Ian Heitman looks at the action on Town Moor and the Knavesmire
Ian Heitman assesses the action on Town Moor and the Knavesmire
Yorkshire played host to the feature meetings in the last few weeks at York and Doncaster. With record prize money at York, every race worth a minimum of £70,000 and the final Classic of the year, the St Leger, at Doncaster racegoers were treated to plenty of top class racing.
The first of the seven two-year-old races at York was the Group 3 Acomb Stakes over 7f with Goodwood maiden winner DEE EX BEE going off the very well supported 6/5 favourite ahead of FLEET REVIEW at 9/2 in a field of 11.DANZAN ran well from the front under David Probert but had nothing left when headed by JAMES GARFIELD with a furlong to go and faded in to fifth. James Garfield looked like hanging on but he was caught right on the line by course winner WELLS FARHH GO who won by a nose with three and three-quarter lengths to LANSKY in third. Dee Ex Bee raced close to the pace but was under pressure at halfway and couldn’t challenge in the last two furlongs, finishing sixth. Wells Farhh Go gave Tim Easterby his first two-year-old Group winner since Mattmu at the end of 2014 and he should be seen to good effect over a mile and a quarter in 2018. James Garfield lost little in defeat and he could be heading to Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup in early November.
A hefty 17 runners took their chance in the final race on the first day,a wide-open nursery over 6f with TATHMEEN and GREEN FORTUNE going off the 5/1 jointfavourites. Both finished down the field behind DEMONS ROCK who led all the way and won his fourth consecutive race, beating QUEEN’S SARGENT by a head with AREEN FAISAL in third. Racing off a mark of 92, Demons Rock had started his winning off 75, he was raised 10lb to 102. His winning run came to an end in the opening race of Doncaster’s St Leger meeting when last of four behind impressive winner SHABAABY for the in-form Owen Burrows yard. Shabaaby looked a smart colt winning this 6f conditions race by seven lengths in a good time and whilst both his wins so far have come on soft ground, he should be as effective on a quicker surface and is one to follow.
The most valuable two-year-old race at York was the Goffs Premier Yearling Stakes for horses who had been sold at the Goffs sale in 2016 and was worth over £184,000 to the winner.As is often the case for these races, there was a big field, 19, and a wide range of ability on display, RUFUS KING was the highest rated on 102 whilst MR GREENLIGHT was rated 72.The field spilt into two groups with 3/1 favourite HEY JONESY showing plenty of pace to lead the stands side group and was clear throughout but he had nothing to race with and that probably cost him victory as GREAT PROSPECTOR and TANGLED made progress on the far side, TANGLED taking the lead from SILVER STARLIGHT with a furlong to go and ran on well, holding off Great Prospector by a neck with Hey Jonesy half a length away in third and ALBA POWER running on well to be fourth. Tangled was the second successive winner in the race for Richard Hannon and was raised to a mark of 102 while Great Prospector was given a mark of 105 having also finished third in Group 2 company on his second start.Hey Jonesy is the one to take out of the race and he should go well in one of the Group races he has entries in in the next few weeks.
Tangled, Great Prospector and Alba Power were amongst a 22-strong field which also includedYork runners,Danzan, Areen Faisal and Queen’s Sargent, in the valuable Weatherbys Racing Bank
£300,000 2YO Stakes on day two Doncaster’s St Leger meeting. Great Prospector was the 7/2 favourite to avenge the defeat by Tangled atYork but whilst he ran well to be fourth, he never looked like winning and was two and a half lengths behind LAUGH A MINUTE who finished strongly from the rear with two furlongs to go and took the lead from Danzan inside the last 100 and won by a length and a quarter with Alba Power keeping on to be third. Tangled never managed to challenge and was ninth. Laugh A Minute registered his first success after good placed runs at York behind Wells Farhh Go and Dream Today.
The 6f Group 2 Lowther Stakes was the feature race for fillies at York and it saw THREADING maintain her unbeaten record with a comfortable win, taking the lead a furlong and half from the finish and only having to be pushed out by James Doyle to beat MADELINE by a length and three quarters with MAMBA NOIRE running on from the rear to be third. Threading deserves to take her chance in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket on September 30th, a race her trainer Mark Johnston won with Lumiere in 2015, and she will have leading claims if she does run.
