A Day To Remember Thanks To Magicdollar

Winning is why owners get into racing. Having their colours carried to victory and giving them that elation is what everyone dreams of when entering the ownership sphere. Magicdollar provided that moment when he gained a first career success by taking the 1m talkSPORT Powered By Fans Handicap at Newcastle.

First season sires are always an unknown, there is no data to go on to see how their progeny may progress. Magicdollar is by Washington DC  but it became clear early on that sprinting may not be his gig. With a couple of runs over 6f, he was then gelded before a late season run over 7f proved that slightly further may be more suitable.

Magicdollar remained in training over the winter with the plan being an all-weather campaign. Having raced over 7f again, staying on well late in the race, Magicdollar had shown that maybe another furlong could be beneficial. Unfortunately the fixture list didn’t give him the chance to try out this new trip and with a lack of options, Magicdollar would have to wait until the new year.

Heading back to Newcastle once more, Magicdollar would only take on 4 rivals. The race revolved around the 1-3 fav, who had bolted up and came into the contest 9lb well in. Despite that it still looked like quite an open race and the step up to 1m looked to suit Magicdollar. Tom Eaves got the leg up on a cold and breezy day in the north east.

Magicdollar has had a tendency to start a little slow which he did once again. With the extra distance this wouldn’t be an issue and Tom just tucked in behind his rivals at the rear of the field. Keeping out of the headwind was beneficial as the field raced down the centre of the track. The pace looked to be strong early on but then quickly slowed up after the first furlong.

Little happened in the first half of the race but the favourite made a distinct move at the 4f pole. Making a beeline for the near side rail, he took the lead and increased the tempo. Tom chose to follow suit as the other trio slowly shifted over until all five were up against the rail. They got racing a long way from home and by the 3f marker the race had heated up.

Feeling like he was tracking the right horse, Tom continued to sit quietly at the rear of the field. Magicdollar travelled well but then the plan unravelled a little. The favourite was the first one beat and moving inside the final 2f, was falling back and weakening. With a rival on the outer, Tom had no choice but to sit and suffer as his rivals began to quicken for home. It looked as though there may be a hard luck story as Magicdollar was cantering but with nowhere to go.

One of the great characteristics of Newcastle is that it suits every running style due to the galloping nature. Tom never panicked, even when he had to take a pull to switch out around runners. Now in daylight Magicdollar began to pick up but his rivals were in full swing. Heading into the final furlong there was still plenty go work to do but the energy reserves were full. Having saved plenty for suffering at the rear, this was now the time to utilise it. With every urging from Tom, Magicdollar quickened up and ate into the ground. Collaring the leader 1oo yards out, Magicdollar snatched the lead and continued to stretch out, earning a neck victory.

It was a fantastic feeling to give the owners their first taste of victory and hopefully this can be a springboard to more. Magicdollar has thrived for the step up in trip and he saw it out very well. With the narrow margin the handicapper can not be too harsh and there should be plenty of options for the 3yo to back up this win.


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Hello Queen First Winner Of The Year

New Year has come and gone which means that the winners tally returns to zero. Getting the ball rolling is always nice and despite not having that many runners on the all-weather, Kevin got off the mark early. Hello Queen returned to the track for her second start and took the 6f talkSPORT Powered By Fans Fillies’ Novice Stakes at Wolverhampton.

Owned and Bred by Mr Jaber Abdullah, Hello Queen is the first progeny of Elnadim Star, also trained at Hambleton Lodge. Winning at listed level, Elnadim Star proved a rapid improving sprinter during her short racing career and she has passed on those speed genes to her daughter.

Hello Queen made a belated debut just before Christmas and made a very promising start. Over the minimum trip, she just got outpaced before staying on well. Unfortunately her route was blocked and a little interference saw the filly finish fourth in a hampered run.

