Blinkers off! - Sir Budget in good stead for overnight allowance
TRAINER Michael Beecham has gone back to basics for Saturday's overnight allowance with his homegrown SIR BUDGET, removing the blinkers he had fitted for the six-year-old's last three starts - an equipment he did not need in any of his eight victories to date.
One of the quickest horses in the country, SIR BUDGET, in two of his last three starts, was led by horses, who, up to two months prior, would have seen nothing but his back end.
It turns out that Beecham experimented with blinkers for SIR BUDGET's run in the May 26 Lotto Sprint and had what he must have considered a light-bulb moment when the gelding closed from off the pace, set by set by MR UNIVERSE and SIEMPRE BUENO, to finish second behind none other than the country's best horse, SHE'S A MANEATER.
Hence, when SIR BUDGET returned fitted with blinkers on July 7, two classes lower, he was knocked down to 6-5 with Gary Richards at the minimum five furlongs round. However, he knotted up on the lead with POLLY B, who he was already allowing 15lb, and weakened inside the last half-furlong, both giving way to 14-1 stunner BIMINI.
Even though he led and was, indeed, significantly heavier than POLLY B, SIR BUDGET just did not seem himself, which was further compounded when he returned 11 days later and was shockingly outsped by LUNAR ROCKET and LIGHTNING LILY before uncharacteristically making up late ground at six and a half furlongs.
With his eureka moment now past, Beecham has spent the last month reprogramming SIR BUDGET to reproduce the speed he had shown in the higher class, open allowance, in two races immediately before the Lotto Sprint.
Due to his default second-place run behind SHE'S A MANEATER, closing past tired horses, SIEMPRE BUENO and MR UNIVERSE, who was ridden kamikaze on the lead, SIR BUDGET has been slapped with topweight 126lb, penalised by conditions accompanying overnight allowance.
However, Beecham has turned to two-kilo claiming apprentice Oniel Beckford to come in at 121lb against main rivals PEKING CRUZ (115) and POLLY B (111).
PEKING CRUZ won impressively on last but that was at his favourite trip, five furlongs straight, beating a highly suspect MR VIGOROUS and badly drawn OUTRAGEOUS TAJ. Though he has won one of his four races on the round course, scrambling home ahead of a stayer, MY ELLE BELLE, at five and a half furlongs, tells the tale of the difference in company he now faces.
POLLY B ran his heart out but was easily held by CRUCIAL APPEAL at five furlongs straight on Wednesday. Though he is pretty light at 111 and has hot Anthony Thomas aboard, the extra half-furlong, after his exertions on Wednesday, should be his undoing.
SIR BUDGET, on the other hand, has had a month's rest and is drawn one out from the rail, which he should easily grab from out-of-sorts DRAGLINE, putting him in the catbird seat for Beckford to time his run against LUNAR ROCKET, PEKING CRUZ and POLLY B.