There was only one two-year-old race on the third day of the Ebor meeting, the Convivial maiden worth over £43,000 to the winner, by some way the most valuable maiden to be staged throughout the season. Unsurprisingly given the money available there was a big field, 17 took their chance with GABR representing Sir Michael Stoute the 3/1 favourite having shaped with plenty of promise on his debut at Newmarket.He ran really well to take second but was no match for Mark Johnston’s newcomer DREAM TODAY who raced prominently throughout, took the lead over two furlongs from the finish and stayed on strongly to win by a length and a half with Laugh A Minute running well to be third. As Dream Today was bought at the Tattersalls Book One Sales in October 2016,his owner received a further £25,000 which took his earnings for this maiden win to over £68,000.A couple who finished down the field that shaped with promise for the future were CORROSIVE, fifth for Hugo Palmer, and COMMANDER HAN,who was well backed for Kevin Ryan but missed the break, stayed on to be ninth and will get a lot more involved next time.
Dream Today, whose form had been boosted by Laugh A Minute winning the valuable sales race on day two of the Leger meeting, also had his next start at Doncaster but in Group 2 company, the Champagne Stakes over 7f. Facing seven rivals, he was 100/30 second favourite behind Charlie Appleby’s unbeaten colt, MYTHICAL MAGIC, who had made it two wins from two starts at Deauville in Listed company in the middle of August. Also in line-up were HEY GAMAN and RED MIST who were separated by a short head at Newbury on their previous start. Aidan O’Brien sent two runners, SEAHENGE and MENDELSSOHN with Ryan Moore preferring the latter but the market speaking in the former’s favour.Both Dream Today and Red Mist had every chance but couldn’t quicken inside the last furlong. Mythical Magic raced close to the pace set by Hey Gaman and was a big danger but he couldn’t get past Hey Gaman who showed a tremendous attitude but he had no answer to the finishing burst of Seahenge who, having been held up by Donnacha O’Brien,picked up well and ran on strongly to lead with 75 yards to go to win by a neck.This was the second win from three starts for Seahenge, he was behind 2000 Guineas favourite Expert Eye at Goodwood in early August and a rematch could be on the cards in the most prestigious two-year-old race of the year,the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on October 14th.
There was wide open market to the 6f Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes on the final day of the Ebor meeting with 9/2 co favourites, INVINCIBLE ARMY,HEADWAY and NEBO, with CARDSHARP at 5/1. None of the market principles had the pace to go with SANDS OF MALI who led all the way under Paul Hanagan and stayed on
Hey Jonesy should go well in one of the Group races he has entries in in the next few weeks
strongly inside the last 150 yards to win by two and three-quarter lengths with Cardsharp and Headway dead-heating for third.Having just his third run,Sands Of Mali gave Richard Fahey his first win in the race and he will no doubt head for the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on September 30th where he will have leading claims. Invincible Army was dropped in grade to Group 3 company for his next start a fortnight later, the Sirenia Stakes at Kempton,and he made short work of his seven rivals, taking the lead from pace-setting Corinthia Knight with half a furlong to go to win by a length and a half, breaking the two-year-old track record in the process.
Just as for the Gimcrack earlier on the card, there was an open look to the final two-year-old race of the meeting, the Listed Roses Stakes over 5f. Super Sprint winner, BENGALI BOYS, was the 3/1 favourite ahead of TO WAFIJ at 7/2. Royal Ascot winner, SOUND AND SILENCE had to carry a 3lb penalty for his win in the Windsor Castle Stakes but that didn’t appear to hinder him as he stayed on well to beat ABEL HANDY by half a length with OUT OF THE FLAMES returning to form in third and Bengali Boys a close up fourth, with just a length separating the first four. Sound And Silence travelled to France for his next start, the Group 3 Prix d’Arenberg at Chantilly where he finished a fast finishing second behind RIMINI who was better placed in the first half of the race.
As well as those races already mentioned from the St Leger meeting at Doncaster, the Group 2 May Hill Stakes over a mile saw a very tight finish with 11/4 favourite LAURENS just getting the better of DARK ROSE ANGEL by a head with NYALETI a further head away in third. Laurens was completing a two-year-old double on the card for Karl Burke, ELLTHEA had comfortably won a nursery 35 minutes earlier.Laurens was the fourth Group winning two-year-old of the year for Burke and she paid a big compliment to POLYDREAM who had beaten her in France on her second start. Disappointment of the race was BILLESDON BROOK who went into the race having won the Group 3 Prestige Stakes at Goodwood,but never managed to land a blow on her first start over a mile.
