Ian Heit­man was im­pressed by Sir Michael Stoute’s ju­ve­nile

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Ian Heit­man picks out some eye-catch­ing ju­ve­niles


The 2017 Qatar Good­wood Fes­ti­val run over five days from Au­gust 1 to 5 be­gan on good ground with the first two-year-old race of the meet­ing, the Group 2 Vin­tage Stakes over 7f.

A field of 10 lined up a first prize in ex­cess of £113,000 with Sir Michael Stoute’s EX­PERT EYE the 7/4 favourite in a bid to ex­tend his un­beaten record to two. Also look­ing to ex­tend his un­beaten record to two was Ai­dan O’Brien’s chal­lenger, SEAHENGE, how­ever he was rel­a­tively weak in the bet­ting at 4/1. MILDENBERGER, who was un­beaten in two starts for Mark John­ston, at­tracted plenty of sup­port and was sent off the 7/2 sec­ond favourite.

Ex­pert Eye, who had im­pressed in the pad­dock be­fore his de­but at New­bury, again took the eye, a strong scopey colt by Ac­cla­ma­tion he stood out along with Seahenge who also has plenty of scope. Mildenberger who was colty be­fore his win at New­bury on his sec­ond start, be­haved a lot bet­ter this time but still got a bit warm.

ZA­MAN, who was hav­ing his fifth start and the first in blink­ers, took the field along with French raider COLD STARE rac­ing up with the pace. Mildenberger raced in touch with the pace while Ex­pert Eye set­tled in mid­field and Seahenge was held up by Ryan Moore.

Ex­pert Eye trav­elled very strongly and made progress on the out­side of the field with three fur­longs to go, ef­fort­lessly tak­ing the lead from Za­man with less than two fur­longs to go. Asked to lengthen by Atzeni over a fur­long from the fin­ish, Ex­pert Eye shot clear in a mat­ter of strides to win by four and a half lengths from Za­man with Mildenberger keep­ing on to take third. Seahenge never man­aged to get close enough to chal­lenge but is cer­tainly go­ing to progress well from two to three.

This was the most im­pres­sive two-yearold win of the sea­son so far and Ex­pert Eye was short­ened in the bet­ting for the 2018 2,000 Guineas to a best priced 6/1 favourite im­me­di­ately af­ter the race but is now as short as 4/1.Whilst Sir Michael Stoute hasn’t had a 2000 Guineas run­ner since 2009,Ex­pert Eye is by some way the best two-year-old he has trained for a num­ber of years and with the Cham­pagne Stakes at Doncaster and the De­whurst at New­mar­ket on his agenda be­fore the end of the year,Ex­pert Eye will no doubt head into the win­ter much shorter than 4/1 and a sixth 2,000 Guineas win­ner for Sir Michael Stoute looks very likely.

Ex­pert Eye was one of four win­ners of the open­ing day for An­drea Atzeni who didn’t have a ride in the sec­ond two-yearold race on day one, a maiden for colts and geld­ings over 6f.De­spite there be­ing three other big priced win­ners on day one, the big­gest of them all came in this maiden when Gary Moore’s THECHILDREN’STRUST landed a 100/1 sur­prise, hold­ing off the long-time leader REBEL STREAK in­side the last 100 yards and be­com­ing the long­est priced two-yearold win­ner of 2017 and just the fifth de­but win­ner for the yard since 2012. Thechildren’strust should progress from this de­but win, how­ever the run­ner up Rebel Streak was dis­ap­point­ing on his next start when only third at New­mar­ket on Au­gust 19. The race has how­ever al­ready pro­duced a cou­ple of win­ners with LAKE VOLTA eas­ily win­ning at Brighton and Ripon and ALGAM win­ning at Le­ices­ter on Au­gust 13.

The sec­ond day of the meet­ing saw per­sis­tent and heavy rain­fall which changed the ground to soft.The Group 3 Mole­comb Stakes over 5f saw three of the 13 de­clared run­ners with­drawn due to the change in go­ing. IN­VIN­CI­BLE ARMY who had run well at New­mar­ket in Group 2 com­pany on his pre­vi­ous start was the 5/2 favourite but he was no match for the all the way win­ner HA­VANA GOLD who won im­pres­sively by a length and three quar­ters,find­ing plenty when chal­lenged a fur­long from the fin­ish and pulling clear with 100 yards to go. In­vin­ci­ble Army ran well to be sec­ond with TO WAFIJ run­ning on nicely to be third.