Stepping up to 6f looked likely to help as she headed to Wolverhampton take on 9 rivals. Three fillies battled it out at the head of the market and it would look to be correct throughout the race. Jumping well from a wide draw, Hello Queen allowed Shane (Gray) to track over from stall 11 to gain a very nice position. Sat on the girths of the leader, Hello Queen was into stride and nullified her disadvantage.  The three market rivals were filling the front spots as they raced though the first couple of furlongs and down towards the bend.

Taking a left handed bend for the first time, Hello Queen got onto the correct lead and maintained her position in second place. With the fancied runners at the fore the pace continued to be fair from the front and this had many of the field struggling passing halfway. Trying to gain ground they had to get to work early as Hello Queen was first in line to challenge the leader.

Always travelling well, Hello Queen turned for home with just under a length to make up. The leader looked to kick off the bend and initially stole a stride on her main threat. As Shane got busier in the saddle he got a response from his filly as she changed legs and looked to quicken. Hello Queen was getting to grips with the task and between the 2f and 1f marker she began to shift through the gears. Step by step she began to reel in the leader as the favourite also gave chase down the outer.

It was a very educational ride form Shane and he never had to get too serious with Hello Queen. The 3yo filly took the lead passing the 1f marker and was really beginning to hit her stride the further they went. Once she had her head in front it was all about how far she could stretch the advantage.

In the end the 1 1/4 length margin was very comfortable and Hello Queen won with plenty in hand. Travelling well throughout the contest, Hello Queen quickened up nicely and stretched clear in the final furlong. It was an impressive performance from the filly and she really enjoyed the step up in trip. Despite winning it did look as though the track might not have been ideal as it took her a little bit of time to hit top gear. From her first two runs Hello Queen has set a good standard and looks a nice prospect for the year ahead. There may be one more race for her on the all-weather before turning her attention to the turf but hopefully she can go emulate her mother and continue progressing throughout 2023.

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Silent Words Impresses On Debut

It is the time of the year where the yard is relatively quiet, with many of the horses turned away for their winter breaks. Yearlings begin to come in whilst the stables can get a full cleanse ready for the new year. Only a handful of horses remain in training, those who may have been a little later to start their season or even un-raced individuals. Silent Words was a let comer to the team but she made up for lost time with an impressive debut win, taking the 5f talkSPORT Download The App EBF Novice Stakes at Newcastle.

Purchased as a foal, the daughter of Zoustar hailed from a family which has produced two pattern performing progeny, rated 100+. Silent Words didn’t arrive into the yard until July, but with her size and power it was clear to see why. If her work could match the physical then she looked like a filly to look forward to.

The backend of the year is not always the best time to make your debut with ground becoming an issue. Following some nice homework, Kevin decided to wait with Silent Words and head to the all-weather. Newcastle is local enough and the track is very fair, so there was no worries with her making her debut on the Tapeta. Lining up against 13 rivals, Silent Words would be partnered by Danny Tudhope.

With a couple of runners earning a handicap mark in the 80’s, this was no easy task on debut. Slightly sluggish into stride, Silent Words settled around midfield through the early stages. From her draw of 11, she raced towards the near side but the field would converge to chase the leader. Charging through the first couple of furlongs the pace was strong as the field would head down towards halfway.

Silent Words travelled supremely well throughout the contest and moved through the field with ease. As the leader took them inside the final couple of furlongs he kicked from the front, looking to catch out the rest. As one by one the field came under pressure, it was Silent Words who cruised into contention to give chase. She comfortably moved into second position and once Danny loosened the reins she quickened up. Within a few strides Silent Words reeled in the leader and passing the 1f marker she took the lead. It looked like a race winning move and especially when the margin immediately stretched to a length. Inexperience then kicked in for the first time in the race. Suddenly Silent Words began to have a look around and idle. This allowed her rival to have another go, closing in on the debutante. Thankfully once she felt the presence, as well as a couple of small urgings, Silent Words continued to find in front and hold on by a head.

