Talk­ing twos

Ian Heit­man re­ports on the busiest time of the year for two-year-old races

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Ian Heit­man on the busiest time of year for two-year-olds

The last is­sue cov­ered the first four two-year-old races at Royal As­cot and whilst the meet­ing was a few weeks ago, there were two fur­ther races which weren’t cov­ered.


The Group Two Al­bany Stakes over 6f was for fil­lies only and a de­cent look­ing field of 20 as­sem­bled. AL­PHA CENTAURI went into the race hav­ing won her first two starts im­pres­sively and she was the 2/1 favourite for Jes­sica Har­ring­ton. A filly with plenty of size and scope,she took the eye in the pad­dock be­fore­hand. Ai­dan O’Brien had three run­ners in the race,with CLEM­MIE, a full sis­ter to 2017 2,000 Guineas win­ner Churchill, the short­est priced at 7/1 and sec­ond favourite. Ger Lyons’ BLACK SAILS and Wes­ley Ward’s im­pos­ing FAIRY­LAND were both at 8/1.

The field split into two groups with Fairy­land lead­ing the stands side group and French raider DIF­FER­ENT LEAGUE lead­ing the larger far side group closely fol­lowed by Al­pha Centauri who trav­elled strongly for Colm O’Donoghue.That pair were al­ways in con­trol of the race and they went clear of their ri­vals with a fur­long and a half to go.Dif­fer­ent League,who had trav­elled strongly to win both her races in France,kept on strongly in­side the last fur­long and held off the chal­lenge of Al­pha Centauri to win by a neck with TAKE ME WITH YOU far­ing best of the stands side group to be third. Clem­mie who fin­ished sev­enth was the third horse home in the far side group, beaten five lengths by the win­ner.

Dif­fer­ent League was the first Royal As­cot win­ner for her trainer Matthieu Palussiere and jockey An­toine Hamelin and this good-look­ing daugh­ter of first sea­son stal­lion Dabir­sim should be a match for the colts in the Prix Morny at Deauville on Au­gust 20. Al­pha Centauri will have no trou­ble in pick­ing up a Group race or two over the com­ing months with the Group Two Debu­tante Stakes at the Cur­ragh also on Au­gust 20 over 7f the ideal race for her. Take Me With You is a weak look­ing filly but a good mover and she ran an ex­cel­lent race to lead home the stands side group. She will have no trou­ble get­ting off the mark in maiden or novice com­pany on her next start.


The Chesham Stakes is the only two-yearold race at Royal As­cot to be run over 7f and is re­stricted to horses whose sires won over a mile and a quar­ter or fur­ther. SEPTEM­BER was the very strong 11/8 favourite for Ai­dan O’Brien and Ryan Moore hav­ing won a maiden at Leop­ard­stown im­pres­sively 16 days ear­lier.

A medium-sized filly by lead­ing Ja­panese stal­lion, Deep Im­pact out of mul­ti­ple Group One win­ner Peep­ing Fawn, Septem­ber is bred to top class and she re­tained her un­beaten record in good style. Set­tled in the rear of mid­field be­hind the strong pace set by NYALETI (win­ner of a novice on her de­but at Sal­is­bury only six days ear­lier), Septem­ber made progress with two fur­longs to go but still had a few lengths to find with Nyaleti over a fur­long from the fin­ish.

She stayed on strongly in­side the last fur­long and grabbed the lead from a tir­ing Nyaleti with 100 yards to go and stayed on well to win by two-and-a-quar­ter lengths from Nyaleti who ran re­ally well in sec­ond with MASAR run­ning well for Char­lie Ap­pleby in third.

Septem­ber was the third win­ner in the Chesham for Ai­dan O’Brien fol­low­ing Maybe in 2011 and Churchill in 2016 and it is likely Septem­ber will try and em­u­late Maybe by win­ning the Debu­tante Stakes and Moyglare Stud Stakes where there will be in­trigu­ing clash with Al­bany sec­ond Al­pha Centauri.

