December winners

By John Scanlon

 

December proved to be a cracking month for owner Dr Jim Walker who celebrated four winners, thanks to a hat-trick from Capital Theory and a first success for Berwick Law.

Dr Walker’s Muhaarar gelding Capital Theory got off the mark on the first day of the month in a restricted maiden at Chelmsford where he faced six rivals and was ridden by William Buick. Stepping down in trip to a mile and a quarter, Capital Theory settled in third place and was prominent throughout as Bermudiana and Damascus Finish disputed the early lead.

He was sent for home on entering the straight, and forged clear in the final furlong to score by four and three-quarter lengths from Mayfair Gold, with Damascus Finish a further three lengths back in third.

Connections decided to follow up this first career win for Capital Theory by sending him to Lingfield on December 14 to contest a handicap, again over a trip of 10 furlongs. Champion jockey William Buick once again took the ride and eight went to post for the event.

Capital Theory raced prominently in second and after entering the straight he took over in front from Beautiful Crown. Edging to his left he was ridden out in the closing stages as Snapcracklepop and Pistoletto came with late challenges. But he was always doing enough and held on to score by three-quarters of a length and the same from those rivals.

He completed his hat-trick at Wolverhampton on December 27, this time under Franny Norton, when stepping down in trip over just short of nine and a half furlongs. He broke well and was prominent before striking the front just inside the two-furlong marker, going on to win by half a length from Precision Storm with Almufeed a length and a quarter back in third.

Capital Theory is out of the Big Bad Bob mare, Montalcino, the impressive winner of a Doncaster maiden fillies’ event over a mile on just her second start as a juvenile in 2014; at three, she went on to finish a close second in a Listed event at Sandown over a mile and was third in the Group 3 Queen’s Plate Stakes over seven furlongs at Glorious Goodwood.

He was bought by Johnston Racing for 26,000 gns as part of the Book 2 catalogue at Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2020.

Dr Walker’s fourth win of the month came from Berwick Law, who opened her account at Wolverhampton on December 21 in a nursery over nine and a half furlongs.

The Zoffany filly took on eight rivals, with Franny Norton on board. He settled her in fourth before bringing her wide to challenge entering the straight, and she kept on strongly under Franny’s driving to score by a length and a half from Victory House, with Gilded Moon a further two and a quarter lengths back in third.

It’s likely that Berwick Law will stay further in time as her dam, the Fastnet Rock mare Standing Rock, is from the family of Subjectivist. Standing Rock won two of her three career starts, including over 10 furlongs as a three-year-old. Berwick Law is her second foal, and was snapped up by Johnston Racing for €68,000 at Goffs Orby Yearling Sale in 2020.

Berwick Law is cleverly named given her dam’s name. The ‘real’ Berwick Law is a conical hill which rises sharply from the surrounding landscape and overlooks the East Lothian town of North Berwick.

 

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Our other owners to enjoy more than one success in December were Susan and John Waterworth, thanks to Pons Aelius and Hadrianus.

The Galileo colt Pons Aelius delighted connections when winning a valuable handicap over two miles, the final of Kempton’s Stayers’ Series, on December 7, which attracted a competitive field of 13. He was ridden by Joanna Mason.

Pons Aelius was quickly away, allowing Joanna to grab a prominent position on the rail as Motazzen and Juan Bermudez disputed the lead.

When switched left nearer to the middle of the track by his jockey, Pons Aelius found more, stretching out and keeping on well to land the race in good style. Rainbow Dreamer finished well to take second, with Bandinelli third. The distances were a length and a quarter and a short head.

This was a valuable prize, with the winner netting £41,232 for his delighted owners, producing a lifetime best performance in doing so. Pons Aelius stays the trip well, but he was no doubt helped by a tremendous ride from Joanna Mason, who saved ground by hugging the rail throughout and who had the colt nicely balanced when asking for his finishing effort.

Offered as part of Book 1 of Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2020, Pons Aelius was purchased by Johnston Racing for 95,000gns. He is out of the Clodovil mare, Laugh Out Loud, who won the Group 2 Prix de Sandringham at Chantilly and finished third in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes in 2012.

In addition to Pons Aelius, Laugh Out Loud also produced his brother, Hadrianus, who gave the Waterworths their second win of the month, a Kempton maiden on December 16.

The race over 11 furlongs attracted a field of no fewer than 14 runners, and Franny Norton took the ride. He was always travelling strongly at the head of affairs and led throughout, winning by one and a quarter lengths from stablemate Star Mood.

It was a fine run in freezing fog conditions which saw the remainder of the Kempton card abandoned after this race.

Hadrianus, by Galileo, was bought by Johnston Racing at Tattersalls December Yearling Sale in November 2021, for 62,000gns. After the exploits of Pons Aelius and his older full brother, Platinum Warrior, winner of the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita, he has to be regarded as another bright prospect for Mr and Mrs Waterworth.

 

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It was a case of third time lucky for Trojan Spirit and the partners of Kingsley Park 32 – The Originals when the Ulysses colt landed a novice event at Kempton on December 19.

Having shown promise on both of his previous starts, first at Redcar and then at Wolverhampton, the juvenile colt was stepped up in trip to a mile and three furlongs at Kempton and faced five rivals, including an odds-on favourite in Dragonball Prince.

Ridden by Franny Norton, Trojan Spirit dwelt at the start but was soon racing keenly on the heels of the leaders, Green Machine and Inny Lad. When the runners settled down, Trojan Spirit was matching strides with the favourite on his inner. Turning for home, Franny sent Trojan Spirit to challenge on the outer, while William Buick sent Dragonball Prince on the inside route.

Relishing the longer trip, Trojan Spirit kept on strongly to the line, firstly seeing off the challenge of Dragonball Prince before proving too strong for Green Machine. The winning distance was a length and a half.

Trojan Spirit is out of the Lion Cavern mare, Local Spirit, a Lingfield maiden winner whose day in the spotlight came when she finished second in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks behind Allegretto, a run, incidentally, which saw her official rating rise from 69 to 102 in one fell swoop!

Given that his sire, Ulysses, improved markedly at four, it’s probably fair to say that Trojan Spirit is likely to improve further for time and distance.

 

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The six-year-old Asdaa turned in an excellent performance at Newcastle on December 28 to land a mile handicap in game fashion.

The Dutch Art gelding, owned by Owners Group 045, missed the early part of last year but returned to the track in June. Since then, he had run 11 times prior to Newcastle, including when winning a mile handicap at Pontefract in July.

Since then, Asdaa has often raced prominently before weakening in the closing stages of his races. At Gosforth Park, the gelding was making his 55th career start and was ridden by Jason Hart.

Asdaa jumped smartly from the stalls and went straight into the lead, pursued initially by Little Jo. Around the two-furlong pole, five of the six runners were almost in a line abreast, but Asdaa then found plenty more and in the final half-furlong stretched away from his field, scoring by a length and three-quarters from Toophan, with Perfect Swiss half a length back in third.

This was Asdaa’s seventh career success, four of which have come when the gelding has been wearing cheekpieces.

 

 

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