The margin will show just a head victory but the performance warranted more than that. Silent Words travelled strong throughout the contest and quickened up smartly. She did idle in front but this is totally understandable for her first run. It is likely that she will be put away now until next year but Silent Words looks like a very promising filly to look forward to.

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The Cookstown Cafu Scores With First Win

Naming horses can prove to be a very difficult task but there are many owners who have themes. Highbank Stud, owned by the Wainwright family, ensure their beloved Leeds United are represented with their horses. It can mean that they are strongly supported when they race in Yorkshire and The Cookstown Cafu duly obliged by winning the 1m Lelie Burton (Fisher) Handicap at Pontefract.

Having trained four of the progeny, Kevin knows the family very well and The Cookstown Cafu looked typical of his dam. It was clear that he would better as a 3yo but The Cookstown Cafu did shape with promise in his three starts as a juvenile.

Having been gelded through the winter, the now 3yo returned with a big effort on handicap debut. Unfortunately that was as good as it got, with The Cookstown Cafu failing to build on his earlier promise. Having tried cheek pieces last time out, there was a suspicion that maybe it wasn’t his attitude but maybe the gelding had a wind issue that could be holding him back.

Returning to action, with the wind op performed, The Cookstown Cafu would line up against 10 rivals. Stepping up to 1m for the first time, it was a trip that has proved to be key to his siblings before him. Kevin Stott utilised a good draw and was positive from the start. The Cookstown Cafu was prominent and chased the early lead, being set an even gallop.

The field raced through the first couple of furlongs before swinging into the back straight which would take them past halfway. The Cookstown Cafu was sat in the gear box and had the perfect sit to throw down the first challenge. They were soon heading into the final bend which took the field between the 3f and 2f markers.

Kevin began to wind his mount up swinging for home and built up momentum. Once they straightened up for home he kicked on and quickly headed the long time leader. The pair set sail for home and opened up a distinct lead, seeing if his rivals could play catch up.

Moving into the final furlong, The Cookstown Cafu held a clear lead but just began to shorten his stride in front. Kevin was determined to keep him up to his work but it was company that was required. Once a rival came up to his heels, The Cookstown Cafu changed legs and went again. He put the race to bed but the winning margin would be minimised. Kevin was confident enough that he could ease down in the final strides and secure the win by 3/4 lengths.

The Cookstown Cafu is a lovely horse with a very big stride so the step up in trip really suited him. The family all tend to get better with age and along with his wind being fixed, there could be more to come from The Cookstown Cafu. He was only doing enough in front and this suggests that he could be well in. Connections will check what is left for him but net year could really see The Cookstown Cafu at his best.

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Kalahari Prince Off The Mark For Double

Gaining a first career win is a big achievement in a horse’s career but Kalahari Prince has his day a little outshone. With Fonteyn winning the Group 1 earlier in the day, Kalahari Prince gave the team an across the card double when he took the 1m2f Play Paddys Pick 5 At racingtv.com Handicap at Redcar.

Bought at the HIT sales, Kalahari Prince arrived from Godolphin having only raced once as a juvenile. The strapping gelding looked every inch a horse who would appreciate a trip and began his career at Hambleton Lodge in positive fashion. After a couple of decent efforts in novice company, Kalahari Prince began his handicapping journey off 74. Unfortunately he became rather frustrating in subsequent efforts and didn’t build on earlier efforts.

Changes in trips and tactics didn’t get the best from Kalahari Prince and following his run over 1m at Ayr, connections decided that stamina is what he required. Stepping back up to 1m2f, the chestnut was fitted with cheekpieces to try and get him to put his best foot forward. Tom Eaves took the ride and looked to be positive from the off.

Jumping well, Kalahari Prince was quickly into stride and moved forward down the outside of the field. He was a touch keen early on and this saw him pull his way to the fore, sitting just off the leader. It was a good pace being set up front and would ensure a serious test over the 1m2f. Kalahari Prince settled once they raced through the first couple of furlongs and headed towards the left handed bend.

