They say you can’t teach old dogs new tricks but that isn’t necessarily true when it comes to racing. We all know that a change in trip or tactics or even a new code can help rejuvenate a horse and see them recapture their form. Teruntum Star has been a high class sprinter throughout the years but the majority of his form has come over 6f. His last win over the minimum trip was all the way back on his second career start in 2014. Teruntum certainly showed that he had the speed for 5f when he took the feature Happy 70th Birthday My Special Mum Kathie Handicap at Beverley.
Winner of the 2017 Coral Sprint, Teruntum started last season on a career high of 104. Unfortunately he couldn’t match that level of form through last season and although a few runs had excuses there were also some disappointing efforts. His best run came when chasing home his stable mate in the 2018 edition of the Coral Sprint to finish fourth. Having shown cloistering pace that day, Kevin dropped the chestnut back to 5f for his final start on the turf where he ran a cracker to fill the runner up berth.
Teruntum seemed to pick up towards the end of the season which tempted connections into an AW campaign. With his high rating and form, the finals was the plan when the AW season kicked off. He made a fine start finishing third but then failed to back that up, finishing last on his next two starts whilst also proving to be very slowly away, something that was unusual for him. Those efforts meant that he was put away for the turf and hopefully a little bit of a spark to form.
Once mid April comes around there is options almost everyday for these sprinters so Teruntum was ready to get back out on the track. Kevin opted for the 5f handicap at Beverley and once the entries came out it looked as though many had chosen to head down to Newmarket for similar races. That being said once the confirmed line up was announced the race looked like a very competitive affair despite the 6 runners. The runners all had a similar profile to Teruntum but the interesting one was set to be favourite Airshow, who was making his stable debut and held a Gr2 entry.
Kevin Stott has enjoyed plenty of success in the orange silks of owner Mr Rahman and he was back in the saddle again. It was obvious that he would like to go forwards although recent runs had just put a question mark over Teruntum getting away quickly enough. There was no need to worry as, from stall 4, Teruntum jumped well and under plenty of rousting from Kevin he got into full speed to press froward. He shared the early lead with Billy Dylan who raced along the rail and the pair forced a strong early pace. The 6 runners settled down to race in pairs and favourite Airshow sat just off the from two.
They blitzed through the first couple of furlongs as Teruntum would not give the leader a moments rest. They passed the cutaway where the track joins the main track and this took them towards the 3f marker. The pace had the small field stretched out as the front two continued to trade blows. Passing the halfway mark and there was only a nose in it as they swung around the bend which took them into the straight. Now the ground rises up and the finish provides a stiff test.
Passing the 2f marker and Teruntum had now edged to the lead, still travelling well under Stott. Having gone off hard it would be interesting to see what reserves he had left to continue up the finish. With his nearest rival now starting to wain, Kevin began to wind his mount up from the front. The chestnut started to stride on and opened up a lead as the favourite struggled to make an impression. The veteran Line of Reason was starting to finish but had plenty of ground to make up.
Between the 2f and 1f pole Kevin had nudged Teruntum along getting him to extend but once he hit the 1f marker it was all systems go. Giving his mount all the help needed, Kevin went for the line and he got plenty in return. Nothing was matching the chestnut and the further they went the stronger he looked. It was clear 150 yards from home there was only one winner and Teruntum Star powered on all the way to the line. Having almost made all, Teruntum picked up the win by a cosy 2 1/2 lengths.
Teruntum Star has long contested the tope sprints and it was great to see him get back to winning ways down in grade. He showed real vigour throughout, setting a strong pace throughout but maintaining it throughout and finishing powerfully. Obviously this win over the minimum gives him plenty more options for the season and it will be interesting to see where Kevin decides to send him next. Winning off 94 Teruntum will certainly get a rise in the weights and probably step up in grade again. The top handicaps will be on the radar and with form at the track, York could be a nice stop next time out.
Pennsylvania Dutch looked a very bright prospect just a couple of seasons ago. Things didn’t quite work out so when he headed to sales Kevin snapped him up, hoping that a change of scenery could see him bounce back to his best. Unfortunately it didn’t happen last year despite some near misses. It only took one run of 2019 for Dutch to make amends for a dry 2018 as he made a winning return in the 6f Debbie Stephenson Birthday Celebration Handicap at Thirsk.
Quirky can be used to describe the 5yr old who would jump awkwardly from the stalls leaving himself with plenty of work to do. From there he could travel powerfully and finish like a train, but inevitably it was too little too late. It was clear that he had the ability but just wasn’t giving himself the best chance of utilising his attributes. Unfortunately a change of tactics wasn’t really an option last year as he wouldn’t settle in daylight so it proved to be a very frustrating year.
Over the pre season Kevin tried a new bit of headgear for the gelding. Eyeshields were applied to relax Dutch and they looked to have a positive affect on him. With this in mind they would be kept on when he returned to the track. Now off a lowly mark of 70, Pennsylvania Dutch had plenty of options but Kevin opted for the opening meeting at Thirsk. Typically a competitive and open looking race awaited with 19 runners lining up for the contest. If the new headgear was to work then Dutch would take all the beating but he proved many times before that not all is straight forward with him.
Sam James has been riding out through the winter and was given the ride. From stall 12 Pennsylvania Dutch had the break of the stalls and when they jumped off this caused a handful of runners to stick to the far side. Dutch jumped smartly and was immediately into stride. Going well Sam didn’t want to break his stride so allowed the gelding to race where he was happy, surprisingly towards the head of affairs. The lead was in the hands of the far side but Pennsylvania Dutch led the other group towards the centre of the track. By the time they had run through the first furlong most of the runners had joined the main body in the centre, leaving just 3 on the far side.
Dutch was going great guns and seemingly enjoying himself with clear daylight in front of him. Rumshak was forcing the issue which meant that the pace was high. Moving down towards halfway those 3 who had raced over the far side were soon under pressure and looked to be toiling. It was Dutch and Rumshak who held a clear advantage in front with a break of just over a couple of lengths to the chasing pack.
Between the 3f and 2f marker Dutch really poured it on and soon had his rivals under pressure to try and reel him in. Much of his running style had been to travel hard on the bridle before going for a spurt late on. This time around the instructions were to wind it up before using his finish. Sam started to niggle away moving to the final couple of furlongs. Shifting through the gears, Dutch was lengthening and increasing the tempo which his rivals were struggling to match.
