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Hamish McGonagall ready to take plunge for a Group 1 glory
A DIP in the pool and a bit of rain is Hamish McGonagall’s secret – and if he can get those conditions again Tim Easterby’s veteran will have another crack at Group 1 glory in France.
The eight-year-old put up a fantastic performance to finish fourth in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York Racecourse, and Great Habton-based Easterby revealed a painstaking job is required to now get his sprinter to the races.
“He’s been swimming for the last three weeks and his old joints aren’t what they were but he has still got it,” he said.
“If it hadn’t rained on Thursday night he wasn’t being entered yesterday and that would have been the end of it. That was fantastic, though.”
Hamish McGonagall, a ten-time winner over his career and four times a victor at York Racecourse, fought from the front in the five-furlong Group 1 dash, leading at the half way stage and continuing to fight after being headed inside the final furlong. He kept chasing the winner but fell by just over a length as 40-1 shot Jwala shocked the packed stands.
Easterby will now target the Prix de l’Abbaye, at Longchamp on Arc de Triomphe day, for his star but will closely monitor both the ground and the weather before deciding whether to take him over the Channel.
“You can’t hold him up,” Easterby added of his gelding’s York display. “You’ve got to get him going along and let him roll.
“We will go for the Prix de l’Abbaye as long as he is all right. But there will have to be some juice in the ground. That performance was just amazing.”
But while there was joy for Easterby, there will be disappointment at Sutton Bank after Bryan Smart’s fancied Moviesta was tailed off last.
The three-year-old, ridden by Boroughbridge jockey Paul Mulrennan, was the 5-1 third favourite before the start but never looked comfortable at any stage of the contest.
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