No stopping Beecham's Sir Budget
SIR BUDGET's unbelievably great second-place finish behind SHE'S A MANEATER in the May 26 Lotto Sprint, up in class and chasing the two fastest horses in training, MR UNIVERSE and SIEMPRE BUENO, ought to make him a cinch going a furlong shorter, stepping back down to open allowance company in the 10th event.
Having exposed his form at odds of 40-1 in the Lotto Sprint, after four unplaced efforts at the lower open allowance tier, SIR BUDGET incurred the wrath of the conditions and comes in at the top of the scale, 126lb, giving weight all around, despite not having won a race at the level since last October.
Trainer Michael Beecham is either supremely confident or extremely loyal to veteran jockey Gary Richards, opting not to utilise a claiming apprentice aboard the six-year-old, allowing other speedsters such as CRUCIAL APPEAL and A.P.I., 10 and 16lb, respectively.
CRUCIAL APPEAL, now eight years old, stayed away from May's Lotto Sprint, racing two classes below a week earlier, but was no match for MR UNIVERSE and finished fourth behind the young speedster at five furlongs straight, going down by three and a quarter lengths.
However, the chestnut gelding had carried 126lb from which he now gets a 10lb reprieve and has the services of the leading rider, apprentice Anthony Thomas, at the minimum trip. Though he has not won a race on the round course in a while, CRUCIAL APPEAL was not far behind grade one runners in April's six-furlong Lady Geeta Trophy, beaten into fourth by SIEMPE BUENO, CHACE THE GREAT and MONEY MAGNET.
A.P.I. comes in even lighter than CRUCIAL APPEAL, 110lb, and has a great chance at the handicaps, 16lb lighter than SIR BUDGET, which will allow her to be in the pace from the get-go.
However, Beecham could have an ace up his sleeve, a literal 'Plan B', blinkers, with which SIR BUDGET was fitted for the Lotto Sprint and ran a stunning race, staying on strongly along the rail in the stretch run to finish three lengths behind SHE'S A MANEATER - after chasing splits of 22.1 and 45.0 for the half mile.
Considering SIR BUDGET was wearing blinkers for the first time in 47 starts and was only beaten by the best pound-for-pound horse in the country, Beecham can be given a pass for taking his chances with Richards, who badly needs to win a race for another trainer besides Wayne DaCosta, provider of his 11 victories from 102 rides since returning to Caymanas Park.