Ladbrokes Gold Cup – Monmore 480m – £10,000
GONZO landed trainer Julie Bateson a second Ladbrokes Gold Cup after achieving something of a feat in winning a GBGB Category One in just his sixth race in the UK at Monmore – following the kennel’s victory with Barbies Man in 2009.
Breaking smartly, Gonzo was always handy, although a coming together with another fast starter in Bockos Boss saw him lose momentum when forced to swing off, which gave Kevin Boon’s runner the advantage down the back straight.
With the rest of the field involved with scrimmaging inside, it was left to the outside pair to dominate the £10,000 final and Gonzo came again to head Bockos Boss on the run for home and score by three-quarters of a length in 28.31sec (normal).
Bought out of Youghal by Pat Buckley for owner Kenny Glen after a 28.88sec win, the June 2018 son of Laughil Blake and Rushmoorbeatrice arrived at Bateson’s Lancaster kennels just before lockdown – after which the trainer struggled to find trial opportunities.
“It’s been a difficult period for everyone, but especially for unattached trainers,” she said. “We almost became the great unwashed – no-one wanted us. So I have to say thanks to Ian Walton at Newcastle for allowing us the opportunity to trial.
“So Gonzo’s first race at Newcastle really was a learning curve for him – lockdown gave him the chance settle at the kennels, but he just need to find his feet. He actually started 25-1 for that first race, but ran well we thought to finish fourth behind Droopys Carat.
“He showed plenty of pace and once the Gold Cup was confirmed that was always the plan. He won a trial stakes in 28.13sec, but I still felt even in the heats and semis that he was running too fast into the bend and not handling the bends at all, running wide
“He got better with each run and I actually thought going into the final he was the one runner with the most scope for improvement – and once he came out and recovered from the bump at the bend that he’d pick Kevin’s dog up. He really stays well.
“For that reason it’s got to be Nottingham now – and the Derby. He’s got speed and stamina and has certainly shown the class in winning the Gold Cup. I’m just sad Kenny (Glen, owner) couldn’t be here – although I’m surprised I couldn’t hear him cheering from Scotland!
“Kenny’s a great supporter of the kennel – in fact he’s owns all the dogs I’ve got! He’s a great supporter of greyhound racing, full stop, and deserves nights and wins like this – and I’m grateful that he just lets me get on with things.
Bateson paid tribute to her sister and assistant Diane Smith who joined her at the presentation and to Irish trainer Buckley for sourcing her Gold Cup champion.
“I couldn’t do this without Diane’s help and I know Kenny would like me to thank Pat (Buckley) and Craig Dawson for finding him Gonzo. He arrived here in fantastic condition and has been a joy to have around,” she said.
Tony Williamson, Monmore racing manager, said: “Well done to Julie and Diane. Gonzo ran an absolute blinder, as did Kevin’s dog (Bockos Boss). Commiserations to the connections of the other runners who just seemed to get in each other’s way.
“I’d like to thank Steve Rollinson (deputy racing manager) who oversaw the meeting and to Ladbrokes for their fantastic sponsorship of the two Category One finals – the Gold Cup and Summer Stayers Classic – as well as two other finals and supporting card.”