David Simcock’s Bless Him rolled back the years as he landed his first turf success since 2019 in the bet365 Bunbury Cup at Newmarket.
Ridden cold as standard by Jamie Spencer in the early stages among the stand-side group, the eight-year-old was off the bridle somewhat sooner than normal, but was not for denying once striking the front inside the final furlong.
He was sent off at 25/1 for the seventh career success on his 41st start and it was a deserved triumph following some promising recent efforts, none more so than when keeping on well for seventh in the Hunt Cup having suffered interference while travelling smoothly in the competitive Royal Ascot handicap.
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In a race featuring few hard-luck stories, Ropey Guest (second) finished best of those on to race on the far side, while Jumby (third) at one stage looked like making a winning return to seven furlongs. The 4/1 joint-favourite Montassib was second home of those on the near side to claim fourth.
Spencer said: “He’s been around a long time but for David to keep him sound so long, he still moves like a young horse, is a good effort.
“He needs to relax and needs the gaps, but I always enjoy riding him. He was always going to stay the trip well over seven and we were always going to have a strong pace to run at.
“They were all exposed horses so it was all about who got the luck on the day. He’s an old breeze-up horse, he still wears a hood and he’s eight years of age.
“I’m delighted for David and the yard, he’s been there seven years.”
Simcock said: “He’s always been very consistent and it hasn’t always fallen right for him. He’s had some pretty hard tasks down the years as well so it’s lovely to win a race like this.
“He’s had a tough life, he nearly died twice but since we bought him he’s been nothing but fun. He ran well in the Hunt Cup so was entitled to run well. Jamie suits him but he doesn’t have to ride them all like that.”