Mark John­ston al­ways tar­gets the Good­wood meet­ing and hav­ing drawn a blank on the open­ing day,he had two win­ners on the sec­ond day, Lon­dinium win­ning a three-year-old hand­i­cap and THREAD­ING win­ning the 6f fil­lies maiden im­pres­sively on her race­course de­but by six lengths from YOUR CHOICE and PULITZER. De­spite be­ing by Ex­ceed And Ex­cel (prog­eny have a bet­ter strike rate on faster ground), Thread­ing rel­ished the con­di­tions, al­ways trav­el­ling strongly for Wil­liam Buick on the out­side of the field, she took the lead over a fur­long from the fin­ish and ran on strongly in­side the last 150 yards.Whilst win­ning mar­gins on soft ground can of­ten be ex­ag­ger­ated, there was no mis­take this was a smart per­form-

ance from Thread­ing who looks sure to hold her own in bet­ter com­pany with the Group 3 Dick Poole Stakes at Sal­is­bury look­ing the ideal race for her on Septem­ber 7.

Day three’s two-year-old high­light was the Group 2 Rich­mond Stakes over 6f.Due to the change in the ground con­di­tions (still soft) from when train­ers de­clared 48 hours ear­lier, the field was re­duced from 10 to seven. CARDSHARP, who car­ried 3lb more than his ri­vals due to win­ning the July Stakes on his pre­vi­ous start, was the 2/1 favourite with NEBO, sec­ond at New­mar­ket over 7f, at 3/1. Nei­ther were a match for BARRAQUERO who made the jump from win­ning a novice at Chep­stow to this de­cent Group 2.Al­ways go­ing well for Wil­liam Buick, he made progress on the out­side with two fur­longs to go and picked up well to lead in­side the last fur­long and saw it out well beat­ing Nebo by a length and a quar­ter. Barraquero was the third win­ner in this race for Brian Mee­han and will be ma­jor fac­tor wher­ever he runs next, he has entries in all the 6f Group races later in the sea­son.

Both Nebo and Cardsharp ran well to be sec­ond and third re­spec­tively and will con­tinue to give a good ac­count but will strug­gle to beat Barraquero if they meet again.

Hav­ing fin­ished third and only beaten a neck be­hind TAJAANUS and CAPOMENTO in the Listed Star Stakes at Sandown, BILLESDON BROOK was run­ning on the same mark, 87, in the 7f nurs­ery later on the day three card. She was due to go up 9lb in the weights for that Sandown run and was the 100/30 favourite to take full ad­van­tage of be­ing ahead of the hand­i­cap­per. She didn’t look like win­ning with a fur­long to go, trapped in mid­field and strug­gling to get a clear run but when the gaps did ap­pear, she fin­ished very strongly and col­lared the run­ner-up and sta­ble com­pan­ion, CHEEKY RAS­CAL in the fi­nal strides to win by a head. It was a re­mark­able win given how much ground she had to make up and de­spite her hav­ing to race off her new mark of 96 next time, she is a very pro­gres­sive filly and will be adding to her two wins in the com­ing weeks.

The third two-year-old race on the day three card was a 7f fil­lies maiden and it was sub­stan­dard af­fair with six run­ners com­pet­ing for a first prize in ex­cess of £16,000. ROULETTE put her pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence to good use, lead­ing all the way she had to work hard in­side the last 100 yards to hold off the chal­lenge of new­comer RI­P­LEY with a neck sep­a­rat­ing the pair at the line. ZILARA, who fin­ished fourth, has a good pedi­gree but got very warm be­fore­hand, she stayed on well and should progress next time for Ralph Beck­ett.

