Image reproduced with the kind permission of York Racecourse
Captain Colby came with a late burst to claim the Ladbrokes Portland Handicap at Doncaster today.
A field of 21 lined-up for one of the big sprint handicaps of the autumn, but Mukaynis became upset in the stalls and was withdrawn.
At the off Red Pike and Soie D’Leau led down the centre of the track, with Judicial and Out Do racing together on the stands rail, apart from the rest of the field.
Red Pike and Soie D’Leau continued to set the pace with Pipers Note racing prominently, while Related blazed a trail out wider.
In the final furlong, Humidor on the far side had taken the lead from Pipers Note, but Captain Colby and William Buick came with a power packed finish.
At the line, Captain Colby had the victory by about a length from Humidor, with Harry Hurricane third and then Double Up and Soie D’Leau.
The Ed Walker trained four year old Captain Colby, had failed to win this year beforehand, but had shown improvement when third to Boom The Groom in a competitive handicap at York last month.
There was a sad postscript when it was revealed that Mukaynis had been fatally injured in the stalls.
Ed Walker, trainer of the improving winner, said: “He didn’t seem to be going a yard and looked off the bridle a long way out and then came back on it mid-race and he then finished like a train.
“I don’t know whether he is ready for a step up in trip or whether it was just that the ground is a bit loose, but I’m delighted.
“He’s done it well in the end and it looked like he could go back up to six furlongs which is great as it gives us a lot of options.”
“He can be a bit of a goon and a bit of a prat – if there is anything to try and hurt himself on or interfere with the string – he’s just a silly horse but there is no nastiness in him. Luckily, he saves plenty of energy for the races.”
Walker suggested there were plenty of possible options for the gelding in the future, commenting: “He could be a horse for Dubai or something but there are loads of options with him.
He added: “That ground was just about getting too soft for him. I think we are going to struggle now going into the autumn. He will be a nice horse next year and he has been lightly raced this year. The ground will really dictate where he goes.”
Buick was delighted by the performance of Captain Colby after the race and revealed everything went relatively smoothly for the pair this afternoon.
“It was a good run at York last time,” said Buick.
“The ground is very loose so he didn’t like it. It took him a while to get on an even keel but he found his feet towards the end and finished off very strongly.
“He is quite a talented horse – I have won on him before – and Ed has found the key to him.”
Fergus Sweeney, who partnered the nine-year-old Humidor said: “He ran very well. He seems to have come back to form in his last three runs. He picked up nicely and I thought we had a chance of winning but we just got beat by a better horse on the day.”
Robert Winston, who partnered the third-home, Harry Hurricane, in the extended five-furlong handicap, said: “Everything went well. We had a lovely position tracking the leaders and got the gaps. He has run a big race but he just doesn’t see out that last half furlong. He is more of a five-furlong specialist.
“The ground today was perfect for him.”
Both Humidor and Hurry Hurricane are trained by George Baker at Manton.