No I haven’t been on holiday nor have I retired! Just had a “Lydia Hislop” moment and this blog is 5,500+ words! So make a coffee and get a notepad and pencil because it is packed with future winners!
Review July 13th, 14th & 15th featuring July Meeting at HQ plus Newbury, York and extras!
An enjoyable few days racing but even after forty odd years of watching this game you are never too young to learn. Lesson No.1, the July course at Newmarket is a speed course. Thanks to the ever informative Kevin Blake (ATR & Final Furlong Podcast) in his July Cup blog, “As well as it being the first time that these top-class three-year-old sprinters had met their elders this season, the other big variable change from Royal Ascot was the course and distance. It is underappreciated just how much greater a test of speed the six furlongs of the July Course is compared to that trip at Ascot, with standard times suggesting that Newmarket is approximately 12 lengths faster.” Fact supported by ITV’s Hayley Turner, prompted by the excellent Jason Weaver, when walking the course. She explained the July course is not nearly as undulating as the Rowley version, with a long downhill stretch before that steep rise out of The Dip and the flatter final half furlong, whereas at Ascot you are on rising ground from almost three furlongs out. Am I the only person who thinks that Jason Weaver is the best of ITV’s Flat racing team? An intelligent jockey with a large collection of T-shirts, can read the formbook, excellent paddock judge and understands the betting market. I wish he did every Opening Show as he’s not a bad tipster to boot!
Thursday July 13th. Newmarket’s July meeting opened with the Bahrain Trophy over 14F for 3yo’s and the winner, Raheen House, has stamina in spades with connections suggesting he will be an even better 4yo. Possibly a Cup horse? The second, Desert Skyline, it seems may be heading to the Ebor handicap at York, a big ask for a 3yo! The third, Sofia’s Choice, remains of interest in any 3yo 14F contest which is run on a flat track that suits front runners. The Melrose Handicap at York would seem suitable, C2 0-105 14F 3yo, as long as he stays on OR100!
None of the 2yo colts in the 6F July Stakes set the pulse racing and a case could be made for Rajasinghe still being the best this side of the Irish Sea as he was a staying on third under a three pound penalty. sportinglife.com “Richard Spencer is leaning towards making the Prix Morny at Deauville the next port of call for Coventry Stakes winner Rajasinghe. Although plans remain fluid, the Newmarket handler feels the Qatar Goodwood Festival may come too soon for the son of Choisir and is instead favouring a tilt at the six-furlong Group One on August 20. Spencer said: “It’s all a bit up in the air at the moment. He is entered in the Prix Morny but we have entered him in all the high class races. He has come out of his last race fine. We’ll just see how he is over the next few weeks. I think Goodwood will probably come too soon. We could potentially go for the Morny. It is a Group One and that is the natural progression. I think we would want to step him up to seven furlongs by the end of the year, but we will keep him at six for the time being as he not short of pace as he has won a Coventry.” “
Couple of note in the 3yo 6F handicap. Ultimate Avenue, stealthily ridden by Jamie Spencer, seems to have a future in these valuable sprint pots for the next few seasons. Raised three pounds for this effort from OR97 to OR100 will guarantee an invite to all the best parties but may need the assistance of Spencer to be seen at his best. Whilst writing the last sentence it has occurred to me he has the perfect profile for a big bucks sale to Hong Hong, mind you he may not go via the sales ring as he is owned by PK Siu (Stormy Antarctic)!
The other was Mark Johnston’s lightly raced Love Dreams who was just three lengths away in sixth. Currently OR91, if the handicapper could shave off a pound C3 could beckon over six or seven furlongs. Being gelded may help as he has some growing up to do.
In Spring Cosmos Godolphin have a useful 2yo filly as there seemed some depth to the race. I wouldn’t give up on Maybride as she still has some growing to do into that substantial frame of hers. The one going into the notebook though is the Richard Hannon debutante for Chelsea Thoroughbreds, Toomer. Travelled fine, last 2F out but stayed on really well under hands and heels for eighth but only four lengths off the winner.
