May reviewPosted : June 10th, 2017
We have enjoyed a tremendous start to the new season, the 13 winners in May bringing us to 36 for the year, and already over £700,000 in prize-money.
Blond Me confirmed herself a high-class filly last term, winning in Listed company at the start of the year and taking the Group 2 Topkapi Trophy in Turkey in the autumn. However, she took her form to a new level on her return when taking the Group 2 Middleton Stakes at York, staying on strongly under Oisin Murphy to get up close home on just her second attempt at the trip. After two Group 2 victories, she fully deserves to take her chance at the top level.
Just over an hour later, Here Comes When completed a memorable double for the yard when taking the Listed Hambleton Handicap, making the most of the ground being in his favour off what looked a favourable handicap mark. He holds a Hunt Cup entry, but he does need cut in the ground to be at his best.
Horseplay established herself as a very talented filly when running out a convincing winner of the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket under David Probert. The beautifully-bred daughter of Cape Cross then headed to Epsom for the Oaks and justified her attendance there with a staying-on fourth. She will get further and there are nice races to be won with her this term.
The Chester Cup is a race we have always wanted to win, so we were delighted to see Montaly flash home under a cool ride from Oisin Murphy. We had serious reservations about running him on the ground, but he showed a really good turn of foot to hit the front close home for a famous success, and the Northumberland Plate could be next on the agenda.
St Mary’s doubled our tally at this year’s Chester May meeting when taking the final race of the week under a very well-judged ride from Will Cox, who held up in last before bringing her with a late challenge down the outside. Her 5lbs rise for that win looks far from insurmountable and she could return to the track in mid-June.
Drochaid is a progressive three year old and the son of Mastercraftsman supplemented last year’s maiden win with a narrow success in a good handicap at Chelmsford, showing a very willing attitude to deny the strong challenge of the runner-up, despite having been a bit keen again in the early stages on what was his first start beyond a mile.
Naval Warfare looks a colt with a very good future, having made a winning reappearance in great style in what was a competitive handicap at Leicester. A half-brother to two black-type performers, notably Group 2 winner Gregorian, he is a tremendously exciting prospect and the 8lbs rise for that win looks fair, with the second, third and fourth all winning comfortably on their next outings.
Atkinson Grimshaw had won on his only previous start in 2017, at Wolverhampton in February, and he showed marked improvement on his return from three months off to follow up on his handicap debut at Chester under a good front-running ride from David Probert. He doesn’t yet look the finished article and looks sure to improve with experience, so I am very hopeful he can win a nice handicap this term.
Fair Cop got off the mark at the third attempt when making all the running at Windsor under David Probert, winning very comfortably. A really speedy filly, she should start off a fair mark in handicaps and looks the time to progress this term. That comment also applies to Highland Pass, the half-sister to Elm Park making it fifth time lucky when taking a Chester maiden in great style. She looks on a good mark and is likely to return to the Roodee in June.
Cartavio had shown promise in three runs in maidens at the turn of the year, had been gelded since and showed marked improvement to make a winning reappearance at Salisbury under Liam Keniry. He should have no problem staying a mile and a half in time and should continue to progress, as can fellow Salisbury winner Scorching Heat, the son of Acclamation justifying favouritism under Josh Bryan. He is a lovely individual and looks capable of rating higher as the season progresses.
Sir Pass I Am’s success at Chepstow received more attention in the press than would normally be the case with a low-grade handicap, but the important thing is that it represented a big step forward for the son of Passing Glance and he should not be judged on a subsequent defeat on fast ground a week later at Lingfield Park. He has always shown ability in his work at home and can find further success in the weeks ahead.