Ian Heit­man looks at the ac­tion on Town Moor and the Knavesmire

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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.


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)

Ha­vana Grey


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