It has been a quiet period, both runners and winners wise, since our latest update although it is also fair to say that we have only had a couple of serious race winning chances. Our two year olds aside, Chocolate Box being big and backward and Houndstooth not having shown much first time out, if we could have named our best chances at the start of last week we would have plumped for El Vip and Shakopee at Haydock, but both were undone by different circumstances. El Vip’s effort characterised exactly why winning first time out is not necessarily a good thing as his debut win at Doncaster meant we had no option but to go in against experienced handicappers off, what we thought, was a stiff handicap mark with just the one run under his belt. Suffice to say, inexperience found him out. It is sometimes something that you see with horses of his kind, having won an uncompetitive race first time out they end up running their second race back to front and, after racing too keenly in the early stages, El Vip was not able to sustain any kind of challenge late on. He is better than this as his recent work at home has shown and, hopefully, he will prove as much later this year.
The ground at Haydock on Friday was on the fast side which would have suited Shakopee but, by the time he lined up for what used to be known as the Old Borough Cup, the ground was verging on heavy and he never had a chance after being dropped in from the widest stall of all. Readers may recall Shakopee did win on heavy as a two year old, but that was a weak maiden, and his recent improvement has come in strongly run races on top of the ground where he can utilise his turn of foot. The soft ground, however, did not inconvenience Rosental in the first race on Saturday and she ran a career best to finish second. Beaten on merit but in no way discredited considering the huge amount of weight she had to give away to a progressive three year old. She is up to winning a Listed race of some description and, as she is will be entered for the Tattersalls December Breeding Stock Sales, we will try to gain some important black type on home soil first but, if necessary, we will cast our net across the Channel.
We have plenty of runners in the days ahead with pride of place going to Mizzou in the Group 2 250th Doncaster Cup on Friday. He has not been seen since Ascot simply because Goodwood, with its undulations, would not have suited him and York’s Lonsdale Stakes seldom provides the sort of test he needs so we have kept him fresh and prepared him for Doncaster. As mentioned, the one thing he does needs is a proper test and Doncaster, with its long straight will suit him much better than Ascot and, as long as there is a good gallop, he will take plenty of beating boasting the best form in the race.
Other runners we have this week with chances are Bermondsey, Haggle, Laurence and Banksea, although, without knowing the final declared runners we cannot make a more accurate call for now. Haggle is a particularly interesting filly who we had been hoping to step up to a mile and a quarter but there is no suitable race for her at that trip right now so we are staying at a mile. Materialistic is another that wants a step up in trip but we will probably forego her entry at Chester as we have a suspicion that the track won’t be right for her. Bess Of Hardwick is another possible at the weekend, while three of our girls will have an away day at Ffos Las on Sunday with Pacharana, Party Nights and Blind Faith hopefully giving us a treble. Very Dashing also had a potential engagement at the weekend in Ireland but we will wait with her for the Listed EBF Stallions John Musker Fillies Stakes at Yarmouth next week.
Finally, fast approaching, is the Newmarket Open Weekend which takes place on the 17th & 18th September. Organised by our very own Sara Cumani and sponsored by 32Red, the main objectives are to promote Newmarket and horseracing, as well as bringing the Newmarket community together, and to raise funds for local causes while having a fabulous weekend of fun and entertainment. This year’s chosen beneficiaries are Racing Welfare’s Newmarket Housing Project and the Newmarket Day Centre. There are numerous attractions, tours and activities throughout the weekend and for more information please visit the Newmarket Open Weekend website www.newmarketopenweekend.co.uk