Ashforth’s Angles: Small hero Scooby out again as dinner awaits

Captain Scooby

Captain Scooby: has run 158 times in all

  PICTURE: John Grossick (  

THERE he is, a small hero tucked away among Monday’s army of aspirants. You’ll surely have seen him because he appears so often. Last year he ran 25 times, the year before 29 times and the year before that 27 times.

He’s not a Derby horse. He’s run 158 times in all and on several occasions has appeared five times in a single month. He ran at Nottingham on Saturday but he’s out again on Monday, in the 4.45 at Pontefract (hopefully). That’s Captain Scooby for you. If he was a bee (he isn’t) he’d be a worker bee, industrious.

Now that he’s ten, Richard Guest’s stalwart sprinter isn’t as fast as he was and tends to run on encouragingly when the leader is passing the winning post, as he did when fourth on Saturday. I think he may do it on purpose. With age comes wisdom (PS no it doesn’t).

Captain Scooby is not a monotonous winner but he has won at least once every year since 2008, 13 times in all at nine different tracks. Along the way he’s provided rides for 46 different jockeys.

Sophie Killoran was on board on Saturday and she is one of many apprentices to have tried their hands on Captain Scooby. Michael Stainton, Amy Ryan, Robert Butler, Declan Cannon, Tom Marquand and Joey Haynes all won on him during their apprenticeships and many other young riders, now largely forgotten, will remember riding him.

Bred and initially owned by Paul Davies, Captain Scooby started out with trainer Richard Whitaker. After winning four times, at the end of 2010 he was sent to the Doncaster Sales where he was led out unsold at £6,500. Captain Scooby went back home and, in 2011, won three more times, including on successive days at Hamilton and Ayr, before changing owner and moving to Richard Guest’s yard.

Three years later, in the autumn of 2014, he was on the market again. Uniquely, perhaps, when Captain Scooby won at Nottingham that November the owner was given as “Available For Sale or Lease.”

Anyway, he’s now owned by The Captain Scooby Syndicate and won twice for them last year. He might win on Monday but he’ll probably finish encouragingly into a place. Captain Scooby’s become a bit like that. I expect he’s worked out that, wherever he finishes, dinner’s still waiting for him when he gets home.

He’s running in the Simon Bowett 70th Birthday Handicap. I’ve no idea who Simon Bowett is but the previous race is the Mary Hibbert 80th Birthday Celebration Maiden Stakes and I know Mary Hibbert well. She’s my mother although there’s something amiss because my mother died several years ago and would have been 101.

Meanwhile, a tip for Windsor. Years ago their Monday evening cards always ended with a straightforward maiden race. Then the rotters changed it to a handicap. To escape their cunning trap, eschew the fiendish 7.50 and embrace the simpler 5.50. I still don’t know what’s going to win. Sorry.


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