We have had two winners since our last update and it was particularly enjoyable to see Helena Springfield’s Very Dashing make a belated winning return in the fillies maiden over the extended mile and a quarter at Nottingham last Friday. It has been a long time coming as Very Dashing has been slow to come to hand until about a month ago and we have been very pleased with her progress since. She ultimately won with a bit up her sleeve and we may now look at the Listed EBF Stallions Upavon Fillies’ Stakes at Salisbury next month. Kangyu International Racing’s Shakopee was our other winner when he landed a handicap over the extended mile and a quarter at Doncaster last Thursday. Ridden by Jamie Spencer for the first time, what we particularly liked about his performance was the way he quickened to lead approaching the two furlong pole and was able to do so because he settled much better than on his previous two starts this season. We are contemplating running Shakopee at Glorious Goodwood next week and, while it will obviously be a different kettle of fish for him there on a very different track against a most likely bigger field, we hope there is more to come from him now he is back in the winning groove and the prize money on offer is also very attractive.
Another horse that Jamie has helped settle is Normandie Stud’s Fallen For A Star, although unfortunately, the race at Yarmouth last Wednesday did not pan out in the same way as his previous race at Newcastle as they did not go much of a gallop. Fallen For A Star therefore could not make much use of his turn of foot, however, he did not disgrace himself as he finished fourth in a better grade of race while racing off a 7 lb higher mark. We think he is very capable of winning a similar handicap provided there is a stronger pace. Jamie feels that, as Fallen For A Star is now more relaxed, we can look at races over a mile and a half for him and he should be able to make more use of his finishing speed over that distance.
Stuart Stuckey’s Vanity Queen shaped very well when a close third in a seven furlong maiden at Doncaster on her debut last Thursday, again, under Jamie Spencer. We feel that, as she made her effort from the back during the fastest part of the race, it possibly hindered her chance of winning, however, we were delighted with her performance and, as we have said before, sometimes it actually makes things easier if two year olds do not win first time out. If you do, you have to go against much better horses next time, whereas if you don’t, you can gain more experience in another maiden before stepping up. We know Vanity Queen’s family well as she is a half-sister to Validus ,Velox and Volume who all won good races for us and we are sure she will be able to uphold the family’s good reputation.
Neither Fittocks Stud’s Bermondsey nor Michael and Michelle Morris’ Tiptree took up their engagements on Saturday because the ground was too fast for both of them. Bermondsey holds an entry at Ascot on Friday although clearly that will depend on the going. The weather forecast predicts thunderstorms so we shall have to see. Also, that race is over a mile and a half and will help us decide where we go with him for the rest of the season as he has an early entry in the Ebor Handicap along with Shakopee and Al. On Thursday, Fittocks Stud’s Total Star is set to make his debut in a seven furlong maiden at Doncaster. He is by Pivotal out of a half-sister to triple Group 1 runner up Diamond Green and we think he will run a nice race although, as ever with our youngsters, he should learn plenty from his first run. Mrs Angie Silver’s Cryptic will go in the apprentice handicap at York on Friday to give our claimer Gabriele Malune further race riding experience, while Mr Peter Stokes and Mr Scott Krase’s Rosental will run in the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Lyric Fillies’ Stakes on the same card and should give a good account herself. It also looks likely that Merry Fox Stud’s Second Step will run in the Group 1 King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
There has been plenty of talk in the racing press recently about how much, if any, coverage terrestrial TV programs covering racing should devote to betting. There is no doubt betting must be covered in some shape or form on our TV screens as it is part and parcel of the product. The comparison with sports such as football or tennis, and how betting isn’t mentioned as much during coverage of those sports, does not work as when you watch either of those sports, for example, you are doing so as a supporter of your favourite team or player. There is no doubt that the lack of betting at somewhere like Meydan detracts from the experience, as you have little idea as to which horses are the ones to follow, whether you have had a bet in a race or not, and it still adds to the race to know who is fancied according to the betting and who isn’t. It is clear then that you cannot have a zero betting coverage policy. That said, we would recommend that betting be less prominent and given less air time on terrestrial TV’s coverage of racing. We do not need to be told that 2/1 on a particular horse is good value and 6/4 is not as it is not necessary to go into such detail. Simply a show of betting and perhaps some colourful news – “JP McManus has been down on the rails and just placed a sizeable bet”, for example – may be interesting, but we do not need any more than that.