December UpdatePosted : December 22nd, 2014
We rounded off what has been a record-breaking season for the yard with the team in excellent form and that has continued through November, with six winners this month.
Stybba provided us with our final winner of the 2014 campaign, the well-bred daughter of Medicean gaining a belated first success at the 11th attempt under a well-judged ride by amateur Hugo Hunt at Nottingham. A half-sister to four black-type performers, she has now been retired to the paddocks following that important win and is an exciting broodmare prospect for Qatar Racing.
Intransigent has improved markedly this autumn and he won his third race from his last five starts with a comfortable success in the 6f Listed Golden Rose Stakes at Lingfield Park under a textbook ride from Jamie Spencer. That contest was a fast-track qualifier for the big sprint contest on AW Championships day, for which he has been installed as ante-post favourite by sponsors Coral.
We have had the Spring Mile at Doncaster in mind for Melvin The Grate since he won at Haydock Park in October and an impressive win at Wolverhampton under David Probert will have done his chances of getting into that race no harm at all, with the handicapper subsequently raising him 5lbs to a mark of 88. A well-bred individual, he is improving and that victory made it two from four starts since rejoining us from Ireland in the summer.
Wu Zetian deservedly got off the mark at the fifth time of asking with a narrow victory at Southwell under Hayley Turner, having finished in the first four on all four of her previous attempts. She has since been sold at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale.
Duretto had looked a very nice prospect when finishing runner-up in a soft-ground Newbury maiden on his debut in October and duly built on that to justify favouritism on his next outing, showing a nice turn of foot to settle matters over a mile at Kempton Park under Jimmy Fortune. Out of a Listed winner in Italy, he is bred to improve as a three year old.
We have enjoyed plenty of success on the fibresand at Southwell in the past 12 months and, following Wu Zetian’s win, Munstead Pride brought our record there in 2014 to 9-20 (45%) with a taking success in a mile maiden, showing improved form on just his third career start. A son of Sir Percy and from the family of Ascot Gold Cup winner Indian Queen, he is a young stayer to look forward to next term.