Although he had been working away, Sam had yet to go for the finish yet and was probably surprised to yet see a rival. Dutch was edging further clear as he built up ahead of steam. The two most fancied runners in the race, Black Salt (Fav) and Molls Memory (2nd Fav), were the two who were coming from out of the pack to try and reel in the long time leader. Sam was still waiting and he was still holding on to his final push.
Pennsylvania Dutch passed the 1f marker with a a couple of lengths lead. His two main dangers were now in full flow and beginning to inch into the lead. Now it was time for Sam to go for the line and he got lower in the saddle to get one final kick from his mount. Dutch found more coming off the bridle and maintained his advantage. It was now just a case of who could see out the last 150 yards the best. If he wanted to chuck in the towel then now would be the time but Dutch had a better idea. Allowing his rivals to get closer he responded by finding more and more under pressure. Every time the lead closed, Dutch found. In the final 50 yards he really stuck his head down and galloped away from his rivals. Crossing the line he earned a comfortable 1 1/4 length win.
Pennsylvania Dutch has been a long time in the wilderness but this was certainly a step back in the right direction. The eye shields look to have really helped the 5yo as he settled nicely despite having no cover throughout the contest. Sam said that he felt as though they were going no pace at all until he saw nothing able to go with him. Obviously Dutch is very well handicapped off his old form so any rise the handicapper gives him should not be a problem. Hopefully this new found attitude can remain as that is the only thing that could hold him back.
Although the season starts in March it is a slow burner and it is always seen that it doesn’t get going for a little longer. The Craven meeting is the week where the turf really kicks into action, with the NH culminating and some big stars starting to return to action. It is a meeting where Kevin will be busy up and down the country so heading there in form is always nice. The opening meeting at Pontefract gave the yard it’s first couple of winners in 2019 and kickstarted the season for Kevin.
This time last year Mont Kinabalu was just about to win back to back races and see his mark go up to 83. Fast forward 12 months and his poor form had seen that drop down to a very dangerous 69. Although his form had dropped off these poor runs had coincided with soft going and he had raced over the winter on the AW. Having shown a hint of a revival in the last couple of runs he headed into the 1 Mile ROA Owners’ Jackpot Handicap fit and well to try and get back to his best.
Weather has recently improved and so the going was officially Good to Firm at Pontefract. Kinabalu would line up against 11 rivals and with everything in his favour there would be no excuses now. Tom Eaves has partnered the gelding to al of his previous wins and was on board again.
Initially there was a mad dash for the lead when the stalls opened as about a quarter of the field wanted to move forward to try and dictate. The early stages proved to be going at a brisk pace which was perfect for Kinabalu. Tom allowed the rest to get on with it and just let his mount coast into the race, happy to race wherever he ended up. Once the battle for the lead was over, after the first furlong, it was Star Of Valour who ended up taking the lead. Settling down through the back straight the field were well bunched but the pace wouldn’t relent. Kinabalu raced just behind mid-division and was easily tracking the gallop.
There was no hiding place and even by halfway there were one or two of the runners struggling to maintain their position. As the leader tried to steady things up front, those close by wouldn’t allow it and ensured the pace remained strong. This was ideal for Kinabalu who comfortably handled it and held his position throughout, as they raced towards the home bend.
Between the 3f and 2f marker the field had to swing around the left handed bend. Even before they entered it they were starting to race, along way from home especially with the stiff finish in the final furlong. Those at the front end were continuing to take each other on and tried to set sail for home. This injection of more pace had a domino affect and each of the runners had to match it to keep tabs on the leaders. Tom squeezed Kinabalu along for few strides as the field just stretched out a little.
Passing the 2f marker and they straightened up for home with the race still wide open. Now Kinabalu came back on the bridle and travelled strongly chasing the leaders. Unfortunately Tom had a wall of horses in front of him but knowing his mount as well as his does he knew he needed to wait anyway. The challengers were coming from very angle and heading towards the final furlong they were spread 5 wide across the track.
Entering the last furlong Tom now had to press the button as he could wait no longer. Although he had plenty of horse underneath him he had a long route around. Edging further and further right Tom had to switch right towards the centre of the track to sweep past the leading quartet. Once in clear daylight Kinabalu picked up immediately to lay down his challenge. There was only 100 yards to run and a few lengths to make up but once asked, Kinabalu quickened up. He hit top gear in a matter of strides and ate up the ground instantly. Within 50 yards he picked up those in front of him and swept past. As they hit the line he was galloping all the way through and won with a bit in hand, more so than his 1/2 margin.
It is very nice to see Mont Kinabalu back to his best and this could prove to be a springboard for the year ahead. Ground could be the key to him and if the race is run at a good gallop he can really travel, then finish strongly. Obviously he is still below his highest mark so further wins could easily see Kinabalu back up towards that sort of grade.
With 5 runners on the card Kevin looked to have a decent hand but if there was one horse who really looked to be as close to a “good thing” it was Rathbone. The 3yr old was certainly in plenty of notebooks and he took full advantage of the opportunity when winning for the first time in the 6f A Voice For Racehorse Owners Novice Stakes.
Last season Rathbone looked like a serious juvenile in the making. The son of Foxwedge was working with the very best of them and it would have taken a brave person to back against him not winning a race. Unfortunately that is exactly what he did, rounding off the year with some good form, a mark of 87 but no win to his name. That had everbody scratching their heads in disbelief but faith was far from lost.
Over the winter Rathbone was gelded, allowing him to mature and fill his powerful physique. As soon as he was back into work it was clear that he was as good as ever and could be a well handicapped sprinter for the season ahead. Coming to hand early Kevin was keen to get him out and onto the track ASAP. The Pontefract card offered two options for Rathbone, a 0-95 Handicap or a Novice race. He would have been a leading player for the first option but Kevin felt that the Novice should give him close to a perfect way of finding the back of the net so plumped for that.
Fresh from his win earlier in the card, Tom donned the purple and yellow colours he has enjoyed so much success in. There was 9 runners set to line up and it was far from being a one horsed race. Alfred Boucher had chased home a subsequent group winner and Amplify was rated just 1lb inferior to Rathbone. Despite these strong rivals, confidence was very high that Rathbone could finally get off the mark.
