Ebor Festival Review

York’s Ebor meeting supplied incredible racing throughout the four days and, notorious for being one of the UK’s most fiercely competitive meetings, we were very proud with the way our horses performed over the Festival.

Beautiful Morning gave us a second victory in a row in the British Stallion Studs EBF Convivial Maiden Stakes (won last year by White Lake). This beautifully bred daughter of Galileo has already achieved notoriety by being out of George Washington’s only offspring, but her victory at York has raised our hopes that she will be remembered in time equally for her exploits on the racecourse. We tend not to run two year old fillies in open maidens – there is seldom any need given that there are plenty of fillies maidens about and also our research has shown that the weight allowance fillies get from colts is not really as generous as it should be – but the £50,000 pot caught our attention and we thought that it was too good an opportunity to miss. Beautiful Morning responded with a very promising display, despite still being green and a touch too keen early on, but she put the race to bed in authoritative fashion once asked by William Buick, and in turn promising a good deal more to come for the future. For all that race was at seven furlongs, Beautiful Morning gave the impression that she really needs a step up to a mile which leaves us with two alternatives, the Group 1 Dubai Fillies Mile at Newmarket or the Listed EBF Stallions Montrose Fillies Stakes. The Montrose Stakes run on the very last day of the season at Newmarket, however, and as we are not keen on just keeping her ticking over until then, the Dubai Fillies Mile will probably be her next target.

We came very close on three other occasions at the Knavesmire with Koora, Mizzou and Roseburg all finding one just too good for them. Koora, having just her third career start in the Listed EBF & Sir Henry Celcil Galtres Stakes, finished an admirable and eye catching second behind Marlet – a filly that had already won twice before. She will now be aimed for either the Group 2 DFS Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster or the Listed Princess Royal EBF Nayef Stakes. Like many of her family, she has shown a good deal of improvement as the season progresses and she will improve again given that she has had only three races. The Park Hill Stakes is quite a test of stamina for a three year old filly but there is little reason to think that she will not stay the trip. Traditionally it has been a tougher race to win than the Princess Royal Stakes, however, and we would like to get another win into her, if possible, this year so we may yet opt for the latter race.

Mizzou did everything we expected of him in the Group 2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup. He beat all those that had finished ahead of him in the Gold Cup, which was not a surprise given he found himself too far back at Ascot and the track is not ideal for him with its short straight, but, as with Koora, we did not expect Max Dynamite to show that much improvement even though he had run very well from a terrible draw in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle. Mizzou might yet run in the Group 2 Sociallites E-Cigarette Expert Doncaster Cup but, he is a very generous horse in his races and puts his all into them, so it might just come a bit too soon for him. The alternative is the stayer’s race on Champions Day which, of course, would entail another trip to Ascot. He will be staying in training next year, so we do not want to go to the well too often with him this year given that he is not yet the finished article physically.

Roseburg was beaten by one of his old stablemates Elhaame which was a bit galling, especially because he would have probably won had he kept a straight line. Nonetheless, it was a career best from a horse that has continually surprised us given he shows nothing at home and his BHA mark is now 106, which leaves him very few options in handicaps. A step up to a mile and a half is on the cards at some point, but the obvious next race for him is the Dubai Duty Free Handicap at Newbury in which is a race we have been successful in a few times before. He is still lightly raced for his age, and seeing as he takes so little out of himself at home, there is every chance he has more improvement left in him.

With regards to our other representatives at the Ebor Festival, Al ended up doing too much too soon in the Betfred Melrose Stakes but still managed to run a very creditable race and we are looking forward to having him in training again next year as well. Both King Bolete and Ajman Bridge are likely to be dropped back to a mile and a half after finding a mile and three quarters perhaps too much for them. King Bolete is a progressive three year old and, a return back in trip on easy ground will suit him, while Ajman Bridge is perhaps one of our most consistent horses (he has finished second or third on seven occasions) without actually winning since 2013 but there is not much more he could have done having been dealt a harsh hand in going up 23lb in the official ratings since that win.

One other horse worthy of mention from last week is Mount Logan who is ready for another try in Listed company. He had little chance at Sandown with a very progressive three year old better suited to the trip than he was but he battled on admirably to pull clear of the rest and will be stepped back up to a mile and a half before long. The Group 3 Gigaset Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot is a possible race for him, but the Listed Sakhee Godolphin Stakes at Newmarket lesser step up in class out of handicaps for him.

Finally Jordan Princess and Lady of Dubai had the ground against them as we suspected and did not run up to their usual standards. Both have come out of their respective races in good form but, with the summer now officially over, it will be even harder to find their preferred ground.

Conditions were desperate at Newbury on Tuesday but Knight Of Wands handled them very well and ran out a promising winner of the mile and a half maiden. He comes from a good staying family developed by his owner/breeder Philippa Cooper and he will be well suited by trips beyond a mile and a half before too long. He is, however, both a strong imposing individual and still a big baby who has some strengthening up to do so we are keen not to over race him this year. We will aim at giving him one more run before the end of the season, possibly at Haydock at the end of September, and we will hopefully reap the benefits next year when he should make up into a cracking stayer.

Looking ahead to the Autumn, it will be an international end of season for the Bedford House team with Postponed heading to Paris for the Group 2 Qatar Prix Foy in preparation for the Group 1 Qatar Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe, Second Step will be closer to home when boarding a ferry to Ireland for the Group 1 Palmerstown Hose Estate Irish St Leger, while Connecticut will head towards a warmer climate to contest the Group 2 Bosphorus Cup in Istanbul… Exciting!