Heavy Metal rocks in International success
Heavy Metal, a one time highly regarded 2yo, continued his resurgence this season with an impressive display to take the always competitive and very lucrative Longines International Handicap at Ascot under the in form Joe Fanning.
A winner of the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood in his juvenile campaign, Mark Johnston’s charge completely lost his way as a 3yo last season but had been beginning to show some of his old sparkle this year, winning at both Brighton and Redcar, before another victory in the bet365 handicap at Haydock on his latest start.
Despite the rejuvenation of the son of Exceed And Excel, he was sent off an unfancied 33/1 for today’s 7f contest, ultimately providing connections with a case of deja vu with a near identical performance to last year’s winner Galician, who was also sent off a 33/1 shot for Johnston, Fanning and owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.
Taking control of the race inside the final two furlongs, Heavy Metal was under no duress to stretch clear to win by a length from Dont Bother Me, with Watchable a neck back in third and Heaven’s Guest a further short-head back in fourth.
“He was a good 2yo and just lost his way last season but he has bounced back to form this year,” Fanning said afterwards.
“He just seemed to lose his way completely last season but he won at Brighton this year and that seemed to bring him back to form. He has done it really well there. He travelled well all the way and I was cantering two (furlongs) out. He stayed on all the way to the line.”
Johnston added: “These big handicaps, you can never be sure who is going to be the winner but it was not a big surprise to us. It was surprising that he was such a big price given that he is such a good horse who has been steadily returning to form.
“It is great to see him back.”
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
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