Jumping from stall 4 Rathbone was quick into his stride but not forced to go on, Tom settled for fourth position. The early fractions were set by Amplify and Abate who took the lead at a brisk pace. The favourite, Alfred Boucher was a length or so off Rathbone in mid-division, so the main protagonists all had a nice enough position form the get go.
Abate took control of the race and up to the halfway point pressed on in front, giving nobody any breathing space. The outsiders were already struggling and as the favourite inched closer the race was starting to take shape. Heading to the 3f pole the field would hit the bend and entering it Tom squeezed Rathbone along to move up and edge closer to the leader. Alfred Boucher followed this move and did likewise as the pair moved up, whilst Amplify was the nearest challenger to the leader who was now under a pressure, although still looking to be going well.
Turning for home the race was on as the leading quartet kicked from the bend. Ratbone was still travelling on the bridle as his rivals were under increasing pressure. Tom had a double handful and his mount was looking full of running. Abate was still running a huge race along the rail and in between the pair Amplify was plugging away at the same pace. The favourite wasn’t making any impression and the first three now began to pull away from him.
Looming up to the 1f marker and Tom had no option but to go as now the long time leader could not take him any further. Chasing his hands and squeezing dismount Tom asked Rathbone to quicken and within a couple of strides the race was put to bed. Once he had the lead it was a case of how far as none of his rivals could match him. The win was sealed but it was going to be a close run thing for second. Tom ensured Rathbone kept up to his work but he was always striding clear with. Alfred Boucher now began to stay on up the rising ground to challenge for 2nd but the win was in the hands of Rathbone who won with as much in hand as he liked.
Finally he is off the mark and Kevin took the perfect opportunity afforded to him with Rathbone. The market had it as a 3 horse race and that is exactly what it turned out to be. Although the winning margin was 2 3/4 lengths, in reality Rathbone won with ease. He travelled well and showed a nice turn of foot when asked. In a perfect world it would have been nice to get a lead for a bit longer but this happen when he takes a step up in grade once again. He will certainly come on for this run and Kevin will now look towards the big 3yo handicaps for Rathbone. He is an exciting prospect and this was just the perfect beginning to a big season for him.
Flat racing fans are counting down the days until Doncaster kicks off the 2019 turf season and here at Hambleton Lodge there is a buzz around the yard. We already have our first entries in the book for the opening weekend and once it kicks off the new season will quickly kick into gear. It looks as though the team is one of the strongest ever with some big targets muted and the excitement is palpable. Here’s a quick look at what could lie ahead for some of the team in 2019.
If one horse deserves top billing it is the stable star Brando. Group 1 winner and placed on multiple occasions, he has been a stalwart of the best sprints for the past few seasons. Last year he showed himself to be as good as ever, winning his second Abernant stakes before going on to finish runner up in the Gr2 Duke Of York, Gr1 July Cup and Gr1 Haycock Sprint. This was also accompanied by a fourth in the Champions sprint as well as a very good run in the Gr1 Prix Maurice De Gheest, where the draw played a huge part. Although he didn’t add to his Gr1 win the previous season, he was arguably the most consistent performer in the sprint division.
His pre season preparations have gone well and he looks as good as ever. He is 7 now but the gelding is still lightly raced for a sprinter with just 30 runs to his name. Brando pretty much maps out his own season and it should follow very closely to last season, barring any hiccups. He will attempt to complete a historic hat-trick in the Gr3 Abernant, a race he has taken for the past 2 years. This sets him up perfectly for a tilt at the Duke of York in May. Brando has been placed in the last 2 runnings of the July Cup and that will be the main target of the summer again which may mean skipping the Royal meeting like last year. His Gr1 win came at Deauville and so following the July cup it’ll be all Gr1 challenges with Prix Maurice Gheest, Haydock Sprint and Champions Sprint all on the radar.
Brando has proved to be a perennial threat in these highly competitive races and should once again be one of the top contenders. Few of his rivals have moved on to stallion careers so there will be some young pretenders to tackle this year but he has seen them all and continues to thrive. Everyone is looking forward to the big chestnut kickstarting his season down at Newmarket, hopefully making a little bit of history before embarking on another big season.
They are the races that are the peak of racing’s summit, the very highest echelon that everyone strives for. Classics are once in a lifetime chance, you only get one crack. The Grey Gatsby will always live long in the memory after his amazing performance in the Prix Du Jockey Club. Where as he went into his classic season under the radar and the only possible contender from Hambleton Lodge, Kevin has a handful of 3yr olds who are aiming for glory. This time though they are not under the radar and many racing fans and pundits have been quick to show their intrigue.
The Gimcrack has always held a big draw for Kevin and EMARAATY ANA took the race last year to put himself on the map. He always shaped like a smart performer so when he toppled a decent rival on debut the York contest immediately came to mind. Before then he would head to Newbury for a listed contest. Although he settled nicely through the race, he succumbed to his inexperience and just showed signs of greeness. That experience though certainly helped next time out when he controlled the Gimcrack from start to finish. Making all he gave Kevin a fourth win in the race and firmly put himself in the picture for the 2019 Classics. Unfortunately he couldn’t quite repeat that in the Middle Park but it looked clear like 2019 would be his major target. He holds entries in the English and Irish 2000 Guineas as well as the Derby. It was felt that he would be better with time and further so it’s exciting times as the season approaches. Nothing has been decided yet but there are plenty of options for the colt. He is very straight forward so Kevin will be in no rush to make a decision but Ana could have races like the Gr3 Craven, the Guineas or the Dante on his radar. Whatever route is taken, everyone is itching to see him back in action.
Breaking new ground is nothing new to EAST who went from unknown to potential star in just 6 weeks. She broke the record at Goresbridge Breeze Ups by getting knocked down E315,000. That figure quickly looked like a very fair price once she hit the track. Making a perfect debut at Hamilton, nobody could have predicted just where the filly would go to, especially in a short space of time. Just 11 days later she would be on her travels over the English Channel and stepping into group company when tackling the Gr3 Prix Thomas Byron at Saint-Cloud. She ran away with the contest and in the process booked her ticket to the Breeders Cup. Taking her form to another level again, just 6 weeks after her debut, East went on to finish 2nd in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. With some top European fillies in behind her it was clear that Classics were now a big option in 2019. Obviously the 1000 Guineas is the target although it is yet to be decided just which one. East holds entries in the English and French versions of the race and connections will have to sit down to decide which route to go. Newmarket is a huge lure but East has proved to be very smart when going around a bend, which the French race offers. Whatever route is taken she is a filly of huge potential and everyone is itching to see her back on the racecourse.
