Ashforth's Angles: Sovereign owed a Debt of luck

Sovereign Debt and Chris Hayes

Sovereign Debt needs a change of luck

  PICTURE: Alain Barr (  

 By David Ashforth 4:33PM 10 AUG 2016 

AS WE all know, there’s no justice in the world. Even so, it would be nice if Sovereign Debt stopped finishing a creditable second and finished a creditable first, instead. Since winning a Listed race at Leopardstown last October, Dandy Nicholls’ stalwart has won almost £100,000 for owner Lady O’Reilly but it’s all been place money.

Sovereign Debt is a great horse for second place. The seven-year-old has won eight times but he’s finished second 18 times, including six times out of nine this year, including on his latest four appearances.

He’s been beaten by a nose in a Listed race and by half a length in a Group 2 race. In his life, Sovereign Debt has won a worthy £143,290 in win prize money but he’s won far more in place money, £421,049.

Nicholls has taken him to Deauville, Saint-Cloud and the Curragh in search of another elusive victory and now it’s Salisbury’s turn, in a teasing Group 3 contest (4.10) on ground probably faster than ideal.

There’s nothing wrong with the colours Franny Norton will be wearing. They are those nice black and white hoops of Lady O’Reilly, who won’t be worrying too much about the money side of things as she’s got stables full of it. Having been born into the fabulously wealthy Goulandris family she married the fabulously wealthy (admittedly later bankrupt) Tony O’Reilly, who paid $ 2.6 million for an engagement ring for her. I wish he’d married me.

So Sovereign Debt probably knows that his owner isn’t going to turn up and tell him that if he doesn’t win this afternoon the O’Reillys will have to eat him for dinner this evening.

If only we could tell horses that if they win today we’ll retire them and they’ll never have to race again. Then we could have an enormous bet on something that doesn’t usually show any interest in winning and retire ourselves.

Gordon shows her strength

It’s been enjoyable watching Josephine Gordon progress. Watching her at Chelmsford on Sunday, she doesn’t half give them a ride.

Apprentices are often weak in a finish and unable to galvanise their mounts. That certainly isn’t true of Gordon, who makes her second appearance at Beverley on Thursday, kicking off with Bithynia (1.50) for Hugo Palmer, for whom she has ridden three winners from six rides.

Bithynia is poorly drawn but still has a solid chance.

Significantly, all 12 riders in the race for lady professionals (3.20) still claim an allowance, a measure of the distance women jockeys still have to travel.

Fresh air and fun

Later, at Yarmouth, there’s the inevitable appearance of local trainer Christine Dunnett, most of whose turf runners are regular visitors there. Seaside air is supposed to be good for you but having registered 29 wins in 2005, winners have become scarce. It would be nice if Give Us A Belle (6.35) or Fearless Poppy (8.05) blossomed but the former is out of form and better on all-weather tracks while the latter specialises in finishing last. Still, “The last shall be first” (Matthew 20:16) Let’s hope he’s right.

Horse Racing News | Racing Post

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