Northumberland Plate Handicap Preview

newcastleBy Samantha Martin (@sam_angelina22)

It has been a week since the final day of Royal Ascot, when Nando Parrado was a shock winner of the Coventry Stakes at 100/1. Jessie Harrington won the Coronation Stakes with the likeable sister to Alpha Centauri, Alpine Star. Palace Pier got the better of Pinatubo and Wichita. Kevin Stott won at the Royal meeting for the first time in the Diamond Jubilee and won the Wokingham Stakes straight after Tom Marquand capped the week of with a hard-fought victory on the well-backed Who Dares Wins in the Queen Alexandra.

However, horse racing was struck to its core this week by the passing of Grand National winning jockey Liam Treadwell and Aintree Racecourse chairman Rose Paterson. Our thoughts, here at Rein It In Racing are with their family and friends in this horrific time.

There is Classic action this Saturday as Ireland’s top colts head to the Curragh to stake their claims in the Irish Derby. It looks an extremely interesting, open contest and I’m going to side with Arthur’s Kingdom, who I gave as a horse to follow in our flat season podcast, and I also think Crossfirehurricane will run a big race for Joseph O’Brien.

In England, the Northumberland Plate – despite not being a Class 1 contest – is the big race of the day from Newcastle on the tapeta track. Due to the hot weather, the track will be riding slow as the surface has wax in which holds the fibres together. When it is hot, the wax melts and the track is less compact.

The horse that jumped out to me straight away was number one Magic Circle. This horse is eight now and we haven’t seen him for a year when he finished ninth in the Ascot Gold Cup. 2018 was a good year for him when, from just two starts, he won the Chester Cup, over two miles and two furlongs, and the Henry II for Ian Williams. He has joined Richard Fahey but fitness and the weight could be a worry on his reappearance. Reshoun runs for the same ownership and he has recently been bought by Marwan Koukash after a good win at Kempton in November over this sort of trip.

Mark Johnston has two runners – Anyonecanhaveitall and King’s Advice. The former was second to Just Hubert, who has struggled to figure in races since, over this trip at Musselburgh and then won over course and distance by four lengths. He went down a neck in a similar contest as that on his last start of 2019. On reappearance, he was beaten by Oleg but has been put up 3lbs. he has a featherweight of 8st. Denmead, for trainer Dan Skelton, followed in Anyonecanhaveitall that day and he’s already a dual winner at this trip. King’s Advice has ran four times in 2020 already. He was sixth in this last year, when Cosmeli was fifth, and was beaten seven and a half lengths by Rainbow Dreamer at Kempton in a three runner race. That was the final leg of a treble for Alan King’s horse after previous success at Kempton and Wolverhampton. Last time, he was fourth in the Sagaro Stakes, with King’s Advice sixth. The King team are in great form after winning two races at Royal Ascot.

Charlie Fellowes won the Sandringham for the second year running at Royal Ascot and he has Carnwennan. This horse completed a hattrick last year but was second to Smart Champion at Newcastle in February. Smart Champion also had Cosmeli behind that day. In his next start, David Simcock’s horse finished fourth, beaten one and a half lengths, in the Ascot Stakes. Simcock went for a long spell without a winner after lockdown but his horses appear to be winding up. There has been an interesting amount of support for him in the market. Rajinsky has ran just nine times and was two from three over the winter with the defeat coming at this course. He came third over one mile four furlongs last time and attempts two miles for the first time.

Gay Kelleway has two runners representing her. Cosmeli is a grand seven year old and was fifth twelve months ago. Since then, he has won at Chelmsford and finished third to Collide last time. Collide won at Cagnes-Sur-Mer in a listed race before that and, last time, he was seventh in one of the new handicaps at Royal Ascot. He has top All-Weather jockey Ben Curtis on board. Mukha Magic is Kelleway’s other runner. He completed a treble under talented apprentice George Rooke, who claims 5lbs on board Cosmeli in this. Next time, he finished sixth to Australis and he was last seen running a huge race in the Queen Alexandra, only beaten two and a half lengths.

John Ryan has two horses, Sevenna Star and Hiroshima, for owner Mr G Smith-Bernal. The former won a listed race and a group three in 2018 before coming tenth in the Derby when in training with John Gosden. He was fourth of five in a listed race on his only ever try at two miles last season. Hiroshima had only won a class five Southwell maiden before finishing eighth in the Lingfield Derby Trial and eleventh in the Derby itself. When last seen, he followed in two nice horses (Hamish and Trueshan) in October and he steps up two and a half furlongs in trip from that.

Technological and Financial Conduct are both outsiders but have gear changes to hopefully eek out some improvement. The latter wears cheekpieces for the first time and ran in three hurdle races over the winter without making much impression. He was brought down when December Second tragically lost his life on the opening day of the season. He’s a three times winner at Dundalk. Technological wears a visor for the first time and Noel Garbutt takes off 3lbs on this grey gelding. He makes his first start for the Milton Harris yard after three wins from twenty starts. Glencadam Glory has his second start for Tim Easterby after leaving John Gosden. He was ninth in the 2017 Derby and his run last time was good, especially as it was off a 922 day absence. A good run is expected as he was fifth in the Queen Alexandra in 2018.

Australis goes for the in-form Roger Varian stable. He had Caravan Of Hope and Mukha Magic in behind at Wolverhampton. He’s ran nine times and won twice but steps up in trip. He did stay on well over two furlongs less than today’s trip and is one of the favourites. CARAVAN OF HOPE is my selection. He was gelded over the winter and had previously concluded his campaign with a victory on heavy ground over one mile and six and a half furlongs really easily. I think he will stay based on that and especially as he’s related to Weather Watch and Grandee who stayed further than two miles. Glencadam Glory and Mukha Magic could run well too.

Rest Of The Card Selections

R1- Tilsit

R2- Inhaler

R3- Gunmetal

R4- Brando

R5- Lahore

R6- Aloe Vera

R7- Caravan of Hope

R8- Al Kout

R9- Juniors Dream

How a Policeman and a Headmaster ended up in the Parade Ring

Clive (one from right) and Tony (five from right) after Kalarika wins at Exeter

“Where’s the man with the jokes?”

These were words spoken by the late Cheltenham Gold Cup winning trainer Robert Alner at a stable visit earlier this year. He could only have been referring to one man – Clive Cole. As Clive duly took centre stage and delighted everyone there with his repertoire of jokes, I looked around and considered the makeup of the room. To my left, an ex-policeman and racing syndicate manager was in conversation with a Grade 1 winning jockey who is now a talented trainer. To my right was a former headmaster exchanging jokes with one of the sport’s greats.

Clive Cole and Tony Gale have both changed my life, and many others’, by opening up a world which has given me enormous enjoyment.  They also seem to me to be the type of people who are well placed to advise how we can get young people involved in the sport.  In this article, I hope to shine some light on their backgrounds and how they became involved in racing.

The first day of school – it’s one of the most vivid memories of childhood. The weird smells, new rules and grown ups who aren’t Mum or Dad can be rather scary to a small child. As I entered the classroom for the first time and waved a teary goodbye to my parents, I felt abandoned and very unhappy. My new headmaster must have noticed the stream of tears running down my cheek and took me aside to find out what was wrong. He passed me a tissue and we talked about our common interests. I told him I liked national hunt racing and, with a twinkle in his eye, he assured me that everything would be okay. This solicitous headmaster was Clive Cole.

Throughout my years at primary school I continued to have these brief conversations with Mr Cole about our favourite sport: who we thought would win the 2:40 at Newbury or the amount of winners that McCoy was going to rack up on any given day. Looking back at it now, I think that these chats at a young age really fuelled my love of horse racing and I am very pleased that I kept in touch with Clive.

As a pupil at his school, I can confirm that Clive was a brilliant teacher and I began this interview by asking him about his approach to being a headmaster.