Sat on the outer didn’t affect Kalahari Prince around the bend and they field quickly swung around and into the home straight. There was no hanging about and Tom had to begin working on his mount well over 4f from home. Although this sent out some distress signals the chestnut was responding and maintaining his position chasing the leader.

As the field charged down to the final 2f the leader was yet to be popped any questions and travelled powerfully. Kalahari Prince continued to respond to pressure but looked like a sitting duck form this going better. When the leader kicked he moved away and it seemed as though this was the race winning move. Kalahari Prince had been driven for a while now and looked as though he had no response to the leader’s burst of speed.

Tom is one of the strongest jockeys in the weighing room and it was on full show here. Never giving up he gave Kalahari Prince every chance and the gelding was continuing to dig deep. Entering the final furlong they still had plenty to find but Kalahari Prince had never relinquished his second place and the leader just showed the first sign of tying up. The gap just began to close and Kalahari Prince was coming on strong. With just 1/2f to run the race changed and for the first time the leader looked in danger. Kalahari Prince was finding more and more, eating into the lead in the dying strides. He pulled alongside and swept past with just meters to run and snatched the victory by a neck.

It was fantastic to see Kalahari Prince win, especially in the green colours of Frank Gillespie famously carried by The Grey Gatsby. This performance shows that the gelding does have ability as well as a good attitude so hopefully he can build on this moving forward. The manner in which he finished the race suggests that another couple of furlongs may well suit him even more. Obviously the head gear has helped but if Kalahari Prince can take this as a nice confidence boost and go on to better things now.

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Fonteyn Is The Queen Of Newmarket

A season can change around in the blink of an eye, a good one turning into a great one with one result. Having seen one Group 1 stars retired, this year has been a little bit of a transitional one. Emaraaty Ana had stepped forward last year and this time it was the turn of a filly. Fonteyn shocked the big guns when she won the 1m Group 1, Royal Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.

The daughter of Farhh is owned and bred by Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum and she prove a little bit of a slow burner. Fonteyn never really stood out last year as a 2yr old but she shaped nicely on the track. Finishing third on debut, she then went one better to fill the runner up spot. These were her only runs of her juvenile season and the winter break would prove to be very beneficial.

Blossoming into a lovely filly, Fonteyn had matured and strengthened, turning into a beautiful 3yr old. This was also shown in her work which improved too and suggested that she may well have thrived for the patience and time. When she cam to hand early on, Kevin took the 3yr old down to Newmarket for a maiden. Fonteyn went down by just a head but with he front 2 pulling 8 1/2 lengths clear it seemed like the form could be smart.

Although she was still a maiden, it was clear that Fonteyn would be winning at any point so there was no concern with letting her line up in pattern company. It was a gamble that proved well ducted as she shed the maiden tag by taking listed honours, which is always important for fillies. This allowed connections to take shots at higher grades. Stepping up in trip, Fonteyn ran a huge race to finish fourth in the Nassau Stakes proving that she was well up to that level.

Plans were put in place to finish the season with a crack at the Sun Chariot. Before then she would tackle a drop in grade to try and capture Group honours. Unfortunately the plan did not work out and in hindsight she may have had a harder race at Goodwood than was first thought.

Despite the setback Kevin was bullish leading up to the Group 1, with the filly putting in some fine home work. Taking on some of the best fillies around, there were no illusions as to the task at hand but connections were confident of a big run. Neil Callan’s last Group 1 winner in Britain was at Newmarket and for Kevin so the old allies were looking to pick up where they left off.

Jumping from the stalls, Fonteyn went to race keen as she has done previous. Neil was expecting this and left her alone, despite pulling and taking the lead. After a furlong she settled down realising there was no fight and gave up the lead. Sat prominently, Fonteyn raced down towards the near side rail. All the big guns were towards the fore and ensuring this was a going to be a properly run race.