One of the other Group winners Karl Burke had saddled, HAVANA GREY was dropped in trip and grade for the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes over 5f having finished second to his stablemate Unfortunately in the Group 1 Prix Morny. His main rival according the betting was HEARTACHE representing in-form Clive Cox who had had a fantastic weekend a few days earlier with Group 1 victory with Harry Angel, Group 3 success in France and SNAZZY JAZZY making it three wins from three starts in a valuable race at the Curragh.
As the betting indicated, even money for Havana Grey and 6/4 for Heartache, the pair dominated, Havana Grey showing good pace to lead whilst Heartache raced in midfield but made progress with two furlongs to go but had a length to make up on Havana Grey as they entered the last furlong. Under a strong Ryan Moore ride (Adam Kirby was unable do the weight, 8st 12lb), Heartache kept on well and took the lead from Havana Grey with 75 yards to go to win by half a length with MAY GIRL (winner of a novice five days earlier at York), showing improved form to be third.Heartache has won three of her four starts, two coming in Group 2 company and the only suitable race for her would be at 6f (yet to race over the trip) in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes. Havana Grey is unlikely to run again in 2017 but is an exciting sprinting prospect for 2018.
Despite missing out on the ride on Heartache, Adam Kirby was successful aboard TIP TWOWIN earlier on the card in
the Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes over 7f for Roger Teal, his biggest two-year-old success, when he stayed on strongly to beat TIGRE DU TERRE by two lengths.Tip TwoWin had run well when second,albeit no chance with the easy winner ENJAZAAT, in the Listed Ripon Champion Two-YearOld Trophy over 6f at Ripon on August 28th.
Kirby went on to complete a double on the card when partnering BLUE LAUREATE to an all the way success in the mile maiden for Clive Cox,beating SHA LA LA LA LEE by four and a half lengths with well-supported favourite GHAIYYATH running well in third having pulled hard early on.
IRISH CHAMPIONS WEEKEND
Away from York and Doncaster, Irish Champions weekend on September 2nd and 3rd at Leopardstown and the Curragh respectively featured some high-quality racing.The opening two-year-old race at Leopardstown, a 7f maiden saw LIGHT- NENING QUICK make a winning debut for Ger Lyons, getting the better of pacesetting BYE BYE BABY inside the last 75 yards to win by a neck with a four and three-quarter length gap to the third. A son of Group 1 winner, Lightening Pearl, Lightening Quick is bred to be top class and this debut win suggests he should be making his mark in Group races before the end of the season.
NELSON was given an excellent frontrunning ride by Donnacha O’Brien to win the Group 3 Juvenile Stakes for his father, Aidan, beating stablemates KEW GARDENS and DELANO ROOSEVELT by three lengths and three quarters of a length and completed a double for stallion Frankel (also sired Lightening Quick). Nelson is likely to be aimed at the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on October 27th where he will have a leading chance.
The Group 1 action for the two-yearolds took place at the Curragh with the Moyglare Stud Stakes and the National Stakes. Due to the soft to heavy going, Aidan O’Brien withdrew CLEMMIE from the Moyglare which saw a change in riding arrangements with Ryan Moore taking over on MAGICAL, the 9/4 second favourite, one of four still trained by O’Brien in an eight-runner line-up.ALPHA CENTAURI was the 2/1 favourite and was making her first start since Royal Ascot. She was well placed close to the pace set by Magical but failed to land a blow inside the last furlong and a half and was fourth. Magical was given an excellent ride from the front by Moore but she was caught in the final strides by one of her stablemates, HAPPILY who won by a short head with SEPTEMBER running on but not challenging in third. Happily had been beaten a length and a quarter by Magical in the Debutante Stakes on their previous meeting and this race showed there isn’t too much between the pair.Both will no doubt contest the Group 1 Fillies Mile at Newmarket on October 13th when there won’t be much too choose between them again.