“Being a headmaster is very different to what I’m doing now. When you do a job, especially as a headmaster, you have a big responsibility because every child that comes through your door is your responsibility. It’s most important that you get the best out of them because, like horses, they’re not all the same. You get some children that are very bright, some horses that are very intelligent, some that will try harder than others. I loved the job as a headmaster as you got a chance to influence children’s lives. Everybody should have something that they are good at and you should always try and emphasise that thing. I also think that it’s about instilling values in them. I do have a bit of a sense of humour – as you know – and I just wanted their childhoods to be full of nice experiences and to get the best from them.

“It’s the same with horse racing: everyone wants to get the best from their horses in relation to their ability. You’ve got to emphasise the positives in young people because this is their starting point. For me, it’s so rewarding to see children go on and do something special and make the best of their lives.

“What am I doing now? My wife, Sue and I are retired, we’re just going along and enjoying life, this is what we worked hard for. If I didn’t have my racing, I don’t know what I’d be doing – I could only do so much decorating! I get a real buzz from going and seeing the horses run, being part of it all.”

Like many people involved in the horse racing industry, Clive’s interest in the sport started at a young age and was largely influenced by his parents. “I think I first went racing when I was about seven, my father used to like a little bet – he didn’t go mad – and my Mum worked for William Hill in the betting office. We were always interested in horses.”

Going racing at such a young age can be rather confusing and I couldn’t help but laugh when Clive told the story of backing his first ever horse. “I can vividly remember backing a horse called Brown Stout at Towcester. We were on the inside of the course and it finished first so I was elated, but I was a little more despondent when my Nan said ‘it does have to have a jockey on it as it goes past the line!'”

Clive went on to explain how he became an owner. “I thought I’d never own a horse – we had ponies, which I loved, but when I was working I found out about the Elite Racing Club which had thousands of members. It was only about £99 for membership and so I decided to join.” Clive had a taste of success at Elite Racing after he “got to walk into the winner’s enclosure with a horse called Ffestiniog which went on and won several races and proved to be a good broodmare.” Since his days with Elite Racing, Clive has held a share in more than 25 horses. He joined Axom Syndicates and had a couple of shares in horses with John Oaksey. But then he met Tony Gale, founder of Gale Force Racing. Since then, he’s held a share in every Gale Force horse since Theocritus. When I asked Clive to talk about the joy of horse ownership, a large grin appeared on his face. “Every time you go racing as an owner and see your horse run it’s fantastic, when a win comes it’s an absolute bonus.”

Clive currently has an interest in eight horses. Clive and Sue own three horses  (Castcarrie, Dorrana and Castkitello) with their great friends Tony and Ann Gale. He owns three with Gale Force (Kalarika, Early Days and One for Dunstan), and Clive and three friends own the mare Chloe’s Court. Clive and his wife Sue are also the sole owners of a yearling by Scorpion out of the three time winning mare Shoofly Milly who was owned by Gale Force.  Having had shares in over 25 horses, Clive has had the chance to be associated with some great stables. Among others, Clive has had horses in training with the likes of Martin Pipe, Nicky Henderson, Paul Cole, Colin Tizzard and Robert Walford.

Clive and Sue’s yearling out of Shoofly Milly

When asked to choose his favourite horse that he’s owned, he named the three-time handicap chase winner, Castarnie. He was bought as an unbroken five year old to be trained by Robert Walford and was almost un-rideable at the start. He also had a bit of a character. “On occasion, he would let himself out of his stable. One day he let himself out, ate a bag of pony nuts, a whole bag, and when Rob got in in the morning, his stable door was still open and he was inside, stamping his foot waiting for breakfast.”

Every owner hopes that one of their horses will go down in the history books like Arkle, and Clive is no different. “There was a horse called Mill House, a fantastic horse, Arkle gave 16 pound to that horse and a 20 length beating. He was just an absolute machine, and a character with it. When you buy horses, you’ve always got that hope that one of them will be a freak like Arkle.”

I asked Clive what his advice would be for young people who are considering going racing for the first time. “If I were a youngster, I wouldn’t go to one of the bigger meetings. I would try and find a local track, perhaps midweek during the holidays, somewhere like Fontwell, Newton Abbot or Plumpton. The first thing I would do is go and have a look at the horses in the parade ring to see what athletes they are and how well they are prepared. For the race, I would go and stand next to a fence, preferably a steeplechase fence because on the television you cannot get the real feel and sound of those horses brushing through that fence. It’s fantastic. Then I’d go back to the paddock to see how well they are looked after and try and pick one for the next race – it could be the colour of the horse, the name or the silks. Just go and see the horses in action.”

One day at Wincanton racecourse, when I was seven or eight, Clive and Sue introduced me to their friends, Tony and Ann Gale.

Tony joined the police at 19 and had a long and distinguished career in different roles. He can remember always having an interest in horses and started going racing when he was eight or nine, visiting point to points in West Dorset and East Devon.

Tony’s first involvement in ownership was in 1999 when he bought a share in Head Gardener, trained by Richard Lee because he liked the name. Head Gardener ran at Hereford on its first run after Tony bought the share, and won. Tony remained in ‘The Another Comedy’ syndicate for many years before buying small shares in horses with Middleham Park racing, who, he adds, “weren’t as grand then as they are now!”

Middleham Park was being run as a business and Tony and another friend decided to form their own syndicate which aimed to enhance the involvement of smaller owners. They called the syndicate ‘Gale Force’ playing on Tony’s surname and that many of the original group of owners were, or had been, members of the police force. Tony added, with some satisfaction, “we’ve still got a couple of original owners with us now, almost 20 years down the road.”

Since 2002/03, Gale Force has been involved with around 30 horses, trained by Richard Lee, Nick Williams (who trained the first ever Gale Force winner), Colin Tizzard, Jeremy Scott and now Rob Walford as well.

Keen to find out about how Tony assigns trainers to horses, I asked what his approach is. “We like to spread horses about because if one trainer has a virus in the yard then hopefully the others can race with no problems. We always tended to use smaller trainers, that applied to Colin Tizzard when we went to him first – he was then a farmer who trained a few horses. We’ve now had horses with him for quite a long time but we’re always looking for small, new trainers who we get on with.”

Tony’s favourite horse is Desert Orchid who captured the hearts of the nation. “He was a big grey and what he achieved with David Elsworth was quite remarkable really. We’ve got a picture of Desert Orchid on our stairs here.”  Tony’s wife, Ann chooses Yeats, the great flat horse.

Tony’s favourite horse he has been involved with is Philson Run. “He was a very inexpensive horse – we bought him at the Doncaster sales for £6,500. He had his first run in a Hunter Chase at Wincanton, he was the outsider at 33/1 and he won that race. After that, he ended up winning the Eider Chase, the Midland National and a couple of other chases before being placed in the Aintree Grand National. He won a total of £170,000 and we sold him when Nick Williams felt that he couldn’t do any more with him. In his retirement, Philson Run went back to a girl that looked after him at Nick Williams’ yard and she rode him to her wedding. He made a lot of owners very, very happy and financially they did quite well out of him too.”

Ann chose Morello Royale. “We bought her as a foal in Ireland. We saw her grow up and then she won a big mares’ race at Kempton which made her an Elite Mare. She was rated 140 at one point.”

Perhaps it wasn’t too surprising that Ann and Tony agreed with Clive about how young people can be encouraged to go racing.  Tony emphasised how the horses are the stars of the show. “A horse is a beautiful animal and an athlete. They might not win on their first start; every horse has a different ability but racing is ultimately about appreciating the animal on the racecourse. Betting comes into it, but it’s very incidental to watching the actual excitement of the race unfold.”

Ann added, “I’m not a betting person so therefore betting doesn’t doesn’t appeal to me at all but I think you’ve got to appeal to the younger generation as a sport not an occasion exclusively for drinking and gambling. Nowadays, some racecourses allow you to go down to the start, look at the weighing room and go behind the scenes. By racing making itself so open to newcomers, some young people will be fascinated by being able to access and observe everything that goes on behind the scenes on a race day. I think more racecourses should follow suit.”

