The Imposter has won nine of his last ten starts (Picture: racingpost.com)
James Stevens (Racing Post)
Nigel Hawke bought The Imposter by mistake but hailed him as the “perfect racehorse” after he recorded a phenomenal ninth victory from ten starts at the weekend.
A career-best success in the 2m7½f handicap hurdle at Chepstow on Saturday came off a mark of 121, more than three stone higher than when The Imposter began his winning sequence at Lingfield 13 months ago.
The Imposter, who has sported the silks of late part-owner John Gumbley in his three victories this season, has raced against 95 different horses since late November last year, and only one has beaten him.
Hawke, who has worked alongside Sir Mark Prescott and once trained the groundbreaking Tiger Roll said: “What he’s done is getting quite incredible. Time has been the making of the horse. Horses don’t improve physically 50lb, I don’t think a horse can have that much more ability, but he’s improved mentally.
“He’s learned to race and he’s a winning machine now who goes out wanting to win, which in this game is quite unique. It’s a huge commodity.
“Last season when he ran at Ascot I wasn’t keen to run but because John was so poorly we decided to go and that was the last time he saw him win.
“Walking back in the winner’s enclosure there was the day of John’s life, people talk about top horses and Gold Cup winners but stories like that is what racing is about. It’s a lovely story and he’d be so proud of the horse.”
Fate brought The Imposter to Hawke’s Thorne Farm. The trainer had bought a horse from Ireland but the wrong one appeared when being unloaded off the lorry. The trainer liked him, kept him and named him The Imposter.
It took ten runs for the Authorized gelding to finish in the frame when he was third at Ffos Las last November and his winning run started 18 days later. He has enjoyed doubles at Lingfield, Wetherby and Ffos Las and victories at Ascot and Uttoxeter before Saturday’s latest success, with all his wins coming under Tom Buckley.
Hawke said: “I remember when we went to Lingfield we thought he’d run well the time before and he might just be well handicapped. We liked him but there’s lots of horses you like that disappoint. I’ve been in the game a long, long time but I’ve never met a horse like him – he’s the perfect racehorse.
“I suppose the interesting thing we thought after Chepstow is that we don’t need to make the running, he has learned to race and he is improving. At the moment it seems like he can’t and won’t get beaten.
“He might only be moderate but you can’t knock him because he keeps winning. He’s got to get beaten at some stage but it will take a good one to do it with the form he is in.”
The Imposter will likely return to Chepstow for a £30,000 2m7½f handicap hurdle on Welsh Grand National day on December 27.