SUPPORTERS of the racehorse Winston C will be hoping it is ‘V for Victory’ at Beverley today.
The horse – who draws his name from Britain’s wartime leader Winston Churchill whose victory gesture galvanised a nation in its darkest days – is due to line up in the Eppleworth Handicap on the Westwood.
The four-year-old son of Rip Van Winkle was a solid performer for Newmarket trainer Michael Bell and was not beaten far in races like last year’s Melrose Handicap at York.
But Winston C has since been transferred to renowned jumps trainer Harry Fry, who enjoyed early success in his career with the top class hurdler Rock On Ruby, and now competes in Charles Wentworth’s silks.
The two-time winner also underwent a gelding operation last October as he gears up for a first start for 341 days.
Dorset-based Fry, who will be saddling a first runner at Beverley, said: “He’s been with us a few months and he’s got some nice form in the book.
“He’s had a break, and now he’s ready to run. He’s done plenty of work at home and we’re very happy with him, but, like all of them, he’ll be better for the outing.ap
“We’re very relaxed about his future, and the plan is to take it one race at a time with him.
“The Beverley race looks the right race for him, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do.”
Winston C will carry top weight in the mile-and-a-half contest in which he faces nine rivals.
Be Perfect, Sunglider, Vision Clear and Weather Front are all course-and-distance winners, with the latter on a hat-trick for in-form trainer Karen McLintock.
Poet’s Word has suffered an injury setback and will not be seen in action again this year.
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained five-year-old has been one of the stories of the season, beating Cracksman in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, before getting the better of stablemate Crystal Ocean in an epic finish to the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes back at the Berkshire track.
Ridden this season by James Doyle, Poet’s Word then chased home the imperious Roaring Lion in York’s Juddmonte International last month after being denied a clear run at a crucial stage of the race.
“Poet’s Word has sustained an injury and will not be able to race again this year,” said Stoute.
“His owner, Saeed Suhail, will soon be coming to England and will make a decision on his future.”
A regular in the top races, Poet’s Word was second in both the English and Irish Champion Stakes last season, and began this campaign when runner-up to Hawkbill in the Sheema Classic at Meydan.
Phoenix Of Spain is likely to step up to a mile after chasing home Too Darn Hot in Saturday’s Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.
The Charlie Hills-trained grey stepped up to Group Two level on Town Moor after winning the Acomb Stakes at York’s Ebor festival.
Though no match for John Gosden’s Too Darn Hot who is already favourite for next year’s Classics, he finished clear of the remainder in second and Hills believes there is a lot to look forward to.
He said: “It was a very creditable effort. The Royal Lodge (Newmarket, September 29) and what was the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster (Vertem Futurity Trophy, October 27) are the type of races to look at.”