Avenger swoops for Mile prize
Last Updated: 01/08/14 5:53pm
Red Avenger wins under Jimmy Fortune (red and blue diamonds, right of centre)
Red Avenger denied Heavy Metal a big handicap double with a short-head verdict in a thrilling finish to the Betfred Mile at Glorious Goodwood.
Ed Dunlop's four-year-old, revitalised by first-time blinkers, had his head down right on the line to claim this valuable prize.
Heavy Metal, winner of the International Stakes at Ascot last Saturday, lost nothing in defeat but his 3lb penalty just proved beyond him.
Our Channel set a strong pace until he was swamped a furlong from home and it was Red Avenger (12-1), ridden by Jimmy Fortune, who came out on top in a tight call from the 6-1 joint-favourite Heavy Metal.
Magic City (7-1) was a neck away third and Steeler (14-1) was fourth. Fortune said: "I wasn't sure I'd won but he's certainly game.
"I wanted to be handier but he jumped a bit slow and he wouldn't go early so I had to sit on him a bit.
"Luckily they went quick enough and they came back to him. Putting the blinkers on him worked very well, we fancied him.
"He's only just won today but it's a very competitive handicap, today was his day."
Dunlop said: "York (in the John Smith's Cup) didn't go to plan as they went very slowly.
"I've noticed Aidan O'Brien fits a lot of his War Front's (Red Avenger's sire) with blinkers so I thought we'd put a pair on and it made a huge difference.
"I thought we were beaten but finally it went well.
"He loves fast ground, like all War Fronts, and we've always thought he was a good horse.
"Today he had it in his favour, fast ground, blinkers - he's a pretty good horse."
There was a sting in the tail for Fortune as he was hit with a nine-day ban for using his whip above the permitted level and after the winning post. He will be out from August 15-23. He was also fined £2,300.
*Red Avenger was tipped at 25/1 by our Value Bet tipster Ben Linfoot.