Just like his stablemate, HELLO YOUMZAIN rapidly developed into a very smart performer in a short space of time. After making an impressive, winning debut he went to Haydock attempting to shoulder a 6lb penalty. He ran a big race to narrowly go down to a future Listed winner by just a short head. It proved just how much potential he had and tempted Kevin to go straight for Group company despite the defeat. Hello Youmzain took the step up in grade in his stride and ran away with the Gr2 Criterium de Maissons-Laffitte. Everything he did in his juvenile season was always going to be a bonus so he is a very exciting prospect this season. Although he is by Kodiac, there is plenty of stamina in the Dam’s side. Having shaped as though he would get further, Hello Youmzain will be taking in a Guineas trial in April to see whether or not he can take on the Classic. He is full of potential and if the Guineas looks to be out of his reach due to stamina then a drop back to sprinting would be good back up plan with the Commonwealth Cup on offer.
QUEEN JOJOwill be another who will be trying further than 6f for the first time this year in a bid to head on to the classic trail. Having got off the mark at the second attempt, she was thrown into group company on her third start, tackling the Gr2 Lowther at York. Running with great credit she finished 3rd, showing signs of inexperience towards the end of the race. Unfortunately tacky, testing ground scuppered her on her final start, although she bravely managed to finish 4th in the Gr3 Firth Of Clyde. Having always shaped as though she would get further in time, Jojo is being lined up for a trial. The 7f Gr3 Fred Darling at Newbury looks likely to be the target but Queen Jojo does not hold an entry in any Classics but her performance in the trial could well have connections sitting down for a little discussion.
GLASS SLIPPERS holds an entry in the Irish 1000 Guineas and will be testing new ground this year when being extended further than the 6f she has mainly run over. She very well could have been off the mark at Goodwood if not for terrible traffic in running, but she made amends on her third run. That was followed up with an impressive performance at Chester, where Slippers took a Conditions event rather cosily. She lined up with her stable mate at Ayr for the Gr3 Firth Of Clyde but her luck again turned bad, getting bumped heavily at the start which left her towards the rear of the field. On tacky ground she did well to finish mid-division. Being by Dream Ahead she looked likely to be better at 3yrs old and could well get further. She will be trying the trip out before any is decided and can hopefully maintain the classic dream.
It is a division that Kevin has always had a strong hand in and Brando won’t be the only stable occupant to be trying to take top honours. There is a nice mixture of top quality handicappers, potential dark horses and a couple of horses bordering on breaking into Group company.
This time last year HEY JONESY was gearing up for his classic trial. Unfortunately a classic bid was quickly dispelled when he proved that sprinting was certainly going to be his speciality. After his run over 7f in the European Free Handicap, Jonesy was geared towards the Commonwealth Cup. He returned to sprinting at York when trying a new trip of 5f. Showing great speed he went down by just a neck in the Listed Westow Stakes. That kept him on target for the Royal meeting and Jonesy went to run a blinder in the Gr1 contest. Beaten just 2 lengths in to 5th place, after racing on the wing throughout, he proved that he was one of the best in his age group. Unfortunately following that great performance his form dipped a little in his following couple of runs, although one was a big task in the Haydock sprint. There was a small field at Ascot for the Gr3 Bengough stakes which Jonesy hinted at gaining a spark once again but it was his final run in the Listed Wentworth Stakes at Doncaster that got connections excited. Collared right on the line he bounced back to form with a very narrow defeat. Gelded over the winter he will be looking at Pattern company this season and looks a more finished article with another winter on his back. He will get an entry in the Gr2 Duke of York but may well try to find an option before then to start his season. Hopefully he can mix it with the best sprinters around this season and gain a much deserved pattern success.
MAJOR JUMBO has progressed year on year and gone through the handicap ranks to now border on pattern level. He has been a very consistent performer over the last couple of seasons, slowly moving up through the grades. After making a winning return at the Craven meeting he went from strength to strength throughout 2018. Jumbo moved past the 100 mark and performed admirably in the top handicaps. The big win eluded him despite 6 placed efforts from 7 runs. Finally he gained the compensation for narrow misses through 2018 when signing off with the 6f Coral Sprint Handicap at York, taking his mark to a career high 107. That now has him bordering on pattern company and the grey already has his first target in sight. The 6f Listed Cammidge Stakes on the opening day of the season will be his return. He looks to be a potential group horse and hopefully this can be the ideal stepping stone into the season but with his mark it still leaves the heritage handicaps available too. Jumbo has proved equally adept over 5f/6f so there are plenty of options for the 5 yr old throughout the season.
At the end of last season STORMBRINGER had his first taste of Listed company and may well be another sprinter who can take the step up from handicaps. He proved to be very unlucky not to gain a win last year after showing good form in the 3yr old division. Starting over 7f, Stormbringer got stronger and better with racing. Despite 3 placed efforts it was when he was dropped to 6f that his form took another step forward. He went agonisingly close in a 3yr old handicap at Newmarket. Returning there he struggled in a muddling race on tacky ground before challenging one of the very best sprinters at York. Limato has been at the top table of the sprinting division for the past few seasons and lined up in the Garrowby Stakes alongside Stormbringer. The pair battled it out, neck and neck until the final 50 yards when Limato finally began to take control and use his experience. Gelded over the winter, Stormbringer looks a stronger physical proposition and could well utilise his mark of 103. The very top handicaps will be in line for him but a foray into pattern company would not be far from the thought process too.
