11 June UpdatePosted : June 12th, 2020
Racing has only been back for ten days, but what a ten days it has been!
Kameko had us dreaming of Classic success all winter and though we all had to wait longer than expected for his tilt at the Qipco 2000 Guineas, it proved to be more than worth it. The son of Kitten’s Joy proved himself an outstanding colt with a brilliant success, travelling best of all and keeping on very strongly under Oisin Murphy to win by a neck from Wichita, with last season’s Champion two year old Pinatubo back in third.
I am delighted for his owner Sheikh Fahad and everyone involved with Qatar Racing, and for the team at Park House. It has been a wonderful team effort behind the scenes over the past couple of months and the reward of a first Classic winner since Casual Look’s Oaks win in 2003 means so much to all of us.
Earlier in the week, Berlin Tango had produced a career-best performance on his seasonal reappearance with a ready success under David Probert in the Group 3 Classic Trial at Kempton Park. Owned and bred by George Strawbridge, the son of Dansili looks a very smart horse in the making and, while he has the option of the Derby, the likelier route is to head to the Dante (usually a Derby prep race but being held after the Derby this year). Wherever he goes next, he looks set for a very exciting campaign.
We have celebrated three doubles in the past week. Dashing Willoughby provided the first leg of the latest of them, making all the running in the hands of Oisin Murphy to land the Listed Buckhounds Stakes at Newmarket for Mick and Janice Mariscotti. Last year’s Queen’s Vase winner looks back to his best and I hope there is more to come from him this term. The double was completed by Bell Rock, Fitri Hay’s four year old winning on his return to the Rowley Mile, having won on the course on his only start at two. He didn’t show what he is capable of in three starts at a high level last term, but he is a very talented individual and looks capable of making his mark at a higher level in due course.
Our first winner back was Hold Fast, a progressive three year old who had been working nicely prior to her winning return at Kempton Park for Mildmay Racing and Denis Caslon in what looked a competitive 1m2f maiden. She has been given a mark of 74 but we may well pitch her in at a higher level in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot next week.
Never Dark has always shown us plenty at home, so it was very pleasing to see him get off the mark with a front-running success at Kempton under David Probert for owner Jeff Smith. He looks to have the ability to progress into a smart handicapper.
We didn’t have to wait long for our first two year old winner of the year, Oisin Murphy guiding Bright Devil up the stands’ side rail at Newmarket to land a 25-1 debut win for Hillwood Racing. The son of Dark Angel has since been sold to Team Valor and Gary Barber, and the plan is to head for the Chesham at Royal Ascot. We were also delighted with the placed performances of two year old debutants Tactical and Imperial Force on the same card, and they two could also head to Royal Ascot next week.
Later on the same card, the Kingsclere Racing Club’s Inclyne got her season off to the perfect start with a game success in the 1m2f handicap. The half-sister to Elm Park has come on again physically since last year and having been raised just 3lbs by the handicapper, she should make a bold bid to follow up this success next time.
PDR Properties Fiesta De Vega is a huge horse who was understandably backward last year but he has been shaping up nicely at home this year and duly got the job done on his racecourse debut, winning a 1m2f maiden at Haydock in good style under Oisin Murphy earlier this week. He will undoubtedly improve for the run and is a lovely prospect. Ascraeus provided our second maiden winner of the week, showing a great attitude to get up over seven furlongs at Wolverhampton on her third career start. A daughter of the late Poet’s Voice, she has done really well from two to three and should have a good season.