The National Stakes looked a good
opportunity for Gordon Elliott to register a first Group 1 success with BECKFORD going off the 6/4 favourite. He had every chance racing close to the pace but was no match for VERBAL DEXTERITY who took the lead inside the last furlong and stayed on strongly to win by three and a half lengths with Beckford clear of ROSTROPOVICH in third. Verbal Dexterity gave Jim Bolger his fourth win in the race and with two of his previous winners,New Approach and Dawn Approach winning the Derby and 2000 Guineas respectively, Verbal Dexterity has plenty to live up. A shot at the Dewhurst, a race the yard has won five times since 2006,could be next on the agenda for this promising colt.
There have been a number of Listed/Group races away from the big meetings.MASAR impressed with his win in the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown on September 2nd and has the scope to progress well over the winter and develop into a good 1m 2f Group performer. Salisbury’s feature two-year-old races, the Listed Stonehenge Stakes over a mile and the Group 3 Dick Poole Stakes over 6f were won by MILDENBERGER, who got up right on the line to beat ALBISHIR in the former and ANNA NERIUM, a 40/1 shot, finished strongly in the Dick Poole to deny one of the 7/2 co-favourites, EIRENE, close home and provided her jockey,Tom Marquand,with a first Group 3 success. CHILEAN stayed on strongly to win the Listed Ascendant Stakes at Haydock, beating LEARN BY HEART by three and half lengths with DEE EX BEE in third.
There has been plenty of British trained success in France this year and Charlie Appleby added a couple of Group 3 victories to the tally when STAGE MAGIC won the Prix des Chenes leading all the way and holding on to win by a short head from OLMEDO with Robyn Brisland’s ZYZZYVA running well in third. GLORIOUS JOURNEY, who was the joint most expensive colt at Tattersalls Book One Sales in 2016, made it two wins from two starts when making all the in the Prix La Rochette on September 8th, easily beating FERALIA by a length and a quarter and he looks an ideal candidate for the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagadere at Chantilly on October 1st.
EMARAATY was the other joint most expensive colt at Tattersalls and he made a very eye-catching debut at Sandown on September 1st. Held up from a wide draw by Jim Crowley, he made good progress in the straight, keeping on strongly to be fourth, beaten three and three-quarter lengths behind RUM RUNNER. A wellmade colt by Dubawi, Emaraaty is trained by John Gosden and has the looks and pedigree to develop into a Group class three-year-old.
OLD PERSIAN was an easy winner of his second start, a novice at Chelmsford on September 2nd, drawing clear inside the last furlong, easily beating previous winners ALGAM and KIT MARLOWE. Another winner for Charlie Appleby ,Old Persian is sure to figure in a good race at Newmarket this autumn.
Jeremy Noseda has the Breeders’Cup in mind for TAKE ME WITH YOU who was barely out of a canter to win at Windsor on September 4th. She has progressed well physically since her third place at Royal Ascot and whilst the Breeders’ Cup will require more improvement, Noseda knows what it takes to win with a juvenile at the Breeders ’Cup having saddled Wilko to win the Juvenile in 2004.
Mark Johnston has sent out more first time out winners than any other trainer in 2017 with 17. SHOWROOM added to the total with a very promising all-the-way win at Goodwood on September 5th. A strong colt by Motivator, he was away well from the stalls and soon in control, staying on strongly on the rain softened ground to win by five lengths. He should be adding to this win in the next few weeks.
Archie Watson continues to impress in just his second season with a 23% strike rate with his two-year-olds and a 25% first time out strike rate. HERECOMESTHESUN was the fourth debut winner of the year for the yard when she beat a couple with racecourse experience in the first division of what is usually a good fillies maiden at Salisbury on September 7th.
HERCULEAN justified 11/10 favouritism with a promising debut win at Ascot on September 8th beating another promising newcomer, WADILSAFA, by a length and three-quarters, only pushed out by Ryan Moore. A brother to Fair Eva, Herculean is one of the biggest two-year-olds I have seen this year, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if his trainer Roger Charlton put him away for the winter as he is certainly going to be an impressive three-year-old.
Like Herculean, ELARQAM is by Frankel and he too made a winning debut, atYork on September 10th,easily accounting for his five rivals by upwards of three and three-quarters of a length. Elarqam has a fantastic pedigree,the eighth foal of dual 1000 Guineas winner Attraction, he cost 1.6 million guineas a yearling and with entries in all of the big autumn twoyear-old races he is certainly one to follow.
Hey Gaman (centre) beats Red Mist (left)
Laugh A Minute