King reigns for Harker
Tuesday 14 August 2012
Geoff Harker was delighted to see Wannabe King come back to form with a surprise victory in the Tennent's Lager Handicap at Ayr.
The six-year-old was rated in excess of 100 this time two years ago but following a disappointing run of results, Harker bought him out of David Lanigan's yard for just 13,000 guineas last October.
He ran creditably at Ripon on his debut for new connections in April, but two starts in handicaps offered little promise and he was a 20-1 shot for Ayr's feature. Capably handled by Jordan Nason, he turned in a much improved display to beat Crown Counsel by two and a quarter lengths.
"He's been a very nice horse in his day, but he's had a few issues and he's taken a bit of getting to know. We put the visor back on him today and he's just travelled really well, and hopefully he's turned a corner," Harker told Racing UK.
Joe Fanning continued his good run of form with a 167-1 treble, kicking off when guiding top-weight Chookie Avon to victory in the Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Handicap. Fanning brought Keith Dalgleish's 6-1 chance with a well-timed run to beat Giorgio's Dragon by half a length.
Dalgleish said: "The race probably panned out perfectly for him. He was able to get a bit of cover and come through horses. He seems in good form at the minute."
Fanning and Dalgleish doubled up with 5-1 shot Frequency in the Courvoisier VSOP Handicap, while the middle leg of the jockey's treble was the Mark Johnston-trained Ukrainian (3-1 favourite) in the Coca-Cola Handicap.
Penang Pegasus was a decisive winner of the Coors Light Handicap for David O'Meara and Robert Winston.
Favourite Hawdyerwheesht appeared likely to collect when taking over the lead from stable companion Grand Diamond, but was unable to resist the late surge of 9-4 shot Penang Pegasus, who passed the post two lengths to the good.
O'Meara said: "The ground has probably helped, and coming back up from a mile to a mile and quarter has helped as well. He's taken a while to get the hang of things, but he's done it well and hopefully he can go on from here. That's our 50th winner of the season. We had 48 last year, so we're delighted."