It was an obvious blow last week with Mr Jon and Sarah Kelly’s Mizzou missing the Group 2 250th Doncaster Cup last Friday after picking up quite a severe infection. Unfortunately, at present, his career is on hold but we will be sure to update you when we know more. Thankfully, we finished off the week on a superb note with three winners over the course of the weekend starting with The Duke of Devonshire’s Bess of Hardwick in a fillies’ handicap over a mile and a half at Doncaster on Saturday. Andrea Atzeni gave her a great ride, straightening her up when she tried to slightly drift towards the far rail in search of company. She has understandably got better with each race this season after being slow to come to hand and we hope she can now progress into the black type filly that we have always thought she was. Frustratingly, the only Listed race for older fillies over a mile and a half in Britain is the Princess Royal Stakes at Newmarket in just over a week which is going to come too soon. Alternatively, there is an option in Toulouse, but that is quite a long way to go
We then quickly followed up with a double the following day at Ffos Las where Jamie Spencer gave Party Nights a confident ride in the mile nursery and Pacharana, who brings her tally up to an amazing four consecutive wins this year, all of which have come under Jamie. Pacharana is one of those horses that just seems to have learnt from the repetition of the racing process and, while it is easy to say it now, it was quite surprising to see her start at 9/2 considering the filly that she had beaten at Kempton the time before, Unsuspected Girl, had won well at Chelmsford earlier on Sunday afternoon. It was Jamie’s decision to bring her to over to the stands’ rail in the home straight as he had spoken to some of his jumping colleagues who told him that, when conditions become testing at the track, it is best to come to the near side. Pacharana has now won on ground ranging from soft to firm and polytrack, from ten to twelve furlongs and, while another rise in the weights will probably mean she will now have to go up two levels, so to speak, we feel she is still open to further improvement. Jamie was ice cool on Party Nights as she made a winning nursery debut, certainly more so than her trainer who gained a few more grey hairs during the closing stages of the race! Her winning margin would have been greater if Jamie had given her a tap with the whip but he reported that he was always confident that he was going to win and, on some levels, you have to admire his coolness. Winning margin apart, the step up to a mile definitely helped Party Nights, as we thought it would and we will look for another similar race in the coming weeks. Mr Chris Wright & Miss Emily Asprey’s Blind Faith was disappointing on the same card but Andrea felt she hated the soft ground. We will obviously look for quicker conditions next time when we may even try her over a mile considering she has been rather free in her races.
We had feared the worst when our run of seconds continued with Fittocks Stud’s Laurence and Bartisan Racing’s newcomer Rock’N Gold at Doncaster and Salisbury respectively last Friday and another second for Mr Leonidas Marinopoulos’ Banksea, again at Doncaster, on Saturday. Laurence simply bumped into a progressive three year old and his last three form figures of 432 suggest his turn is not far away. He could have the Cambridgeshire consolation race on his agenda, while Banksea is on target for the Cambridgeshire itself at Newmarket on Saturday 24th September, a race we won with three year olds Century City and Dallas in the 1980s. Banksea deserves a big win given the way he has progressed in what has been a rather busy season for him. Rock’N Gold is a nice horse and it was no great surprise to see him run well on his debut so hopefully he can win a similar race on his next outing.
The second place finishers continued on Monday with Thrift Farm Stud’s Unnoticed at Brighton and Mr Stuart Stuckey’s debutante Kitty Boo at Kempton, with the filly perhaps unlucky not to justify strong market support having been backed from 14/1 in to 4/1 on course. Kitty Boo’s pedigree is a bit of a mix, by Invincible Spirit out of a mare we trained to win over a mile and a half, but she will be suited by at least a mile, even at this stage, and she will hopefully get off the mark next time. We also introduced another two year old filly to finish second last Tuesday at Leicester, Mrs John Magnier’s Alwaysandforever, who bumped into a potentially smart sort in Coronet.
Haggle failed to build on her promising reappearance when only sixth of ten at Sandown on Friday, but she was not beaten far having been poorly positioned in a steadily run race. As we said in our last update, we would have preferred to have run her over a mile and a quarter but there wasn’t a race for her; so we will now look for a race over that distance. The same applies for another Fittocks filly, Farandine, who made an encouraging return from eleven months off when third of six at Chelmford last Thursday. It was also Farandine’s handicap debut and she remains open to progress. Mrs Angie Silver’s Cryptic showed he can produce his all-weather form on turf when third at Chepstow and there will hopefully we another handicap to be won with him in the near future. We were less pleased with Bermondsey who more or less forced Jamie Spencer’s hand at Doncaster when, once again, pulling hard in the early stages before being allowed to stride on. His antics meant he had nothing left for the finish and we will have to have a think before deciding what to do with him next.
Looking ahead, Materialistic is an exciting runner for us in the Listed EBF Stallions John Musker Fillies’ Stakes at Yarmouth on Wednesday. Materialistic is two from two, having won her first race this year off a mark of 84, and should be well suited by the step up to a mile and a quarter. She is entitled to take her chance in Listed Company, however, she will clearly need to improve if she is to get close to So Mi Dar or Arabian Queen, so we will be delighted with a top three finish. Dubara will also try and shed her maiden tag at Beverley and Four On Eight will sport visors for the first time when going up a furlong in trip at the same track.