May UpdatePosted : May 18th, 2012
We have enjoyed a fantastic couple of weeks since the last update and, following his assertive win in the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York on Thursday, Bonfire is now the second favourite for the Derby at Epsom Downs on Saturday 2nd June, giving us all a fortnight to dream of glory!
2,000 Guineas winner Camelot aside, Bonfire had been making all the Derby-related headlines in the racing pages in recent weeks and, though we have long thought him to be both the right type and have the requisite class to run at Epsom, the media interest was certainly an added pressure in the run-up to his seasonal reappearance. This was intensified after he was withdrawn from the Dee Stakes at Chester last week at the 11th hour due to the ground, so the relief of seeing him achieve what we had hoped him capable of at York yesterday was immense.
He appears to have come out of the race very well and, though there have been doubts expressed regarding his ability to stay the trip on pedigree, Jimmy Fortune feels that he will get the trip and on paper he is a very creditable opponent to warm favourite Camelot.
Tullius is a relatively new addition to the yard but is quickly developing into a very useful horse, following up his win in the Suffolk Stakes at Newmarket on his debut for us with a ready success in the Listed Royal Windsor Stakes at Windsor just nine days later. A race we took last year with Side Glance, who like Tullius made a seamless transition from handicapping to Pattern company, he is an exciting prospect who looks capable of progressing further in the coming months, with the possibility of stepping up in trip to a mile and a quarter.
Highland Colori, who like Tullius joined us over the winter, looks a progressive handicapper, following his narrow defeat on his seasonal reappearance with a gritty win, both over 6f on soft ground at Windsor. He appreciates plenty of cut in the ground and will be out again soon while conditions remain in his favour.
Another to appreciate testing conditions at Windsor was Flaxen Flare, whose win in the mile maiden gave us a double on the card after the victory of Highland Colori. He showed he had benefitted from his seasonal reappearance and he goes handicapping off what appears a fair initial mark of 82.
Expense Claim had won a maiden on his reappearance on the AW at Kempton Park but improved on that to win a 1m2f handicap at Salisbury off a mark of 79, travelling well and showing a really good attitude to repel the challenge of the runner-up. He looks one to follow this season, as does Roserrow, who progressed hugely from his run in the Wood Ditton in April to win at the second time of asking, in a mile maiden on the AW at Lingfield Park. From a family we know well (he is out of the Listed-placed mare Sabah, herself a half-sister to former stable star Vanderlin), he is an exciting prospect.