Favored Swellelegant Holds On To Win Thursday’s Featured Steeplechase Handicap By A Nose
August 09, 2018
Given a “confidence” boost with a flat race on the grass in his last start, Swellelegent returned to jump racing in style, holding on for a nose victory over Cheers to Us in the $35,000 Steeplechase Handicap at Monmouth Park on Thursday.
Following a poor effort over the hurdles at the Tryon Block Horse Races in Columbus, North Carolina on April 14 when he was pulled up, Swellelegent returned to win an allowance race on the turf at Suffolk Downs on July 8.
The 6-year-old gelded son of Pure Prize-Latania was back on his game in the 2 3/8th mile Steeplechase feature at Monmouth Park that was one of three jump races on the card.
The 13-10 favorite covered the distance in 4:31.30. He is trained by Neil Morris and was ridden by Michael Mitchell.
“He was a lot handier today than he had been. He settled well and jumped a lot better than he did a couple of starts back,” said Mitchell. “Neil did a terrific job getting this horse back to jumping well. He had issues at Tryon but Neil gave him that flat race to give him confidence and to get him ready for this.”
Always within striking distance of early leader Wild Dynaformer, Mitchell moved Swellelegent three-wide on the turn after the final jump to surge to the lead. He appeared on his way to an easy victory after opening up before Cheers to Us came at him with a relentless stretch-long rally.
“It was close,” said Mitchell. “I didn’t really see the other horse but I heard him. That was enough.”
It was another 5¼ lengths back in third to Dynaformer.
The victory was eighth in 22 career starts for Swellelegant.
On the Thoroughbred side, Horologist dazzled in her racing debut for trainer John Mazza, winning a maiden special weight race for Jersey-bred 2-year-olds by 20¾ lengths.
The daughter of Gemologist-Cinderella Time never had an anxious moment as the overwhelming favorite, returning $3.40 to win. She covered the 5½ furlongs in 1:04.51.