Savvy Victory is a sweet one for Sean Woods

Tom Marquand guided Savvy Victory from last to first to land a decisive blow in the Davies Insurance Solutions Gala Stakes at Sandown.

The Sean Woods-trained four-year-old for this Listed contest seeking compensation for a luckless run at Royal Ascot when badly hampered at a vital stage in the Wolferton Stakes.

Sent off the 17-2 outsider, Marquand was in no rush aboard the son of New Bay as Ryan Moore aboard the King and Queen’s Saga led the select quartet in the opening stages.

Marquand was still anchored in rear when 6-4 favourite Poker Face cruised into contention in the home straight and appeared the most likely winner when moving alongside Saga.

But with his challenge petering out and Saga’s petrol tank also emptying in the closing stages, it was left to Savvy Victory to surge his way to victory and register a going-away two-and-three-quarter-length success.

It was Woods’ second Listed success since returning to the UK training ranks from Hong Kong. But while Savvy Victory was cut to 16-1 from 33s by Paddy Power for the John Smith’s Cup at York later this month, he is unlikely to be seen on the Knavesmire.

Woods said: “It was a race that was made for us, as he could sit out the back and with four runners, he could come at the race in his own time.

“It is not the ground he likes, but we’ve got away with it today. It is drying all the time. We walked it after the Marathon and if there had been eight or nine runners he wouldn’t have been running today.

“I’m happy that we did and happy that we won, and delighted as the horse really deserves it.

“I think it is perfect ground. I wouldn’t be frightened of galloping anything on it. They made a good print. But he’s a horse that showed us he wants soft ground, he has had a couple of unlucky stories, but he’s grown up so much from three to four.

“I can’t thank the owners enough for leaving him here, because he could be in Hong Kong, but they understood he wants soft ground and they are big supporters. He means a lot to me, this horse.”

He added: “He’s in the John Smith’s and he would have had a very good chance if the ground came, but we chose to come here instead and we’re glad it has worked out. We definitely won’t go to York.

“We’ll be ruled by the weather, because he is a big colt. It is just a pleasure to have him this year, because he has just grown up.

“I’m sure there is a good one in him and it needs to be heavy and run where we don’t get any hard luck stories. It is just patience.”

Source link