Possibly the most fascinating race of Day 1 at HQ was the last one, the Listed race for 3yo’s over a mile and comfortably won by Beat the Bank registering his second win at Newmarket this season and in between he was 10th in what is turning out to be a very warm G3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. He has an entry in the G2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood.
These were eight 3yo’s rated from OR99 to OR107 and it will be interesting to see where they all go next. I am a big fan of Forest Ranger in #FantasticMrFahey’s care and I wonder if the Strensall at York’s Ebor meeting over 9F may be on the agenda? OR100+ rated 3yo’s are very popular at the sales for Dubai and Far East purchasers.
At Newbury Messr’s Cumani and Spencer teamed up to win with the rapidly improving 3yo colt La Rav, making every yard! He cost £120K at the 2016 Guineas Breeze Ups and Cumani’s patience is now paying off. Up eight pounds to OR93 this son of Footstepsinthesand out of an Acclamation mare could have a couple more handicaps in him yet. Ground doesn’t seem to be an issue and 7/8F seems the trip. Cumani website, “La Rav became a dual winner in the colours of Mr Simon Capon when making a winning handicap debut off the back of his maiden win at Salisbury as he took a four runner race at Newbury on Thursday by three and a quarter lengths. He faces an 8 lb rise in the weights after that, but we are really pleased with how he is progressing and hopefully he can stay ahead of the handicapper.
At Epsom John Gosden’s 3yo Pealer won a four horse race over 8 ½ F with the RP saying Pealer “was given a positive ride and ran his rivals into the ground”. Put up seven pounds from OR85 to OR92 I think there is still some more to come. He has improved for a tongue tie and he has raced against some top colts like Monarchs Glen, Tamleek and Count Octave and his duck egg was a non-staying last in the Derby!
Friday July 14th. The Silver Bunbury Cup, 7F handicap, opened Fridays card and the 3yo winner Parfait gave the Jersey form another boost! The winner will stay to 7F but look for a Listed race. The second Makzeem “bumped into one” but surely has a big handicap pot in him. Up four pounds OR94 to OR98. Entered in the Gigaset International 7F at Ascot, number 45 currently, needs sixteen to come out!
The 2yo fillies G2, the Duchess of Cambridge, underlined the Coolmore strength with a comfortable winner in Clemmie.
The 10F 3yo handicap was won by Marzouq for a mildly surprised Jeremy Noseda. Leshlaa ran out of petrol with the line in sight. #FantasticMrFahey’s Cullingworth was the eye catcher having to go six wide to get a run then flew home. Remains on OR83 and I think the key with him is a strong pace and something to run at, perhaps a Johnston runner. Will win again this season and could be at a price! Tracker material.
Roly Poly’s success in the G1 Falmouth paid another compliment to her stablemate Winter and with her stepping up to 10F for the Nassau at Goodwood Roly Poly could have more 8F G1 races at her mercy. John Gosden will however something to say about it with Nathra, Daban and Dabayah, to name but three, in his Clarehaven yard.
I was fortunate to spot the potential of Richard Hannon’s 2yo Tangled prior to his run in the Nursery. Looks like he is heading to the big sales race at York’s Ebor meeting. The Racing Post analysis were spot on, “Held up well in touch in midfield, effort to challenge over 1f out, ridden to lead 1f out, ran on strongly and drew clear inside final furlong, comfortably.” Handicapper was impressed and put him up eleven pounds from OR77 to OR88!
Neither division of the 7F 2yo maidens produced anything to excite me although the fourth, Magnificent, is perhaps one for the tracker. Could take a maiden for Team Hannon but looks ideal nursery material, perhaps over a mile. He met the much touted Expert Eye of Sir Michael Stoute on debut.
York’s Friday card promised lots but delivered little. One Minute won the 6F 2yo novice race for Haggas and Cosgrave and will be back for the Lowther. All the C2 12F handicap reminded me was that you need to race prominently on the Knavesmire and apologies to HM but I couldn’t back Mainstream with stolen money! In the G3 6F fillies Summer stakes was dominated by the 3yo’s and Queen Kindly showed a return to form, just held here by David Simcock’s 20/1 shot Mystic Dawn. However I think there is one for the tracker from the 3.45 race, C4 10F.