Sand­wiched be­tween Royal As­cot and

the July Fes­ti­val at New­mar­ket were the Ir­ish Derby meet­ing at the Cur­ragh from June 30 to July 2 and the two-day Eclipse meet­ing at Sandown on July 8 and 9.

Ai­dan O’Brien had a very suc­cess­ful Ir­ish Derby meet­ing,win­ning seven of the 23 races in­clud­ing the Ir­ish Derby with Capri. Four of the seven win­ners came in two-year-old races,the first of which was in the first race of the meet­ing when HAP­PILY eas­ily won the 7f fil­lies maiden by a length and three quar­ters from SHALAILAH. The first race on the sec­ond day also saw an O’Brien win­ner when U S NAVY FLAG (14th in the Coven­try at Royal As­cot) led all the way and eas­ily ac­counted for his 12 ri­vals.

The fea­ture two-year-old race of the meet­ing, the Group Two Rail­way Stakes over 6f did have an O’Brien favourite in MURILLO but he could fin­ish only third be­hind BECK­FORD who main­tained his un­beaten record in good style and pro­vided Gor­don El­liott with a first Group win­ner.The next race for Beck­ford should be the Group One Phoenix Stakes at the Cur­ragh on Au­gust 13 where he should take plenty of beat­ing.

For the third day run­ning,Ai­dan O’Brien trained the win­ner of the open­ing race on the card when GUS­TAV KLIMT looked a very smart prospect win­ning the 7f maiden un­der Ryan Moore beat­ing his main mar­ket ri­val WOULD BE KING by a length and three quar­ters. The last of the O’Brien two-year-old win­ners came in the Group Three Grange­con Stud Stakes when CLEM­MIE got off the mark at the third at­tempt beat­ing her sta­ble-mate BUT­TER­SCOTCH very eas­ily by two and three quar­ter lengths.

The fea­ture race of the Eclipse meet­ing at Sandown, saw a record equalling sixth win in the Eclipse for Sir Michael Stoute when Ulysses just man­aged to hold off

the next race for beck­ford should be the group one phoenix stakes at the cur­ragh on au­gust 13 where he should take plenty of beat­ing

Bar­ney Roy in a fan­tas­tic fin­ish with a nose sep­a­rat­ing the pair at the line.

The Listed Dragon Stakes over 5f was one of two two-year-old races on the first day of the meet­ing with six of the eight run­ners hav­ing had their pre­vi­ous starts at Royal As­cot. ROUSSEL, who had fin­ished sec­ond in theWind­sor Cas­tle Stakes,was the 5/4 favourite ahead of the only pre­vi­ous Listed win­ner in the race, HA­VANA GREY (Na­tional Stakes over course and dis­tance in May and car­ry­ing a 3lb penalty for that win) at 3/1. Other Royal As­cot also rans to make the line-up were Wind­sor Cas­tle fifth LAST PAGE and Queen Mary 16th For­mi­da­ble Kitt. Ha­vana Grey who was a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ing when only 10th in the Norfolk Stakes re­peated his per­for­mance from the Na­tional Stakes by break­ing well from the stalls and get­ting the lead against the rail. Al­ways go­ing strongly for PJ McDon­ald he kept on well to record a length and a quar­ter win from Roussel who never man­aged to chal­lenge the win­ner with TO WAFIJ in third.

Ha­vana Grey is much bet­ter go­ing from the front and with Glo­ri­ous Good­wood loom­ing,he should run well in the Group 3 Mole­comb Stakes.

The 7f novice race went to PETRUS for Brian Mee­han and James Doyle.He stayed on strongly to beat Pam Sly’s BARFORD with BRO­GAN run­ning a promis­ing de­but for Mick Chan­non es­pe­cially as he looked to need the run in the pad­dock be­fore­hand.


