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Strange horse comes good

Sherrylyn A. Toppin

Strange horse comes good

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The “strange” horse came good yesterday, fulfilling all of the promise that the connections saw in him.
And today, owner Sir David Seale and trainer Liz Deane are celebrating back-to-back victories after Aristodemus took the 32nd Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup yesterday at the Garrison Savannah.
A loud cheer went up in the Grand Stand after the chestnut colt came around the outside and stayed in front on the straightaway, holding off Daga, Meteorite and defending champion Dancin David.
Sir David believes the tone was set in Race 6 when Trotman rode Golden Moment to victory.
“When I come to races on Saturday, I say the first horse I race, if it runs well, I feel good. Today, [Yesterday] of course the first horse we raced won, so I was feeling very confident we could win the Cup,” he said.
“They couldn’t beat that big fellow today [yesterday]. He’s a class horse. Barbados ain’t seen anything like him. He was a late foal, so he is really about three-and-a-half years old and he is growing each year, strengthening out.”
This is Sir David’s seventh Gold Cup win and he was also heartened by Aristodemus’ most recent starts.  
“The last three starts he had, he won twice and was second by a neck, but that was a very slowly run race. Today, this was a quick one; this was about four seconds faster. That suited him fine,” he said.
“I would have loved Dancin David to win because he’s come back from a very serious injury, but I know he wanted another gallop or two. That is how the luck goes.”
Trainer Deane was elated with another victory.  
“You know, the Gold Cup is like our Kentucky Derby or English Derby so it feels really great. That is the truth. I am proud of Aristodemus, but I am equally proud of Dancin David. He ran a great race to be fourth. He’s come back from a fractured bone in the foreleg,” she pointed out.
Deane said the word around the Garrison was both horses preferred soft going, but they dispelled those rumours by riding well on a firm track yesterday.
The race played out exactly as they expected, but Deane let “Tom”, as Trotman is known in racing circles, make the final decisions.
“Anderson Trotman, he’s been around a long time, he’s one of my favourite jockeys, I don’t hide it. I never give him instructions. He is a top jockey. He knows what to do,” she said.
And while the victory was sweet, it was not an easy road as Aristodemus has a reputation for not wanting to work.
“We have to bring him down in the dark to get him to work fast. He’s frightened for everything, but on race day he puts it all out. He is really a strange horse,” Deane said.
“You can’t send him out to work. He runs from wherever he wants to run. The other person I have to thank is Jason Leacock. Not only did Jason ride Dancin David a great race, he also is the exercise rider for Aristodemus, so I am really thankful for him too.”
This is Aristodemus’ first win over 1 800 metres. In November last year he placed fifth over that distance and second in the Coolmore Stakes in January.   
“For the Coolmore we got in no work because we couldn’t get him to work. So he actually got work for this race and Tom kept saying if we get the work in him, he feels he is going to win and he was right.”