Commanche Falls a 25-1 stunner in Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood but trainer watches on 300 miles away
IT was Com and have a go if you think you’re hard enough in the Stewards’ Cup as Commanche Falls became the first back-to-back winner of the famous handicap in 54 years.
Connor Beasley fought off the late charge of Hollie Doyle and Tabdeed to get the verdict in a thrilling head bob photo finish.
But for the second year running, his trainer Michael Dods instead plumped for a trip to Thirsk, one of his local tracks, and missed out on the celebrations.
The Yorkshireman clearly didn’t want to break the winning habit and it worked a charm as he also cheered home winners at Newmarket and Thirsk.
And for 27-year-old Beasley, it made the 4am wake-up call more than worth it.
This was his only ride of the day, so thankfully his cut of the £130,000 first prize should cover some of the petrol costs.
Beasley said: “We left at five first thing this morning. It’s a long old way down from Yorkshire to here, just shy of six hours it was in the end!
“Thankfully for me Paul Mulrennan was doing the driving and I could just chill out.
“I could have had a bucket load of rides up at Thirsk but it’s these days and these horses that keep jockeys like me going.
“It’s happy days now though, isn’t it? You have to take the rough with the smooth, there are more long drives back without these big winners than there are with them so I’m not one to ever complain.
“It’s paid off and he’s a horse high up in my pecking order and you have to stick with them and especially on days like these.”
The 25-1 shot unseated Beasley after leaving the gates at Royal Ascot and had to pass a stalls test to be able to take part at Goodwood.
Beasley and trainer Dods have put the hours in at home since he made fools of them at Ascot.
And their graft helped their speedster to become the first horse since Sky Diver in 1968 to do the big sprint double.
The ten-grand buy broke clean as a whistle this time around and was able to track long-time leader Justanotherbottle before shooting past and grabbing the nearside rail.
Beasley’s smooth move meant Doyle and Tabdeed had to go the long way around and that might have been the difference between first and second.
Sprint king Dods, speaking from Thirsk, said: “It’s what dreams are made of. To do the double is a special day for the team.
“And I’m chuffed for Connor, too. He can show people how good of a jockey he is on days like this.
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“We thought he’d run a big race at Ascot but it all went wrong! So we had to take a ticket and ensure he went in last today.
“I don’t know what it is, but we do well with horses like him. He’s a bit quirky, like his brother Dakota Gold.
“We don’t overwork them, we keep it simple and it’s a real team effort.”
Gutted Doyle had her eyes on a second big win of the week to follow up her brilliant Nassau win on Nashwa.
But she felt things didn’t quite go her way when it mattered.
She said: “He’s run a huge race.
“Being drawn where I was, I needed some luck and didn’t quite get it.
“A furlong out I thought I had it but we had to swerve around a couple and that cost me in the end.
“Fair play to the winner, though, he was very tough.”
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