We have hit the crossbar a few times in recent weeks, most recently, with Rosental who made a very pleasing start for us when second in a handicap at Beverley last Saturday. If we had known the filly that made the running would prove to be the eventual winner, we would have ridden Rosental closer to the pace and maybe the finish would have ended up a more competitive affair, however, hindsight is a wonderful thing. Rosental was running on at the end and we now know she gets a mile and a quarter and can act on a range of ground so she should have plenty of options throughout the season. Hopefully she can progress enough to earn some black type. Fittocks Stud’s Pinstripe built on his return when fourth in a three year old handicap at Haydock last Friday, meeting a bit of trouble in running, and he can pick up a race or two now he has found his level. Perhaps he will also benefit from a step up to a mile and a half too.
Mr Leonidas Marinopoulos’ Banksea stepped up to a mile and a quarter in a three year old handicap at Leicester last Monday and was rather unlucky to bump into the well regarded Gershwin and, without him, Banksea would have won by five lengths. Banksea is a good, progressive colt who is easy to deploy with anywhere between a mile and a mile and a quarter being in his range. We may consider the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot for him now as the strongly run straight mile there should suit him well. Mr Geoff Grimish’s War Story and Fittocks Stud’s Laurence both did a bit too much at Newmarket a couple of weeks back. War Story looked a non-stayer over a mile and will be dropped back to seven furlongs next time while Laurence will remain at a mile and a quarter and is expected to run better now that the extra freshness has worn off.
Looking ahead, we are trying a visor on Highclere Thoroughbred Racing’s Pamona in the Listed EBF Stallions Toteexacta Nottinghamshire Oaks at Nottingham on Wednesday, while Normandie Stud’s Wannabe Friends is entered in a mile maiden at Doncaster on Friday, where we hope he can leave his reappearance behind him and benefit from the drop back to eight furlongs.
One of our stable stars, Second Step (pictured), will take his chance in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Investec Coronation Cup on Derby Day at Epsom on Saturday. There are four Group 1 winners in the field (Postponed, Found, Arabian Queen and Simple Verse) and it is building up to be a very exciting race. However, Second Step should give his running back down to a mile and a half and can hopefully sneak a place which would mean a lot to his owner/breeder Merry Fox Stud. The course should not hold any fears for Second Step and it is a challenge well worth taking up.
Now for a quick update on some of those who have yet to reappear. Al and Bess of Hardwick have both taken a long time to come to hand (they are not horses who thrive in cold weather) but are now going the right way. We are not sure when or where Bess Of Hardwick in particular will return as she has only done one piece of work so far but we are hoping that she, like Rosental, can gain some valuable black type in the coming months. Our promising three year old fillies Farandine, Haggle, Materialistic and the Meon Valley Stud bred Very Dashing have also all been held up by the weather. Most of them are now back in full work and beginning to show something so, hopefully, we will see at least a few of them back on the track in the next month.
We may also have our first two year old runners in two or three weeks’ time. At present, the most forward colts are Spun Gold (who is by Exceed And Excel and a half-brother to Laurence), Buxted Dream (by Dream Ahead and a half-brother to War Story) and Glorious Rocket (a son of first season sire Bated Breath out of Up And About). Among the fillies it is Dubara (by Dubawi and half-sister to the useful winner Kinshasa), and Spinnaka (by Invincible Spirit and half-sister to the useful winner Tanqeya).