The field charged down past halfway and would be heading into the dip shortly. Fonteyn travelled with purpose and had settled nicely for Callan. With the tempo increasing moving past the 3f marker the field were going to get racing a long way out. This is where the track begins to run away and dips downhill. Neil kept hold of his filly, filling up the tank before they had to throw down their challenge.

One by one the fancied runners came under pressure and began to weaken. Scanning to the inside, Fonteyn was travelling sweetly with Neil still yet to move. Suddenly the race changed completely and heading into the final 2f Fonteyn took the lead. Neil now got lower in the saddle and asked his filly to kick on. Hanging right under pressure, Fonteyn quickened up to take the lead and set sail for home. They raced out of the dip and began the uphill run for the line. Laurel had been trapped for room but now scythed through to join Fonteyn and the pair of fillies began to pull away.

Laurel headed Fonteyn as they entered the final furlong but it was the latter who started to find more. Down by 1/2 length, Fonteyn proved there was more in the tank and now Callan was in full drive. His filly was responding, changing her legs and quickening up once again. All of the sudden the momentum swung and Fonteyn pulled alongside her rival with 100 yards to run. She was finishing far the stronger and once she got alongside, it was game over. Fonteyn saw out the trip powerfully to take Group 1 success by 3/4 lengths.

It was a wonderful day for all the team and to repay the support of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum. Fonteyn has stepped up to every challenge set for her and this was obviously another career high. Obviously she is a young filly who is only getting better but future plans will be discussed. It is fantastic to have a Group 1 winner for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum but it is a little sweeter due to the fact he also bred the filly.


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Shaladar Continues His Progression

Horses progress at different rates, some are precocious 2 year olds whilst some are slow burners who will take time. The most important factor is to ensure that they fulfil their potential and gain as much success as possible. Shaladar took his time to get off the mark but he has thrived since and earned his third victory when taking the 1m Virgin Bet Apprentice Handicap at Ayr.

The 3yo began the year on a fair mark but early on he was a little frustrating. In hindsight it seems as though It wasn’t the gelding’s fault and a change in trip proved to be the key to success. Alongside cheek-pieces, stepping up to an extended mile Shaladar got off the mark with a late surge at Hamilton. He then finished runner up on three occasions with another win sandwiched in between, flitting between running at Hamilton and Leicester.

It was a fine run of form and suggested that he may even get a touch further. Stepping up to 10f at York, Shaladar failed to stay but it was an experiment that was well worth the effort. Clearly connections would have to drop back to a mile and so Ayr was selected for his next run. Being an apprentice race, the yard’s star apprentice Oisin McSweeney was booked for the ride.

Shaladar had only done his winning by minimal margins do therefore he was still running off a mark in the 70’s, officially 79. His winning tactics were employed again and Oisin settled Shaladar in behind the leaders, sitting in midfield with cover. With a fair gallop being set in front it would give all the field an even crack.

Shaladar travelled very well throughout the contest and the field were well bunched up as they charged around the bend. Oisin had his mount towards the outside so he should have a nice clear run when the time came. Swinging into the home straight the field moved into the final 3f.

With the pace quickening in front, Oisin stalked his rivals and edged closer with every stride. Shaladar moved with purpose as they passed the 2f marker and was looking a big danger. As the the leaders began to come under pressure they were toiling and looking like they were sitting ducks. This was clear when Oisin shook the reins and asked Shaladar to go through with his efforts.

Grabbing the lead moving into the final furlong, Shaladar still looked full of running as he scooted clear. Although he had moved into a dominant position, Shaladar doesn’t win by clear margins and he did give a fellow finisher the chance to close the gap. Always doing enough, Shaladar kept finding for Oisin and strode out to an easy 1/2 length victory.

