04 April 2019
Executive Force goes for a remarkable seventh handicap win of 2019 in the £20,000 Extra Places At totesport.com Handicap (7.00pm, eight runners) over 10 furlongs on Polytrack at Chelmsford City on Thursday, April 4.
Trained in Newmarket by Michael Wigham, the five-year-old's incredible run started at Newcastle on February 1 and has also seen him register victories at Chelmsford City, Wolverhampton and last time out in a mile handicap at Lingfield Park on March 23.
Executive Force's only defeat of the year came when chasing home Matterhorn in a 10-furlong handicap at Kempton Park on March 6. Matterhorn and Executive Force are tied first on six wins apiece in the race to be crowned the winning-most horse of the 2018/19 All-Weather Championships, though Executive Force has a slight advantage once placed efforts are taken into account. The winning-most horse gains a prize of £10,000.
John Egan, who has a 100 per cent record on Executive Force as he partnered the Sepoy gelding to victory at Chelmsford on February 21, takes the ride again. Executive Force (9st 1lb), lines up on a rating of 97, 26lb higher than his mark when winning at Newcastle on February 1.
Wigham said today: "Executive Force has just come good over the last couple of months.
"Basically, we have a different way of training these horses. I only have 12 horses in training and so I can spend a lot of time with each horse, whereas if you have 150 horses, it is very difficult to train each one individually.
"With these older horses, we train them individually in an attempt to rejuvenate them. Some of them will be turned out, others will be lunged, they have different feeds, if they don't like certain gallops, we won't take them there again, which is hard to do if you have 150 horses. The aim is get them to enjoy life and rekindle their enthusiasm.
"Over the winter, Executive Force has won six, Deeds Not Words won four [before being claimed], and Jai Hanuman has won his last three.
"I am not trying to knock the bigger trainers, but they are on the clock with them. They will come in as a two-year-old and, if they are with a big owner, they might have until the end of their three-year-old season before they are sold. If things have gone wrong, it is then easy for me to pick up the pieces and give them a bit of time.
"Executive Force was highly-rated as a two-year-old and then totally lost his form. We have got him back to himself, and he must have every chance of winning again on Thursday.
"We would like to win the winning-most horse award and it would be great for the horse if could do it, but we will take it one race at a time.
"I'll let the horse tell me before deciding if we run on Finals Day (Good Friday, April 19, Lingfield Park)."
The opposition on Thursday includes Swiss Storm (Michael Bell/David Probert, 9st), who made a successful start to his 2019 campaign with a decisive victory in an extended nine-furlong handicap at Wolverhampton on February 26.
Leading owners King Power Racing are doubly represented by Pivoine (Andrew Balding/Joshua Bryan (3), 10st), the winner of a valuable handicap at York's Ebor Festival in August, and Listed Betway Winter Derby Trial seventh Main Street (David Elsworth/Oisin Murphy, 9st 2lb).
Secret Art (William Knight/James Doyle, 9st 2lb) won two of his five starts at Chelmsford City in 2018. He has not raced since finishing fifth behind Across Dubai in a course and distance handicap in September.
The line-up also features fellow course scorers Nonios (David Simcock/Dylan Hogan (5), 9st) and Aquarium (Mark Johnston/Franny Norton, 9st 7lb). Mutamaded (Ruth Carr/James Sullivan, 9st 11lb) completes the eight runners.
Executive Force is not the only prolific winner in action at Chelmsford City on Thursday, with Lion Hearted (Michael Appleby/Mark Crehan (7)) seeking a sixth victory during this season's All-Weather Championships in the mile totepool Cashback Club At totesport.com Handicap (6.30pm, six runners).
Captain Lars (Archie Watson/Oisin Murphy) shared the winning-most horse award for the 2017/18 All-Weather Championships with Spare Parts and the nine-year-old bids for a 17th All-Weather success in the Bet In Play At totesport.com Handicap (8.00pm, 12 runners) over five furlongs.