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Tominator at the double with Lee
3:32pm Friday 5th July 2013 in Sport
NEWCASTLE staged their feature flat meeting of the year last Saturday when the Northumberland Plate took centre stage and the galloping grey Tominator became the first horse to win the race for a second time since Tug Of War won back-to-back runnings in 1977 and 1978.
It was also a notable double for his jockey Graham Lee, as he has also won Gosforth Park’s other big longdistance handicap, the 4m1f Eider Chase over jumps, with Philson Run back in 2006.
And that’s a double that doesn’t come along too often.
Given Lee has also won the Grand National and the Stewards’ Cup, he is making quite a CV for himself. He was understandably delighted afterwards. “Happy days are here again,” he said.
“Massive credit to the horse.
Jonjo told me to be brave on him and he gave me a great ride.”
Brave Lee most certainly was. Held up and always travelling well, nothing was going better than Tominator with a furlong to run, but with gaps taking an age to open and Joe Fanning heading for home on Oriental Fox, it looked as if they weren’t going to get there.
They’d gone a strong enough gallop, however, and hard as the Mark Johnstontrained runner-up tried to hold on to his lead, he just didn’t have the guns to repel the Tominator charge and the grey got his head in front in the shadow of the post.
“That is fantastic, I couldn’t be happier,” said a jubilant O’Neill. “Graham gave him a great ride. He is a brilliant jockey, he did everything right. You just have to tell him what the horse was like and he rode him spot-on, he didn’t panic. I thought he had plenty of weight, but it came right.”
Hamilton raced on Tuesday and all seven winners were trained in Yorkshire, including three on the card for Mark Johnston and Joe Fanning.
Johnston, whose horses have been in unbelievable form over the last ten days, was off the mark in the opening two-year-old race when Overstep made all the running, returning at 25-1!
Afterwards the Scotsman said: “I don’t know why he ran poorly on his first two starts as he’s a nice horse at home. Perhaps he didn’t beat much, maybe the favourite who was third at York isn’t as good as we thought.”
Johnston’s day was completed when Wadacre Sarko and Galcian ran out easy winners.
Johnston’s fine run of form continued on Wednesday when Tartan Jura made all the running in the two mile handicap, again under a great front running ride from Joe Fanning.
Amazingly it was the trainers’ 19th winner since the start of last week and afterwards Johnston’s assistant, Jock Bennett, said: “We’ve had a good week. This horse missed the break at Pontefract last time and never got competitive after that.
“We said today if he broke well we’d keep him interested and he did it well. I thought it was a great ride.
I’ve never seen Joe push for as far for so long! The horse gets the trip very well. They came to him but he stayed on.”
The feature race this weekend comes up tomorrow afternoon when Al Kazeem will tray and take the Coral Eclipse at Sandown Park.
Rodger Charlton’s star colt was an easy winner at Royal Ascot last time out under jockey James Doyle who is four from four on the fiveyear- old and has a fine chance of keeping up that unbeaten record.
Again, at this time off the year, there is plenty of local racing next week, starting at Ripon on Monday evening, the first race due to start at 6.20pm.
The feature race is The Summer Sprint Trophy, a handicap contest for threeyear- old sprinters over six furlongs, has attracted a quality looking field and it will be interesting to see the final line-up.
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