Racing: Heights to put bite on rivals: Richard Edmondson on the colt who needs to put his ability before aggression
Thursday 30 July 1992
The colt's attempts to bite a chunk out of a fellow competitor at Doncaster in March and a further lunge at Drum Taps in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last month have prompted Jockey Club insistence that he must wear a muzzle for the Goodwood Cup this afternoon.
If Geoff Wragg, the horse's trainer, is confronted about his horse's aggression, however, he responds in the manner of a pet owner who insists his beast 'is a friendly dog really' after it attaches dripping jaws to your leg.
'He is a bit yappy but he's not vicious,' Wragg says. 'He just reacts like any other horse if you intimidate or annoy him.'
Wragg admits that Arcadian Heights approached Luchiroverte, a rival again today, with malicious intent at Town Moor, but considers his horse's actions on his latest outing to be misunderstood.
When the bell went as the field swung into Ascot's straight, the Newmarket trainer believes it did not trigger a pugilistic instinct in Arcadian Heights, but rather signalled an official misrepresentation of a scrimmage.
'Drum Taps came off the rails and right underneath us,' he says. 'Our fellow's legs went between his hind legs and his head only jerked forward because he stumbled. I don't think it was any more than that.'
The sadness of the four-year- old's leaning towards cannibalism is that it overshadows what is undoubtedly a rich talent. 'He's got a lot of ability all right,' Wragg says. If anything snaps today it is more likely to be the resolve of the opponents to ARCADIAN HEIGHTS (nap 3.10).
Wragg also saddles a strongly fancied contender for the day's most valuable race, the Golden Mile, in Little Bean, who is expected to mature into a Group- race performer.
'Against him is the fact that it's a very competitive race and I'm not sure that the course will suit him,' Wragg says. 'He would ideally prefer a more galloping track. But you'd have to say he's very well handicapped.' Perhaps not as well treated as Clive Brittain's Efharisto (next best 3.45) though.
The card's opener is made no less easy by the fact that all 10 participants have won a race this season. The decisive factor here may be that fresh tactics are expected to be employed on Humam (2.30), who will be ridden closer to the pace than when disappointing at Newmarket last time.
In the final televised race, Tommy Stack's Title Roll is back to defend the race she won 12 months ago, but may not be able to cope with one of the vanquished from last year, Blyton Lad (4.15).
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