NOVOMAN (William Haggas) I think Novoman is now starting to deliver what the yard has long suspected. Last season as a 2yo he took three goes to break his maiden and that was in an egg and spoon 7F race at Brighton and he was a 4/11 shot to do so! Then three runs in nurseries, 532, gelded over the winter and sent off 9/2F for the valuable Royal Mile handicap on 3yo debut but well behind Cullingworth. Then ninth to Parfait and sixth to Auberge du Lac in C2 handicaps, then here to York where they have got Good to Firm ground, dropped two grades to C4, stepped up two furlongs and put on Georgia Cox, the stables five pound claimer! Novoman did it well, quickening nicely 2F out and seeing the trip out. As a 3yo his RPR’s have been 62, 80, 87 and 97 whist his handicap mark has gone 90, 88, 86 and now OR94.
On his second start as a 2yo he split Salsabeel and Law and Order now rated OR106 and OR100. Suggests there is more to come. I want to back Novoman in a C3 0-95 10F handicap on a flat track on Good ground or better preferably with Ms Cox in the saddle.
The last race the C3 3yo 7F Apprentice handicap was really painful as Silent Echo came out of the stalls like a quarter horse and was beaten by halfway. Pennsylvania Dutch made no show and lost his unbeaten tag whilst #FantasticMrFahey’s promising Sir Reginald Brown finished displaying an abnormal heart rhythm!
Ascots Friday card was fairly mediocre but three horses to note.
Rebel Streak (Andrew Balding) Travelled kindly, progress two out, looking for racing room, turned sideways in run to the furlong pole, straightened out and kept on strongly to the line beaten less than two lengths by Lethal Lunch. This was a promising first run on Turf for this Dark Angel colt. Should get 7F.
Mount Moriah (Ralph Beckett) This is one progressive staying 3yo who made most of the fourteen pounds received from the older horses, pulling away from the furlong pole to win by a comfortable four lengths. Needs “softer” ground. Won last three on Soft, Soft, Good over 8, 11 & 14F. OR73 81 93 102. The Mallard handicap, C2 14F, at Doncaster in September could be on the agenda?
You might want to keep an eye on the placed horses. The third Shabeeb according to Roger Varian his trainer “might have an entry in the Ebor”, although may struggle to get in off OR96. It wouldn’t surprise me if Richard Hughes tried to find another race back at Goodwood for the second Getback in Paris off OR92 over 14F?
Addeybb (William Haggas) A solid specimen, a 3yo gelded son of Pivotal, whose three runs have been on Soft, Good to Soft and Good and he has won the last two. Having been drawn widest on the round mile Martin Harley chose to go forward and was in the van throughout. Previously at Haydock he had got outpaced, running green, but Harley got him to extend and eventually won by a cosy half length. Obvious improver OR88 93, RPR70,93,98! Martin Harley, a stiff mile and ground no worse than good and he could be a big handicap player.
Saturday July 15th The first of the Flat seasons genuine Super Saturdays with racing at Newmarket (July Cup), Ascot, York and Chester with the Irish Oaks at the Curragh and a Salisbury evening card.
As is only polite let’s start with a couple of talented young ladies. Enable had no trouble adding the Irish to her Epsom Oaks success and it seems she will head to York next for the Yorkshire Oaks and not the King George at Ascot. She remains an Arc de Triomphe player. RP “Enable is to be given plenty of time before tackling her seniors for the first time on the Knavesmire on August 24, after which a crack at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is not being ruled out. Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to the owner, said: “Enable returned with a small nick to a hind joint after winning in Ireland but she’s sound now and doing well back at Clarehaven. At this point it’s more likely she’ll head to the Yorkshire Oaks next and, as chairman of York racecourse, I’m most pleased about that, although it wasn’t my decision!”
The second young lady is also housed at Clarehaven and needs to go in your tracker!