The 3yo gelding has thrived since racing at a mile and still looks open to further improvement. Shaladar travels well in his races and has a nice finishing turn of foot. It will be interesting to see what the handicapper does to him but a step up in grade looks sure to be next. Shaladar should continue to improve with another year on his back and could be an interesting proposition for next year. Being able to travel strongly could well see him be better when tackling tougher company but he has certainly turned his career around and firmly put it on a steep trajectory.

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Marhaba Proves To Be The Champ

Galileo will go down as one of he greatest, if not the greatest, sire there has ever been. Kevin was lucky enough to train a few of his progeny and Marhaba The Champ is one last chance of the champion. He has been a slow burner but got off the mark in impressive style winning the 1m2f Bardykes Farm Nursery School Handicap at Hamilton.

By a champion and out of a Group winning dam, Marhaba The Champ had the pedigree to suggest class. He wouldn’t be the typical physical you would expect from Galileo but he showed early on that a little stamina test would be suitable. It was clear that time would be beneficial to the colt and he would only make the one appearance as a juvenile.

The winter break did him well and Marhaba The Champ returned with a fair effort over 1m. Although he ran well, it seemed as though something was holding him back and so it proved, with the colt receiving a wind op to help him in the future. The procedure looked to have done the trick as he then went on to finish second when stepping up 1m2f at Ripon. After being carried across the track he did very well to only get beaten by 1 length.

Marhaba The Champ was clearly a decent horse and an opening mark of 84 was probably spot on for the 3yo had shown. Stepping into handicap company for the first time, Marhaba The Champ would tackle 9 rivals at Hamilton. It was an open looking contest but a very competitive one with the unexposed 3yo’s taking on their elders. Kevin Stott headed to Scotland to ride and would give him a perfectly judged ride.

Jumping well, the chestnut was quickly into stride allowing Kevin to move up and be positive. Sat on the leader’s girths, Marhaba The Champ tracked over from his wider draw to race closer to the rail. They almost immediately began racing right handed around the loop and Kevin had his mount perfectly positioned to take the long, swinging bend.

The weather has changed as we head into Autumn and the rain softened ground would dictate where the field would race. As they straightened up and raced downhill, the leader edged off the rail to take the field towards the centre of the track. Following his rival, Kevin maintained his position and continued to take a lead.

Moving into the final 3f the entire field looked to have a chance with the field bunching up as the leader tried to kick on. As the jockeys looked to make a challenge they fanned out across the track and began to look like a cavalry charge. Kevin continued to stalk and was number one in line to challenge the leader.

Weakening in front, the leader succumbed and it was Marhaba The Champ who moved through passing the 2f marker. Kevin was beginning to work and get his mount lengthening. There were plenty of dangers with 1/2 mile to run but Marhaba The Champ had yet to hit top gear.

Holding a length lead heading into the final furlong, he would have the uphill finish to contend with. It was this point where Marhaba The Champ would really switch on the after burners. Stamina kicked in, class kicked in and the 3yo quickened clear. The race was put to bed within a few strides as the chestnut kicked into a couple of lengths lead. He was not for catching and Marhaba The Champ secured his first career win by 2 3/4 lengths.

The colt had shown potential on previous runs but this is where he really came of age. Alway in a great position, once Kevin asked the question the 3yo put the race to bed and showed a nice turn of foot. It looked as though he did so quite easily which shows that there could be plenty more still to come from Marhaba The Champ. The handicapper will assess him again so it will be interesting to see how he sees this performance. Marhaba The Champ is a lovely prospect and could be one for the bigger 1m2f handicaps in the future.

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Double To Start The Gold Cup Meeting

It is one of the racing’s most popular meetings and certainly one that the team at Hambleton Lodge not only enjoy but have had great success at. Competitive racing with historic races and a relaxed atmosphere, the Ayr Gold Cup meeting is a fantastic 3 days. Kevin started it in perfect fashion with two lovely prospects, Chuzzlewit and Hi Royal, winning in good fashion.

