Heartbreak City brings joy for Adam McNamara in York’s Ebor Handicap
York racecourse The Observer Heartbreak City brings joy for Adam McNamara in York’s Ebor Handicap Teenager helps land big race for Tony Martin’s stable and New York owners
William Buick completes treble on Scottish, Wall Of Fire and Blue Point
Cheltenham came to Yorkshire via Ireland and New York on Saturday, as the Here For The Craic Partnership – “all jumping men”, as one of them said – celebrated victory in the Ebor, the richest Flat handicap in Europe. Their horse Heartbreak City strode four lengths clear in the closing stages to land some significant bets and give the 19-year-old jockey Adam McNamara not just the biggest win of his career but also one of the easiest.
Heartbreak City cruised into the lead approaching the final furlong and all the horses coming from behind were racing for second place from that stage. Shrewd stayed on into second with Quick Jack, a stablemate of the winner at Tony Martin’s yard in Ireland, in third. She Is No Lady, the well-backed 4-1 favourite, finished nearer last than first.
It was jackets off, ties at half-mast and a blizzard of bear hugs and backslapping as McNamara and Heartbreak City returned to the winner’s enclosure. The six-year-old’s owners, Irish expatriates in New York, do not do anything by halves, and victory in a race worth £174,000 to the winner was an outstanding excuse for a party.
“Over there [in New York], if you’re going to do something, you do it 110%,” one owner told Channel 4 Racing afterwards. “This fellow here [Martin] does it 120%, and we’ll never be anywhere else. We’ll never doubt him.”
McNamara, who is attached to Richard Fahey’s yard in Malton, was Martin’s choice for the ride and was richly praised by the winning trainer. “It was sheer brilliance,” Martin said, “Lester Piggott wouldn’t have been as good.”
McNamara suggested that his mount had carried considerable stable confidence. “Mr Martin told me that if I got some cover he was going to win, and he was right,” the rider said. “This is the race I wanted to win, and that’s it really. I was extremely nervous, but I had the horse underneath me.”
Both Heartbreak City and Quick Jack are now likely to run in the Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket before a mixed campaign to include races both on the Flat and over hurdles.
Earlier on the card, William Buick completed a treble in as many races, riding Scottish and Wall Of Fire to win the Strensall Stakes and Melrose Stakes respectively before Blue Point’s impressive success in the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes.
The latter stretched away inside the final furlong to beat Mokarris by three lengths, winning his third race in four starts after a narrow defeat by Mehmas in the Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
Buick suggested afterwards that Blue Point’s “cruising speed is so high that it’s hard to get a lead for as long as you want”, and while he inevitably attracted quotes for next year’s 2,000 Guineas, the six-furlong Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot may prove more suitable.
“We knew we were beaten by a good horse on the day last time, but he learned so much that day,” Charlie Appleby, Blue Point’s trainer, said. “Afterwards, he just blossomed, mentally he came out of it so well and physically he got stronger.
“This horse is all speed and he was the ultimate professional out there. The most logical course would be to go straight to the [Group One] Middle Park with him, but let’s get the horse home first and speak to connections.
“I’d love to think he could get a mile next year, I think he’d be pretty dangerous if he did, but I don’t think he will, I’m afraid. On what he’s showing us now, he’s a sprinter, and that’s how we’ll train him and work from there.”
Blue Point is top-priced at 5-1 with Paddy Power for the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on 24 September, in a market headed by Aidan O’Brien’s Caravaggio, the ante-post favourite for next year’s Guineas. Blue Point can also be backed at 12-1 with Coral for the Commonwealth Cup, and at around 16-1 for the 2,000 Guineas.
Scottish will end his campaign on the other side of the planet after pounding down the middle of the track to win by a length-and-a-quarter. Yorker, an import from South Africa having his first start for more than two years, ran a fine race to finish second and is a horse to look out for in the weeks ahead.
“Scottish has only been beaten twice over a mile-and-a-half when he’s got his ground and one of those was by [the King George winner] Highland Reel,” Appleby said. “We bought him with Australia in mind. He won’t get into the Cox Plate this year so we’ll look at the [Group One] Caulfield Cup [in mid-October].”
At Sandown, South Seas maintained his unbeaten record with ease in the Group Three Solario Stakes while John Gosden’s three-year-old filly Persuasive is now five-from-five after a three-length win in the Atalanta Stakes.