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.
We’ll have a pretty quiet weekend with just a handful of runners on Saturday. A Momentofmadness is probably the most high profile runner, and he goes to Chelmsford to try and kick start his season. For whatever reason he hasn’t been jumping very quickly from the gates, but if he can get away and dominate he should have a very good chance.
Red Bravo has been waiting for soft ground and it’s certainly going to be that at Haydock! Silver Start and Rock Of Estonia would both have good chances at Chepstow, while Elena and Temujin are bidding to build on promising outings last time. Finally Autumn War should enjoy a bit of give in the ground when he runs at Newmarket.
It will be hard to beat the twenty five minutes between 3.40pm and 4.05pm on Saturday 25th May 2019. Both Phoenix Of Spain and Battaash were absolutely brilliant.
We are all thrilled for Phoenix’s owners Ann and Tony who a couple of years ago were very brave and ‘went big’ at the sales with the idea being to buy a proper horse. With the help of Geoffrey Howson and Matt Houldsworth they have. Apart from a little blip in the winter, and a couple of dirty scopes around the English 2000 Guineas the horse has been an absolute pleasure to train. He has a bomb proof temperament and now he’s filling his big frame he’s showing everyone just how good he is. He will improve for the run in Ireland and has come back showing no ill effects from the race.
Battaash has been in such good form at home and is much more relaxed this year, so we were pretty confident going into the race. Without a doubt Dane O’Neil riding his work has helped, as he knows the horse so well. Viktoria, who does the steering at home the rest of the time, has also helped keep him happy and we should all see the benefits of this as the year goes on.
Finally I’d like to say a big thank you to my team at home. Those close to these two horses do an amazing job, but it’s not just about them. Every horse in the yard is important and every winner is important and so much work goes into each and every one of them.
It’s about as big as it gets for our yard this Saturday as our two top horses run within twenty five minutes of each other.
Phoenix Of Spain leaves for Ireland this morning. We are as happy as we can be with him, however it is going to be a big ask to take on top class race fit rivals. The form of his races as a two year old are working out amazingly. In the Acomb he had the Derby favourite Broome well behind and the form of the Vertem Futurity, where be was a bit unlucky, couldn’t have worked out any better. He’s filled his large frame over the winter, although as the season progresses he will continue to strengthen up. Whatever he does on Saturday he will definitely improve for the outing.
Battaash goes back to Haydock to try and retain his crown in the Temple Stakes. He looks a lot better than he did this time last year, and he doesn’t have the penalty to carry. There may not be many runners but it’s a Group 1 in all but name with Mabs Cross, Alpha Delfini and Kachy in the race, and Mabs Cross and Kachy have the benefit of being race fit. It’s going to be a tough ask.
He gave us a bit of a fright but Battaash got his season off to a winning start at Haydock in The Temple Stakes. He had to carry the Group 1 penalty and was up against race fit rivals, however he managed to get his head home in front. He certainly wasn’t fully fit for the race, and he’s still hanging onto his coat so we are confident there is improvement to come for Ascot. Apart from a little blip coming out onto the track he behaved well, which is also a positive. All credit to the Kachy team, they had a plan to take the race away from him and it very nearly paid off.