General Tufto set for 100th run at Southwell
General Tufto with trainer Charles Smith and groom Rebecca Smith
PICTURE: Steve Davies General Tufto set for 100th run at Southwell By Bruce Jackson 7:46AM 20 DEC 2016
GENERAL TUFTO joins a 100 club with a difference today when the 11-year-old races for the 100th time at the same racecourse.
The chances are that the 11-year-old is the founding member of this particular club. Running for the 188th time, he first ran at Southwell on December 10, 2008, and over the intervening eight years has gone back 98 times to win 14 races at the Nottinghamshire venue.
General Tufto will be kicking down his stable door to get on the horsebox to make the 40-minute journey from the Wellingore yard of trainer Charles Smith in Lincolnshire.
"It's quite an achievement for the old boy to race there 100 times, and he loves going there," said Smith.
Neither Smith nor owner John Theaker was ruling out General Tufto rising to the occasion in the first division of the mile 0-55 handicap.
"You never know with him," added Smith, who bought the then three-year-old out of Roger Charlton's stable for 4,000gns two years after the Hascombe Stud's homebred colt had failed to reach his reserve as a yearling with a bid of 200,000gns.
"We're hoping for a big run – his last two races he's run really well, last time from 9lb out of the handicap and staying on into sixth in a better race.
"I think he's as well as he's ever been – he looks a picture so we're keeping our fingers crossed."
In-running punters probably already know the tell-tale signs of what is coming in General Tufto's races.
Smith explained: "They can't go fast enough for him. If he's travelling for the first half-mile they aren't going fast enough in front – if he's off the bridle and chased along, that's what suits him.
"He's a real character. He's still quite capable."