Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mutawaqed to Recoup Losses Out-of-Luck Sprinter for Overdue Win

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mutawaqed to Recoup Losses Out-of-Luck Sprinter for Overdue Win

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAHAM CUNNINGHAM

THERE is an undeniable element of Groundhog Day about tipping Mutawaqed for tomorrow's Coral Sprint Trophy at York.

Yes, his name has appeared regularly at the top of the page when this column has focussed on valuable sprint handicaps during the last few months.

And yes, the only time when Mutawaqed has got his head in front coincided with the time when we deserted him at York back in July.

With the latter fact in mind, it's hardly surprising that the occasions when this muscular chestnut failed to deliver remain fresh in the memory.

First there was the Stewards' Cup at Goodwood in late July, where he could never land a blow behind Pivotal Point and company.

Then there was a six-runner contest at Sandown three weeks later, where he went down by just a head as Kieren Fallon gave Smokin Beau the full treatment.

Next came the Portland handicap at Doncaster in September. Mutawaqed managed only ninth of 22 behind his old rival Halmahera there, and last but not least came his never-nearer fourth when backed down to joint favourite in Funfair Wain's Ayr Gold Cup three weeks ago.

Of course, any sensible punter knows that following a horse blindly in the hope that he will finally come good can be a swift route to the poor house.

So why in the world does Mutawaqed deserve one last chance in a race where it's possible to argue a case for at least half of a massive field?

In short, it's because he keeps giving the impression that a big handicap like this can come his way if all the pieces of the jigsaw fall into place for him.

Time has shown that Mutawaqed's centre field draw at Goodwood left him in no-man's land, while at Sandown he was clearly up against a rejuvenated rival who was right back to his very best.

Doncaster provided another case of what might have been, as Mutawaqed was making ground with plenty left to offer when Halmahera squeezed him up against the stand rail, and there was more hard luck up at Ayr when he was shuffled to the rear as horses came across him approaching halfway. …

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