Horse Racing

Innovator delivers courageous first run

BY Ruddy allen
Observer staff reporter

Friday, February 16, 2018

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Despite racing and winning first time out in a maiden special weight event over a mile (1,600m), the powerful-looking grey colt Innovator won't be fully ready for the 2,000 Guineas to be run on Sunday April 15. That is the opinion of Don Wehby, owner of the courageous three-year-old.

Under Robert Halledeen, Innovator ( Casual Trick Pretty Hilly) showed signs of real ability and true fighting spirit when he got the better of Sir Puddington (Oneil Scott) by half-a-length in a fierce tussle to the wire. The race ended in an encouraging time for the connections of 1:41.2.

“I think he ( Innovator) may be a little bit too late for the 2,000 Guineas, but hopefully down the road in terms of the Lotto Classic and the Jamaica Derby he will be there, and hopefully he can be a player in those races as well. He finished pretty well, and this run showed that he has a lot of heart, and so we will see as with horse racing, you have to take it one day at a time, but I am happy with the run,” Wehby stated.

From a level break, Innovator was up early in the pace as the far-striding colt raced behind Anwar (Dane Nelson) with Treasure Train (Anthony Thomas) and Isotope (Linton Steadman) for company.

The runners maintained a steady gallop until approaching the half-mile (800m) when Innovator was sent in chase of Anwar, who made an attempt to slip away from the field.

Sir Puddington (Oneil Scott) was hustled up to go down into third place as Peggy's Vision (Shane Ellis) drew alongside and began to edge away from Treasure Train.

Turning for home, Innovator took dead aim at Anwar on the outside, while Sir Puddington hugged the inside rails and the three horses locked horns at the furlong-and-a-half (300m) pole. The battle for supremacy was on in earnest.

Inside the final furlong (200m) Innovator and Sir Puddington pulled away from the battling Anwar who seemed to have had traffic problems. Halledeen kept his mount balanced, and Innovator found extra and got home forcefully in the end. Anwar held on well for third money ahead of Peggy's Vision in fourth.

“I think it was a very good performance and I am pretty pleased with his effort. It was his debut run, I mean, 56.0 kg and going eight furlongs was really a good effort and we are happy. Halledeen (Robert), I thought, gave him an exceptional ride, and hopefully the best is yet to come.

Innovator is half-brother to Uncle Donny who is a Classic winner and hopefully he can follow in his brother's footsteps. I don't know, it is early days yet, but he ran 1:41.2 and that's ok. If I remember correctly, Uncle Donny did the same time at this stage of his career and he improved rapidly after his first race or so. Hopefully Innovator will improve also,” said Wehby.




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