There is a nice bunch of handicappers that look set to try and emulate their stable mates and hopefully reach he same kind of heights. SAVALAS flew out of the blocks early last year, winning 3 on the bounce and going from 77 to 98. He proved well capable of this mark when finishing 2nd in the top York 3yo handicap, again earning a hike in his mark to 103. Mid season he tailed off but then bounced back to form when finishing 3rd in a conditions event at Beverley. It was a long year for him and the winter has done him well. Having proved himself adept over 5f and 6f the top handicaps will be in line for him with Savalas possibly starting out at Musselburgh in the 5f Borderlescott Conditions Stakes. TOMMY TAYLOR looked set for a big year in 2018 but it didn’t work out like that. He didn’t quite get conditions in his favour much but a change in tactics towards the end of the season then saw him bounce back to a bit of form. Having dropped to 95 he will be starting at Doncaster on the opening day and can hopefully go on to be competitive in the big handicaps, as he has the ability to win one this year. NAADIRR will have the opening day on his radar too as he looks to back up last years win in the 6f Handicap. Having won nicely he went over to Italy for a Gr3 where he finished a good 3rd. Unfortunately he is a bit of a law to himself and the subsequent 3 runs were well below his best. When things fall right he is talented and the big fields suit him so hopefully there’s one or two that can fall his way this year. TERUNTUM STAR has enjoyed a big win when taking the 2017 Coral Sprint but couldn’t emulate that last year. There were some good performances towards the back end of the season which showed he could be competitive off his mark. Now off 93, 5lb lower than when he last won shows that he could be dangerous if he recaptures his best form. Ground is the biggest thing for him so his season will be planned around the weather.
3 YEAR OLDS
The 3 year old team this year looks like a nice bunch, there were some top juvenile performers who will be looking to continue that upward trajectory. It is a nice mix or ability and distances with some aiming to continue their high class form whilst others are looking to build own promise and ride through the ranks.
Outside of Group races prizes don’t get much bigger than the sales races and THE GREAT HEIR pocketed £147,540 for his win in the Wetherby’s Racing Bank 2yo Stakes. Progressing run by run he took a huge leap forward when cutting through the field at Doncaster. The extended 6f trip looked like he relished and there was a feeling that he could be just as good over 7f which he may well be trying this year. He is still on a nice mark considering his form and he could well be starting at Beverley, which will guide where to go throughout the rest of 2019. YOUSINI made an immediate impression when winning his first two starts in good fashion. That was followed by a solid second at Ripon but his final run at the St Leger meeting was one to put a line through, with the ground being too soft for his liking. He has done great over the winter and the 3yo sprint handicaps look likely for him. Patience was the approach taken with SECRET VENTURE following a nice debut win. The ground was never quite right for him through a very hot summer but eventually he had to run and the GoffsUK sales race at York was where he headed. It was a very rough race and he did extremely well to finish as well as he did on just his second run. Following that he went to Ayr and really showed his class. Travelling well in behind, Danny (Tudhope) angled him out ready for a challenge. The colt took off and in a few strides went clear. Unfortunately the ground was far too testing for him to maintain that run but he finished a very good 3rd in the listed race. The turn of foot was very impressive and if he can build on that this season then he could be a smart sprinter to look forward to. PRINCES DES SABLES just didn’t know how to run a bad race, never finishing outside the places and in the process picking up 4 wins. She went from strength to strength, improving with every run and continued to creep through the ranks. Finishing the season on a mark of 89 still leaves her with plenty of options and there will be races coming thick and fast for the filly. Although she did her winning over 6f there would no issue trying a different trip with her. Early success for CELEBRITY DANCER was maintained through the season. After a smart debut win he picked another success in Novice company making it 2 from 3. The GoffsUK sales race was next and he ran a massive race, finishing fourth. Dancer had helped to force the race and did well to finish as close as he did on unfavourable ground. He is another that looks to have a workable mark being off 90 which opens up plenty of options going forward. He shaped last year as though he could be versatile regarding trip so it will be interesting to see where he starts out but he could be another for top 3yo handicaps. THREE CARD TRICK improved with each run before breaking his maiden at York on his fourth start. Unfortunately dead, tacky ground meant he didn’t round the year off as expected but he looks a different prospect this year. Stronger now he will kick off on 84 and will have lots of races to aim for hopefully progressing into bigger contests throughout the year. MAGICAL SPIRIT made big strides forward in each of his 3 runs, all at Beverley over 5f, signing off with a nice win. Thos performances earned him a mark of 71 and he looks likely to be ready to go early on, holding an entry at Newcastle. He should be a likely improver and will be trying 6f which could help him thrive. ALOYSIOUS LILIUShas only one win to his name but there is some good form mixed in too. Off a mark of 71 hopefully he can improve this year and build on that sole victory.
There are some maidens too that we have already seen in action. How RATHBONE is still a maiden is a bit of a head scratcher. He has always shown plenty at home and made a good start to his career, hitting the crossbar on his first 4 starts. He performed well in the sales race and Listed Redcar trophy so his mark of 87 doesn’t look out of his reach. If he builds on last year then he may well develop and tackle the top 3yo sprint handicaps. SENSE OF BELONGING showed promise and tried a couple of trips. The winter break has done him well and it won’t be long before he earns the first win of his career, tackling a mark of 78. AROGO was another who impressed at home but couldn’t quite transfer it to the track. He looked like a big baby and now allowed the time to grow and strengthen he should make his mark, starting off 66. A win for BALDWIN seemed a forgone conclusion after the promise shown but his season petered out. Has shown ability beyond his mark of 70 so hopefully he can progress off that in the sprinting division. WILD HOPE & GEORGE MALLORY are both by the exciting young stallion Kingman and look likely to progress this season. Although they slightly different profiles from the track they bring similar traits and both should improve this year with the likelihood off starting over 7f/1mile and appreciating a bit of a stamina test. SWINGING EDDIElooked like a 3yr old last year so time to strengthen will have helped him. Showed great speed last season and should be getting off the mark starting off just 66.
You know what you get from your older horses but that doesn’t mean that the improvement is over. Although they have a little more mileage on the clock there are plenty of reasons to think that they can go on from their current form.