Being a full brother to Group 1 winning sire, the bar is set high and before you even step out on to the track there are certain expectations. It was third times the charm as Cuzzlewit broke his maiden when stepping up top 7f and taking the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes.

The son of Showcasing took a little time to come to hand which was expected with the size of his frame. He had always shown massive amounts of natural ability at home. When he made his debut there was expectation from the punters with him being back into favouritism. Inexperience cost him the win but it was a promising debut showing that a win was waiting.

Despite being a maiden, Kevin decided to run him in the Gimcrack next, which stated how highly regarded the colt was. It was another fine effort and the way he hit the line suggested a step up 7f could suit. So he would line up in the opening race at Ayr and was sent off a short priced favourite. Kevin Stott was on board the colt and would ooze confidence throughout the contest.

The early pace was steady and Cuzzlewit settled just behind the leaders, racing along the rail. He is such a laid back character that he settled fine despite the slow pace. Chasing the leaders, Kevin just allowed his mount to use his stride and find his own rhythm.

Cuzzlewit was always travelling powerfully and turning into the home straight he reminded in the wake of the leaders. The first increase of pace came around 3f out. Kevin remained confident but he was a little stuck with the horses on his outer rallying and keeping the pair locked up.

As they headed to the 2f marker Kevin just began to work a little in an attempt to find a clear run. The race now developed and for a few strides Cuzzlewit was a little outpaced. Kevin angled him out and found daylight, although the new leaders had now kicked away.

There was a decent size margin to overcome but Kevin continued to show confidence and worked away just hands and heels. Heading into the final furlong Cuzzlewit had made up ground but still needed to overcome the leader who had now taken over sole ownership. With every stride Cuzzlewit ate into the deficit and still Kevin just changed his hands and drove him along. Slowly but surely the pair were getting there but up against a tough rival the result still hung in the balance. Cuzzlewit loomed up on the outer in the dying strides but with the momentum he snatched the lead with metres left ti run. Crossing the line he took the win by a head.

It was great to get the win under his belt and Cuzzlewit will now be finished for the season. He is still quite a raw horse and will get better with time and racing. Where his trip lies only time will tell but he did take time to get going here and hit the line strong. He may be a horse to attempt a Guineas trial next year to find out just where his future lies.

The quick fire double was completed a mere 30 minutes later in the following novice race. Another fine prospect was shedding his maiden tag as Hi Royal bolted up in the 1m Phoenix Wealth Solutions EBF Novice Stakes.

Kodiac is the sire to go to for speed and precocious juveniles. You may not expect him to produce an athletic, lean, potential 10f horse but Hi Royal has always looked likely to be that sort. Being out of a Group 1 winning miler, the pedigree is there for Hi Royal and he has certainly show plenty of potential.

The Convivial Maiden at York is one of the top maidens, as you would expect with a big prize pot. It means that it is usually a very good race and produces many good horses. Making his debut in that contest, Hi Royal flew home to finish third showing great promise. Almost immediately Kevin nominated the 1m Novice at Ayr, feeling it would suit the colt.

Hi Royal was a short priced favourite but wouldn’t quite be sent off odds on, starting the contest as the even money fav. The race looked to be between the first three in the market with nothing else in single figure prices. Kevin Stott looked to be positive from stall seven, looking to hopefully get a nice position with a quick start. Hi Royal was away well and this allowed him to track over towards that rail, latching on to the leader’s girths. Able to use his long stride, Hi Royal sat second and got into a nice rhythm form the off.

There was very little danger throughout the whole contest as Hi Royal galloped powerfully. He handled the left handed bend which maintained his position chasing the leader. Once they straightened up for home the leader looked to stretch the field and increased the pace. As the leader did this, Hi Royal covered his move with ease, moving upsides with Kevin motionless. The writing  was on the wall for the leader a long way from home and heading towards the 2f marker, Hi Royal took the lead and this was the last rival he would see.