Standing Rock 3yo filly trained by John Gosden and part owned by his wife! Came to my attention as she has an entry in the Listed Coral Distaff at Sandown on Saturday. Unraced as a 2yo Standing Rock won her only start to date at Newbury in a C4 8F maiden back in May. A solidly built filly she was green initially but once the penny dropped she strode home well from the furlong pole and won “comfortably”. None of those that finished behind her have gone on to frank the form albeit they were a well-bred bunch of fillies. A daughter of Fastnet Rock out of a Halling mare Standing Rock will surely improve in time and up in trip.
Could have run in a C4 handicap at Leicester on 8th July. “Sneaks into this 10F C4 0-80 Fillies handicap off what looks a very workable OR80 and it’s only a lack of experience and running round a bend that would concern me.”
Missed both these engagements to run at Salisbury in a C3 10F Fillies handicap and duly obliged. My notebook says “Tall filly, bounced off ground. Held up, covered up, progress 3F out, led 1½F out, idled a bit, just held on, more to come.”
Back to the afternoon and the headline race was the G1 6F July Cup at Newmarket won by Harry Angel under an intelligent Adam Kirby ride. Much of the discussion has been around the lack of early pace in the race so what did Timeform make of it?
Simon Rowlands Timeform “The action could have been expected to be fast and furious, too, but that was true only late on. This was very much a race of two halves, and that is important to understanding what went on and why the overall time of this year’s race of 1m 11.25s was so slow in relative and historical terms. The Timeform timefigure is unlikely to be anywhere near the kind usually associated with top sprinters. The second half of this year’s July Cup was a good deal quicker than the first half, with the resulting finishing speeds (average speed in the closing stages compared to average speed for the race overall) well above 100%. Limato had won the race 12 months earlier in a quick overall time and with a 35.62s first half and 34.35s second half, resulting in a near-perfect 101.9% finishing speed.
This year’s race was much more tactical, with a steady pace early and a flat-out sprint after halfway. Very few horses break 34.0s for the last 3f at Newmarket under any circumstances: all bar last-placed Tasleet managed that in this race.
As such, a prominent position at halfway will have been an advantage, all other things being equal, and the winner Harry Angel had a prominent position while some of his rivals did not. Then again, he won by a clear-cut margin for a sprint race, so did it really matter all that much?
In order to unravel the race from a sectional point of view, it is necessary to compare those (fast) finishing speeds with par for the course and distance and to upgrade individual performances according to how near to optimum efficiency they were. The proximity of 100/1 chance Intelligence Cross immediately becomes easy to explain, for he was most favoured by the run of the race having led for a long way at nothing like the “solid pace” some have suggested elsewhere.
Harry Angel, Limato and Caravaggio all get major upgrades, but the horse with the biggest upgrade of all is third-placed Brando, who had a near-impossible task from a position in rear for much of the way.
Brando’s calculated last 3f of 33.10s (40.8 mph) is the fastest at the track in the entire Timeform Sectional Archive, and it suggests he might well have been unlucky on the day. That said, Harry Angel had not needed the run of the race to smash the clock at Haydock in May and run the fastest timefigure of the season so far of 127, and Limato posted a 126 timefigure when winning this race in 2016. Both of them can run faster than they did here, in other words: this looks a missed opportunity for Brando.
Harry Angel is very fast, even as top sprinters go, and a race like this – which tested out-and-out speed and good jockeyship/positioning – played out perfectly for him.
Caravaggio, meanwhile, looks one for whom a good pace at 6f is required, or possibly a step up in distance. His finishing sectional is fast, but not a lot happened with him until the final 1f, which Brando ran faster (almost certainly under 11.0s) in any case.
Every horse in the July Stakes and the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes ran the first half of Newmarket’s 6f faster than every horse in the July Cup, and all of them were juveniles!”
Harry Angel stays at 6F, Carravaggio goes up to a mile (?), I’ve heard the Breeder’s Cup mile being mooted. Tasleet could have his turn on softer ground and will Brando return to Ayr and could Mr Lupton join him? Where’s Lydia Hislop when you need her?
