Ebor could be ideal for HMS President
I swear I heard some loud cheering ‘up above’ at Newmarket on Saturday when HMS President, carrying the colours of the Henry Ponsonby racing syndicate, got up on the line under Rossa Ryan to win the valuable Heritage Handicap on 2000 Guineas day.
There was plenty of back-slapping going on from the club members in the winner’s enclosure, but how Henry, who died last September, would have loved to have celebrated a winner in his famous silks on what was a very special Classic day.
HMS President, who has suffered from second-itis these last nine months, having finished runner-up five times during that period, confirmed that a mile and six (furlongs) is his ideal trip when digging deep and, producing a terrific run stands side, he came out of the Dip to snatch the race out of the fire.
Runner-up in the last two Mallard Handicaps over this distance at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting, HMS President looks tailor-made for a tilt at the Ebor at York in August, the race that Henry won with Tiger Cliff 10 years ago.
One of the richest staying handicaps in Europe, the Ebor always attracts a quality entry these days, and you need a horse rated at least 100 to even get into the race.
That was evident last season when Alfred Boucher, who finished second to Trawlerman, raced off a mark of 100 but still only just crept into this prestigious Knavesmire race.
HMS President, racing for only the second time for Barbury, been transferred from Eve Johnson Houghton’s stable during the winter, won on the Rowley Mile off a mark of 93.
So when he is reassessed by the official handicapper on Tuesday his revised rating can be expected to be very close to the century.
Doubtless, Alan will be thumbing through the programme book to find a handicap or two before York – Royal Ascot and the July meeting spring to mind, while HMS President did win at Goodwood in 2022, so the ‘Glorious’ meeting could be a possible – but meanwhile all and sundry are still celebrating what was a famous victory on a week-end which none of us will ever forget.