As Hi Royal took control of the race he pulled through his two market rivals. They were hot on his heels but as they came under pressure, Hi Royal remained hard on the bridle. Holding around a length advantage, Kevin decided to ask his mount to go and win the race. Kicking away over 1 1/2f from home, the race was done and Hi Royal lengthened. Nobody could match the colt’s power and it was game over. Kevin was educating his mount all the time, asking him to continue stretching. Hi Royal utilised his stride to move further and further clear, breaking his rivals spirits. The winning margin could have been anything but it would officially be 2 1/2 lengths once he galloped past the line.

This race did seem a very good opportunity and Hi Royal capitalised in great fashion. Travelling well throughout he managed to quicken up with ease and Kevin Stott felt that he didn’t even get out of third gear. He looks like a colt with a massive future and could well get further next year. This will be his final start of the year and will have a break now to give him time to mature. Hi Royal does look like a really bright prospect and he could be another to take on a classic trial in 2023 to see just where he could get to.

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Belsito Makes Up For Mishap

Improvement from debut run to second run is fairly common with runners coming from Hambleton Lodge. This was expected of Belsito when he lined up at Southwell following a good debut run. An unfortunate saddle slip scuppered any chance he would have in that contest but he made no make mistake at the third try when winning the 5f Redcar Racecourse Celebrates National Racehorse Week Restricted Novice Stakes.

Belsito is the first progeny of Areion to be trained by Kevin. The sire is a prolific sire of winners in his native Germany, where he was a top sprinter himself. The colt looked every inch a speedster himself when he arrived at the yard and it would prove that once he hit the track. Making his debut at Ayr, Belsito showed good speed early before tiring late on to finish mid division, but show plenty of promise.

The race at Southwell looked a good opportunity for Belsito as he would be sent off the 2-1 fav for his second run. The race was over when they swung around the bend and a saddle slippers saw Kevin Stott unable to ride and having to look after himself and the horse. Thankfully no harm was done so the colt could be out quickly, aiming to make up for the unfortunate events.

Having shown natural speed, Belsito was dropping to the minimum trip for the first time. Lining up against 6 rivals, the race was revolving around the two winners in the line up. Belsito was the third pick of the market but would be the recipient of weight due to his rivals winning penalties.

Despite trying the trip for the first time, Belsito showed electric speed to lead from the off. Whilst he spearheaded the field down the centre of the track, one rival took a left hand turn to race along the far side rail. Recent weather has seen the fast ground soften up due to down pours of racing and the going was good to soft.

Up front Belsito was forcing a strong pace alongside his rival and there was no hiding place. The furious gallop would have much of the field under a pressure a long way out. By halfway the race divided up and half of the runners were taken out of contention. Whilst his nearest pursuer came under pressure and weakened, Belsito continued to drive on from the front but would come under a strong challenge from the favourite.

The favourite swept through the lay down a challenge inside the final 2f and Belsito lost his position at the head of affairs. Although they had raced away from each other, the runners now converged towards the far rail. Belsito came under a strong drive and responded by quickening up to throw down a revitalised challenge. The race was between three as they headed into the final furlong but that number would be trimmed again. Belsito and the fav dropped their other rival as they battled it out, eyeball to eyeball. The final 100 yards was a real ding dong, but as the line loomed up, Belsito proved to be the stronger, finding that little bit more to secure the win by a neck.

It was nice to see the colt capture his first win, especially after last time. He showed electric speed from the off but managed to quicken off that and move through the gears. The lead was lost but he didn’t curl up, rather he dug deep to fight back and was powerful at the line. It will be interesting to see what happens next as Belsito showed a lot of natural speed but he did hit the line strong. Possibly a stiff 5f could be his ideal trip but he also looked like the ground was no issue. Belsito will receive a handicap mark now and that should dictate where he turns out next.

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