It was billed as his day of Destiny and boy did he take the opportunity with both hands – or all four hoofs anyway.
Green Destiny’s victory in Saturday’s John Smith’s Cup was a joy to witness – except for the fact some idiot chose not to nap it!
These pages were adorned last week with words on how the Wilie Haggas-trained three-year-old had an outstanding chance in Saturday’s Knavesmire biggy, and how 8-1 was too big a price.
Amazingly he returned 6-1 – even on the day – and, make no mistake, Green Destiny is a Group horse and another fine animal to have graced the track at York, though no-one is saying he’s a Workforce or Sea The Stars.
The horse’s Saturday success makes what happened at Royal Ascot even more puzzling, though the ground in Berkshire may have been slightly softer.
Green Destiny effectively faced the same conditions in 22 days yet in one race he bombed out completely and in the other – at York last weekend – he absolutely bolted in by three-and-a-half lengths.
Indeed, the winning margin seemed a lot bigger on the day, so impressive was Destiny’s performance.
Still, it was pointed out in this column last week that his Royal Ascot flop was too bad to be true and that confidence in the horse’s ability remained high. And the words of his trainer pre-Ascot, that the horse definitely had one big handicap in him, were still firmly lodged in the memory banks.
Suffice to say that a big handicap has now been well and truly plundered, though connections are reportedly going to try and land one more and the totesport Mile on July 29 is next on his agenda.
But it’s fair to say after a success like the one at York the handicapper certainly won’t be kind!
The only snag with Green Destiny was not napping the damn thing and for yours truly it was one of those days at York where everything went so nearly perfectly right but ultimately wrong.
On the basis that favourite Pekan Star looked a massive danger to Green Destiny, the decision was taken not to make him the Racing Post tip of the day and to side instead with Fox Hunt in the race before.
We all know what happened to Green Destiny but even more galling was the narrow defeat of Fox Hunt to Tactician – the winner benefiting from a masterful ride from Eddie Ahern.
Fox Hunt also lost absolutely nothing in defeat and remains a hugely admirable and consistent performer for Mark Johnston though an 8-1 or 6-1 nap – be it Fox Hunt or Green Destiny – would have done very nicely indeed!
Still, there’s always next time and hopefully a few readers got on at 8s as advised last week.
Not that Green Destiny will ever be 8-1 in a handicap again – the secret’s now out as far as he’s concerned – and of more interest next time may be the runner-up in Saturday’s big race, Modun.
He has always been very highly regarded by the Sir Michael Stoute team and, like Green Destiny, he put a rancid recent run behind him with a fine staying-on second under Ryan Moore at the weekend.
And his future big target? Potentially another big one at York – the Ebor.
The horse is currently co-favourite for that race at a best-priced 12-1 alongside some fascinating others, including Mount Athos, Quest For Peace, Blissful Moment and Saturday’s Silver Cup winner Tactician.
Peter Reynolds, manager of Modun’s owner-breeders the Ballymacoll Stud, is only slightly concerned that his horse might not stay the Ebor trip, stressing this week: “He’ll get a mile and a half all right, but whether he’d get further than that like his brother, Patkai, I don’t know.
“It’s hard to know, but I can’t see him getting much more than a mile and a half.”
Still, whether it’s the Ebor or some other big race, there is definitely a big prize in Modun this term and he is one to follow.
Rather like Green Destiny was – until I deserted him at the last minute that is!
What’s that about having the courage of your convictions!