Doubles all round as Tominator leaves it late to claim marathon victory
Sunday 30 June 2013
The victory of 8-1 shot Tominator in the Northumberland Plate, by a short-head after a steely-nerved ride from Graham Lee, neatly ticked some statistical boxes.
The horse became the first since Tug O'War in 1978 to take two editions of the marathon handicap, while his rider is now the only man to have won Newcastle's top long-distance prizes under both racing codes; in his days as a jump jockey he took the 2006 Eider Chase on Philson Run.
Tominator's trainer Jonjo O'Neill, though best-known for his exploits at venues like Cheltenham or Aintree, is just as versatile. Yesterday's was his second valuable Flat prize in 12 days, after Well Sharp's Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting.
In yesterday's two-miler nothing was galloping more purposefully a quarter of a mile out than Tominator, but after Oriental Fox (20-1) broke clear of his 17 rivals going to the final furlong, the top-weight's way to go in pursuit was briefly blocked. But Lee, riding the gelding for the first time, kept cool and patient and once in the clear and with a willing partner, landed the £92,000 spoils in the last two strides. "Jonjo told me to be brave," he said, "and when you're given instructions by a man like him, you're better off following them. And massive credit to the horse for the way he picked up and battled."
Third place was shared by Mubaraza, the 15-2 joint-favourite, and Brockwell (20-1), with the runner-up's Mark Johnston stablemate Scatter Dice (33-1) fifth. The other market leader Handsome Man beat only one home.
When Tominator won his first Northumberland Plate two years ago with a similar late swoop, he was saddled by the late Reg Hollinshead, who died last month. "Reg did a great job with the horse," said O'Neill, "and left a little in the tank for me."
The grey was acquired as a hurdles prospect last autumn by one of O'Neill's longest-standing patrons, Patsy Byrne. "He enjoys it better on the Flat," said O'Neill of the six-year-old, "and though I was a little worried about the weight he had to carry today, as he's got older, he's got stronger and better. And Graham is a great tactician, the sort of jockey you just have tell what a horse is like and he'll ride him spot-on."
Latest in Sport
Karim Benzema to Arsenal: Real Madrid striker fuels speculation he will join Gunners with cryptic Instagram post
Memphis Depay scores amazing overhead kick from Wayne Rooney cross during Manchester United pre-season training
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Arsene Wenger hits back over Jose Mourinho's claims 'buying success' ahead of Community Shield
Karim Benzema to Arsenal: Transfer news live - Angel Di Maria to leave Manchester United, Emmanuel Adebayor to Aston Villa
Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool – highest and lowest transfer spenders revealed
- 1 Norwich paedophile ring: Woman at centre of gang who made children 'sexual play things' guilty of 23 offences
- 2 Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
- 3 Black and ethnic minority people twice as likely to be hit by Tory cuts than white people, report finds
- 4 Walter Palmer: Cecil the lion killer revealed to be American dentist
- 5 The lesser known erogenous zones - and how to find them
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an independent ...
£14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...
£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join the ho...