Clive, Tony and Ann were all interested in racing when they were children and have kept on going, eventually owning horses themselves. They all talk about their appreciation of horses as athletes and encourage the racing industry and courses to open themselves up and make the horse the focal point of attraction.

My own interest in horse racing is ultimately down to enjoying the magical spectacle of watching horses jumping fences. But I have also been introduced to many decent people in racing through Clive and Tony who share my enjoyment of the sport.  I’m very grateful to them both, and their wives, for the kindness and patience they’ve always shown me. I turned 16 a little while ago and I now have a very small share in a horse with Tony and Clive for myself.

By Ezra Woodman


Royal Ascot Day Five Preview


By Samantha Martin (@sam_angelina22)

It’s the final day of Royal Ascot. There have been no crowds or royal parades but we had some amazing racing on the track – Battaash finally won the King’s Stand; a Royal winner in Tactical; Lord North pulled out a surprise win in the Prince Of Wales’; Stradivarius proved, yet again, that he’s the best stayer around – even on soft ground, and Hollie Doyle winning her first Royal Ascot race.

Whilst lockdown was enforced by a cruel disease, having no school has been a huge perk for me. For the first time ever, I haven’t had to rush home from school to watch my recording Royal Ascot – I have been able to watch it live. This week has been thoroughly enjoyable – even though I was lacking in the winners department – and it has been great fun to put together various videos and podcasts with the rest of the team.

Today, we have a rematch of the classic generation – Pinatubo vs Wichita and Quadrilateral Vs Cloak Of Spirits. We have the Queen Mary and the Coventry Stakes, where the speedy two year olds are to the fore and, in contrast, we finish with a two miles five handicap for the stayers!

Hopefully I can point you in the way of a few winners in my preview…

Silver Wokingham Handicap

To kick of the day, we have the consolation race for the Wokingham later on in the card. I couldn’t remember adding BLUE MIST into my tracker before I got the email for his last run at Newbury. He ran well that day and just didn’t have much effort left over the seven-furlong trip. I think it is very interesting that they’re dropping back to six, which he has never tackled before. Burmese Waltz was with Ger Lyons as a two year old and she managed to win a Dundalk maiden for them. She hadn’t been seen since April 2019 when she made her debut for Archie Watson and won at Kempton on the 10th June. Count D’orsay was trained in Ireland at the start of his career and moved over to Tim Easterby. He’s three from seven for the yard and was a good third on his reappearance. Gunmetal and Pass The Vino were both third on their reappearances fifteen years ago.

Queen Mary Stakes (Group Two)

I think Aidan O’Brien is going to win this with MORE BEAUTIFUL. She is out of the talented Maybe, who excelled in her own two year old campaign, and that makes her a half sister to Saxon Warrior. She got off the mark impressively on her debut on the 8th June and there’s an awful lot to like about her. Sacred ran a nice race on her debut to win, beating Sardinia Sunset, and comes from William Haggas’ yard and will be ridden by James Doyle. Wesley Ward has Campanella, who was a three and a half length winner at Gulfstream. This filly is very much English-bred being by Kodiac and out of a listed winning mare for Barry Hills. It would be nice to see Caroline Dale, who is owned and bred by Dave Lowe of Kachy fame, run well after the form of her debut second has worked out well.

Coventry Stakes (Group Two)

This look a good quality race with the top three in the market holding strong claims. ADMIRAL NELSON is a beautiful horse and won really well over at the Curragh on his debut not that long ago. If the turn around isn’t too quick, he will be hard to beat. Qaader swerved left up the run-in on his first start but that only slightly dented the four length margin he won by. He’s got Jim Crowley on board but Mark Johnston’s Eye Of Heaven underperformed on his second start yesterday. I was really quite impressed with Creative Force’s victory on his debut. He know exactly what was required of him and made virtually all of the running. Imperial Force, who he beat into second, came third in the Norfolk Stakes. He’s a beautiful chestnut Dubawi colt, out of Chose Me, which makes him a half brother to Queen Elizabeth II winner Persuasive, multiple winners Tisbutadream and Amazour and two other winners. If Admiral Nelson gets beaten by anything, it will be this guy.

Coronation Stakes (Group One)

This is a bit of a rematch from the 1000 Guineas with Cloak Of Spirits and Quadrilateral. Cloak Of Spirits skipped along in the lead in that race and was just headed by the winner in the final furlong. Quadrilateral was a head behind and it is blatant that Cloak Of Spirits has improved at three as she was beaten in two group twos last year. I was a big fan of QUADRILATERAL in the 1000 Guineas but she was just so keen and actually plugged on into third. She’s a Fillies’ Mile winner and Jason Watson really likes this filly. I’m hoping she will have got over the buzz from being back at the racetrack and show her true running. I like the chances of Alpine Star too. She’s looking to replicate her sister Alpha Centauri in winning this race. The younger sister was third to 1000 Guineas winner Love on debut and then was a convincing maiden winner. She won a group two next time, which was 302 days ago, and the long absence is what makes me want to side with Quadrilateral.

Run Wild was given an enterprising ride by Oisin Murphy to win but, as a two year old, she was behind Powerful Breeze, who Quadrilateral beat in the Fillies’ Mile. Oisin Murphy  rides Sharing, an American filly who interestingly has interlocking form with a few of this fillies due to Daahyeh. Sharing beat this filly in a group one at the Breeders Cup meeting. Daahyeh was second to Love in the Moyglare Stud and she won the Rockfel, beating Cloak Of Spirits. Sharing, herself, has had the benefit of a run when she won at Churchill Downs. Aidan O’Brien’s So Wonderful is yet to win and Love Locket won a group three last time.

St James’ Palace Stakes

This is an interesting clash – Pinatubo, Wichita, Arizona and Royal Dornoch all ran in the English 2000 Guineas. WICHITA was best placed of the four coming second. He showed a huge improvement at three but he did have some really impressive form to his name at two – he was second to Jersey Stakes winner Molatham, with Berlin Tango back in third, in a listed race at Doncaster; he won a group three by seven lengths at Newmarket and came third to Pinatubo and Arizona in the Dewhurst, with Positive sixth. I think he will be able to confirm the form with Pinatubo, who obviously has a huge reputation going into his three year old campaign. He was worthy of that reputation though as he went unbeaten for six starts. He just had no extra to give in the final furlong at Newmarket and I expect a good run but some of his rivals may have caught up with him. Arizona was pitted as Pinatubo’s biggest rival but failed to land a blow. He struggles from three furlongs out and he was eleventh. He won the Coventry Stakes last year and I’m unsure if the mile is ideal for him. Royal Dornoch actually beat him home. This horse was last to Threat on his sixth start but then won a group two at Newmarket over a mile. Stamina isn’t a worry for him, class is.

Positive and Threat appear to have been saved for this race. Positive’s connections saved Golden Horde for the Commonwealth Cup yesterday and he hacked up. This horse won on debut, then was second to Pinatubo, won a group three at Sandown, beating Kameko, and then finished behind Pinatubo, Arizona and Wichita in the Dewhurst. He’s stepping up to a mile for the first time but he’s out of a mare who got one mile four furlongs comfortably. Threat followed in Arizona and Golden Horde early on in his career and then won the Gimcrack and Champagne Stakes, before finishing fifth in the Middle Park. He’s going up in trip but I think the yard have always thought of him as a miler. He may be a bit underrated after what was a solid two year old campaign. Palace Pier completes the line-up. He won two races over seven furlongs at Sandown last year and convincingly won at Newcastle two weeks ago. However, the second failed to back up the form earlier in the week.

Diamond Jubilee Stakes

The big story of the race would be SCEPTICAL, who Denis Hogan shrewdly bought for £2800 from Godolphin. Hogan is an extremely talented handler and it is good to see this horse taking him to the top level. This horse has won £42,139 so far and won his maiden in November 2019. He won two races at Dundalk by wide margins at the start of this year and then, twelve days ago, he won by three lengths, eased down in a listed race. He’s the young, progressive horse in the line-up and if anything will undo him it would be the ground but I’m not particularly worried. Spare a thought though for Joey Sheridan who rode this horse to victory in the listed contest but is unable to take the ride here due to quarantine and rules on claimers riding.

