Mr Bravery's Big Ambition

By Cunningham, Graham | The Evening Standard (London, England), July 8, 2003 | Go to article overview

Mr Bravery's Big Ambition


Cunningham, Graham, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: GRAHAM CUNNINGHAM

LISTEN to some people, and this year's Darley July Cup boils down to a battle between two horses. In the blue corner is Choisir, the Australian raider who came halfway round the world to show Europe's fastest horses what true sprinting power is all about twice in five days at Royal Ascot last month.

In the red corner is Airwave, the Wantage-based filly who was rated a shoo-in for champion sprinter until Choisir showed her the way home in the Golden Jubilee Stakes.

But could it be that a live danger to the big two in Europe's premier sixfurlong race is based just a few hundred yards away from where Thursday's [pounds sterling]250,000 contest will reach its climax? Striking Ambition could hardly be better named, given the leap of faith which accompanies his imminent move from the relative calm of a Listed race to the white heat of a Group 1 sprint.

And his trainer Giles Bravery is equally well named, given his approach to making that leap with a colt who cost just 7,000gns as a foal.

Bravery is one of a large band of trainers who snipe away at the margins of British racing hoping to find a horse good enough to take them to a new level. He is also one of the more colourful members of a profession which is hardly replete with characters you would walk a mile in tight shoes to share a pint with.

"That Jack-the-Lad image has been cultivated by others more than me," he argued. "Yes, we've all done a few rash things in our younger days, but it's frustrating when you hear that someone has decided not to send you a horse because they've heard that you haven't grown up yet.

"That happened to me recently. At first it upset me, but on reflection I take the view that the guy in question probably needs to lighten up a bit."

Bravery didn't take long to twig that Striking Ambition was out of the ordinary and harks back to a morning on the Newmarket gallops with jockey Jason Weaver last summer to prove the point. "The first time I worked him I told Jason to drop five lengths behind a couple of decent winners and sit quietly. …

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