Co-trainer Dion Luciani hit the nail on head when declaring his Blackfriars gelding Young Lionel had been “hard to catch for punters”, but all that was about to change at Ascot today with a deserved win in the Westside Auto Wholesale HCP 1400m.
It had been a long 108 day wait for loyal punters, who had installed Young Lionel as their public elect in its last three outings, only to collect the silverware in races which easily could have gone the other way. Confident that lady luck must have to change, punters again threw their collective support behind the four year old in today’s race – and finally their patience was rewarded.
Prepared to take a sit mid-field upon commencement, veteran hoop Paul Harvey struggled to find cover for his mount – forced to plough forward three wide for a majority of the race. Last start winner Dare to Doubt ($15.00) took up the running from a wide draw (barrier 13), while fancied runner Soonest ($4.40) was also taken forward early to sit outside the leader. Swinging the bend, Harvey asked Young Lionel ($3.30 fav) for a final effort to which the horse responded – producing a gutsy charge to the line for a welcomed one length victory.
Even Astar ($14.00) rattled home late from last to claim second, while Dare To Doubt stayed on well a further ¾ length astern in third.
The win presented the second leg of a riding double to Harvey, who had earlier saluted aboard raging favourite Black Tycoon ($1.80 fav) in the Stevenson Logistics HCP 1820m.
Chris Blackwell – www.ozracing.com.au