The July Fes­ti­val was three weeks af­ter Royal As­cot and got un­der way on July 13. The first two-year-old race the Group 2 July Stakes over 6f saw a field of 12 line-up with Coven­try Stakes win­ner, RAJASINGHE bid­ding to main­tain his un­beaten record but hav­ing to carry 3lb more than his ri­vals be­cause of his Royal As­cot suc­cess. There were eight last time out win­ners in the race, seven of which had come in maiden or novice com­pany with only Rajasinghe’s Coven­try win the only last time out win in Group com­pany.

IN­VIN­CI­BLE ARMY, one of two in the race for James Tate,proved to be the main mar­ket op­po­si­tion to Rajasinghe fol­low­ing an im­pres­sive win on the July course on his pre­vi­ous start and he was even­tu­ally sent off the 3/1 favourite. Rajasinghe wasn’t the only Royal As­cot win­ner in the race,Wind­sor Cas­tle win­ner,SOUND AND SI­LENCE was hav­ing his first start over six fur­longs and he was the third choice in the bet­ting. CARDSHARP fin­ished a very good third in the 5f Norfolk Stakes and he was step­ping back up to 6f hav­ing fin­ished off well at Royal As­cot.

Hav­ing been last into the pad­dock at Royal As­cot, Rajasinghe was first into New­mar­ket’s pad­dock and he quickly made his pres­ence felt by mak­ing plenty of noise. He looked in good shape as too did In­vin­ci­ble Army and ENJAZAAT.

There was plenty of pace in the race with US Navy Flag and In­vin­ci­ble Army go­ing off in front to­gether with Cardsharp who led a group of three in the cen­tre of the track.Not too many of the 12 run­ners man­aged to get too in­volved with the pace set­ters dom­i­nat­ing through­out with Cardsharp keep­ing on best of all and lead­ing with 100 yards to go and beat­ing US Navy Flag by a length and three quar­ters with Rajasinghe keep­ing on in­side the last fur­long to be third but never able to chal­lenge.

This was Cardsharp’s third win from six races and it was the first win in the July Stakes for Mark John­ston who had had a cou­ple of sec­ond and third places in the race in pre­vi­ous years.He will no doubt be aimed at a Group One con­test later in the year and whilst he prob­a­bly would need a fur­ther step up to win one of those, John­ston man­aged to get Group One win for The Last Lion in 2016 who like Cardsharp was kept very busy through­out his twoyear-old cam­paign.

US Navy Flag ran a great race given he lost a shoe dur­ing the race and he will no doubt get his head in front in a Group race

be­fore too long. The way Rajasinghe fin­ished in the last fur­long sug­gested he would be bet­ter over seven fur­longs with races like the Vin­tage Stakes at Good­wood and the Cham­pagne Stakes at Don­caster look­ing ideal for him.

The maid­ens at the July Fes­ti­val are al­ways pay­ing close at­ten­tion to and the 6f fil­lies maiden on the open­ing day should through up a few win­ners over the com­ing weeks.MAYBRIDE was dropped in grade by Richard Fa­hey hav­ing fin­ished 10th in the Queen Mary on her pre­vi­ous start and with Ryan Moore aboard for the first time, she was the 2/1 favourite. SPRING COS­MOS a strong daugh­ter by Ac­cla­ma­tion rep­re­sent­ing Char­lie Ap­pleby and Wil­liam Buick was sec­ond favourite at 9/2 with Hugo Palmer’s PULITZER at 6/1.

The field split into two groups, Spring Cos­mos led a group of five in the cen­tre of the track whilst Richard Han­non’s LAMYA (very fit for her race­course de­but) raced promi­nently to­wards the far side with out­sider SHADOW SEEKER. The group led by Spring Cos­mos were al­ways in con­trol and she stayed on very strongly in­side the last fur­long to win by a length and a quar­ter from INDICIA, a new­comer from Char­lie Hills’ yard with ANNA NERIUM do­ing best of those from the far side group in third.Maybride was well placed but failed to quicken and fin­ished fifth.