Last season’s Champion Sprint over course and distance could be a good form line into this. One Master, Speak In Colours, Hello Youmzain, Khaadem, The Tin Man, Sands Of Mali and Dream Of Dreams all ran. Best placed was One Master, in second, and, can I just say, I’m delighted this mare comes back this year at the age of six. She won the Prix de la Foret in 2018 and 2019 and placed third in the Queen Anne of 2019. She’s a versatile filly, doesn’t mid tacky ground and six furlongs won’t be a problem. Speak In Colours is a multiple listed and group three winner and was sixth in the Champion Sprint. He was fourth at Riyadh in February. A week ago, he was given a weird ride over seven furlongs at the Curragh and the drop to six will be appreciated. Hello Youmzain is one of just two in-training group one winners from last season (the other is Battaash). He started off his season beaten in a group three (which raises questions about his performance off a break) and then beat Calyx in a group two and was third in the Commonwealth Cup. He won the Sprint Cup and then the ground went against him in the Champion Sprint. He’s got a bit of scope. Khaadem’s connections are also responsible for Battaash. He won a listed race at the start of last year and was then beaten in the Commonwealth Cup and a group three. He was a hugely impressive winner of the Stewards Cup and that earned him runs in the Sprint Cup and Champion Sprint but he was eleventh in both. The Tin Man is a legendary older sprinter, aged eight. He won the 2018 Sprint Cup: this race in 2017 and the Champion Sprint in 2016. On his day, he’s very talented. I’m a big Sands Of Mali fan. Previously, he has won the Gimcrack, Sandy Lane and the British Champion Sprint 2018 so he is no mug. It is good to see that Dream Of Dreams has been gelded because that means we’ll get to see a lot more of this gorgeous chestnut son of Dream Ahead. His trainer Sir Michael Stoute is yet to have a winner this week. He was only beaten a head in this race last year so if he replicates that, he has a chance.

The others to mention are Shine So Bright and Breathtaking Look. The former’s yard is in good form and he hasn’t won over six furlongs before. he was running over seven furlongs and a mile last year. Breathtaking Look is the second filly and won a group three last season. Last time, she was second to the promising Oxted and ran a solid race.

Wokingham Handicap

I’m with SUMERGHAND here. He is a wonderful handicapper and a lot of people would be happy to see him win. he ran well last time behind Tinto, who has talented 5lbs claimer Marco Ghanni on board. 4lbs splits them in the weights and I think that could be important. That second suggests that Summerghand is back in a winning mindset. Highland Dress is super consistent and only has been out of the top 3 on one occasion. He’s already won twice for Archie Watson after moving to him from John Oxx and having three runs.

Who Dares Wins
Who Dares Win (JTW Equine Images)

Queen Alexandra Stakes (Handicap)

I’ve been keen on WHO DARES WINS all week and my confidence has only increased after Coeur De Lion won on the first day and Scarlet Dragon won on the fourth day, both from the Alan King yard. I’m hoping this horse, who is the definition of dual purpose, can keep the winning ball rolling for the yard. He is a grade two winner over jumps and a six-time winner on the flat, including the Northumberland Plate. Tom Marquand rides, looking to emulate his girlfriend Hollie Doyle, who gave Scarlet Dragon such a brilliant ride. Fun Mac and The Grand Visir have claims.

Royal Ascot Day Four 2020 Preview

By Samantha Martin (@sam_angelina22)

On day three, the rain fell and made the ground soft. Twitter jumped into the “Will Stradivarius handle the ground?” debate which often precedes his races. But there was no reason to worry because Stradivarius hacked up by ten lengths. He truly is a wonderful horse.

Let’s hope for some similarly scintillating performances on day four when the Commonwealth Cup and Hardwicke Stakes top the bill…

Palace Of Hollyroodhouse Handicap

Racing on Friday kicks off with this twenty-two runner five furlong handicap for three year olds with an official rating of 0 to 105. Band Practice is the highest rated at 104. She completed a hattrick in September last year, which included a listed race, but was last in a group two at Santa Anita in November. This is a more appropriate class for her but, as she is the highest rated, she has top weight. There has been a lot of talk this week in regard to the draw bias as the winners seem to be coming from the low draws. Drawn in stall one is Never Dark for Hayley Turner, who won the Sandringham for the second time this year. This colt placed in all four of his two year old races and finally got off the mark, making all at Kempton sixteen days ago. Uncommonly, there is a short priced (2/1 and possibly shortening) favourite – ART POWER. This horse really really impressed me with an emphatic victory on the opening day of the season. He’s a gorgeous, grey son of Dark Angel and I think he could be an exciting horse going forward. If the ground turns up soft, that is no problem at all because he won as a two year old on soft ground but the draw in 19 may be his undoing. Will To Win has been in flying form. He won in June before being gelded and after that he was like a new horse. He won three times in early 2020 and was second to a stablemate next time, who was carrying 8lbs less than him. Dancin Inthestreet got off to a nice start this season with a third, beaten two lengths, at Haydock and has a chance, like Golden Dragon.

Alabany Stakes (Group Three)

I am siding with GOLDEN MELODY. She’s nicely named by Belardo and out of Chanter. It’s quite an interesting pedigree for a sprinter – Belardo won a Lockinge and her half brother is Broughton’s Admiral, who is a chaser who stays three miles for Dr Richard Newland. Other then him, she’s related to four winners and I really liked her debut victory over six furlongs. She had a wall of horses in front of her then eyeballed a rival before picking up well and asserting under James Doyle, who is in flying form. I think in this soft ground it is going to be important to stay and she should do just that. Talking of people in good form, Roger Varian has two runners – Setarhe and Undertake. Both fillies won on debut but it appears that Setarhe is preferred as Andrea Atzeni rides. She was at the rear on debut but galloped on well to beat Cirrus by three and a quarter lengths. Undertake won by half a length on her debut and has a great sprinting pedigree, by Kodiac out of a Dark Angel mare. Wesley Ward’s horses failed to make an impact on Wednesday and he has previous five and a half length winner Flying Aletha. Mother Earth, the favourite, wasn’t beaten too far on debut and is related to a group three winner.

Norfolk Stakes (Group Two)

EYE OF HEAVEN is a Mark Johnston horse with Frankie Dettori on board. He was a really smart winner on debut, beating Tactical, who obviously won the Windsor Castle, and Get It, who finished fourth in the aforementioned contest. It is such strong form. Mark Johnston’s runners often go from the front and he could give Lipizzaner a lead into the race. This horse was second in March by a half length and then second by the same distance in June. He’s related to a group two winner in Australia and by American stallion Uncle Mo and his dam won a group one. Golden Pal was second in his native America and comes over for Wesley Ward, who has a reputation for being good with two year olds. The Lir Jet is by Prince Of Lir, who won this race and was retired at two years of age. He stands for just €4000 and his son won impressively, making the majority of the running at Yarmouth on 3rd June. Qatar Racing has bought this horse. Jojo Rabbbit is having his third after a second and win, which was really good. Ventura Tormenta is having his first run but is a half brother to the likeable George Bowen.

Hardwicke Stakes (Group Two)

It sounds strange saying this as Aidan O’Brien had both the English and Irish 1000 Guineas winners, Queen Anne and Chesham winners but his most fancied horses don’t seem to be winning this week. Mogul, Japan and Sir Dragonet didn’t perform in the way they were expected to. ANTHONY VAN DYCK is a Derby winner and followed in Ghaiyyath and Stradivarius, beating Defoe last time out. It is in the back of my mind about how some of Aidan’s haven’t completely fired this week but I’ve always thought this horse was a classy individual so hopefully he can win. His biggest rival in the market appears to be Elarqam. The form of his last run when he was beaten by Lord North has been significantly boosted because that horse won the Prince of Wales but, I’m not going to lie, I’ve never thought much of this horse – there may be some ‘Jim Crowley Factor’ in his price. The ground has turned up perfectly for Morando and Hamish. Hamish won a seventeen runner handicap on soft ground over one mile six. He is stepping up in trip but the fact he stays and handles the going will play to his strengths.

