She probably has the least regal name at the meeting but we are really looking forward to Flippa The Strippa running in the Queen Mary. She looks stronger than she did before her win in the National Stakes and her work has been good. The ground could be a bit of an unknown if the forecast is correct, however she’s a tough and talented filly who will do her best.
Afaak bids to go one better in the Hunt Cup, however it is going to be a bit of an ask on his seasonal debut. There’s been nothing specifically wrong with him, he’s just taken time to come to himself. He’s done plenty of work so it will be interesting to see how he goes.
Days don’t come much bigger than Tuesday 18th of June for our yard. In the space of 40 minutes we will see Battaash, Equilateral and Phoenix Of Spain run in the two big races of the day. All the horses appear to be in great form at home and those closest to each horse are very happy. They should all act on the ground, however we hope the forecast thunder storms don’t materialise too early in the afternoon.
Bob, who looks after Battaash, has quite a big hoodoo to overcome as he has never led up a winner at Ascot – and he has taken some seriously good horses over the years including Battaash’s sire Dark Angel. We really hope that tomorrow is the day he breaks it.
We’ll have a pretty quiet weekend with just a handful of runners on Saturday. A Momentofmadness is probably the most high profile runner, and he goes to Chelmsford to try and kick start his season. For whatever reason he hasn’t been jumping very quickly from the gates, but if he can get away and dominate he should have a very good chance.
Red Bravo has been waiting for soft ground and it’s certainly going to be that at Haydock! Silver Start and Rock Of Estonia would both have good chances at Chepstow, while Elena and Temujin are bidding to build on promising outings last time. Finally Autumn War should enjoy a bit of give in the ground when he runs at Newmarket.
The whole team was thrilled to give Kieran a winning first ride back. Kieran has been very open about his problems and worked incredibly hard since the day he walked into the yard in February. We are absolutely delighted to support him and hope that Heroic’s win at Lingfield is the start of a long and successful relationship. One big benefit of having Kieran riding put for the past few months is he knows a lot of the horses well, which always helps on the track. He also has a great relationship with all the staff, and his feedback in the mornings has been very valuable.
It will be hard to beat the twenty five minutes between 3.40pm and 4.05pm on Saturday 25th May 2019. Both Phoenix Of Spain and Battaash were absolutely brilliant.
We are all thrilled for Phoenix’s owners Ann and Tony who a couple of years ago were very brave and ‘went big’ at the sales with the idea being to buy a proper horse. With the help of Geoffrey Howson and Matt Houldsworth they have. Apart from a little blip in the winter, and a couple of dirty scopes around the English 2000 Guineas the horse has been an absolute pleasure to train. He has a bomb proof temperament and now he’s filling his big frame he’s showing everyone just how good he is. He will improve for the run in Ireland and has come back showing no ill effects from the race.
Battaash has been in such good form at home and is much more relaxed this year, so we were pretty confident going into the race. Without a doubt Dane O’Neil riding his work has helped, as he knows the horse so well. Viktoria, who does the steering at home the rest of the time, has also helped keep him happy and we should all see the benefits of this as the year goes on.
Finally I’d like to say a big thank you to my team at home. Those close to these two horses do an amazing job, but it’s not just about them. Every horse in the yard is important and every winner is important and so much work goes into each and every one of them.
With her memorable name Flippa was always going to gather quite a following, however now it looks like she’s pretty decent she has acquired even more fans.
To be honest we were going into the National Stakes looking to pick up some black type by being placed, however she showed a great turn of foot to put the race to bed very quickly. We will now go to Ascot. She may well get multiple entries but the favoured race is probably the Queen Mary.
It’s about as big as it gets for our yard this Saturday as our two top horses run within twenty five minutes of each other.
Phoenix Of Spain leaves for Ireland this morning. We are as happy as we can be with him, however it is going to be a big ask to take on top class race fit rivals. The form of his races as a two year old are working out amazingly. In the Acomb he had the Derby favourite Broome well behind and the form of the Vertem Futurity, where be was a bit unlucky, couldn’t have worked out any better. He’s filled his large frame over the winter, although as the season progresses he will continue to strengthen up. Whatever he does on Saturday he will definitely improve for the outing.
Battaash goes back to Haydock to try and retain his crown in the Temple Stakes. He looks a lot better than he did this time last year, and he doesn’t have the penalty to carry. There may not be many runners but it’s a Group 1 in all but name with Mabs Cross, Alpha Delfini and Kachy in the race, and Mabs Cross and Kachy have the benefit of being race fit. It’s going to be a tough ask.
We have been patient with Khaadem this spring and it’s paid off following his win at Newbury. He was always doing enough to hold off the second placed horse, and won with his ears pricked. He’s come out of the race in great form so hopefully it’s all systems go for Ascot. The team at home have done a really good job with him and he is much more relaxed at home this year. It was great to see that although he got a bit worked up in the preliminaries he was good in the race.
It’ll be a pretty quiet meeting for us. On Wednesday Spoof and Breath Of Air run. Spoof needed his first run at Newbury as he was a bit fresh. We’re trying six furlongs for the first time, but he ran well at the track last year so we are hopeful it will play to his strengths. Breath Of Air is a horse we’ve always liked and his form is pretty useful. He’s stepping back up to seven furlongs having found six furlongs a bit sharp at Newmarket.
We just have Plutonian in the Hambleton Handicap on Thursday. His comeback run at Newbury was good, however he has a lot of weight.
On Friday it looks like Silver Start will run in the Marygate Stakes. She’s an extraordinarily tough little filly, who was very professional on her debut. This represents a big step up in class, but she won’t lack for the want of trying.
We’ll have a couple of runners a day at the May meeting, with two of last years victors returning.
On Tuesday Starlight Red will try and nick some black type in the Cheshire Oaks. She’s well bred and not without talent but it will probably be a big ask. We can always go back to maiden company after giving this race a whirl. Vindolanda is a nice staying filly in the making and will appreciate any rain that comes.
Spoof returns to the scene of one of his victories last year when he goes in the 5 furlong handicap on Wednesday. The draw has not been kind to him, but he seems in great form since his seasonal debut when he was a bit too fresh for his own good. Dark Jedi was just behind Pogo in the race at Newcastle when they made their seasonal debuts, and probably needed it a bit more than Pogo as he’s a big heavy horse. He seems to have come on for that run at home, and the extra distance and ease in the ground will help him in the Dee Stakes.
On Friday it looks like Never Surrender and A Momentofmadness will run. Both have won at the track, although A Momentofmadness task will be a tough one if Kachy runs. Never Surrender badly needed his first run at Kempton, and as most of our horses have improved from their first to second race we are hopeful he will show more.