The afternoon had started at HQ with Godolphin and Coolmore facing off with their maiden 2yo fillies. 1-0 Boys in Blue as Poetic Charm beats Sizzling. Question. Were the Godolphin horses trained specifically for this meeting as a show of strength? Big guns on show. Whereas with Coolmore it was part of a process.
Since winning her maiden at York Marie of Lyon has been asked some pretty big questions. The listed Empress, the G3 Princess Margaret, the big York Sales race and then as a 3yo the Listed Sandringham handicap at Royal Ascot and Saturdays C2 handicap at Newmarket. She’s never run badly and finds herself now with a handicap mark of just OR83 and surely #FantasticMrFahey can find her a 7/8F C3 and build from there. As she’s owned by Clipper Logistics York would be the obvious venue but I’m struggling to see a suitable race at the Ebor festival.
The C3 365BetFred mile was a personal nightmare with City of Joy throwing it away at the start (time for some headgear?), Afaak a one paced fourth, Executive Force never competitive and only Maths Prize running in credit in third and I’m convinced he would be better up in trip! Many of these could re-oppose in the 3yo 8F 0-100 handicap on the Friday of the Ebor Festival. The one who would have been best suited by York would have been the front running Masham Star but he’s gone up a pound to OR101. Ten ran in this event and I’ll stick my neck out and say I think that all ten will win again this season!
You could have given me half the field in the C2 7F Bunbury Cup and I don’t think I would have come up with David Barron’s Above the Rest! The obvious eye catcher is David Elsworths 3yo Sir Dancealot, another to have run in the Jersey at Royal Ascot, who was an excellent second. His entry at Goodwood is in the 6F Stewards Cup for which he is ten pounds well in but number 45 on the list with a max of 38 runners! There is a consolation race.
However the horse to leap into my Notebook is the sixth home Von Blucher.
VON BLUCHER (Rebecca Menzies) I have had one eye on him all season, ever since Rebecca Menzies paid £95K to get the 3yo out of John Gosden’s stables so that she had a Saturday horse, stable profile etc. not that she needs it as she has been among the winners all season. He was a close up fifth in the listed Spring Trophy over 7F at Haydock on seasonal debut, only beat four home in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot when the stiff mile seemed beyond him and then here when having to switch to the stands rail to get a run, staying on for sixth. He’s not in the 7F Gigaset International at Ascot or the BetFred Mile at Goodwood and it wouldn’t surprise me if Ms Menzies, who trains in Co Durham has him pencilled in for the Clipper Logistics handicap over the mile at York during the Ebor Festival.
Aidan O’Briens Gustav Klimt became the new 7/1 favourite for the 2018 2000 Guineas after winning the 7F G3 Superlative Stakes. Clearly talented and well thought of but I thought he was outpaced mid race before Ryan Moore switched to the rail and he took off. #FantasticMrFahey has an excellent 2yo in Great Prospector and he will surely be competitive in the G3 7F Acomb stakes at the Ebor Festival at York. The other eye catcher for me was the fifth Zaaki, the only maiden in the field as he was second to the G2 July stakes sixth Enjezaat on debut, who ran on well and being out of a Sadlers Well mare should get further. Zaaki is trained by Mohamed Moubarak who has returned to Newmarket after twenty five years in the US but he has one hell of a CV. Here is some background.
