I’m A Gambler : Last in, first home!
By John Scanlon
Our second winner at the Qatar Goodwood Festival was I’m A Gambler, who finished with a rattle to land the Medallia Handicap in impressive style.
This seven furlong handicap on the Saturday card of the Festival has proved a lucky race for the yard in recent years; in 2015, it was won by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed’s Shamardal filly, Enlace. The following year saw Hawatif hold off the rallying Bobby Wheeler for owner Abdulla Al Mansoori, while in 2018 the admirable Vale of Kent gave Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed another winner in the race.
Nine runners went to post for this year’s renewal of the race. John Brown and Megan Dennis’ No Nay Never gelding has had a busy season; successful at Hamilton and Beverley in May, he ran in some major handicaps including the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket. Second in the Scottish Steward’s Cup at Hamilton in mid July, he disappointed at Newmarket next time out.
In the Bunbury Cup, I’m A Gambler lost all chance when badly left at the start, and it has become apparent that the stalls have become something of an issue. So for this race, connections decided to take a ticket and the gelding was last to be installed. Jason Hart took the ride.
I’m A Gambler broke well and was soon in a nice rhythm, racing on the rail in third place behind the early leader Roman Dragon. Positive Impact took over in the lead with two furlongs to run, at which point Jason switched the gelding left to mount his challenge.
Drawing level with Positive Impact with a furlong left to race, I’m A Gambler
stayed on strongly to draw clear of his rivals, while Gisburn ran on from the rear to finish second, a length and three-quarters in arrears. Galiac was third, beaten a further half a length.
Charlie Johnston was in no doubt that late entry to the stalls helped I’m A Gambler’s chances in the race. ‘He was only in the stalls for about five seconds,’ he told the Klarion, ‘and Jason has got him settled into a nice easy rhythm.’ Paying tribute to a fine ride by Hart, Charlie pointed out that it would have been easy for him to ask the gelding to do too much too soon. ‘Jason has got him settled well and resisted the temptation to make the running,’ he pointed out. ‘He’s taken a nice lead off Roman Dragon and he’s a tough horse to beat on his day.’
I’m A Gambler has now won six times and will surely rise to a rating over 100 after this latest win. Those wins have come at distances from six furlongs to seven and a half furlongs (at Beverley) and he wasn’t disgraced when trying a mile in the Britannia.
A Glorious Goodwood double for the yard completes a decent July campaign for the yard and takes the stable’s winning tally in the summer showpiece meeting up to the 90 mark.