, 35 races after his last win, led on the line at the Curragh to give Mooney her first winner as a trainer.
Having run respectably since, Repeater creeps in at York off 84. Back up to two miles, what will he do? Travel well, probably.