(By John Jenkins)
Yorkshire Dales continued on his winning way with another dominant performance in today’s $35,000 Barfoot & Thompson’s Chairman’s Trophy at Ellerslie.
The seven-year-old European-bred gelding made it two victories from two appearances this campaign and took his overall record to seven wins from only 17 starts when he out-finished Lilly Thunder in a two-horse fight over the final stages of the 1400-metre event.
Yorkshire Dales surged ahead in the last few strides and his winning margin of three-quarters of a length flattered his rivals according to jockey Craig Grylls.
Grylls said the horse was tightened for room at the jump and got back a bit further than intended when second last in the early stages. But he improved quickly from the 600m and was poised to strike rounding the home turn.
“He gets a lot bit keen but he settled pretty well today,” Grylls said.
“He just travelled sweet throughout. We came to the outside and he did it pretty easy really.”
Yorkshire Dales is trained at Cambridge by John Bell for a Hong Kong owner. The horse commenced his racing career in the United Kingdom, where he won twice in England at 1700m and 1600m. He was then campaigned in Hong Kong but failed to acclimatize there and was unplaced in one start before transferring to New Zealand.
He has now had 10 starts from the Bell stable and has only once finished further back than fifth. He has won on tracks ranging from good to heavy and was fifth in the Group 2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day on a good-3 surface.
“He’s improving all the time,” Bell said.
“He is a class horse and to run on this type of track (heavy-10) and then on top of the ground shows he’s very versatile.
“He’s got a lot of potential and it’s just a matter of keeping him happy and sound and we’ll go for a mile race next. I think his best go is a mile.”