June reviewPosted : July 7th, 2017
A further 10 winners were added to our tally in June, bringing us ever closer to the £1,000,000 prize-money mark for the season, and maintaining our position in the top ten of the Trainers’ Championship.
Few horses have deserved a taste of Group success as much as Absolutely So, and his win in the Group 3 John Of Gaunt at Haydock under David Probert was a hugely popular one. The seven year old hasn’t been the easiest to train, but he is such a talented individual and it was lovely to see him get his head in front for the first time since taking the Listed Cathedral Stakes in 2015. He holds an entry in the Lennox Stakes at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
Viscount Barfield has been a hugely-improved performer in the past year and he landed the biggest prize of his career to date when taking a valuable handicap in York in great style in the hands of David Probert. He has plenty of options and, with a mark of 94 looking unlikely to represent the ceiling of his ability, he could yet make the step up to Pattern company.
With his favoured soft ground on offer for the first time this season, Swashbuckle duly got off the mark for 2017 with a very game win at Salisbury under an accomplished ride from Josh Bryan. The son of Dashing Blade has always looked a very promising stayer in the making and he will now be targeted at the Cesarewitch, with one or two runs beforehand, including in the trial at Newmarket in September. He looks to have all the attributes to run a big race in a contest in which Kingsclere representatives have historically done very well, though Distant Prospect’s win in 2001 does seem rather distant now!
Priors Brook brought his record at Chepstow to two from two when taking a four-runner contest under a confident ride from Josh Bryan. He has a good cruising speed in his grade and, with the handicapper unlikely to take severe action, he should prove capable of going on to further success in the weeks ahead.
Drochaid is a very progressive three year old and the son of Mastercraftsman hasn’t looked back since stepping up in trip, following up his Chelmsford win over 1m2f in May with a narrow success in a very competitive handicap on Derby Day at Epsom under a really good ride from Oisin Murphy. He went on to run a fine race in defeat off a 5lbs higher mark when fourth in the King George V at Royal Ascot on what was his first start at a mile and a half, and he looks set for a very successful second half of the campaign.
Contango only made his debut at the beginning of the month, but he made an instant impression on that occasions when scoring under Oisin Murphy at Leicester over a mile. Upped to an extended 1m2f, he duly followed up in great style on his handicap debut at Chester three weeks later under David Probert. The son of Casamento boasts an excellent pedigree, being out of a half-sister to the top-class, multiple Group 1-winning US racemare Ventura, and he looks sure to develop into a very useful performer this season.
It is hard to fathom how War Of Succession has taken six starts to get off the mark, but he made the most of what looked a good opportunity to land a mile maiden at Beverley under Oisin Murphy. Fitted with blinkers and making the running for the first time, he was a comfortable winner and hopefully this success will give him the confidence to progress in handicap company.
A winner at Salisbury last term, Galactic Prince had just been a bit in and out since, but two successive thirds suggested his turn was nearing and he went two better at Goodwood, reeling in the enterprisingly-ridden pacesetter close home under David Probert. He is out of Opera Gal, who progressed from a mark of 72 at three to winning three Listed contests at four and five, so hopefully this son of Dubawi can go close to emulating her!
Farleigh Mac is another to have struggled a little after a Salisbury maiden success in 2016, but after two runs over 7f he showed the benefit of a drop back to sprint trips with an all-the-way success at Windsor, winning in the style of a well-handicapped horse. A half-brother to our Chester Cup winner Montaly, he looks likely to progress further in the months ahead.