Which kennel wouldn’t dream of unearthing a future open race star in an event like the Henlow Maiden Derby. In the case of Man Twenty One, there is no unearthing to be done.
Alison Kelly-Pilgrim’s brindle clocked the fastest time in Sunday’s first round of the Cat 1 event (see below), though there was surely no runner with a backstory to compare.
Back in the autumn of 2017, the son of Kinloch Brae could reasonably have been considered as Ireland’s top Juvenile. He landed the Texacloth Juvenile Derby at Newbridge and was the 11-10f for the Dublin Coach Juvenile Derby Final where he finished third behind Skywalker Rafa having clocked 28.08 for the Shelbourne standard in the semis.
Alison takes up the story: “Ray (Dean – joint owner) kept him in Ireland to run on the Night Of Stars and then brought him over to me with the plan of running him in the Derby at Towcester”
‘Jamie’s’ trial times were nothing exceptional, including 15.51 and 15.83 trials at Towcester. The best, by far, fortuitously, was a 27.46 (calc) for Henlow’s 460 metres. His last trial was a 30.42 for Towcester’s 500 metres.
Alison says: “He went to pieces in the hot weather. He is quite an excitable dog anyway and last year’s hot summer was a disaster for him. We didn’t consider racing him and Ray decided to send him over to Eugene Price in Ireland.”
Man Twenty One was off the track for four months until he had fully recovered and he was then entered in the Irish Derby. He went out in the first round and reached the semi final of the Plate without winning a heat or looking like the champion juvenile that he once was.
Alison said: “After the Derby was over, I don’t think they really knew what to do with him. In the end, Ray said it might be fun to have another crack at the English Derby and they sent him over.
“We were up against it timewise, I didn’t get the chance to give him a four bend trial, but thankfully it all worked out well and it was great to see him win.”
(The semi finals of the Henlow Maiden Derby will take place at the GBGB tomorrow)