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Phoenix and Khaadem gunning for Group 1 glory

It’s a big weekend for us as our two best three year olds take part in Group 1 races.

Khaadem has been in great form since his Stewards Cup win. His work has delighted his riders and he looks to have come on physically since his last run. He’s also a lot more settled mentally now, and a big thank you has to go to our Pupil Assistant Jamie Insole who rides him most days. Like most in the race we wouldn’t want the to ground to turn into a bog, however he handles soft ground so as long as it’s not extreme we should be ok.

Phoenix Of Spain goes to France to try and gain a second Group 1 in the Prix du Moulin. He’s on a retrieval mission, however he’s been in great form at home since Goodwood and hasn’t missed a day. He’s a very good horse, as he showed as a two year old and in the Irish 2000 Guineas, and we would love him to show that on the racetrack again.

Emotional win for Pogo

Just as we thought it couldn’t get any better, Pogo goes and puts his head in front on the line in the last on Friday at York. He’s a very smart horse, and you won’t meet many with more enthusiasm for the job of being a racehorse than him.

He is owned by John Hills long standing supporters Gary and Linnet Woodward, who are also great friends of ours. Until now Gary and Lin hadn’t been at the races when any of their horses trained by us had won, and we were beginning to wonder if there was some sort of jinx! We certainly celebrated breaking the jinx in style!

Pogo enjoys a bit of cut in the ground and loves Newmarket (having won there twice) so hopefully we will have lots of nice options for him as the season goes on.

Battaash in a league of his own!

Our little pocket rocket proved to the world that he really is the fastest horse about when smashing the track record in the Nunthorpe at York.

He looked like he’d had a race on Saturday morning which is understandable, and he lost more weight than he had in any of his previous races this season. We’ll monitor how he is over the next week or so before making any decisions on his next race.

It’s hard to put into words what his win means to everyone at Faringdon Place. There were plenty of tears of joy shed as he crossed the line and we are very aware of how we lucky we are to have such an exceptional horse in the yard.  A big thank you must go to those closest to him – Bob, Viktoria, Wayne, Alison and Bluey plus Ian and Fernando (vets) and Lance (farrier).

York Runners

We return to York this year with some nice horses to run, however we know how difficult it is to win there.

On Tuesday A Momentofmadness and Spoof run in the opening sprint race. They’ve both run well in it before but have been a bit below form this year. A Momentofmadnesss is reunited with William Buick for the first time this year and he has a great relationship with him. Spoof has had a holiday for the first time in his life and has come back in looking great. He seems more relaxed, and hopefully he will return to form.

Persuasion runs in the Acomb, a race we won with Phoenix Of Spain last year. He’s come out of his race at Goodwood in great form, and those who ride him at home say he feels like he’s come on for it. He’s a lovely horse and an exciting prospect.

Bartholomeu Dias goes in the two mile race. We were disappointed with his run at Goodwood and are not sure whether he quite gets two miles, but there isn’t a lot for him.

Buhturi will run in the six furlong nursery. He was a bit jarred up after his run at Ascot, where he gave himself no chance to stay after refusing to settle.

On Thursday Flippa The Strippa will run in the Lowther. Although realistically we are running for a place, we were doing that when she won the National Stakes! We’re looking forward to stepping her up to 6 furlongs.

Fleeting Prince runs in the sales race. You can ignore his run at Goodwood where he nearly came down. He’s a decent horse with plenty of speed so hopefully the race will suit him.

Pogo has an entry in the mile handicap, however he also has an alternative handicap on Friday. We will decide closer to the time.

On Friday we have Battaash and Garrus in the Nunthorpe. Battaash has been in great form since his Goodwood win. If he’s on his A game he will be hard to beat, but that hasn’t happened at York for him for whatever reason so we will just have to see. Garrus has been slow to jump in his last two races,  and we have had Gary and Craig Witheford in to see him. Hopefully he will jump faster this time, and has course and distance form as be beat Soldiers Call at the May meeting. He’s no forlorn hope.

Royal Commando will probably run in the Gimcrack. Like Fleeting Prince you can ignore his run at Goodwood because he encountered all sorts of trouble as well. His work since has been good and he’s a horse we like.

Cabot Cliffs and Dulas are in the Convivial Maiden and one of them is likely to run.

Glorious Goodwood Review

The week didn’t start particularly well for us with Phoenix Of Spain’s disappointing run in the Sussex Stakes, however it got better as it went on. Nothing obvious has come to light regarding Phoenix Of Spain, and we will give him a thorough check up. If nothing shows up we will aim at the Irish Champion Stakes.

Vividly did very well to win the seven furlong fillies maiden from her wide draw. Kieran Shoemark got everything right and gave her a great ride. However to be fair to the filly she gave him everything and was very tough and gutsy. The Prestige Stakes back at Goodwood will be the aim.

Battaash had on paper what looked like his easiest race for a while, and he won it comfortably. We wanted the race to be as easy as possible on him, if that can happen in a Group 2(!), and asked Jim to ride the race like a bit of work and not hit him. He still ran a fast time, however he seems to have come out of the race fresher than the last couple of years and hopefully that will help when he runs at York.

