One-two for trainer Stuart Williams as Tone The Barone lands poignant win
Newmarket trainer Stuart Williams enjoyed a one-two in the Play Nifty Fifty Exclusively At Betfred Handicap over five furlongs as bottom-weight Tone The Barone (Harry Bentley, 18/1) came home a length ahead stable companion of Equitation (Marco Ghiani, 8/1).
Entering the final furlong, four-year-old Tone The Barone still had plenty to do but responded gamely to the urgings of jockey Harry Bentley as he came through up the centre of the course.
Stuart Williams said: “I have been moaning like mad to the handicapper about his handicap mark – Tone The Barone went up 19lbs for winning three fairly ordinary all-weather races, and he went up that much on the turf as well. After he got well beaten here two weeks ago the handicapper split his marks and gave him a turf mark 3lbs lower than his all-weather mark; whether that has made all the difference today – it probably has. He will probably put him up again now and I will have to eat humble pie!
“The last time he won on the turf he was rated 61, and he got beat off 69. This is more like any all-weather track in the country, because it’s sand-based underneath, and suits him. He is been a very good money-spinner for the yard and it’s a pleasure to train him.
“He is named after owner Brian Piper’s brother Tony, and they call him the Baron, hence Tone The Barone. Tony is suffering from some sort of cancer and it is not great, so it was a poignant sort of thing for Brian to name him after him.
“This is the best race I could run him, and I will run him in the best races I can where the prize money is. I think it’s very important in this climate that we try and win as much prize money as I can. It’s hard for me to charge enough to make it pay without winning prize money, and it has been very difficult to win prize money. The races are much tougher and more competitive than they were before, especially when a lot of our horses are older horses and we are running against the three-year-olds. We were fourth at Newmarket the other day – three three-year-olds absolutely stuffed us, and I think my horse ran to form. What usually happens is that the three-year-olds run against each other first, get re-handicapped before they start taking the older horses on. Now they are going straight in against the older horses, who are giving them a stone, and they are a stone well in as well. You just can’t beat them if they are from the bigger yards.
“It is very nice to get an Ascot winner. You come here with your best horses all the time, and most of the time you see them beaten at the furlong pole!”
Harry Bentley added: “It’s nice when you are on a horse that takes you into the race so well. The pace was quite strong and the plan was always to take back and ride a patient race on him. The gaps appeared nicely but, more to the point, I had the horse to take me there.
“Stuart really likes this horse. His best form comes on all-weather surfaces but he was still bringing in some very good form. Stuart mentioned in the parade ring that he wanted me to take the horse back and ride him a bit more patiently. You need a strong pace when you ride a horse like that – luckily they went a good gallop and things came back to me.”
1.55pm Play Nifty Fifty Exclusively At Betfred Handicap 5f
1 Tone The Barone – Stuart Williams 4-8-10 Harry Bentley 18/1
2 Equitation – Stuart Williams 6-8-06 Marco Ghiani (5) 8/1
3 Konchek – Clive Cox 4-9-07 Adam Kirby 15/2
Winner owned by Brian Piper And Partner
Breeding: ch g Lope De Vega (IRE) – A Huge Dream (IRE) (Refuse To Bend)
Breeder: Ors Bloodstock & Stanley House Stud
Non-Runners: 6 Aplomb (Going); 10 Blue de Vega (Going)
6/4 Fav Magic J (5th)
Time: 1m 0.97s
Distances: 1, nk
Tote Win: £22.10 Places: £4.50, £2.50, £2.30 Exacta: £161.50