Tom Clover is eyeing a return to York with Rogue Bear following his head defeat to Bollin Joan when stepped up to an extended 10 furlongs at the Dante meeting last month.
The gelded son of Kodiac has proven a consistent operator in the opening third of the season, but is still searching for that elusive big handicap victory following three narrow defeats.
He was third on his reappearance in the Lincoln before going down by half a length to subsequent Listed winner Modern News in the Spring Cup at Newbury. The three-year-old then moved up to a mile and a quarter for his next start at York, where he was again denied by a narrow margin.
However, with the form of that handicap looking smart, Clover is now targeting a return to the Knavesmire for the prestigious John Smith’s Cup next month.
“We were really pleased with him,” said the Kremlin House Stables handler.
“He had a great run at York and was so unlucky. He pulled hard and was set alight by a horse coming past him going to post and hence he fought Jack (Mitchell) the whole way through the race.
“He is in the John Smith’s Cup next month and the previous couple of years he would have got in, so we will have a crack at that – it is a very valuable pot (over £100,000 to the winner). He looks great at the moment. He is very fresh and well.”
Rogue Bear is owned by the Rogues Gallery syndicate, who have over a dozen horses in training with Clover and the handler is desperate to reward their support with a win for Rogue Bear at some point this season.
“I just really really want that horse to win a big race. He so deserves it,” said Clover.
“He ran such gallant races in the Lincoln and then at Newbury in the Spring Cup and also at York. He wears his heart on his sleeve and I would find it incredibly satisfying if I could get him to win a big race for the Rogues, who have been great supporters of mine and are now being rewarded with some nice horses. It is a syndicate going places.
“Tony Elliott, who is behind it, is always on the front foot and it is great fun training for them. It is lovely to have a few nice horses for them and hopefully it is growing and growing.
“It’s a heck of a lot of fun going racing with them, they had a big double-decker bus at Epsom on Oaks day and everyone always has a great day. It is fantastic to see people get into the sport and not need a huge amount of money to have an interest in a few different horses. It’s just great to see and they do things very well.”