We’ve always held Khaadem in high regard, and bar the blip at Royal Ascot he’s been a model of consistency. He was pretty highly strung as a two year old, but has really settled down this year and didn’t seem at all bothered by the hustle and bustle of a big field. Magical Memory went on from the Stewards Cup to run a very close third in the Haydock Sprint Cup and that’s where this horse will go.

We’ve loved Persuasion since he came into the yard and he has always shown us above average ability. To go with that he also has the most amazing temperament. He won his maiden cosily and will go to the Acomb at York. The owners Dutch Connection did the double a few years ago.

Productive week and a good run from Garrus

After a few frustrating days with placed horses left right and centre it all kicked in on Thursday when Buhturi and Saikung won at Haydock. Friday saw Royal Commando and Qutob win, while Global Falcon got a great ride from Kieran Shoemark to win at Leicester on Saturday.

Buhturi and Royal Commando are both very nice two year olds. They have always shown up well at home and we’re looking forward to stepping them up in class. They are from families with know well with Buhturi being a brother to Ibn Malik and Royal Commando being from the immediate family of Red Clubs. Royal Commando is very like Red Clubs in his demeanour in as much as he is a very relaxed and laid back character. Let’s hope he’s as fast as him!

Garrus ran a great first race for us in the Coral Charge on Saturday. He’s very laid back at home and has the most amazing temperament for a sprinter. However he wouldn’t be a very flashy work horse so we weren’t really sure where we stood going into the race. Had he not missed the kick he probably would have gone very close to winning, and clearly has a great attitude. We will maybe look at the Sapphire Stakes in Ireland next for him.

Delighted with Bartholomeu Dias

We were really happy with Bartholomeu Dias’s run in the Northumberland Plate. We knew we were going into the unknown with the trip and it looks like he didn’t stay two miles. However he travelled really well for a long way and a mile and three quarters definitely looks within his compass. We’re going to try and find another race for him between now and the Ebor to get his rating up a few more pounds, as we would love to run him in the York showpiece.

National Hunt Winner A First!

We had our first National Hunt winner when High Change won at FFos Las on Wednesday. He’s a nice horse but was just too backward to run on the flat earlier on in his career. He’s done lots of schooling with Henrietta Knight and will know his job when he goes hurdling. He showed a bright turn of foot to win which really delighted us all.

Ascot Round Up

It was a week of ups and downs for us. Tuesday was a tough day. Battaash ran a great race in the circumstances in the Kings Stand as the Australian horse he was going to follow stumbled out of the stalls and took him out of the race. He did a couple of amazing sectional times to actually head Blue Point at one stage but was then outstayed. He’s absolutely fine and will head for Goodwood to try and win the King George Stakes for the third time. Equilateral ran a great race, and we were very happy with him. We’ll drop down in grade and try and get that illusive Group win for him, before having another crack at the top level.

As has been documented Phoenix Of Spain came back very sore from his race. He was sound by Saturday morning and we will now build him back up to his next target which could be the Sussex Stakes. Although his action suggests he wants cut in the ground he probably wants a firm surface, and Lope De Vega’s figures on good to soft or worse at Ascot read 0 from 27 runners.

However, what a difference a  day makes because on Wednesday we were celebrating Afaak’s gutsy win in the Royal Hunt Cup. It was a great effort from the team at home to have him ready to win such a competitive race first time out. He clearly loves Ascot and we will wait to see what the handicapper does before we decide where to go next. Flippa The Strippa ran well, she got a bit far back on the soft ground which she didn’t enjoy at all. We’ll keep her in Group/Listed class now and may also step up to six furlongs.

In the Brittania on Thursday Dark Jedi threw his race away before the start by behaving very badly. He’s got his fair share of temperament and maybe the occasion caught him out. Pogo got a bit bashed about and was short for room at a crucial moment. We’ll try and find a race for him at Newmarket as he seems to love it there.

Fleeting Princess a good race in the Albany as she was on the wrong side and didn’t really get home over six furlongs. She’ll be winning more races. Khaadem was disappointing in the Commonwealth Cup as he’d been pleasing us at home. He wasn’t 100% when we got him back and we will get him right before making the next plan.

We were delighted with Vanbrugh in the Wokingham. Again he was on the less favoured side and there wasn’t enough pace to take him into the race, so he was in front earlier than ideal. There’s definitely a nice race in him.

Royal Ascot 2019 – Wednesday

She probably has the least regal name at the meeting but we are really looking forward to Flippa The Strippa running in the Queen Mary. She looks stronger than she did before her win in the National Stakes and her work has been good. The ground could be a bit of an unknown if the forecast is correct, however she’s a tough and talented filly who will do her best.

Afaak bids to go one better in the Hunt Cup, however it is going to be a bit of an ask on his seasonal debut. There’s been nothing specifically wrong with him, he’s just taken time to come to himself. He’s done plenty of work so it will be interesting to see how he goes.