Rory Delargy: Why I'm sticking to Seamour

8 min

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”, according to Einstein, but since “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet” is also attributed to the great man, I’m a little sceptical of the quote’s origins. The wisdom of the phrase is more widely accepted, but as everyone who has ever found their own cliff horse will tell you, it’s hard not to give the apple of your eye (yet) another chance, especially given that unbelievable run of bad luck stretching over two years and umpteen races. You get the picture, I hope.

I’d like to think that I’m more ruthless than most when it comes to chasing lost causes (please don’t mention Green Howard,thank you very much), but I’m more than happy to make an exception with Seamour in Saturday’s BetFred Ebor.

I caught the Seamour bug some time ago, impressed by his physique and attitude when seeing him win an all-weather maiden for trainer Jo Crowley at Kempton three years ago.

He was subsequently bought to go hurdling by Brian Ellison in the colours of Phil Martin.

Old Habits Die Hard

I must say that I threw a few quid at him for the Triumph Hurdle and pressed up after he’d won each of his starts over timber, but a visit to Cheltenham never materialised and he’s found his niche as a classy handicapper on the Flat, and one his trainer has believed capable of breaking his Northumberland Plate hoodoo.

Ellison has always wanted to win his hometown contest, and must have been devastated to see his star throw away an almost certain victory in the Newcastle race last year, the gelding going clear a furlong out only to be reeled in again, and he repeated that feat in the valuable Mallard Handicap at Doncaster’s St Leger Meeting later in the year. In between times he finished a fine fifth in the Ebor, but his supporters have seen him lose his last ten races despite often travelling like the best horse, and many have abandoned hope of recouping losses.

Seamour (right) pictured being pipped to the post at last year’s St Leger Festival.

For me, Seamour is not the rogue that he’s been painted as in some quarters, and as well as barely staying two miles, he clearly needs to be delivered as late as possible in his races.

I remain convinced that the old boy will win the big pot he has threatened to when given ideal conditions, and he should get those on Saturday having missed an engagement on the opening day of this fixture.

He’s got a very wide draw, which has put even more people off his chances, but if there’s one aspect of flat racing analysis which tends to encourage nonsense, it’s the effect of the draw. In the last decade, the winners of the Ebor have come out of stalls 14, 16, 22, 10, 16, 18, 16, 7 & 15. There’s always an element of randomness about the draw when only looking at winners, but there is nothing in that set of results to suggest a high draw is anything to worry about.

A Saturday of Laying

Also at York on Saturday, I’m keen to take a couple on, assuming the price is right. Mondialiste looked back to his best when second to Success Days at the track on his latest start, and could start favourite for the Strensall Stakes which opens the card, but he was much better positioned than most given how the race was run, and I’m not sure that represents the full-scale revival it appeared on the day.

David O’Meara’s yard won this race a couple of years ago, so I’m hoping he attracts plenty of support, and I think Mustashry looks a solid bet having won in impressive fashion at Chelmsford last time.

Punters tend to be wary of form from that venue, especially back on turf, but Mustashry should be fully effective under conditions at York, and appears to be still improving.

Bengali Boys (right) won at a canter last time out in Newbury but i think he’s one to oppose this weekend.

In the Roses Stakes, it makes sense to lay Super Sprint winner Bengali Boys in the place market, as his Newbury win, on heavy ground, is a huge standout on his card. It’s more than possible that he simply improved a bundle to win there, but there is also a big chance that the race was shaped by the dreadful ground conditions, and if he was flattered by that effort, he will be vulnerable against better-class rivas here.

Last week was one of peaks and troughs, with Massaat the main bright spot, and his win on Saturday shows that you can have too much information.

Students of the form book would have fallen over themselves to back last year’s 2000 Guineas runner-up, but trainer Owen Burrows had expressed concerns about the horse’s fitness.

Those who didn’t listen to that caveat would have been encouraged by his record on seasonal debut, which now reads two wins and second in a classic from three runs.