THE horse that has caused a stir on social media in recent weeks returns to action at Newcastle tonight.
The James Ferguson-trained Engelbert tackles the six-furlong novice stakes at 5.40pm under jockey Daniel Muscutt.
But it was his previous rider Theodore Ladd who was in punters’ crosshairs on January 26 after an ‘eye-catching’ performance in the saddle.
The three-year-old was very tenderly handled in the finish and was a never-nearer fifth, beaten just over three lengths at the line.
Outraged racing fans took to Twitter to vent their fury – slamming Ladd for ‘not trying’ – but the stewards decided against taking any action.
However, the handicapper must be of the opinion that Engelbert wasn’t asked for maximum effort last time out.
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Usually a horse is given a handicap mark after three runs, but this will be his fifth start and he still hasn’t been given an official rating.
He clearly wants another look at the gelding before deciding how highly to rate him.
Punters are interested to see how his gets on this evening as well – and they are backing him to get the job done.
He has been punted into 9-4 second favouritism with Paddy Power behind the 15-8 favourite Fox Master.
One fan said: “Be interesting to see how Engelbert gets on today in the 17:40 after being tenderly handled last time out to finish 5th at Newcastle.”
Another posted: “If you haven’t watched this horses last race please go and do so and you will see why I’m backing him tomorrow.
“He really should win. Hopefully Muscutt can do what the last jockey didn’t.”
While another Tweeted: “Hardly surprising that Engelbert hasn’t got a handicap mark yet. I wonder if the handbrake will be off this time.”
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The stewards report after his last race read: “An enquiry was held into the running and riding of Engelbert, ridden by Theodore Ladd and trained by James Ferguson which raced in midfield, before being asked for an effort halfway, to stay on at one pace through tiring horses, finishing fifth of nine, beaten by 3 ½ lengths.
“The rider was interviewed and shown recordings of the race; the Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of the gelding failed to reveal any abnormalities.
“Ladd stated his instructions were to get into the race, find cover, allow Engelbert to run through horses and do his best.
“Ladd further explained that the pace was not where he anticipated, was forced to race wide from stall 10 left racing with no cover.
“Engelbert stayed on one pace to obtain in his opinion, the best possible placing. His explanations were noted.”
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