Spring Cos­mos looks ca­pa­ble of mak­ing the step up into Listed com­pany with the Star Stakes at Sandown look­ing the ideal race for her.

The fea­ture two-year-old race on day two was the Group 2 Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes for fil­lies. CLEM­MIE was the 11/8 favourite to add to her re­cent Group 3 win in Ire­land with NYALETI, drop­ping to 6f af­ter her ex­cel­lent sec­ond in the Chesham,at 7/4.There was plenty of pace early on with MISTRESS OFVENICE (fourth in the Al­bany) and Nyaleti dis­put­ing the lead with Clem­mie set­tled in mid­field. Ryan Moore made his move on Clem­mie with two fur­longs to go and she took the lead over a fur­long from the fin­ish and stayed on well in­side the last 100 to win by a length and three quar­ters from Nyaleti with MAMBA NOIRE keep­ing on tak­ing third ahead of Mistress Of Venice.

This was a very smart per­for­mance from Clem­mie with Ryan Moore stat­ing af­ter the race she was the best two-yearold filly seen out so far this year which given the way Septem­ber won with Moore aboard at As­cot is high praise. Clem­mie will be aimed at the Group One Moyglare Stakes in Septem­ber over 7f and will no doubt take plenty of beat­ing.

Nyaleti ran another good race bump­ing into another well-bred and very smart filly from Ai­dan O’Brien’s yard. It’s un­likely O’Brien will have a run­ner in the Group 3 Pres­tige Stakes at Good­wood at the end of Au­gust and given the way Nyaleti races promi­nently,she would be hard to beat in a race the yard won in 2016.

TAN­GLED got off the mark on his hand- icap de­but in the 7f nurs­ery for Richard Han­non when he beat UTHER PENDRAGON eas­ily by three and a half lengths.

The first di­vi­sion of the 7f maiden was slowly run and it a de­vel­oped into a sprint with two fur­longs to go.BE­ING THERE who had the ben­e­fit of a pre­vi­ous run just man­aged to beat new­comer DOSWELL by a head with pace set­ter YAAFOUR in third. DUKHAN didn’t get the best of runs through and kept on well to be fourth ahead of DEJA who fin­ished well on his race­course de­but. A length and three quar­ters cov­ered the first five with five lengths to next placed horse GLOBAL CON­QUEROR.

The sec­ond di­vi­sion was run at a much bet­ter pace and it pro­duced a good fin­ish with GLOBAL GIANT get­ting the bet­ter of TRIBAL QUEST by a short head, the pair draw­ing three lengths clear of BUSTAM in third.Global Giant should be able to defy a penalty in novice com­pany next time whilst Tribal Quest should have lit­tle trou­ble in tak­ing a maiden on his next start.

The third day’s two-year-old high­light was the Group 2 Su­perla­tive Stakes over 7f with 10 run­ners fac­ing the starter. GUS­TAV KLIMT was the well sup­ported 5/6 favourite to add to his re­cent maiden win. AQABAH was next in the mar­ket at 5/1 hav­ing fin­ished fifth in the Coven­try Stakes on his pre­vi­ous start. ZA­MAN set a good pace un­der Adam Kirby with FINNISTON FARM and NEBO also rac­ing promi­nently.Gus­tav Klimt was close to the pace and trav­elled well for Ryan Moore but had looked to have plenty to do when a gap he thought was there be­tween Nebo and Finniston Farm over two fur­longs from the fin­ish closed on him and he had to switch left to the far side of the track and had a bit of ground to make up a fur­long from the fin­ish.Nebo had taken the lead by this point and he looked like win­ning but Moore man­aged to get Gus­tav Klimt up close to the fin­ish for what looked with two fur­longs to go an un­likely win, a head the win­ning mar­gin with half a length to GREAT PROSPECTOR in third.

