It’s a route that has been seen many times before by Kevin’s juveniles, breeze up buy, promising debut, convincing win. Queen Jojo has done just that and next on the agenda is the step up in grade to pattern company. She has shown to be well above average at home and proved just that when comfortably winning the 5f Carnival Night Fillies Novice Stakes at Beverley.
Bought from the Craven Breeze Ups, Kevin was sent the filly by owner Roger Peel who had gone to £68,000 to sign for the daughter of Gregorian. She had clocked the fourth fastest breeze which had been enough to convince connections that she was the one they wanted. Times are not everything when buying breeze up horses but it can tell you a lot and when used as a tool alongside other factors it really does help you sift through through the hundreds of juveniles on offer.
When Jojo arrived at the yard it was clear that she was more than just a speedy filly. On first sight she looked to be a very athletic filly with the size and scope required to improve throughout the year. She ticked most boxes as a potentially nice filly so the only thing left was once her work got going. Kevin likes to give his breeze up arrivals a little bit of time to settle into their new surroundings, getting all of their breeze up prep out of their system. This small break did Jojo the world of good and she thrived, coming into her work ready for the season ahead. The filly did not disappoint once her work started and from day one she impressed, looking to have quality about her.
Horses bought from the breeze ups are ready to rock straight from the sale but Kevin does like to give his purchases a little bit more time, allowing them to learn his ways of training. This meant Queen Jojo didn’t see the track until July but the wait seemed to be worth it as she had grown and strengthened through all her work. Beverley offered her the chance to see the track for her debut and looked the ideal place to play to her strengths. Traits of early speed which then turns into a stamina testing uphill final furlong looked perfect for the filly. Jojo had shown plenty of speed whilst her pedigree said she would appreciate a little further. After missing the break she got into her stride through the first furlong to travel in midfield. Showing signs of greeness it took her a little bit to time to get going, by which time the leader had kicked for home. Once she got the hang of things the winner had already set sail but Jojo stayed on very well, cutting through the field to go in chase. Finishing powerfully, Queen Jojo made a very pleasing debut to finish second where inexperience had proven to be her downfall.
Having put up a good performance at Beverley, Kevin felt that keeping Jojo to 5f would be no issue for her next run but a similar track would be ideal. Fortunately just 17 days later there was an identical event back at the East Yorkshire track and so naturally Jojo would head back. It was a very similar race on paper but this time Queen Jojo would be the one to beat. Owner Roger Peel is in a very enviable position to have Danny Tudhope to call on for his rides and so the Scotsman was back on board the filly.
Landing the plum draw of 1, Danny knew exactly what he wanted to do on board Jojo. Knowing he was on the best horse in the race tactics were simple, be positive. There was only one other filly in the field who offered any decent level of form, Adrian Nichols’ Cheerupmylove. When the stalls opened Jojo was away ok but got into her stride quickly to move up the rail and race positively. It was her main rival that took the lead straight from the off and tracked over from her wide draw. With a newcomer showing good speed, Danny was able to just take a lead through the early stages and settle in behind. Sitting on the rail Jojo was in third, travelling smoothly in the hands of her jockey.
Racing downhill and swinging right handed the pace was strong and the speedy fillies were not hanging around. With the most experience in the field, Cheerupmylove was putting it to good use and spearheaded the 11 runners. Queen Jojo was always well positioned and enjoyed the strong gallop. The pace was already telling on some by the halfway point with a few of the field pushed along to try and get into the contest. If the leaders could see out the stiff finish it seemed that the winner would be coming from the first few. Jojo was travelling smoothly throughout the contest and Danny’s hardest job was trying to keep her off the heels of those in front as she was cantering in behind.
Passing halfway the leaders straightened up ready for the second half of the race. Now the leader tried to use her lead to her advantage and attempted to kick for home, looking fro a break. With a lot of the field hard at work this could be seen as a good move. Unfortunately for the leader, a look to her inside would have shown two fillies travelling a whole lot better. Newcomer Ginvincible had been up with the pace all the way and now moved through to press for the lead. Hot on her heels was Jojo who was pulling double in the hands of Tudhope who was now plotting his route home. Moving inside the 2f marker and now the leader was passed by Ginvincible with Jojo getting a tow in.
It was clear that Jojo was travelling the best and in running punters would not be getting much to back on with her cantering. Danny had looked to track his experienced rival Cheerupmylove earlier in the straight but sensing that the filly was not going well enough he had switched back inside to tag on to Ginvincible. This proved to be the right call and he was getting a streamlined tow down to the 1f marker. With the uphill finish coming, Danny pulled his filly out into daylight and gave her a squeeze. Jojo moved to join her rival with ease, still hard on the bridle. The race looked over the moment Danny pulled her out. Shaking the reins he asked her to go and put the race to bed. Queen Jojo moved into the lead and easily began to assert. Once she hit the front, Jojo pricked her ears knowing full well she was in complete control. It was all hands and heels from Danny at this point and Jojo pulled clear comfortably. The winning margin could have been a lot bigger but Danny was easy on his filly and allowed her to run out a very smooth 1 1/4 length winner.
Queen Jojo proved that she was too good for her rivals here and she does look a very smart filly. Before the race there was talk of bigger prizes and although there are no certainty’s in racing she did look very close to one. It was a convincing win and she will improve for the step up to 6f which will now be her trip. Owner Roger Peel has had many horses with Kevin but never one with this much potential so it is great to have a good one for him. The Group 2 Lowther is a race that she hold an entry for and Jojo could well go there for her next start. She has impressed in every stage of her career and Queen Jojo could well be another nice 2 year old that Kevin sends down the Knavesmire come Ebor week.