KNIGHTED was in fine fettle last year, improving throughout the season and giving connections plenty to cheer about. He started the season as a maiden but it was obvious that wouldn’t be the case for long. After winning on his second run of the year he unfortunately had a pair of hard and rough races. Thankfully he showed no ill affects of those runs and was back into the winners circle on his next 3 runs, nothing a hat-trick. His final run was a write off as he took on a massive draw bias but he has done well again since last year. Now off 90 he will be starting early and aiming to continue an upward trend. If he can gain early success the some top handicaps over 1 Mile will be the aim. ARMANDIHAN really looked to enjoy his new trip last year, racing over the middle distances. Although he only gained the 1 success it was a bit of learning curve and he can go on this year again racing over 1m2f and 1m4f, he heads to Doncaster on the opening weekend. Another who enjoyed further was EVERYTHING FOR YOUhe improved with every run and was unlucky to only have 1 win to his name, just bumping into some well handicapped horses on more than one occasion. Now 5 yrs old he can make his presence felt in the middle distance division and off 93 he isn’t far from some big races with any further improvement. AYUTTHAYAmight not have finished off the season on a high but he was set a couple of big tasks when stepped up to 1m2f. With a win over 1mile he had a couple of narrow loses before stepping into Listed company. Although he wasn’t quite ready for that he did himself proud and can go on again this year. Trip wise he looks like 1m2f might be his preferred trip but he is a versatile horse. COMMANDER HAN made a huge impression when shedding his maiden tag at Chelmsford before backing that up with a good 2nd off his opening mark of 90. Experimenting with trips he didn’t convert that to the turf but finished the year off with two solid placed efforts back on the AW. His best form is on the artificial surface but it’s too soon to right him off on the turf. MORNING WONDER is now 4 yrs old and has been lightly raced to this point. He secured a good win over 1m4f at the end of last season and he looks likely to be contesting races over this trip. He is still open to improvement and may well go on from his current mark of 92. QUEEN’S SARGENT spent much of last year frustrated due to the blistering summer we enjoyed. He is a horse who loves to get his toe in and whilst he always tries and runs his race, the ground has to feel like a sponge to him. Running off 82 he could be dangerous when returning and getting his conditions. Although 7f looks like the perfect trip, he is another year older so it will interesting to see if he can possibly get a little further now too. He will be out early on and has an entry at Doncaster on the opening weekend of the season.
This is the unknown, you are starting with a blank slate and dreaming of the next star. Whilst it is too early to give predictions there are a few 2 yr olds who could well be out early on. We have enjoyed a good, dry winter this year and the juveniles have really progressed well, developing over the last few months physically and mentally. Those that have shown themselves to be earlier types have done their faster pieces of work and it looks as though Kevin will be sending out some runners in the very first 2 yr old races.
The Brocklesby is the very first juvenile contest but it is not a race that Kevin has ever had much to do with. His last runner would have been around 10 years ago so it was nice to see that he has an entry in this year’s edition. COAST OF DUBAI is a strong, sharp looking son of Elzaam. He has taken all his work in his stride and was bouncing at home showing that he needed another challenge. The natural step was to get him on the track so the Brocklesby was an obvious choice. It will be great to see him begin his career and hopefully he can have a nice introduction to racing. COAST OF ALFUJAIRAH looks to be another who will be out in the opening days of the season holding an entry at Musselburgh. He is by star sprinter Brazen Beau and just like his stablemate he has thrived over the last few weeks. Again he has done everything asked of him so it was just looking for a race for him. The first fillies Novice race in the north comes just over a week into the season at Redcar. There is a possibility that Kevin has 2 fillies who may well be aimed for this race, having shown they are ready for the track. LADY ERIMUS & FLIGHT OF THUNDER are both precocious looking juveniles who are by first season sires. There is still a bit of time until the entries which is a long time for horses but both fillies should be ready to rock and roll early on.
Whilst it is too soon to be making plans for all of the 2yr olds, with their rates of progression differing to one another, there are some very interesting pedigrees in the ranks. Obviously when you are buying yearlings you have the page and the physical to go on. The family tree does not guarantee anything but it certainly gives you some nice pointers and here are a few that many people will know. There are also a nice few 2yr olds who’s family Kevin knows well.
Hot Streak was a crack sprinter for the yard, taking the Gr3 Cornwallis at 2yo before winning the Gr2 Temple Stakes at 3yo. He was one of the most exciting sprinters and was regularly seen in the top sprints, taking on the very best. This year is his first crop and he really has stamped his progeny. They have so many of his traits and we are excited to see how our former star gets on in his new career. There are 3 juveniles in our ranks by Hot Streak, BARBARELLA (Hot Streak x Acid) COCK ROBBIN (Hot Streak x Rohesia) HOT STREAK X BLUE MOON. Another family that Kevin knows extremely well is that of Bogart and Blaine. The 1/2 brothers were the first 2 from the dam Lauren Louise and both proved to be classy individuals. When Kevin saw her son this season at Tattersalls there was plenty to remind you of his brothers. BYLINE (Muhaarar x Lauren Louise) is a lovely individual and can hopefully match the achievements of Bogart and Blaine. ZABEEL KING (Frankel x Vital Statistics) went through the sales ring at Goffs. It proved to be perfect timing at the colt was due a huge update just 48 hours later. Being a full brother to East, Kevin had a little bit of inside knowledge when he and Steve Hillen went to buy the colt. Having secured the yearling the pedigree certainly looked a lot better when East went to take the Gr3 Prix Thomas Byron a couple of days later before going on to the Breeders Cup. Hopefully that class has been instilled in her brother. If he slipped under the radar then ARABIAN MAIDEN (New Approach x Spirit Of Dubai) was the sibling who had already proved himself. Emaraaty Ana had secured the Gr2 Gimcrack and Kevin loved his 1/2 sister who looked very similar and had the same fluent, athletic walk. There are a couple of colts who’s pedigree most racing fans will know straight away. OAKENSHIELD (Invincible Spirit x War Effort) is the 1/2 brother to Yousini. Being the first out of the mare, Yousini has proven to a good horse already and there was so much to like about the dam’s second colt. STARS IN THE NIGHT (Starspangledbanner x On The Dark Side) dam looked a smart filly and was tried in pattern company for most of her career. She had plenty of talent but unfortunately wasn’t the easiest to handle. Her progeny doesn’t have that trait but hopefully she has received some of the ability her mother had.ARROW OF GOLD (Galileo x Flèche D’or) is a 1/2 brother to the champion Golden Horn whilst SWITCHMAN (Lawman x Faraday Light) is a full brother to the Classic heroine Just The Judge.
