July UpdatePosted : July 31st, 2012
It has been another very successful month, with 11 winners added to our tally for the season and, with over three months of the season left, we have already topped the £700,000 prize-money mark and remain in 8th place in the Trainers Championship.
Highland Knight has been a real star in the last year and, having recorded a high-profile handicap win at Epsom on Oaks day last month, he posted a career-best effort when staying-on gamely to land the Listed Pomfret Stakes at Pontefract under David Probert, who gets on very well with him. It was a fair contest for the grade and, given he remains open to further improvement, I am hopeful he can make his mark in Group company, with the Group 2 Darley Oettingen-Rennen at Baden-Baden in late August his next target. The omens are good, as we won the race in 2003 (the year it was upgraded to Group 2 status) with Passing Glance, who had won the same Epsom handicap earlier that year.
The hood has been the headgear “du jour” in racing this year and it has certainly had a very positive effect on Stature, who has been much-improved since it was fitted at the start of the season. He has now won his last two starts, following his narrow Windsor win at the beginning of the month with a ready success in the 1m2f 3yo handicap at Newmarket’s July meeting under Ryan Moore. He will now step back up in trip for a 1m4f handicap on the Wednesday of Glorious Goodwood and looks a very progressive young handicapper.
The penny has really dropped with Stirring Ballad of late and she followed a Folkestone maiden win earlier this month on her fourth career start with a last-gasp success on her handicap debut at Sandown Park a fortnight later. A half-sister to Group 1 winner Balisada, she looks sure to improve further and she too could go to Goodwood.
We started July in fine style, with three winners on the first day of the month, Stature’s Windsor win providing the second leg of an across-the-card treble, which was completed by Archina and Here Comes When at Salisbury. While the former has since been sold, the latter was making a really pleasing winning racecourse debut and, out of a Group 3 winner, he looks capable of holding his own at a higher level, with entries in the Champagne Stakes and the Royal Lodge.
Benzanno and Viscount Vert, both owned by Martin and Valerie Slade, are others to have improved for the hood. The former gained his reward for some good efforts in defeat when successful at Epsom, while Viscount Vert was recording his second win in succession when victorious at Windsor. Thankfully, both horse and jockey were fine after a slipped saddle saw David Probert unseated in the final furlong on his next start and he looks capable of making an impression off his current mark, though his future could lie over hurdles as he has plenty of scope.
John Biscuit had won his maiden at Epsom as a two year old and he recorded his first win since on just his third start at the track. He came so close to following up that win at Ascot on his latest start and hopefully compensation awaits!
Queen’s Star is a granddaughter of the Ascot Gold Cup winner Indian Queen and she showed she has inherited plenty of stamina when getting up in the closing stages over 1m6f at Sandown Park on her handicap debut. She was perhaps unsuited by the firm ground on her next start but remains a young stayer of some potential.
After such a good run in the Queen Anne, Side Glance again ran very well in defeat when 3rd in the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes on his first attempt at 1m2f, while Bana Wu, Chiberta King and Goldoni all reached the frame in Listed company and hopefully they can find openings at that level before the season is out.