Commonwealth Cup (Group One)

I’m looking forward to this race as it looks really interesting! Aidan O’Brien has three runners in this six furlong contest. Two of the three ran in the Irish 2000 Guineas a week ago; they were Lope Y Fernandez and Royal Lytham. The former had a huge reputation before he was second in the Chesham, being beaten by Pinatubo. He won a group three after that and was a good third in the Guineas. The group three was over six furlongs and this will be the softest ground he’s ever tackled. Royal Lytham probably didn’t last home in the Guineas. This is the more appropriate trip as he won the July Stakes on firm ground. The ground could be the issue for him. I have been watching out for where Southern Hills would run. He refused to load at Naas on the 8th June and he was in the King’s Stand for a while. He hasn’t been seen since winning the Windsor Castle as he had some sort of injury. The Windsor Castle was on soft ground which means he’ll handle conditions here and, if he is completely wound up, I don’t see why he can’t feature at an each-way price. Millisle is an Irish filly who came over for the 1000 Guineas. She didn’t last home over the mile but she previously won over six furlongs in the Cheveley Park at two. She will be better suited to this. The same comment applies to Mums Tipple who was stone last in the 2000 Guineas. He’s struggled to figure at the top level since a run-away victory at York and a lot of hype has surrounded him since then. He isn’t without a claim here. Pierre Lapin has just had the two starts but he was in the Winner’s Enclosure after both. He’s a son of Coventry Stakes placed Cappella Sansevero and out of Beatrix Potter, the dam of one of my all-time favourite sprinters, Harry Angel. He’ll be one of the favourites as, last time out, he won a group two and the yard is in good form. GOLDEN HORDE is my selection though. He was fifth in the Coventry Stakes, only beaten two lengths, and he then won the group two Richmond Stakes at Goodwood. He wasn’t beaten far in group ones when Earthlight won and I look forward to seeing what this horse can do aged three. The American filly Kamari was second in the Queen Mary last year.

Queen’s Vase (Group Two)

I was quite surprised that Born With Pride is such a short price. She went into her seasonal reappearance with a huge reputation after winning a listed race on debut. The explanation for her shoot to favouritism could be that the horse who came second that day has just won the Irish 1000 Guineas and the third won well at Newmarket the other day. She was a poor seventh on reappearance but the winner, Berlin Tango, was third in the Hampton Court and the second, Pyledriver, won the Edward VII. I can see the attraction to her but I’m siding with BERKSHIRE ROCCO for Andrew Balding and Oisin Murphy. This horse has some good form to his name and he followed in English King in the Lingfield Derby Trial. Nothing from that run suggested he wouldn’t appreciate this increase in drip. He‘s by Derby winner Sir Percy and the yard won this last year with Dashing Willoughby. Al Dabaran is a dual winner and has placed in two group twos. He’s stepping up five furlongs in trip from his last start and has blinkers on for the first time. Wishing the Heather Main team lots of luck with outsider Cloud Thunder.

Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap)

0-105 races top-and-tail the card – just this one is over one mile and round about four furlongs. I’m going to side with the Jim Crowley-ridden DURSTON. He’s won twice over further than this and followed in Sir Ron Priestley, who placed in the St Leger, at Goodwood in July. When last seen, he was third to Technician in a group three and he’s been gelded since. My only worry is the form of the yard – they have gone without a winner since the resumption of racing but there are signs the horses are starting to run a bit better now. Nathaniel colt West End Charmer is four from seven and comes from the Mark Johnston yard. El Misk is very consistent and ha sonly been out of the top two on one start. Dolphin Vista is a good horse on his day. In his career, he’s won two listed races, one of those was in August, and a Cambridgeshire. Now seven, he’s moved yards to Jim Boyle and changing yards often revitalises a horse and he’s on his lowest mark since September 2017.


Royal Ascot Day Three Preview

royal-ascot-logoBy Jake Russell (@JakeRuss1000)

Wednesday was a hard day to predict the winners for me personally, with a lot of big fields in front of us, Thursday is again no different. Here is my preview of the top races for Royal Ascot on day 3.


First up we have the Class 2 Golden Gates Handicap over 1m2f, with the current John Gosden favourite Hypothetical who will be ridden by Frankie Dettori. A 3yo who has only had 2 runs, including a win on debut at Chelmsford last December, where he looked quite impressive on the day before finishing 4th in his last run in the Group 3 Classic Trial at Kempton a few weeks back. Some good form lines form the horse’s that finished ahead of him. Acquitted looks a solid proposition for the Hugo Palmer team, winning twice as a juvenile, before coming a clear second on his seasonal reappearance at Newcastle behind Palace Pier a few weeks back, wouldn’t surprise me if he is thereabouts in this race with this trip sure to suit him very well. Global Storm is Godolphin’s main string in this race. He has some decent form on offer winning once as a 2yo, then winning on his seasonal reappearance at Newmarket over trip on the 7th June. He will be fit after that run and does look to have some quality in his locker, but does have a penalty to handle here today, interesting runner.

Other notable runners are Highland Chief, his pedigree suggests the step up in trip is sure to suit very well, he could run a good race at a bigger price. Tritonic and Grand Rock have some good form from their 2yo seasons, both horses winning twice. The Champ booked on Tritonic, with this in mind he has a serious chance in this race. Grand Rock has the young Cieren Fallon onboard who takes off a valuable 3lb, this could prove vital and he may run a good race here. Maori Knight is a very interesting runner, running twice this season winning in February before coming second to a good-looking colt in his last run at Haydock a few weeks back, this horse is race fit and certainly looks a danger in this race.

My selection for this race is the Richard Hughes trained Maori Knight at 7/1, He has some solid form on offer and has ran at this trip last time where he was just beaten on the line, the son of Camelot should run a good race in this with his fitness being at the highest. Nice each way selection to start us off.


Next up we have the Listed Wolferton Stakes over 1m1f where the Aiden O’Brien trained Sir Dragonet is the current favourite. He has some good form on offer and looked like a quality 2yo leading into his 3yo campaign, he finished 5th in last years Derby before not running so good later on in the season, although placing on the last 2 efforts. He has had his prep run in March where he finished second to a horse that finished 3rd in a Group 2 6 days ago. He certainly looks the one to beat with fitness on his side, something a lot of the other runners do not have in their favour. Fox Tal for Andrew Balding is a very interesting runner, only had the 6 starts in his career including a 4th in last year’s Champion Stakes at Ascot after being well positioned to finish strong in the final stages. He is now a 4yo and very lightly raced with a yard that is in flying form at present, he really does fall under the could be anything category if fit enough her today.

A few horses to note are Regal Reality for Sir Michael Stoute, a horse that has ran 11 times in his career, finishing 3rd in last season Eclipse at Sandown. After being Gelded over the winter, that could change this horses’ fortunes as he looks for his fourth career win. Frankie’s mount Crossed Baton is an interesting one, finishing his season last year as a winner in a listed event over today’s trip at Lingfield. He has to defy a penalty and may need to step up further with his form, but he is trained by arguably the best in the business so could of improved over the winter. The stable’s second string is Dubai Warrior, who has some superb form on the AW but has only ran once on turf finishing seventh out of eight runners in France last season. You have to question why Frankie choses Crossed Baton over this horse and this may not be his day unfortunately, as he seems to perform better on the artificial surface. But it wouldn’t surprise me if he runs a good race today as he does look a decent prospect. Aloe Vera looks an exciting prospect going forward for Ralph Beckett, 2 wins out of 2 runs in his career including a listed event at Goodwood in May last year. He has not seen a racecourse in over a year so question marks on his fitness, but I’m sure Ralph will have him primed for this.

My pick in this race is the AOB trained Sir Dragonet. He clearly has the talent and with fitness on his side, I can see him being hard to beat over a trip that suits him nicely.