We are very fortunate to have a lovely bunch of 2 year olds and hopefully they can provide connections with some big days out. They offer a broad array of different types which keeps you excited throughout the year, knowing each month there will be new juveniles hitting the track to start their career. If they can match last year’s group then we will be in for a nice season all round.
Everyone is excited for the season ahead and hopefully it provides plenty of excitement for all involved. The horses look healthy and happy, ready to kick off their seasons which is always something you like to see. We have some good jockeys to call upon and the team have been working so hard throughout the winter. Without them giving their best we would nowhere near ready and they really are credit to the yard. Enjoy the season ahead and hopefully it’ll be another year to remember for Hambleton Lodge.
Horses In Training Sales can offer all sorts of purchases that fit any budget. Big buys are ready made stars looking to further their careers whilst some unproven types intrigue the shrewd buyers giving people a chance to possibly improve a horse. Lille was sent to the sales with just two runs under her belt. The third run would come for a new stable and it would provide Lille with her first career win when taking the 5f Betway Novice Stakes at Southwell.
Having had 2 starts as a juvenile, showing promise on debut, Lille exchanged hands for just £8,000. When she arrived at Hambleton Lodge Kevin had this form to draw on plus the fact that she had had a wind op before her debut. After weeks of work and getting fit towards the the new year, it became clear that another small procedure on her wind would be needed before she ran again.
Following her wind op Kevin set about prepping the now 3yr old for a run on the all-weather. At this time of the year Kevin does like taking some horses away to Southwell for a racecourse gallop and with options coming up for her, Lille took part in this work morning to get a feel for the surface. After pleasing in her final gallop it was the obvious choice to return to the track for her stable debut.
The Novice race attracted 7 runners in the line up and there was plenty of form to go on for Lille. Favourite Exalted Angel had finished in front of the filly on their latest runs so Lille had around 4 lengths to find. With So Hi Speed holding a rating of 68 and Olympic Spirit having just finished 2nd, it was clear that this could be a fair little event for this time of year. That said there was support for Lille with the change of stable and wind op potentially giving clear chances of improvement.
Andrew Mullen has enjoyed a good start to 2019 and was booked for the ride. Lille had shown a tendency to be slow away but when the stalls opened this time round she was far better. The field all seemed to jump on terms but it was Lille who was quickest into stride. She soon built up to top speed and moved through to take the lead, closely followed by the odds on fav Exalted Angel. With his filly showing good speed, Midge allowed her to bowl along setting a good, strong gallop.
If you blinked you would have missed the first half of the race and Lille took the 7 runners through the first 1/4 mile in a high tempo. She was always pressed as the fav kept her true so there was going to be no let up and this relentless gallop soon caught most of the runners out. Moving down towards the 2f marker and those in behind were hard at work trying to make an impression. Having moved away from Gupta it was Lille and the favourite who began to assert. The pair began to move clear with neither yet to show any signs of weakness. Inside the final 2f it quickly became clear that the winner was only going to come form the leading pair but the question was, who?
Both jockeys were using their best poker face, waiting for the other to make their move first. The two horses were still travelling as well as one another so who would throw down their challenge first. It was Midge who began to get into his drive first over 1f from home, trying to take advantage of his narrow lead. Lille stuck her head down but looking next to her the fav was still travelling smoothly. Despite this Midge was getting a response and with the advantage still at 1/2 length, Exalted Angel now had to work to try and overhaul the leader. Now the pair were both going for home moving into the final furlong and the race suddenly took shape. With the fav struggling to make any inroads into Lille’s lead, the colt began to wander under increasing pressure. Drifting away from Lille, the fav now gave up more ground. Lille was the complete opposite and was straight as a gun barrel. With Midge driving her all the way to the line, Lille began to draw away in the final 100 yards. Keeping on well the filly opened up a 1 1/4 length advantage as she crossed the line for a first career win.
It was nice to see Lille win on her first start for the yard especially when the owners have had to be a little patient to do a wind op. it doesn’t guarantee anything but obviously it looks to have worked and she won well in the end. Lille was well away and showed plenty of natural speed. By halfway she had blown most of the field away but then she showed that she could maintain that by fending off the favourite. This is her third run so the handicapper will be issuing a mark now so it will be interesting to see how he rates her. She is a likely improver and it will be very interesting to see what she can do this season. Obviously she could have another run on the AW but with the turf just around the corner it may be that the grass is where she will turn out next time.
Strike while the iron’s hot. It’s a mantra that many trainers go by because form of horses can vary from day to day. This is the time of the year where the season is almost upon us and there are plenty of all-weather horses looking to take their form forward in the coming months. Giacomo Casanova has made a perfect start to the new year and shown that as a 3 year old he is improving with racing and time. Having won on his return to action, Casanova headed back to Newcastle to take the 5f Ladbrokes Handicap.
Having shown little in his juvenile year, Giacomo Casanova came back after a break refreshed and more mature. Physically he looked to have strengthened up and this proved true when Kevin dropped the colt back to the minimum trip for his first run of 2019. He took full advantage of his lowly mark of 55 to run away with a 0-65 handicap, smoothly cruising to the front and kicking clear to secure his first win by 2 1/4 lengths.
It was great to see Casanova get his head in front but there was no doubt that the handicapper wouldn’t take any risks with him. The 7lb rise came and was warranted for his performance but it would mean that next time out he would need to show the same form. Unfortunately there wasn’t too many options so Kevin waited for the right race to come back at Newcastle. The 5f Ladbrokes Handicap was the perfect race, 53-62 and over the same C&D.
Andrew Mullen took the ride once again and the pair lined up against 5 rivals. Although there was two other previous winners in the field, Casanova brought the strongest form. It would be more testing with the extra 7lb but that was earned through a convincing win and it wouldn’t have made a difference last time out. Therefore Casanova was sent off favourite to back up his win.
All 6 runners were well away but it was Sister Of The Sign who pulled her way to the front and set the pace. Dropped in the track the pace, Casanova settled just off the leaders and got into a nice rhythm from the get go. The field raced towards the centre of the track through the early stages.