It is hard to say how far Gus­tav Klimt would have won had he man­aged to get the clear run but he was by some way the best horse in the race and he looks sure to go well in Group One races like the

Na­tional Stakes and De­whurst later in the sea­son. Book­mak­ers short­ened Gus­tav Klimt to 6/1 for the 2018 2,000 Guineas and given the yard’s re­cent record in that race, won three of the last seven, that is prob­a­bly the race they will look to win with him.

The O’Brien team would have gone to New­mar­ket ex­pect­ing three win­ners on day three and whilst Gus­tav Klimt de­liv­ered, Caravaggio could fin­ish only fourth in the July Cup be­hind im­pres­sive win­ner Harry An­gel and SIZ­ZLING ran well to be sec­ond be­hind PO­ETIC CHARM from the Char­lie Ap­pleby yard (11th de­but win­ner of the year).

A half-sis­ter to Te­ofilo,Po­etic Charm has the pedi­gree to be a Group per­former and given the way she stayed on in­side the last fur­long un­der hands and heels un­der­Wil­liam Buick beat­ing Siz­zling by a length, there is ev­ery chance she will be fig­ur­ing in Group races be­fore too long.


As­cot staged a two-day meet­ing on July 14 and 15 and whilst the qual­ity of the twoyear-old races wasn’t as strong as at New­mar­ket, there were a few promis­ing per­for­mances.

REBEL STREAK fin­ished a length and three quar­ters be­hind LETHAL LUNCH in the open­ing 6f novice race. He couldn’t a clear run a fur­long and a half from the fin­ish but stayed on well in­side the last 100 yards but couldn’t get to the win­ner. Rebel Streak’s trainer An­drew Bald­ing has only had one two-year-old win­ner so far in 2017 (new­comer For­tune’s Pearl at Chep­stow) but Rebel Streak should be adding to his to­tal be­fore too long.

MANKIND kept on well in­side the last fur­long to be fourth and this strong colt by Dabir­sim will have no trou­ble win­ning races for Ge­orge Scott (six win­ners so far in 2017).

RU­FUS KING de­fied a hand­i­cap mark of 94 to win the 6f nurs­ery com­fort­ably from DRAGONS TAIL and con­tin­ued Mark John­ston’s ex­cel­lent run of form with his ju­ve­niles.Ru­fus King was the 30th win­ner of the year and he went on to add two more later in the day whenVen­tura Knight won at Carlisle and Cape Bunt­ing made it two win from two starts at Mus­sel­burgh.

The sec­ond day of the two-day meet­ing saw a novice auc­tion di­vided into two races. CU­RIOS­ITY de­fied a penalty for a win at New­cas­tle when he beat PREACHER MAN by half a length with JAZEEL run­ning well on his de­but for Mick Chan­non. SOTOMAYOR, a strong colt by Ha­vana Gold, looked well in the pad­dock be­fore­hand but never man­aged to land a blow fin­ish­ing eighth. He should do bet­ter next time for Richard Han­non.

Whereas Cu­rios­ity was able to defy a penalty,CHRISTOPHERWOOD (win­ner at Sal­is­bury on de­but) couldn’t.He had ev­ery chance from the front but weak­ened out of con­tention over a fur­long from the fin­ish with vic­tory go­ing to Richard Han­non’s TIGRE DU TERRE who trav­elled strongly for Martin Har­ley and made progress against the stands side rail to lead with a fur­long to go and he ran on well to win by four and a half lengths from CUBAN HEEL who im­proved on his de­but run to be sec­ond with LAUGH A MINUTE (edgy in the pad­dock and very keen to post), run­ning well to be third.

Tigre Du Terre looked in good shape in the pad­dock and moved well to the start but was un­fan­cied in the bet­ting at 14/1 with Laugh A Minute the well sup­ported 15/8 favourite. Martin Har­ley had only rid­den for Richard Han­non five times (one win­ner) be­fore get­ting the leg up on Tigre Du Terre and given the num­ber of run­ners Han­non has, there will no doubt be more com­ing Har­ley’s way in the fu­ture.

Sound and Si­lence


Ha­vana Grey



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