Talent Scout looks to defy top weight, and years, at Beverley

TALENT Scout will once again attempt to defy his advancing years when he bids for a fifth victory at Beverley today.

Havana Grey ridden by P.J. McDonald.

The 11-year-old gelding is now in the twilight of his career but he looked as good as ever at the popular East Yorkshire circuit on June 27.

Talent Scout stormed up the famous Beverley hill to win a seven-and-a-half-furlong handicap by a neck following a thrilling duel with Make On Madam.

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Trainer Karen Tutty is now optimistic her pride and joy can overcome the burden of top weight in the Drive In Pallet Racking Handicap over an extended mile.

The North Yorkshire handler said: “He’s an absolute superstar and means the world to us.

“He only won a claimer last year and you always wonder whether they’ve had enough at his age. But this year he’s won two handicaps, so it’s all good.

“He’s gone up 4lb for his last Beverley win, but hopefully that won’t be too much of a problem as he tries so hard in victory and defeat.

“He loves running up that Beverley hill and that’s what he probably has going for him over many other horses.”

Talent Scout will be having a 75th career start and has been ridden by the trainer’s daughter, Gemma, 47 times.

Tutty, who is based in Northallerton, added: “Gemma knows him inside out and has been a big part of his career. She will know exactly how to get the best out of him.”

The raceday, in association with Industrial Racking Supplies, is one of the most popular meetings of the Beverley season. The feature is the five-furlong beddingheaven.co.uk Summer Duvet Specialists Handicap in which course-and-distance winners Bashiba, Singeur, Stanghow, Bosham and First Bombardment have all been declared.

Havana Grey set the record straight in the Allied World Dragon Stakes at Sandown yesterday.

Karl Burke’s youngster was disappointing in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, but showed his true colours in this Listed affair over five furlongs.

Jockey PJ McDonald was keen to get into a sweet early rhythm aboard Havana Grey, who bounced out of stall two under a 3lb penalty.

Windsor Castle Stakes runner-up Roussel also travelled kindly and made his move two furlongs out.

But just as it looked like the favourite would haul back Havana Grey, McDonald’s partner kicked on again and ended up winning by a length and a quarter.

McDonald said: “The horse has made a liar out of me because I always said to Karl he’d be better held up as he’s got an electric turn of foot.”

The Molecomb Strakes at Goodwod early next month is the horse’s target. “He’s a very good horse,” said Leyburn-based Burke. “He’s just got that fantastic turn of foot and I’m really happy he’s shown it again.”

Cracksman is poised to take his chance in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York on August 23.

Last weekend’s Irish Derby runner-up, trained by John Gosden, could then be primed for the St Leger in September as the Voltigeur is a renowned trial for the Doncaster Classic.

Owner Anthony Oppenheimer said: “If we did go to York, then he can either rest for the rest of the year and come back as a four-year-old, or we could look at something like that (St Leger).

“That’s a long way off, though, and we’ve not yet got to the bottom of this horse. I see no reason why we can’t get him back for a four-year-old campaign, with the big target being the King George next year.”

Gavin Sheehan has lost his job as first rider to trainer Warren Greatrex.

Champion jockey Richard Johnson will ride when available for Greatrex whose team will also include Yorkshire rider Harry Bannister as well as Sheehan.

Sheehan, a former champion apprentice, came to prominence when winning the 2014 West Yorkshire Hurdle on Cole Harden before landing the following year’s World Hurdle on the fantastic front-runner.

“Gavin has found things a bit tough and this is a good way of going about it because I think it will take the pressure off him and it will give him the opportunity to learn off Richard,” said the trainer.