Char­lie Hills’ RED RO­MAN gave the trainer a dou­ble on the fourth day in the 6f nurs­ery fol­low­ing Bat­taash’s im­pres­sive win in the 5f Group 2 King Ge­orge Stakes. Red Ro­man was drop­ping from 7f to 6f and led all the way, drift­ing in­side the last fur­long but stayed on well to beat 66/1 out­sider NEW EM­PIRE by a length and a quar­ter.This nurs­ery had a very lop­sided look to it with four of the nine run­ners car­ry­ing more weight than their of­fi­cial

hand­i­cap mark due to RUFUS KING’s mark of 103.He was giv­ing his ri­vals up­wards of 18lb and that proved too much as he could fin­ish only sev­enth.

The fi­nal day of the meet­ing was the weak­est in terms of qual­ity due to the Group 1 Nas­sau Stakes mov­ing to the fourth day.The only two-year-old race was a 7f maiden and it saw a sec­ond im­pres­sive de­but win­ner of the week for Mark John­ston when DEE EX BEE led all the way un­der Sil­vestre de Sousa beat­ing BATHSHEBA BAY by two and a quar­ter lengths with CAP­I­TAL FLIGHT (one of the nicer types in the pad­dock be­fore­hand) do­ing well to fin­ish third hav­ing been in the rear for most of the way. Dee Ex Bee was the sec­ond two-year-old win­ner for first sea­son stal­lion Farhh (WELLS FARHH GO was im­pres­sive on his de­but for Tim Easterby atYork on July 28) and this strong colt looks a smart prospect.


Away from Good­wood, there have been plenty of Group and Listed races in re­cent weeks.

The first Group 1 race for two-year-olds was the Phoenix Stakes at the Cur­ragh on Au­gust 13. Ai­dan O’Brien was re­spon­si­ble for half of the eight run­ners with SIOUX NA­TION the short­est of his quar­tet at 2/1 for Ryan Moore. BECKFORD, bid­ding to give Gor­don El­liott a first Group 1 flat win­ner was just pre­ferred in the bet­ting at 15/8. U S NAVY FLAG took the field along at good tempo with the mar­ket prin­ci­ples rac­ing in touch in mid­field. Sioux Na­tion made good progress on the out­side with two fur­longs to go and took the lead from his sta­ble com­pan­ion with a fur­long to go and kept on well un­der a strong Moore ride, hav­ing half a length in hand over Beckford who kept on well in­side the last fur­long but couldn’t quite get to the win­ner.

This was the 16th time Ai­dan O’Brien has won this Group 1 race and his eighth in the last 10 years. Sioux Na­tion will head for ei­ther the Na­tional Stakes over 7f or the Mid­dle Park Stakves over 6f, both Group 1 races,for his next start but I think Beckford would beat him in the Na­tional Stakes where Sioux Na­tion’s stamina will be fully tested.

Deauville’s summer pro­gramme has been very re­ward­ing for Bri­tish trained two-year-olds with three Listed win­ners. IZZY BIZU led all the way in the Prix Six Per­fec­tions on July 29,MYTHICAL MAGIC made it two wins from two starts when com­fort­ably win­ning the Prix Fran­cois Boutin on Au­gust 13 and PUR­SU­ING THE DREAM got off the mark on her sev­enth start in the Prix de la Valle D’Auge on Au­gust 15. Although not at Deauville, there was more suc­cess in France when DE BRUYNE HORSE won his third race from seven starts in a Listed con­test at Vichy on Au­gust 5, hav­ing to work fairly hard to do so.

There were two good two-year-old races on the Deauville card on Au­gust 19 with plenty of Bri­tish in­ter­est.Seven of the 11 run­ners for the Group 3 Prix du Cal­va­dos were trained in Bri­tain, how­ever the best they could man­age was sec­ond,LAURENS trained by Karl Burke. She was no match for im­pres­sive win­ner POLYDREAM trained by Fred­die Head who won eas­ily by a length and three quar­ters and could head to New­mar­ket for the Group 1 Cheve­ley Park Stakes next.

The Listed Cri­terium du Fonds Europeen de l’El­e­vage over a mile saw STAGE MAGIC from the Char­lie Ap­pleby yard beaten right on the line by FRANCESCO BERE hav­ing taken the lead a fur­long from the fin­ish.Stage Magic had won im­pres­sively at New­bury on his sec­ond start and hav­ing just lost out here, will no doubt gain com­pen­sa­tion be­fore too long.