Next up is the Group 3 Jersey Stakes over 7f for 3yo’s where we have another John Gosden horse leading the market, the unbeaten King Leonidas. Only had the two starts in his career, which both have ended in him getting his head past the line in front. His debut was quite taking, although it seems he beat nothing much that day, He then was a ready winner last time out on the 7th June at Newmarket. He certainly looks a very nice talent going forward so does warrant to be favourite today, only time will tell if he is as good as people think.

Probably the most experienced horse in the line-up is the Aiden O’Brien trained Monarch Of Egypt, He ran in some top races as a 2yo including the Dewhurst where he finished 5th out of 9 and the Middle Park Stakes where he finished last of 8. He doesn’t have much form on offer but he did run a fairly decent race last time out in the Irish 2000 Guineas, where he was on the inner with not much room to manoeuvre before staying on near to the line. He doesn’t look like to have the form to win this race, but he has been held in high regard with connections and is race fit so it wouldn’t surprise me if he gets an each way place today.

Other notable runners are Molatham for the inform Jim Crowley and Roger Varian, He has some good form as a 2yo including a win at listed company at Doncaster in September last year where he beat some brilliant horse’s in Witchita and Berlin Tango who have both ran in some top races since then, that was on very fast ground, with rain forecasted at Ascot he could find it hard today if not handling the going, keep an eye on the betting for this horse. We have a French raider in this race in the form of Celestin trained by Fabrice Chappet, two wins as a 2yo including in listed company, this horse has ran twice this season so will be race fit today, including a good fourth behind Victor Ludorum in the French 2000 Guineas, very interesting runner with the Champ Oisin Murphy booked. Lord Of The Lodge looks a worthy contender today if handling the step up to 7f, but he has very good form over 6f so could be thereabouts in the placing today.

My selection for this race is the favourite King Leonidas, he looks a horse going places and I think he has the right improvement to win this Group 3 race today, again another horse who has been spoken highly of at home. Looking forward to seeing him run today.


Next up we probably have the hardest race of the day, The Chesham Stakes over 7f for 2yo’s. Now because of what’s happened in the world racing hasn’t been on for 3 months or so, it is incredibly hard to see what 2yo’s are the next best thing with not much form to their names. Current favourite is the AOB trained Battleground, finished 5th on Debut at Naas over 6f on the 8th June, its difficult to make anything out of this form but with the master trainer looking over him I would expect this horse to be on top form today with race fitness in his favour. Modern News is the Godolphin first string, a winner at 6f on 1000 Guineas day last weekend, he kept on very well that day so looks like a step up in trip very soon will suit, will be thereabouts today if handling the ground getting softer.

Golden Flame was a clear second in debut at Haydock last week for Mark Johnston, looks an interesting debut run as he looked to have been staying on slightly to the line after being headed in the final furlong, so he could do well today. Bright Devil won on debut for the inform Andrew Balding team, he made all that day under today’s jockey Oisin Murphy so it would not surprise me if he is bang up there in the finish after a solid debut run. First Prophet was a winner on debut at Newbury last week, he looked very green that day so would need to settle today, but because of the greenness on his run he does looks a talented individual, to win going away by just over a length, one to certainly keep an eye on with James Doyle booked fresh off his fantastic day 2.

Like I mentioned this is a very hard race to judge, so im going to attempt to pick the winner, now it wouldn’t surprise me if a horse further down in the betting wins but my selection is Modern news for Charlie Appleby. Both yard and jockey Will Buick are in top form, and his debut looks about the best on offer for me, he looks like he could improve a bunch today so I am looking forward to hopefully see him progress.


Next up we have the feature of Day 3 and arguably the feature race of the meeting, The Ascot Gold Cup. Two-time Gold Cup winner and top stayer Stradivarius heads the market being odds on, he certainly warrants this with his previous race form as he looks to get his third gold cup in a row and emulate the great’s that are Sagaro and Yeats. There could be question marks on the ground getting softer for this horse, but he did win this race on soft ground last season so I feel the going shouldn’t be as much of an issue as people say with this versatile horse. I am so looking forward to hopefully seeing this horse stamp his name in the history books with his third Gold Cup win in arguably the weakest Gold Cup field he has contested in to date. This money making machine will be hard to stop today with his partner in crime Frankie onboard.

I feel the favourite is hard to beat but looking elsewhere in the field Technician for Martyn Meade could be the one to spoil the party, he is a Group 1 winner over 1m7f in France last October, where he was staying on superbly this day, so the Gold Cup trip may not be an issue, however this is the first time this horse has gone over such trip. The softer conditions will suit this horse massively, arguably he is the best performer on any ground that is soft or past it. Very interesting runner in this race and it wouldn’t surprise me if he makes this race a test for Stradivarius.

Moonlight Spirit is an interesting runner for Godolphin, he has some good form to offer but hasn’t ran at this trip before and did look out paced last time out when getting beat by Technician in the France Group 1. He looks like he is progressing well and is lightly raced but I feel this trip will not suit the horse. One to watch for me. Cross Counter has been beat by Stradivarius the last few times they have met, but he has run at this trip in last year’s gold cup where he finished fourth. He hasn’t won in the UK since 2018 and only seems to run his best races abroad as he captured the Melbourne Cup in 2018, interesting runner but needs to produce something special to win this race in my eyes.

Prince Of Arran could be a huge price to me, he is a very smart and reliable horse who always runs a cracking race no matter where he goes, he ran in this race in 2017 so has experience on the trip, but there are question marks on whether it suits the horse. It would be great to see this 7yo get his time in the limelight today and win the big race of the meeting, although he has a lot to find on the favourite and other contenders.

I personally can not see past Stradivarius, even with the ground getting softer, however I think Technician will run a huge race today and get in the places with the trip will suiting him well, he could be a serious Gold Cup contender going forward as he is only a 4yo. But it would be great to see Stradivarius stamp his name in the history books with his third Gold Cup win.


Thank you for reading, the last two handicaps of the day are a minefield so its best I leave them out of the preview.

Royal Ascot Day Two 2020 Preview

Jason Watson on board “The Man” Headman. (Creds, Luke Keena)

By Samantha Martin (@sam_angelina22) and Niamh Townsend (@NiamhTownsend)

It’s day two of Royal Ascot 2020! On day one, Battaash and his groom Bob Grace stole the show with his scintillating win in the King’s Stand Stakes. Pyledriver caused an upset in the King George VII but was a fairytale victory for his owners who have turned down a lot of money for this horse.

Day two looks a tough day to work out but hopefully we can point you in the way of a few winners in this article and in our Day One and Two Podcast which you can listen to here –

Silver Royal Hunt Cup Handicap

Samantha says…

This race is a consolation for the horses who didn’t get into the Royal Hunt Cup, which takes place later on in the card. These races are really hard to work out with twenty-two runners. BRIAN EPSTEIN caught my eye. Richard Hannon is flying at the minute with fifteen winners since racing started again and had the first winner yesterday. This horse is lightly raced and has won twice so far in his career. His seasonal reappearance was very good. Ouzo was also second on seasonal reappearance and comes from the Hannon yard too. He has the benefit of the Queen Anne winning jockey Ryan Moore on board. There has been a bit of money for Sir Busker, who won at Newcastle fifteen days ago. Red Bond is a really consistent horse.

Niamh says…

Maydanny is a fascinating runner for Mark Johnston and Jim Crowley, half brother to Elarqam by Dubawi. Will not have a problem with the mile, only his fourth start, ideally would want more experience but unexposed and could have more class than a lot of these. Ouzo will be tough to beat though, ran really well in that race at Newmarket and drawn in 24 so plenty of pace around him (Zhui Feng and Smile A Mile) which could suit, it may pay to be drawn on the near side in this race.

