DUKE OF BRONTE – 1:50 Newmarket ITV1

The opening handicap on 1,000 Guineas day is another important step for DUKE OF BRONTE’s career and one we have been really looking forward to after his impressive victory on seasonal return at Chelmsford.

This imposing individual is from a family we know well, his half-sister Taws was an extremely tough and durable staying mare for the yard, her career highlight a second in the Queen Alexandra at Royal Ascot. Having been very green in two runs on the all-weather, he then shocked us by winning at 100/1 in his third maiden at Newbury. He proved that result was no ‘flash in the pan’ by finishing fifth in an extremely competitive renewal of the London Gold Cup at Newbury’s Lockinge meeting. In that event, he was twelve lengths clear of the sixth and the top four included Defoe (now rated 115), Time To Study (105) and Century Dream (107).  Like that trio, the Duke kept on progressing throughout the season to win two more handicaps, including a £100,000 event at Ascot and ended the season by splitting Time to Study and Royal Line (also now rated 105) in a conditions race at Newbury.

Throughout last year, he was very much on the weak side, so it was a bonus that he achieved so much and he has returned a much stronger animal this season. With such a bad winter, our horses have been needing their first run so his success at Chelmsford over an inadequate ten furlongs was really pleasing and despite going up six pounds to 99, his form from last year suggests he is still well handicapped.

Tomorrow’s race looks a nice stepping stone as aside from the hot favourite Adamant (trained by Sir Michael Stoute with just four starts and receiving nine pounds from the Duke), the race seems to lack the unexposed ‘potential Group horse in a handicap’ you would expect at this kind of level. We are hopeful of a good run and looking forward to what the future holds.