Ranch Hand will bid to become only the second three-year-old winner of the Cesarewitch in the last two decades when he carries the colours of the Kingsclere Racing Club in the famous handicap at Newmarket on Saturday.
The Andrew Balding-trained gelding will be cheered on by 22 members of the club, who have already enjoyed three victories from just five races with the home-bred son of Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden.
“It’s going to be a very exciting day for our shareholders,” enthuses racing club manager Nathanial Barnett. “Ranch Hand has as good a chance as any as an improving young stayer.
“He’s never run beyond a mile and three-quarters but his mother Victoria Montoya was a thorough stayer so he’s bred to appreciate the additional half a mile in this great race.
“He’s also relatively inexperienced, having only had five races in his life. Darley Sun is the only other three-year-old to have won the race in the last 21 years but statistics are there to be broken,” he adds.
Ranch Hand is prominent in the ante-post markets at around 8-1 following a commanding victory in a valuable mile and three-quarter handicap at Haydock on soft ground last time. He carries a 4lb penalty for that but Oisin Murphy – soon to be crowned champion jockey – will weight out at just 8st 8lbs.
Ranch Hand is a comfortable winner at the 1.50 Betfair Exchange Handicap 🏇🏆 pic.twitter.com/5hSeNLLeXB
— ITV Racing (@itvracing) September 7, 2019
After his Haydock victory, the young Irishman said: “Ranch Hand is a lovely Kingsclere home-bred who is clearly progressive. He’s inexperienced but should make up into a nice stayer for next season.
The gelding won on debut on the Southwell Fibresand back in March and duly followed up in novice company over 11 furlongs at the same track a month later.
He impressed Balding enough to be pitched into the Listed Derby Trial at Lingfield Park in May, finishing a creditable fifth – just seven lengths behind subsequent Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck.
Ranch Hand was given a break before returning in the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket’s July Meeting, again finishing fifth behind Spanish Mission before coming back to score at Haydock.
Kingsclere Racing Club, distinguished by the black and gold silks made famous in the Seventies by Paul Mellon’s legendary Mill Reef, has 25 members who each pay £6,000 a year for an interest in up to 18 horses, the majority home-bred by the Baldings.
“The club has been in operation for 11 years now and offers great value to our members, many of whom have been involved from the start,” adds Nathaniel.
“With so many lovely horses running for them, they tend to get a good percentage of their money back, which is a nice bonus, but this club is all about the friendships.
“Most of our members go racing on a regular basis and have become good friends through their involvement in the club. They come from all walks of life but their passion for racing is what they have in common.”
For more information about the Racing Club visit Kingsclere.com.