Racing: Hodges' pet tries for figure of 18

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The Independent Online
OWNERS WITH extra cash and a disregard for popularity have the novel opportunity of claiming Hard To Figure in the Hard To Figure Claiming Stakes, the 3.30 race at Bath today.

Now 12-years-old, Hard To Figure is reported to be "very, very well" as he bids to score the eighteenth success of his career in his own race.

"He always runs well at Bath - but he basically doesn't run many bad races anywhere," trainer Ron Hodges' wife Mandy said. "We love him and I just wish we had a dozen youngsters coming through like him."

June 1988 will probably be best remembered in horseracing circles for the stirring Derby success of Kahyasi. Ten days later in the month, Cadeaux Genereux landed the competitive Golden Spurs Trophy at York, but on the same day the juvenile Hard To Figure broke his duck on only his second racecourse appearance when landing the Kelston Graduation Stakes over today's course and distance.

With a pedigree that reads more like that of a point-to-pointer, Hard To Figure turned out to be a sprinter, and an exceptionally durable one.

Kahyasi and Cadeaux Genereux went on to stud careers a long time ago, but Hard To Figure has remained to endure the highs and lows of racing - this will be his 123rd racecourse appearance. His career high-point was winning the 1993 Ayr Gold Cup.

Seven of his 17 successes have come at Bath, the uphill finish suiting his come-from-behind tactics.