Some might say that we are beginning to sound like a broken record, however, the fact remains that the Bedford House team are still extremely pleased with the continued good fortune of the 2015 season. The horses continue to produce more than pleasing results and, with our first Group 1 runner of the year, Postponed, galloping to a very close third, we are extremely keen for the momentum to continue. Postponed ran a fantastic race in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh on Sunday behind the multiple Group 1 winner Al Kazeem who can arguably still be considered as one of the best middle distance horses around at the moment. This was a very promising and encouraging first attempt at the highest level, especially considering he, once again, had to make the running, something that we are not convinced shows him or his true talent at its best. Unfortunately, as there was no obvious pace in the race, Adam Kirby had no alternative but to take matters into his own hands and set off in front, over a distance that is probably not ideal for the horse. On top of all this the ground was on the slow side of good which, again, would not have been to his advantage. Looking forward to Royal Ascot and the Hardwicke Stakes we believe that the race conditions there will be more suitable and to his liking – a step up in distance with, hopefully, a good strong gallop and, most importantly, fast ground. As always, the competition at a premier race meeting will be strong and, up to now, the main confirmed threat comes from Sir Michael Stoute’s Telescope, a horse that undoubtedly has plenty of good form and that we all know runs well on the Ascot turf. So far, Postponed performances this season have been slightly similar – albeit at a better level – to his 2014 campaign when we ran him over a mile and a quarter, and we are now hopeful he will be able show his true ability when we move him back up in trip.
Second Step, who was also pencilled in for the Hardwicke Stakes, is now likely to embark upon a longer journey to France for the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud. It has been publicized that dual Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe heroine, Treve, is also set to take her chance in this race, however, Merry Fox Stud owner/breeder Craig Bennett is keen to get some Group 1 black type into the dam – My Dark Rosaleen. We imagine the presence of Treve will scare off a few contenders thus meaning that Second Step could be set to take his chance at the highest level.
The highlight of last week was undoubtedly Lady of Dubai’s remarkable performance on Thursday at Goodwood, when she gave us our third win in the listed Bibendum Height of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood after Tralthee in 1986 and Cosmodrome in 2007. Form pundits have questioned what she actually achieved as the runner-up, Encore L’Amore, was even further behind Lady Of Dubai in the Montrose Stakes last year and Jellicle Ball failed to live up to her billing. Visually it was a very impressive performance and we feel she deserves her chance in the Investec Oaks at Epsom. The female side of her pedigree is stamina through and through, and Dubawi’s tend to go with the female line, so at this stage we would not have too many doubts about her staying. If she can emulate Volume’s achievement in last year’s Oaks we will be very happy. Highclere Thoroughbred Racing tweeted last night (Wednesday 28th May) that Pamona will bypass the Investec Oaks and head straight to Royal Ascot for the Ribblesdale Stakes.
On the same day over at Sandown; Richard of Yorke ran very well when finishing a close fourth at Sandown. He needed to improve from his opening mark of 85 and, he did, only getting beat by a nose, a neck and a nose. He is a laid back character and takes a little bit of cajoling to get into racing mode, but when he engages he responds well, and we will probably aim to step him up to a mile and a half now. There was better to come for his owner Stuart Stuckey as his homebred Frenzified landed a classified race over a mile and a quarter at Salisbury on Saturday evening. We got away with it a shade cheekily as the trip was shorter than she would prefer, however, jockey Lemos De Souza knows and rides her very well so we thought it was too good an opportunity to miss. As for Grand Spirit, he has now been gelded as he seems to think racing is all a bit of a game.
Despite just having a few runners during the week, we are nonetheless thoroughly looking forward to what lies ahead. White Lake will attempt to redeem himself from his frustrating run in the Craven Stakes when lining up in the Cantor Fitzgerald Corporate Finance Heron Listed Stakes at Sandown tonight (Thursday 28th May). As we have mentioned before, his home work is impressive, but for reasons unbeknown to us it is not transferring on to the racecourse. We have been very patient and done plenty of schooling with him including a couple of barrier trials at Lingfield with Gary Witheford (who will be down at the start with him at Sandown). On Friday, Saigon City will take his chance at Newmarket when dropping back to seven furlongs while Spiriting will step up in trip to a mile at Newmarket on Saturday. He has been slightly frustrating so far this season so we are intrigued to find out whether this step up in distance is the key to him. After an exciting debut for us at Ascot, Penhill will reappear at Newmarket in the mile and a half handicap with Ryan Moore on board. He is a tentative Royal Ascot hopeful providing he manages to progress in the style that we are hoping for. Comedy King will head to York also for a mile and a half handicap and will be accompanied by Dreamlike who makes her seasonal reappearance in a mile and a quarter fillies handicap. Jordan Princess is currently set to go in the Group 3 888Sport Pinnacle Stakes but the rain could be against her so there could be a chance that we might not see her at Haydock. However, Kleo, who does not seem to mind rain softened ground will also take her chance in the same race. Although we are not 100% sure that the step up in trip will suit her she is proving herself to a very versatile filly and this is another opportunity to get some more black type. Winterval will aim to finally get rid of his maiden tag when moving back up to a mile and a quarter in the first race at Haydock on Saturday.