Moubarak looking to rise from the Ashes David Ashforth 6:00PM 4 JAN 2017
THE very last race of an ordinary midweek raceday, the 8.15 at Chelmsford, will pass by largely unnoticed. Yet it sees the appearance of an out of the ordinary figure from the past. The Lebanese trainer Mohamed Moubarak runs Out Of The Ashes. When Warba ran at Lingfield on December 17 it was Moubarak’s first runner in Britain since 1992. In those days Moubarak was Mahmoud Fustok’s British trainer, an enviable job because Fustok, also Lebanese with prosperous Saudi Arabian connections, owned a major international breeding and racing operation. In 1978 Fustok bought Buckram Oak Farm in Kentucky. He was a big player on the European stage, with champion miler Green Forest winning three Group 1 races as a two-year-old in 1981 followed by the 1982 Prix du Moulin. That year Fustok’s Silver Hawk, trained by another Lebanese, Michael Albina, finished third in the Derby then second in the Irish Derby. In 1983 and 1984 Crystal Glitters won the Prix d’Ispahan. That year Fustok sent 60 horses to Andre Fabre, a move said to have influenced Fabre’s decision to concentrate on the Flat. It was in 1988 that Moubarak, then in his early twenties and a family friend of Fustok’s, began training in Newmarket. Between 1990 and 1992 he trained over 50 winners, including Group race winners Green Line Express, Made Of Gold, Forest Wind and Magnificent Star, who won the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks in 1991. In 1992 Moubarak joined Fustok in Florida where he worked for Buckram Oak Farm as a trainer and racing manager. In 2006 – a few months after Silver Train, trained by Richard Dutrow, won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint for Fustok – he was killed in a road accident. The previous year, aged 69, he had sold Buckram Oak Farm for over $17 million. Moubarak, now 50, he has plenty of successful experience and it will be interesting to see how he fares.
The final race on Newmarkets card was a C3 12F handicap won by Owen Burrows’ Quloob. Hamdan al Maktoums colt showed little as a 2yo but got to start his handicapping off just OR71. He has now won three on the bounce over 10F, 12F & 12F, off OR71, OR75 & OR 87 with RPR’s of 79, 91 and 100! Now off OR94 he can shoot at decent pot. By Teofilio out of a Nayef mare 12F is fine, may even get 14F. Burrows said “Jim Crowley thought they got racing a bit too early for him and my fellow will get further, he’s a bit of a grinder. To be truthful, I thought going up twelve pounds for winning at Brighton may just have got to the bottom of him but he has surprised me. It looked a strong race but we’ll see what the handicapper gives him and go from there. He will definitely stay further, he got a bit fussy before the race but once they get racing he seems to relax and gets going, so I’m delighted with him.”
At York the form of the C2 10F John Smiths handicap may need to be treated with care. Firstly they went no pace, very unusual for this race, until 3F out and as Jason Weaver pointed out this was an old fashioned York race with the leaders keeping to the far rail turning for home. Neither of these factors helped the hold-up, dropped in horses, so I am upgrading the performances of Garcia, Victory Bond, Another Touch and Central Square. The handicapper has left the first two on OR95 and OR102, dropped Another Touch one pound to OR103 and Central Square two pounds to OR105. They could all be back on the Knavesmire for the opening 10F 0-105 handicap on Ebor day.
#FantasticMrFahey ran four in the C3 6F maiden. Most promising was Sands of Mali for the Cool Silks Partnership. A half-brother to Kadrizzi (OR100) he should collect a maiden C4/5, 6/7F. Collateral Beauty is a York nursery project. Lucky Lucky Man and Push’n’Pull needed their debut runs although there was money for the former.
Not sure that the form of the C3 stayers adds up to a lot but there are pointers to take out of the race. Firstly Georgia Cox is well worth her three pounds and an asset to the Haggas yard. Secondly Gabrials King ran creditably and I could be tempted if he ran at Chester in a C3 13½F handicap off OR88. Angel Gabrial ran a solid second recently and top weight in a northern 16F 0-85 maybe a punt. However Gabrials Star has lost the plot on Turf, AW at Wolverhampton only.
#FantasticMrFahey had The Right Choice in the C2 6F nursery and how the hell did Patrick Mathers get him into third beaten less than a length. The horse was slow from the stalls, squeezed at the start, slow to gather pace, pushed for about every yard, ran on then looked to hang left when brought to challenge! Off OR68 a shoo-in for a 0-70 C3/4 nursery. Headgear may be necessary!
