York’s Dante meeting started today and is a meeting worth watching closely for Royal Ascot Clues. The meet is perfectly times to allow trainers to test their firepower before heading to Ascot in search of that exclusive Royal Ascot Winner. There were some noticeable trends well and truly busted today like no winner of the Duke of York Stakes from a double digit draw over the previous 23 running’s of the race. Today’s version was won by Society Rock from stall 18 with the second Lethal Force drawn 15! The fourth was also drawn high so that bodes well for the performance of Gordon Lord Byron in finishing third from stall four which obviously was not the ideal place to be drawn.
The winner of the first race looked special with the second not bad either. Both were a class above this field pulling five lengths clear at the line. Tom Queally did not pull the persuader on winner First Mohican so confident he was of winning despite some traffic problems two furlongs out. First Mohican was rated up with Frankel at Henry Cecil’s yard as a two year old and thought of as a Derby Candidate. A fractured knee prevented him from lining up in the 2011 Derby and he only returned to action last year winning two handicaps easily before disappointing in the November Handicap at Doncaster. He has only run five times and is open to any amount of improvement. I expect he will only be campaigned at Group level following today’s win. By the way the runner up Lahaag is sure to win at pattern level this season and was unlucky to meet such a well handicapped horse today.
The Dante Stakes a proper Derby Trial takes place tomorrow with a very good line up even with Telescope missing. Currently, a field of eight are due to go to post with six of the eight trading 7/1 or lower. Jim Bolger’s Trading Leather is at his best on good ground or better and maybe if the rain stays away from York tonight the ground might improve from soft. Three of the other Dante principals are very closely match with only a short head and a neck separating Windhoek, Greatwood & Ghurair respectively when they last met in the Tattersalls Millions run over the Dante Distance. Having looked at that race very closely, I think Greatwood (5/1) is the one to side with tomorrow but Aidan O’Brien’s potential improver Indian Chief could be anything!
There has been a huge quantity or racing the last few days so due to time constraints I have only written up reports on a few of the recent eye catchers this week.
Eye Catchers Report for the Past Week ending on the 5st May
Faugheen – Trainer Willie Mullins – Jockey Patrick Mullins
It is seldom that you will see a bumper won on a top track in Ireland so impressively as when Faugheen won at Punchestown last weekend. You can view the race replay on attheraces.com for free and it is well worth watching this special performance. He powered clear of a good field in a fast run race to win by 22 lengths! The plan is to go novice hurdling later in the season and this horse will more than likely be one of the favourites to win at next years Cheltenham Festival if making it there. He was purchased for Rich Ricci by Willie Mullins right hand man Sylvester Kirk following an easy point to point win and is sure to have a route mapped out to peak at the major festivals next spring.
Mad Brian – Trainer Mrs Gillian Callaghan – Jockey Keith Donoghue
A highly impressive chasing debut by Mad Brian at Killarney racecourse despite carrying less weight than the more experienced chaser Toner D’Oudairies in second. It takes a good horse to win novice chase against experienced rivals. Mad Brian jumped and travelled super and must be highly thought of to have skipped a beginners chase going straight in at Novice Company. He’ll have a little break over the summer said his trainer but I look forward to seeing him running at the Galway or Listowel Festivals.
Jetson – Trainer Jessica Harrington – Jockey Nick De Boinville
Jetson travelled best in the long distance Handicap Hurdle at Haydock taking up a 3 length lead on run in It was jockey Nick De Boinville’s first time sitting on the horse and he lost the race going for home too soon. Jetson idled out in front so long and was caught close home by the rallying Battle Group! Jetson loves good ground and has improved all season despite not wining. The handicapper has raised him three pounds to 146 for this recent effort. He will win a top handicap soon but I am really looking forward to seeing him chasing as he is a fine scopey horse.
Street Entertainer – Trainer David Pipe – Jockey Conor Farrell
An unlucky stumble three hurdles out cost Street Entertainer a swinton hurdle victory or at the very least a placing. He travelled wide and did not enjoy an ideal trip however he was still going well. He had just started to make his move jumping the 3rd last well when stumbling with Conor lucky to stay aboard. All momentum was lost as well as a winning chance but he could have went close as we know he stays well from his previous effort at Ascot last November. I hope he is kept on the go this summer and gets a chance to run on good ground maybe even in the Galway Hurdle!
Lily’s Angel – Trainer Ger Lyons – Jockey Gary Carroll
All I need say is that she won a Group 3 despite the soft ground. She is on an upward curve and surely Royal Ascot in next. Shane Lyons, trainer´s assistant said post race “It was pure class and guts that got Lily´s Angel through to win. She was wheel-spinning from 3f down and wants good ground as a minimum. She´s in the Ballycorus at Leopardstown but could go for the Windsor Forest at Royal Ascot. The main aim was to get the Group 3, and anything else will be a bonus.”
Danadana – Trainer Luca Cumani – Jockey Kieran Fallon
A marvellous ride by Kieran Fallon to keep Danadana balanced and steer him to victory in the Group 3 Huxley Stakes over 10.5 furlongs at Chester. It takes a very well in horse to win a Group 3 despite not handling the track and not liking the softened ground. He was way behind earlier but powered home to win comfortably from albeit a non stayer in Highland Knight. He is one to follow on a galloping track and has a good engine.
All the Best,