Prominent owner Keith Brown feels he could have found “the next Top Notch Tonto” ahead of Orewa’s debut at Beverley’s first meeting of the season on Wednesday.
The two-year-old son of Helmet cost Brown 18,000 euro at Tattersalls Ireland last September and is one of eight declarations for the five-furlong Welcome Back To Beverley Novice Auction Stakes (2.35).
Brown’s silks are best known for Top Notch Tonto, the 2013 QEII runner-up who broke his maiden at the second attempt on the Westwood. His owner, who hails from Swanland, East Yorkshire, is also expecting big things from the Brian Ellison-trained Orewa.
Brown said: “He’s the most expensive horse I’ve ever bought, but he’s such a well-bred, lovely colt. All Helmet colts were making around £50k to £75k but this one came out at around 1.45pm, and by that time everyone was knocking back food and drink and I was the only left in the sales hall, so I think we’ve got a bargain. He’s got quite a high action so I hope we don’t get too much more rain, but Beverley is obviously my local track and this looks a good race for him. From what we’ve seen so far, I’m hoping he could be our next Top Notch Tonto. He’s been working really well and is a smashing-looking horse.”
Top Notch Tonto, meanwhile, is reported in top form as the distinctive-looking six-year-old gears up for a return to the track in the bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown on April 22.
Brown told www.beverley-racecourse.co.uk: “Tonto was really unlucky last year. He obviously won at York, but three other times he was beaten by such a short margin. We’ll start him out in the mile-and-a-quarter race at Sandown and then hopefully kick on from there. He’s as good as ever — Brian is thrilled with him — and I”m hoping for a big year with him.”
Beverley’s seven-race card on Wednesday is due to begin at 2pm, with the official going on Tuesday morning described as good to soft. Feature race is the £11,500 NL Van Truck And Car Hire Handicap (3.10), won last year by 100-rated sprinter Pipers Note. Beverley Racecourse has invested over £800,000 on refurbishments in the close season, while chief executive Sally Iggulden pledged that no class five race all year will be contested for less than £6,000 in prize-money.