At Ascot Owen Burrows had another Hamdam al Maktoum 3yo, Larraib, complete a hat-trick. This son of Pivotal was unraced as a 2yo, won his maiden over 10F at Chepstow, won a C3 10F handicap at Haydock beating Atty Persse off OR83, then 10F here at Ascot off OR95 in the style of a useful horse. Now OR103 and surely will next be seen in Listed/G3 company. Burrows said prior to the race: “Laraaib is a massive great raw horse. There is the three-year-old mile-and- a-half handicap at Royal Ascot, but we decided not to give him an entry there. He will get that trip in time, but I am not sure he has the experience yet for a race like that. He did quite a bit of work last year and he nearly got to the racetrack. He showed greenness when he won at Chepstow. From what he has shown, I would certainly be hopeful he will be up to Group-race level, whether that is this year or next year, only time will tell.”
Behind Larraib were two horses trained by David Menusier, Sinfonietta and Saunter. Based in half of Guy Harwoods old yard at Coombelands in Sussex he is a trainer I really like. Talented young man with an impressive CV. However from mid-May to mid-July he reveals “he’s had a yard virus” and didn’t get his first seasonal winner until the 18th July and doubled his total with his next runner, the talented Make Time. Others from the yard to watch include Corpus Chorister, Sinfonietta, Havre De Paix, Contrapposto, Thundering Blue and Saunter.
In Division II of the 7F 2yo race Richard Hannon introduced a smart type in Tigre du Terre who won comfortably. Speaking at the Qatar Goodwood Festival launch he said “I know he was quite a big price, but I can promise you that we already knew he was quite decent. It was a funny day as we were struggling to get a jockey and we called up Martin Harley, who is a good lad, but he doesn’t usually ride for us and I think people might have thought we didn’t fancy him because of that, but I wasn’t surprised, although there’s no doubt that most of our two-year-olds have really come on for their first starts this season and I wasn’t expecting him to win like that. He’s come out of that well and we’re looking at the Vintage which we won for the same owners (Middleham Park Racing) with Toormore in 2013. It’s going to be much tougher but I think he’s all right – he might just be a Guineas horse next year, but there’s a way to go yet.” However Tim Palin representing his owners Middleham Park Racing had said post-race “He’s a Group horse, it’s just a case of which number Group! We’ll think about either the Washington Singer at Newbury (Listed) or the Group 3 Acomb Stakes at York as targets for him.”
Bin Battuta did me, Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin a favour when defying top weight to win the 12F C2 3yo handicap. Held up, he quickened sharply from the 2F pole, led 1F out and despite first time cheek-pieces hung right, then just held on. Talented but quirky. Does not want Firm in the going. OR93 to OR98. Entries in Goodwood Cup and Great Voltiguer seem a tad optimistic.
Back in third was a staying on Galactic Prince. For a 3yo gelding by Dubawi out of Opera Gal (OR105) a Galileo mare, surely Andrew Balding can place him to win another staying handicap 12/14F off OR80. There is an 11F 0-90 C3 3yo handicap that closes the Friday of the Qatar Goodwood Festival. #FantasticMrFahey ran Society Red up in trip for the first time but James Sullivan raced three wide with no cover. Did he stay? Jury’s out. However surely Society Red is a “winner waiting to happen” off OR81. I think he is an OR90+ horse.
At the end of last week I flagged up seven pound claimer Connor Murtagh having four rides for #FantasticMrFahey at Chester on a Sturday. He returned two winners @ 10/1 and 5/1 plus a 16/1 second. Not bad. His first winner, The Wagon Wheel, may have won by three lengths but she ended up on the near rail! Not surprisingly the handicapper has raised her eight pounds from OR90 and OR98 and it would be no surprise to see her at York in the 7F Fillies handicap on the Thursday of the Yorkshire Ebor Festival with young Murtagh back on board to take seven pounds off!
The other race that has to be reviewed is the 7F listed City Plate stakes won by 20/1 shot Viscount Barfield, trained by Andrew Balding, ridden by Rob Hornby. Pumped along at half way, back on the bridle two out, threaded his way through and held off the wider running Jungle Cat. The handicapper has put him up thirteen pounds to OR107 but he can run in the 7F Gigaset International handicap at Ascot on July 29th off his old mark with just a three pound penalty! So the official handicapper is telling us he is TEN pounds well in. I’ll let you mull over that situation as my blog for that race will be out next Monday evening, 24th July.