Well it was a fantastic July for the yard, not only did Betty win the Super Sprint but the string recorded SEVEN winners, our best monthly total since April 2013. What made it more remarkable was the fact that we entered July on the back of six winners in both May and June and it has certainly been a great season so far! Unfortunately we were due a bit of a blip and some of the horses haven’t been quite right in recent weeks but another two winners so far in August takes us past our 2019 total as we have recorded 29 WINNERS and over £365,000 in prize money.
The star in recent weeks has to be three-year-old GREELEY who like last season has come good in late summer. He was most progressive when sent handicapping last year, racking up a hat-trick but his mark went from 60 to 81 and he found life tougher stepped up in grade. Having used up his improvement in nurseries last year, he struggled against well handicapped three year olds at the start of the season but has found his level of late and got back in the winner’s enclosure when landing an amateur riders race at Salisbury under Pat (won last year by Biotic). With confidence boosted, he followed up at Ffos Las, the late surge he showed as a two year old returning as he powered clear inside the final furlong to record his fifth career win. Last year he got a hat-trick and we hope for the same this time around as he returns to Bath on Wednesday under a 6lb penalty off 75.
Our final winner in July was HANDYTALK who benefitted from a top front-running ride by Championship leader Oisin Murphy to record his second win of the season at Ffos Las. Things didn’t really go his way at Brighton when bidding to follow up under a penalty but there are more races to be won by him when things go his way.
Like Greeley, it appears SWEET PURSUIT loves to win in the months of July and August as she came from last to first to win at Bath on Saturday evening. She is an extremely tough if slightly temperamental filly whose season has been slow to get going as she received a six month ban from racing for being naughty in the stalls last year. Touch wood she has been well behaved so far this year and the manner of her victory suggests there is more to come.
Saturday was frustrating as we felt we missed out on a double as the toughest horse in the yard, SINGING THE BLUES lost out by a nose in an attempt to land his fifth win of the year. Having been harried from an early stage, he did extremely well to fight off his fellow front runner and nearly got back up having been headed inside the final furlong. He has not had a break since he made his debut last September and apart from when he failed to handle Epsom on his penultimate start, his record reads four wins, six seconds and two thirds since switching to handicaps and the Bath Stayers Final is an obvious target for him.
Up to Class 2 company, PRINCE OF HARTS ran an admirable race to finish second in a £45,000 Handicap at Ascot behind the very impressive Flashcard (subsequently third in a Group 3) and stayed on to suggest that he can step back up to ten furlongs which looks right up his street on pedigree.
Two that certainly deserve to get their head in front this season are SPOT LITE and STEEVE. Spot Lite had a very productive three year old campaign but it isn’t always easy outside of that age group and it has taken him a while to get going this campaign but three places at Bath, Chepstow and Ffos Las shows the win isn’t far away. Similar comments apply to Steeve who did not get going until the middle of the season but has been placed on his last three starts, finishing second to Pat in an amateur race either side of two thirds at Salisbury. Also at Salisbury on Wednesday, CRYSTAL CASQUE added another second in her very consistent campaign under stable apprentice Ollie Searle.