Mags lands a huge Geordie Gamble in All England Cup
Local trainer Harry Williams celebrated a Category One 1-2 as the insanely well-gambled on Mags Gamble led home kennelmate Tudor Prince in the Williamhill.com All England Cup final at Newcastle.
Mags Gamble absolutely flew the lids from trap four for his trainer that last won this prestigious trophy in 1992. The roar from the stands was deafening as he grabbed three lengths on the field at the first bend – it was clear that the north-east was responsible for collapsing the price from 3.50 to 2.35 throughout the day. He nearly went off joint favourite with Bubbly Phoenix, whose weakness in the market was justified as he couldn’t find the early pace to trouble the all-the-way leader.
His cause wasn’t helped by Tudor Prince, who was running in his eighth Category One final. Williams’ second string found a good pitch off the second bend and you could say proved a good blocker for his kennelmate up front as Bubbly Phoenix just couldn’t get round the genuine hound. Come the finish line, Mags Gamble found himself four lengths clear of the field and clocked a very speedy 28.20secs.
“This is one for the north-east,” said Williams
“He’s improved no end, and has run fantastically well. He’s a dog that has improved at every track, the more times he run rounds a track the better he gets. What a race the old dog Tudor Prince ran too.”
The win also provided a fitting boost for owner Keith Hicks, who underwent a major 15-hour operation for cancer just yesterday and was watching on from his hospital bed.
Next stop for the winner according to Williams is the Betfred Eclipse at Nottingham and hopefully Hicks will be there to cheer him on from the stands.
Newcastle is regarded as a track where it’s hard to make up ground, but Teejays Bluehawk put that myth to bed in the Williamhill.com Northern Puppy Derby final. Paul Young’s strong running sort was only fourth at the first bend, and still had five lengths to make up on the leader Lemon Pluto at the third bend.
But he weaved his way around his rivals down the home straight, showing an incredible late surge of acceleration to land the spoils by one and a half lengths and with a little bit up his sleeve. Young had thought the dog, who clocked 28.38 in winning, would be a better all-round performer next year, so this was a brilliant achievement to pick up a Category One event over a trip that ideally would be too short for his racing style. He looks potentially a very exciting dog for next season.
The night got off to a stunning start as Boher Paddy roared to a facile success in the veteran race for Charlie Lister. The four-year-old has surprisingly failed to win a major competition in an illustrious career that has seen him win 28 from 44 races. That could change in the coming weeks as Lister’s kennel hand Ian Sutherland confirmed that his last race will be in the Eclipse Stakes at Nottingham later in the year. The dog certainly deserves a major race success.
Trainer Ted Soppitt looks to have a nice staying prospect on his hands after Lookoutforflash landed the staying race on the undercard in 41.11. However, Kelly Macari’s exciting stayer Mill Whiskers looks to be the one to take for the race after he got to within three lengths of the all-the-way winner despite missing the break and getting hampered on several occasions. If this form holds up he could be a big player in the St Leger at Wimbledon.
Another dog on the St Leger radar is Ballyard Buddy after he put in a strong performance in the Williamhill.com Great North Run final. Stuart Mason’s battle-hardened hound was the former track record holder at Sheffield and is starting to fulfil that potential elsewhere, clocking 40.61 when coming from third to first in the final few strides.
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