There was a strong Bri­tish chal­lenge for

the fea­ture two-year-old race of the meet­ing, the Group 1 Prix Morny on Au­gust 20 with three of the eight run­ners mak­ing the trip across the Chan­nel. NYALETI, im­pres­sive win­ner of the Group 3 Princess Mar­garet Stakes for Mark John­ston on her pre­vi­ous start was the short­est in the bet­ting with Karl Burke’s pair, HA­VANA GREY and UN­FOR­TU­NATELY (win­ner of the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin on his pre­vi­ous start) rel­a­tively un­fan­cied in the lo­cal bet­ting. The French public got be­hind Fred­die Head’s TANTHEEM and she was sent off favourite ahead of Royal As­cot win­ner DIF­FER­ENT LEAGUE. Tantheem helped to force the pace with Ha­vana Grey but faded out of con­tention a fur­long and a half from the fin­ish at which point Un­for­tu­nately made progress from mid­field and took the lead with a fur­long to go. He didn’t hang left as he had done in the Robert Papin and kept on strongly to beat his sta­ble com­pan­ion by a length and a quar­ter with Dif­fer­ent League keep­ing on to take third. Nyaleti was un­der pres­sure over two fur­longs from the fin­ish and was sixth. This was a tremen­dous train­ing per­for­mance by Karl Burke to sad­dle the first and sec­ond and was the first time he had trained a two-year-old to win a Group 1 race. Both horses have proved to be ex­tremely con­sis­tent and are sure to go well in the Group races com­ing up in the au­tumn.

Ai­dan O’Brien didn’t have a run­ner in the Morny, his fo­cus was at the Cur­ragh on Au­gust 20 where a cou­ple of Group 2 races for two-year-olds took cen­tre stage, the Fu­tu­rity Stakes and Debu­tante Stakes. Three of the five run­ners in the Fu­tu­rity were trained by O’Brien and they fin­ished first, sec­ond and third with ROSTROPOVICH get­ting the bet­ter of COAT OF ARMS close home with BERKE­LEY SQUARE run­ning on to be third. This wasn’t the strong­est Group 2 to be run this year and Rostropovich made hard work of jus­ti­fy­ing 11/8 favouritism.

The bet­ting sug­gested there wasn’t much to choose be­tween the O’Brien pair of HAP­PILY and SEPTEM­BER in the Debu­tante Stakes with Septem­ber go­ing off the 11/10 favourite ahead of Hap­pily at 6/4. Septem­ber, win­ner of the Che­sham Stakes on fast ground at Royal As­cot, was never trav­el­ling well for Seamie Hef­fer­nan and she was un­able to chal­lenge fin­ish­ing fourth. Hap­pily had ev­ery chance rac­ing close to the pace set by her un­fan­cied sta­ble com­pan­ion MAG­I­CAL but she was al­ways held in sec­ond place as Mag­i­cal led all the way and stayed on strongly un­der a fine ride by Don­nacha O’Brien. A sis­ter to this year’s 1000 Guineas and Oaks run­ner-up Rhodo­den­dron, Mag­i­cal was win­ning her sec­ond race from three starts and it cer­tainly wasn’t a fluke. All three fil­lies will no doubt be con­sid­ered for the Group 1 Moyglare Stakes and the Fil­lies Mile in Septem­ber how­ever I would be sur­prised if they run Septem­ber on soft ground again.

The ground for New­bury’s two-day meet­ing on Au­gust 18 and 19 started as

good but af­ter heavy rain­fall that was changed to soft af­ter the sec­ond of two in­ter­est­ing 7f maid­ens. PURSER was given a fine ride by Ryan Moore to win the first di­vi­sion, held up off the pace, he made progress with a cou­ple of fur­longs to go and kept on strongly un­der hands heels to col­lar MER­LIN MAGIC in the fi­nal strides. A medium sized colt by Mizzen Mast, Purser was the third win­ning new­comer of 2017 for John Gos­den fol­low­ing im­pres­sive wins for VERANDAH at Kemp­ton on Au­gust 9 and IL PRIMO SOLE at Yar­mouth on Au­gust 17. The yard had another win­ning new­comer at New­mar­ket later on Au­gust 19 when HUNT­ING LION won the race Frankel made his de­but in seven years ear­lier.