Hampton Court Stakes (Group Three)

Samantha says…

This looks a good group three in my eyes. Juan Elcano ran a huge race in the Guineas for a long way and, as he’s by Frankel, he will stay these extra two furlongs. KENZAI WARRIOR would’ve ran a blinder in the 2000 Guineas if he hadn’t fluffed the start ad nearly unshipped Jason Watson, who I spoke to before the season began and he thinks an awful lot of this son of Karakontie. So does Roger Teal, who I was lucky enough to speak to around the same time. This horse was entered in the Derby, which suggests he’ll stay this longer trip. He’ll be a good each way bet in the race. I was extremely taken by First Receiver, owned by the Queen, when he won on his seasonal reappearance by seven lengths. He didn’t win at two but he’s by New Approach, sire of Masar, and out of a mare bred by the Queen. Frankie Dettori rides for Sir Michael Stoute. Aidan O’Brien’s runner, Russian Emperor, is by a multiple group one winning mare and was second in a group three on his reappearance. There’s a lot to like about this horse. Berlin Tango shaped well last time to beat Pyledriver, the winner of the King Edward II, so is absolutely worth keeping an eye on.

Niamh says…

First Receiver looked a different gravy on his reappearance and it would be great to see HM The Queen have a Royal Ascot winner behind closed doors. Sir Michael Stoute won this last year with Sangarius and a few years ago with Cannock Chase, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make it back to back wins with this exciting son of New Approach. The step up in trip will be fine, he was not stopping when he bolted up over a mile at Kempton last time. Frankie Dettori is an eye-catching jockey booking, having only ridden 4 times for Sir Michael Stoute this season before and winning 3 of them – 75% strike rate!

King George V Stakes (Handicap)

Samantha says…

Yet another difficult handicap, this time over one mile four with eighteen runners. Kipps will be the favourite for Hughie Morrison and the in-form David Probert. This colt is one from three and placed the other twice, going up in trip this time. Bright Melody was gelded before his first start and won in January at Chelmsford. Interestingly, this horse was third two weeks ago and the horse that came second was none other than Pyledriver, who won the King Edward VII. He’s got cheekpieces on for the first time. John Gosden has one runner in this and that is TO NATHANIEL. As the name suggests, he’s by Nathaniel and out of a Sea The Stars mare so the trip is ideal. It took him three attempts to win and he did so nicely on his first attempt at this trip. He dropped to one mile three to win just five days ago and, despite the quick turnaround, I think he has a good chance. Jim Crowley is flying along and he rides Hukum, a son of Sea The Stars stepping up to one mile four for the first time. He won last time over a mile and his dam won over one mile two.

Niamh says…

King’s Caper e/w. Drawn well in 5 and should be on the pace. No match for English King last time out but clearly that winner looks exceptional and this drop back into handicap company will help. Had a hat trick of wins last year culminating in a conditions stakes victory at Chelmsford where he beat a horse who had been thought highly enough of to run in a Group 2 at Newmarket.

Prince Of Wales Stakes (Group One)

Samantha says…

Aidan O’Brien took the group one Queen Anne yesterday and has leading player Japan in this. The whole team thought he would be a dominant force in this division in our Flat Preview Podcast and he was fourth in the Arc. Addeybb is a huge threat as he won twice over in Australia earlier this year. He likes softer ground. I think HEADMAN could be a good each way shot in this. He’s a beautiful horse and I know the yard and Jason Watson really like him. He rose through the ranks to two group two victories and he was only beaten four lengths in the Irish Champion Stakes when he didn’t jump from the stalls too well. I think he definitely has a shot. Barney Roy can’t be forgotten and Lord North is an interesting runner who is progressing well.

Niamh says….

Japan will be tough to beat, but Barney Roy rejuvenated his form in Dubai this year after a break and has won at the Royal meeting before so the track will suit and the step up in trip should not be a problem. He has slipped in under the radar but it would be dangerous to underestimate him. Although, if we were to get a lot more rain, I think Addeyyb will be a tough horse to beat after having simply thrashed the likes of Magic Wand and Elarqam in the Wolferton last year.

Royal Hunt Cup (Handicap)

Samantha says…

This is yet another mind-boggling handicap! I’ve settled on MONTATHAM, who won on the 6th June after a gelding operation. He was really impressive. Even though he’s not Jim Crowley’s choice, he’s got a capable pilot, Dane O’Neill, on board. Crowley rides Alrajaa, who has won his last four starts. There has been significant money for Bell Rock putting him into favouritism. He won at Newmarket after being gelded last time.

Niamh says…

Raising Sands loves Ascot and has run with credit in this race before, although 7 furlongs here seems to be his best trip. He has Cardsharp drawn near him and there should be enough pace on here to make sure he can use his electric turn of foot. A real each way player.

Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed)

Samantha says…

I really liked VICTORY HEIGHTS’s performance when he won on the second day of the season. He’s by Siyouni and related to Hydrangea and Hermosa. The sire Air Force Blue has two representatives – the favourite, Chief Little Hawk, and Hyde Park Barracks. The former won at Navan a week ago and Hyde Park Baracks, who has Sean Levey on board, was third in the very same race. Oisin Murphy gave Tactical as a horse to follow in my interview with him. This horse was a good third on debut.

Niamh says…

Mighty Ghurka could not have been more impressive when he won at Lingfield and Hollie Doyle made sure he was kept up to his work that day so he will have learned an awful lot. He messed around at the start that day, even losing Hollie Doyle before the race, but still managed to win easily. You wouldn’t think he would get away with antics like that here though, so you would want to see a slightly more relaxed horse before the off in this. Archie Watson has clearly had Royal Ascot in mind for this colt for a while and he has a great record with his 2 year olds do I really fancy this horse to put up a good performance here.

Copper Horse Handicap

Samantha says….

COLLIDE is a full brother to none other than St Leger winner Logician. He won over one mile six on the ninth of June at Chelmsford and before that he won a listed race at Cagnes-Sur-Mer. He’s got an awful lot of weight which is my only concern. However, the handicap is from 9st11 to 9st2 so only a 9lbs split. On a feather weight of 9st2, is Selino for Oisin Murphy, James Fanshawe and Qatar Racing. He won over one mile six (this race’s trip) and two miles after the application of a visor. Despite not being a distance winner, Fujaira Prince, the ultra-consistent roan horse, is well-fancied.

Niamh says…

Ranch Hand has only run over this trip once before but that was a win. Andrew Balding is in great form and usually has his fit for a first run, this horse has not been seen since last year and goes well after a break. He is lightly raced, and went off favourite for the Cesarewitch last year but did not look like he got the trip and this drop back will suit. He has a good draw in 8. Selino is another who could run well, unbeaten since he has been fitted with a visor and well suited by a step up in trip last time he was seen.


Listen to our preview of the racecard here –


Royal Ascot Day One 2020 Preview

Mogul (Creds Luke Keena)

