Considering the fate of his namesake on the Knavesmire, connections of Dick Turpin yesterday showed a commendable indifference to past omens in making an expensive supplementary entry for their colt in the Juddmonte International Stakes on Tuesday.
The highwayman was the most notorious among many unfortunates led to the gallows at York, in 1739, but John Manley was undaunted as he forked out £50,000 to add his colt to a race that will take him over an uncharted distance.
Dick Turpin has a speedy pedigree and has never run beyond a mile, over which trip he won the Prix Jean Prat last time out, ending a sequence of three consecutive seconds in Group One company.
But Richard Hannon (right) explained that Manley felt the gamble warranted by prizemoney of £470,000 already plundered by Dick Turpin this season.
“John takes the view that the horse owes him nothing, and is keen to have a go,” he said.
“Full marks to John for being sporting enough to have a crack, but Richard Hughes said after Chantilly that the colt would get a mile and a quarter, and feels that York is the perfect track to try out his stamina.
“Dick Turpin is staying in training next year, so if he does stay it will increase our options. If he finishes in the first three, John will show a profit.”
Hughes acknowledged “a very brave decision” from Manley but thinks that Dick Turpin's acceleration could be critical over the longer distance. “It's really made the race,” the jockey said. “We were thinking about a Group Two in France on Sunday over ten furlongs, with a 7lb penalty, and my thought was if you're not going to stay it may as well be against the big boys. I can't put my hand on my heart and say he'll definitely stay, [but] he's given me all the vibes that he will.
“At the same time, I'll ride him to get the trip. There's no point kicking on three out.”
In the lamentable absence of Harbinger, his opponents at York will include one or more of the Ballydoyle trio, comprising Rip Van Winkle, Cape Blanco and Beethoven, while Byword and Twice Over will represent the sponsors.
Hannon was meanwhile confirmed in his high opinion of Big Issue when the colt, a promising second on his Goodwood debut, bolted up in a maiden at Salisbury yesterday. Today's card at the same track features the Totesport Sovereign Stakes — a Group Three prize that could well strengthen Dick Turpin's form credentials through Hearts Of Fire, fourth in the Prix Jean Prat.