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August Update

Posted : September 4th, 2012

A record 21 winners in a month!

It has been an incredible month for the yard, with 21 winners in August easily surpassing our previous best ever monthly tally. We have now reached 71 domestic winners for the season, starting 10th Nov 2011 and over £1 million in prize money, we look set for a record-breaking year.

Highland Knight has been a revelation this season and he became our second Group 2 winner of the year when running away with the Darley Oettingen-Rennen at Baden-Baden, providing jockey David Probert with the first Group winner of his career. A winner in handicap company off a mark of 95 on Oaks day, he has improved relentlessly since, winning in Listed company and finishing third to stablemate Tullius in the Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury prior to this latest career-best effort.

He could go for the Shadwell Mile in Keenland next, before a possible tilt at the Godolphin Mile at Meydan in the spring and, given the rate at which he is improving, he is a tremendously exciting horse to have in the yard.

Tullius is another who has come on in leaps and bounds this term and he took his record for the yard to four wins from five starts this season with a battling success to give us a second successive win in the Group 3 Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury, following on from the victory of Side Glance last year.

He has been a real star for his owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds this season and, having gone close in the Group 2 Summer Mile at Ascot on his previous start, he looks capable of coping with a return to that level next time.

Lay Time has a huge amount of ability and had run with great credit in defeat already this season when 3rd in the Windsor Forest and 5th in the Nassau, so her narrowest of victories in the Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor on just her second attempt at 1m2f was well-deserved. A beautifully-bred filly, she will now step back up in class and could go to Canada next for either the International or the E.P. Taylor.

Jeff Smith has enjoyed a very successful few weeks and we were all delighted that his Opera Gal was able to record the second Listed victory of her career in the Upavon Stakes at Salisbury, where Jeff is racecourse chairman. She then went to Baden Baden to take part in a Group 3 where she finished a really good second.

There have been a host of valuable handicap successes, including two for the very progressive filly Stirring Ballad, who has now won her last four starts, the last three in handicap company and the last two coming this month under Franny Norton.

Having given us a much-valued success at Glorious Goodwood at the beginning of the month, she followed up with a commanding performance in a really strong contest at Chester, strongly suggesting she could cope with a step up to Pattern company next time. A half-sister to Group 1 winner Balisada, she is a tremendous proposition for next year and I am delighted to have a good filly for Mr Strawbridge.

We have enjoyed plenty of success at the Shergar Cup in recent seasons and I was very pleased to see Desert Law continue that trend, winning by a short-head under Cristian Demuro. He is very speedy and hopefully can develop into a Group-class sprinter next season.

Stirring Ballad’s win at Chester formed part of a fantastic across-the-card four-timer earlier in the month, completed by Highland Colori, Communicator and the two-year-old LizzieTudor.

Communicator completed the double at Chester, showing much-improved form to win by nine lengths from a couple of bang in-form rivals. He is obviously well-suited to the turns of Chester and then returned there for a listed handicap at the beginning of September, sadly getting done on the line having had a 9lb rise following his previous success.

Highland Colori is another to have made his debut for the yard this season and he brought his record to four wins from five starts when showing a terrific attitude to get up in the final strides at Newmarket. He has climbed over a stone in the weights this season and is developing into a high-class handicapper.

There cannot have been many higher-rated maidens in training than last year’s Rockfel 4th Bana Wu, but she shed that tag at the sixth time of asking in a 1m2f contest at Newbury, her first attempt beyond a mile. It was a much-deserved victory following a narrow defeat in Listed company at Sandown Park on her previous start.

Another three year old filly to lose her maiden status this month was Jeff Pearce’s Miss Cap Estel, who got off the mark in soft ground at Ffos Las. She has since run a very solid race in defeat in handicap company at Epsom and remains capable of further success off her current mark, as is Silver Samba, who got off the mark on her first attempt at 2m at Goodwood on her latest start and is open to plenty of improvement now that her optimum trip has been discovered.

Kempton Park has long been a happy hunting ground and, in addition to accommodating our small AW team over the winter, it offers a useful alternative when weather conditions conspire against us!

However, the Kingsclere Racing Club’s Intransigent looks a real AW specialist in the mould of his very smart half-brother Border Music and he recorded the second win of his career on the AW at Kempton on his latest start, showing an impressive turn of foot to put the contest to bed in a matter of strides. An 8lbs rise does not look insurmountable and he looks to have a good future ahead of him.

Another Kempton winner for the KRC was provided by Auntie Mabel, who won the first race of her career over the same 6f trip as Intransigent and, though not in the same class as that one, she should prove capable of winning again this season.

Angelic Upstart recorded his first win since his two year old days when successful at Wolverhampton earlier this month and he could yet be capable of further improvement, as he followed that victory with a close third at Kempton off a mark of 79 last time.

Our longest-priced winner of the season came courtesy of Magma, who left the form of his two previous runs behind when winning a competitive-looking maiden over a mile on his latest start at Kempton. The second and fourth both won their next starts and Magma has been given a very fair initial mark off which to go handicapping.

Apprentice Daniel Muscutt has enjoyed a really good debut season so far and he rode his second winner in three days when winning easily on Perfect Mission and he is likely to be out again in the first week of September as he would escape a penalty for that success.

We have had a further four juvenile victories this month, the first of which was our first winner of the month, Hot Secret winning on her nursery debut at Ffos Las under Tom Brown, who is also enjoying something of a breakthrough season in 2012. She has been competitive in defeat since and hopefully can get her head in front in nursery company again soon.

Lizzie Tudor was part of the four-timer earlier this month and, though the form of her Doncaster win has yet to be tested, she looks a filly with plenty of ability and is one to look forward to next year.

Similar comments certainly apply to the exciting Pearl Castle, who won well over a mile at Goodwood on just his second career start and, being a big, scopey son of Montjeu, the best of him won’t be seen until he tackles middle-distances next year.

Zanetto has had some tough tasks this season, running in the Chesham at Royal Ascot and in nursery company at GloriousGoodwood, but he had been held back by being too keen in his races and, having settled better in the early stages when dropped back to six furlongs at Newmarket last time, it was no surprise to see him get his head in front. Now that the penny has dropped with him he could develop into a very nice horse for next year.