It was a good pace being set as the runners galloped though the first furlong. Casanova was again showing he can travel with ease chasing the pace and Andrew had him perfectly positioned. They were soon bursting through halfway and into the business end of the race. Sister Of The Sign had proven to be quite keen throughout so came under pressure well over 2f from home. It immediately looked as though she was a sitting duck, especially with Casanova cruising down the outer. He was chased by stable mate Joey Boy who was tracking the colt’s every move and going almost as well heading past the 2f marker.
Weakening under pressure the leader quickly gave way and this caused a slight issue for Casanova. Andrew was now left in front and although Casanova had cantered to the front there was still 1 1/2f to run. He continued to give a tow to Joey Boy and now Secret Picnic was beginning to pick up from the rear of the field. With no choice Andrew had to commit and Casanova quickened clear. It was clear now that only one of the trio could win and Casanova had made the first move.
Having extended into a 1 1/2 length lead Casanova headed into the final furlong with the race at his mercy. His rivals were trying hard and they were given a sniff in the final 200 yards. Having hit the front Casanova now began to drift towards the stands side rail. Joey Boy was picking up and closing the gap with every stride down towards the centre whilst Secret Picnic was coming through up the rail. Andrew switched his stick through to his right hand and tried to prevent the colt from further movement across the track. Unfortunately Casanova didn’t respond to his jockey but was still moving forwards. Holding a good length advantage he did cross in front of Secret Picnic, who in turn had to stop riding. This left Joey Boy to throw down one last challenge but he wasn’t picking up quickly enough. Casanova had a comfortable advantage and maintained his run all the way to the line. Beating his stable mate, Giacomo Casanova won by 3/4 length to pick up his second career win in as many runs.
Casanova is obviously a colt on the up and he could continue to thrive. He travelled with ease before quickening up and almost purring the race to bed along way from home. Unfortunately he did drift but this was more due to the fact that he was in front a long way out. Andrew would have loved to continue to get a lead for further but the race didn’t pan out like that. Although he crossed over the eventual 3rd placed horse, Casanova was far enough clear that it wouldn’t have made a difference to the end result. Again the handicapper will have a reassessment of the colt and it will be likely that a steep up in grade will be next. With the turf season just around the corner it could be that Casanova has one more run on the AW before trying his luck back on the turf. What is for sure is that the colt is on the upgrade and there’s no reason to think that he can’t continue on that upward trajectory.
Although not all races can be run in the middle of summer with huge crowds and top prize money, some of the lower grade wins can give you satisfaction comparable to that. All horses have their grade and so to get a win is just the same if it is a seller or Group 1 as the horse is fulfilling it’s potential. Foxy Lady was gaining her second win at Wolverhampton when she took the 1m 1/2f Follow Sun Racing On Twitter Selling Handicap for horses rated 0-65.
It took the 4 yr old 14 runs before the elusive maiden win came her way and that was at Wolverhampton. She had shown some decent form earlier on in her career but had hit the crossbar before then failing to follow it up with another good effort. It was clear that the filly had ability to win races and with her mark hovering around 60, it seemed as though he found her grade. An in and out season on the turf caused Kevin to give Foxy Lady a break of 4 months. It proved just the tonic as Foxy Lady returned in November a fresh filly and duly shed her maiden tag, taking a 0-60 handicap. Unfortunately she didn’t back this up, finishing down the field on two subsequent runs. Kevin felt that maybe she was a filly who would run best fresh and so left her alone for a few weeks.
With the New Year rolling round there were plenty of races available to the now 4 year old but Kevin waited. It was 7 weeks between her runs and Foxy Lady arrived at Wolverhampton rejuvenated for the selling handicap. Shane Gray has spent the winter months in America honing his riding skills but was back to take his first ride of 2019 for Kevin. Due to the disappointment of her last coupe of runs, Foxy lady was allowed to go off at 14/1 in the 12 runner race.
Drawn in stall 2, Foxy jumped well and Shane was keen to go forward. Unfortunately she didn’t quite have the early pace to match a few of her rivals who moved forward to set the early pace. Favourite Mans Not Trot took the overall lead and set a nice even gallop. Along the rail Shane settled around fifth position just a few lengths from the leaders who he had in his eye line. The field past the winning post for the first time and through the first 1 1/2f to hit the bend which would take them into the back straight.
Little would change when they straightened up inside the final 6f. It was a nice pace and all the jockeys seemed happy with their position. Foxy Lady travelled well in behind and maintained her position throughout. The back straight would take the runners past the halfway point and down towards the home bend. With the fav still setting the fractions the rest of the field were waiting to see how the race might develop. Shane was happy with his position and his mount was going well as they bared down on the bend.
Swinging around the bend the pace picked up as the leader started to quicken and attempt to stretch the field. Moving inside the 3f marker and the race was now on with many of the jockeys getting into their drive, readying their challenge. Shane started to niggle away and Foxy Lady responded by quickening up and maintaining her position. Taking the shortest route possible, Foxy moved up along the rail and put herself into a great position to strike down the straight.
Entering the straight and the favourite had kicked into a clear length advantage but the pursuers were nowhere near beaten. Racing down towards the final furlong the chasing pack were baring down on the front runner and Foxy Lady was the one travelling best. With the runners fanning out off the bend Shane waited for the gaps to appear and he got his wish. He sent Foxy after the leader and immediately ate into the advantage.
Having closed down the favourite, Foxy Lady snatched the lead away moving into the final furlong. Shane was asking for everything and Foxy was driving all the way to the finish. Although passed the fav was still plugging on but it was Lord Murphy who was finishing with a real flourish. Having been held up he was rattling home and it seemed as though momentum was on his side. Foxy Lady looked to be a sitting duck to the fast finish but she was digging deep. As her rival got within touching distance of her she needed top find something more to repel the challenge. With Shane driving for the line his mount responded to every urging. Sticking her head down Foxy Lady bravely battled on holding off her rival and finding a little it more. Crossing the line she had earned her second win with a narrow neck victory.
It was a good performance from Foxy Lady who travelled well and then showed tenacity in the finish. It does seem as though she enjoys a little bit of time in between her races but then again it is always nice to strike when horses are in form. The handicapper won’t do too much due to the narrow winning margin so there will be plenty more options in the near future. Whether she steps into handicap company or stays in selling/claiming races will depend on how she comes out of this run.