Af­ter a slow start with his ju­ve­niles, John Gos­den has started to have plenty of win­ners and given 72% of the yard’s two-year-old win­ners have come in the last four months of the year in re­cent years, they are cer­tainly a yard to fol­low in the au­tumn.

Another yard who en­joys the ma­jor­ity of their two-year-old wins in the au­tumn in Sir Michael Stoute (63% of his ju­ve­nile win­ners come in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber) and he won the sec­ond di­vi­sion of the 7f maiden when QAROUN com­fort­ably beat HE’S AMAZ­ING by a length. There was prom­ise in fifth from IS­TAN­BUL SUL­TAN and sixth from SOL­DIERS BAY who both im­pressed in the pad­dock be­fore­hand and stayed on well un­der hands and heels.The Stoute yard also had the win­ner of the open­ing race on Not­ting­ham’s card on Au­gust 18 when EQTI­DAAR, a half­brother to 2000 Guineas run­ner-up Mas­saat, made an im­pres­sive win­ning de­but beat­ing fel­low debu­tante MOUN­TAIN GUARD by two and a half lengths.

Both maid­ens recorded times in keep­ing with soft ground but de­spite jock­eys say­ing the ground was soft,the go­ing was only changed to soft af­ter both maid­ens had been run.Sur­pris­ingly there was only one horse with­drawn from the Listed St Hugh’s Stakes which left a field of 15 fac­ing the starter.With the mar­ket prin­ci­ples OUT OF THE FLAMES and ONE MINUTE both weak in the mar­ket, there was a gam­ble on EIRENE from the Dean Ivory yard from 33/1 to 10/1. Those who were on at big prices never had too many con­cerns as she was al­ways trav­el­ling well held up in the smaller group that raced in the cen­tre of the track and made progress to take the lead over a fur­long from the fin­ish and ran on well in­side the last 100 yards de­spite edg­ing to the stands rail,beat­ing SANKARI ROYALE by a length and three quar­ters with pace set­ting MRS GAL­LAGHER keep­ing on to be third. Nei­ther Out Of The Flames or One Minute got too in­volved from mid­field and will be seen to bet­ter ef­fect on quicker ground.

Eirene was the first two-year-old Listed win­ner for Dean Ivory who en­joyed Stew­ards’ Cup suc­cess with Lancelot Du Lac at the Qatar Good­wood Fes­ti­val. She will have to be sup­ple­mented for the Group 1 Cheve­ley Park Stakes but a race like the Group 3 Fly­ing Childers Stakes at Doncaster’s St Leger Meet­ing might be a step­ping stone to New­mar­ket later in Septem­ber.

The only two-year-old race on New­bury’s card on Au­gust 19 was the race for­merly known as theWash­ing­ton Singer Stakes, now called the Den­ford Stakes. This race was won by fu­ture clas­sic win­ners Ro­drigo de Tri­ano and Lamm­tarra in the 1990s, Haafhd in 2003 and Just The Judge in 2012. RED MIST was the 9/4 favourite to add to his de­but win at Sandown at the end of July.A good-look­ing son of Frankel,he along with HEY GAMAN stood out in the pad­dock be­fore­hand, whilst the sec­ond favourite, LEARN BY HEART,also by Frankel,doesn’t have a lot of scope.

Hey Gaman had led all the way when win­ning a three-run­ner race at New­mar­ket three weeks ear­lier and Martin Har­ley adopted sim­i­lar tac­tics here.Run­ning into a strong head­wind, Hey Gaman set a fair pace and found plenty when chal­lenged by Red Mist in­side the last fur­long hold­ing on by a short head with a length and three quar­ters back to ANOTHER BATT in third. This was a good ef­fort from Hey Gaman who has plenty of size and scope and will con­tinue to go well. Red Mist might well prove to be the bet­ter of the two as this was only his sec­ond race and he will have learnt plenty from this.

A cou­ple of maiden win­ners who should make their mark in Listed com­pany at least are DUBHE trained by Char­lie Ap­pleby,the win­ner of a Sandown maiden on Au­gust 10 and VINTAGER trained by David Menuisier who won im­pres­sively on his race­course de­but at New­mar­ket on Au­gust 11.

Billesdon Brook


Ha­vana Grey

Ex­pert Eye


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