By Samantha Martin (@sam_angelina22) and Niamh Townsend (@NiamhTownsend)
Royal Ascot 2020 will go down in history as the year when there were no crowds, no pageantry, no royal parade – just the horse racing. To some racing fans, this is ideal but Royal Ascot isn’t just a race meeting – it’s an occasion. I have read in the lead up to this year’s festival the cynics of twitter saying Royal Ascot fuels the stereotype of horse racing being purely for the rich.
But we know that isn’t the case. One of the big races of the week is going to be Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs because of bargain buy Sceptical looking for Group One glory. It’s the stories that make Royal Ascot so special and, yes, it’s not going to be the same as normal but we’ve got some incredible racing to look forward to over the next five days.
Day One’s highlight is the group one King’s Stand Stakes over five furlongs for the speedsters. Battaash is a lot of people’s idea of the winner as, despite being quirky, he’s one of the fasted horses in the world but he’ll have a battle on his hooves against the fillies, Liberty Beach and Glass Slippers.
The team at Rein It In Racing previewed the Tuesday and Wednesday cards in our brand new podcast which you can listen to here –
Niamh and I have put together this comprehensive preview of the Tuesday card.
Race 1 – Buckingham Palace Handicap
Samantha says…
The maximum number of runners (twenty-four) go to post for this opening handicap over seven furlongs. My eye was drawn to Documenting at first. The seven-year-old ran a good race on seasonal reappearance but appears to be a bit of an all-weather specialist. I’m going with GIFTED MASTER to wind back the years. He won the Stewards Cup under Jason Watson in 2018 off a mark of 111. He’s now dropped to 104. On his peak, he’s a classy individual and has a capable pilot in 3lbs claimer Gabriele Malune on board. He’s 33/1. Daarik is the favourite for Frankie Dettori and John Gosden, which will be a common occurrence through the week. He won ten days ago and ran well on both starts last term. Kaeso is second best in the market with Oisin Murphy on board. He followed in Daarik last time but was second over course and distance on his final start of 2019. First Contact won a listed race in September 2018 but hasn’t won since. He came third in a group one in Meydan in March 2019 so he is capable.
Niamh says…
A tricky contest to kick the Royal Meeting off this year. MUTAMAASIK caught my eye straight away; he is lightly raced and has only progressed nicely through the ranks since his sole defeat on debut. This is his return after a break, but I wouldn’t be too concerned with the lack of a prep run since those who have run since racing returned will have a very quick turnaround this week. Mutamaasik has won on good to firm ground before, which you can expect to see at Ascot this week due to the continued dry weather, so that won’t be a problem and he stayed on really well when he won last time out which gives the impression that the uphill finish at Ascot will suit him well. Another I was drawn to was Lethal Lunch for Clive Cox who I think is a nice each way selection. He has a nice low weight but has a lot of good form in the book, running well towards the end of last season when he won a Class 2 Handicap at Chelmsford and was 2nd when last seen. He looks like a consistent type and won at Ascot as a 2 year old, the tongue strap goes on which could eek out more improvement.
Race 2 – Queen Anne Stakes (Group One)
Samantha says….
This is the first group one of the week. Hamdan Al Maktoum has three runners in this – Mustashry, Mohaather and Turjomaan. The former won the Lockinge Stakes on his second start last year and was seventh in this race next time out. After a defeat by Enable, he won a group two at Newmarket and he’s one of the highest rated milers. Mohaather won the Greenham Stakes off the back of a long absence last season but wasn’t seen until finishing fifth in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, with Accidental Agent eleventh. Turjomaan should be three from four but was disqualified on debut. He then won at Newcastle twice before finishing second to Duke Of Hazzard in a group three at Goodwood.
With Circus Maximus the probable favourite, I think DUKE OF HAZZARD is a good way to go. He came good at the backend of last year winning a listed, group three and group two so he only needs a group one to complete the collection. He’s got much more to come as a four year old for the new combination of Paul & Oliver Cole. Circus Maximus was sixth in the Derby before being dropped in the trip to win the St James’ Palace. He won the Prix du Moulin, meaning he’s got a live chance.
Terebellum will be one of the favourites after a smart run in the Dahlia Stakes. She was a group two winner in France last season but is dropping back to the mile. Billesdon Brook won the 2018 1000 Guineas. Last season, she won a listed, group three and the group one Sun Chariot, before coming second to Nazeef, who is the well-fancied favourite of the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes later in the card.
Fox Chairman has ran just the four times, but he followed in Circus Maximus at Chester last season. Plumatic is interesting after finishing second in a group three last time. He followed in Miss O Connor on his penultimate start so, if he runs well, that’s a good omen for her. Marie’s Diamond won a listed race easily on his reappearance and deserves his place in this line-up. Space Traveller, Roseman and Bless Him are all big prices but there’s been some money for the latter.
Niamh says…
SKARDU is a horse I have been a huge fan of for a long time and it does help that his trainer, William Haggas, could not be in better form. This lovely chestnut horse is still lightly raced and I think we will see an even better horse this season as he will have learned a lot from last year and his trainer has given him plenty of time and patience. I think the favourite will be difficult to beat, but I really think Skardu can give him a good race. Another horse I think has come into this under the radar is Accidental Agent. He will be up against it to win and he is the type of horse that you would prefer to have had a prep run, but he did win this race 2 years ago and loves Ascot more than any other racecourse. It is important to remember he was really well fancied before running in this last year before, for whatever reason, he decided not to jump out of the gates. He is a massive price for a horse of his quality and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ran well once again.
Race 3 – Ribblesdale Stakes (Fillies’ Group Two)
Samantha says…
John Gosden has the top two in the market in this race. It’s a bit of a clash between Frankel and Sea The Stars with Frankly Darling by Frankel and Miss Yoda by Sea The Stars. I’d be more inclined to side with MISS YODA. She’s more proven than Frankly Darling, who was second on debut on the 22nd October 2019 and won by five lengths at Newcastle on the first day of the season. Miss Yoda looks a delicate ride as she got quite upset when winning the Lingfield Oaks Trial but Robert Havlin handled her beautifully so it’s good to see him back on board!
Four of these fillies also ran in the Lingfield Oaks Trial. Anastarsia was John Gosden’s other representative in the race, finishing sixth. She’s by Sea The Stars and won in September. She finished eighth in the Fillies’ Mile. Golden Lips ran an absolute blinder after being sent off a few lengths ahead of the rest of the field. She managed to last home, keeping second from her fast-finishing pursuers. I don’t really get why she’s 40/1. West End Girl was bought for £420,000 on Monday after finishing third in the Oaks Trial. Like Golden Lips, she’s a Golden Horn filly and won a group three in August. So I Told You was fifth at Lingfield after two runs in novice company and has a bit to find.
Hold Fast and Bharani Star both won on their reappearances. The former didn’t win at two but won nicely in a maiden at Kempton. She’s from an in-form yard. Bharani Star also came into this year as a maiden and she dead heated at Haydock in a handicap. Ryan Moore has picked Passion of the Aidan O’Brien duo. She won a maiden and then finished seventh in a group two and fourth on reappearance. Ennistymon, a daughter of Galileo, ran just once last year and then won her maiden by a head at Leopardstown on the ninth. Even though O’Brien has won two of the last four renewals, I don’t think he will win the race this year.
Niamh says…
I really like TREFOIL in this. She did nothing wrong at Newmarket a couple of weeks ago and that run should have her spot on for this. This daughter of Teofilo looks like a really nice horse for her connections and the extra experience will only be a benefit for her. I really hope she runs well.
Race 4 – King Edward VII Stakes (Group Two)

Samantha says…

It is a bit disappointing that just six runners got to post and this race was subject of mixed opinions on our preview podcast. I’m a big fan of ARTHUR’S KINGDOM in general. It took him three attempts to win his maiden but came second in a group one over in France on soft ground next time, proving he’ll stay this trip. He’s a half brother to Joshua Tree, who won three Canadian International. I think, inevitably, he’ll be a St Leger type like I said in our Flat Season Preview Podcast. Mogul will be really tough to beat as he’s a full brother to Japan. He’s odds-on after a group two victory and a fourth place finish in the Vertem Futurity, which 2000 Guineas winner Kameko won. If he wins this, he’ll be a short price in the Derby.

Mohican Heights is the second favourite. He won on debut at Leopardstown and then moved to David Simcock. He won the listed Stonehenge Stakes at Salisbury by two lengths last Autumn but the alarming thing is that he’s ran fourteen horses since racing resumed and only one of them placed. In contrast, Andrew Balding is flying. His runner Papa Power is stepping out of class one company for the first time after two wins in novice company. Last season, Pyledriver won a Haydock listed race and then came last in the Royal Lodge. He was second on seasonal reappearance and the only other horse who already has had a run is Sound Of Canons, who was second to Pyledriver at Haydock, fifth in the Royal Lodge and fourth in the group one that Arthur’s Kingdom was second in.

Niamh says…

MOGUL should win this as it does not look like the strongest renewal of this race ever, Aidan O’Brien has had an undeniably great start to the season. However, I am a fan of Arthur’s Kingdom who was second in a Group 1 in France when last seen. He is only rated 3lbs inferior to Mogul and is by Camelot so looks the ideal type to improve with age as well as with a step up to a mile and a half. I don’t think it would be the biggest shock in the world if he were to beat the favourite, but it will be a tough ask.

Battaash at home in April 2019.

Race 5 – King’s Stand Stakes (Group One)

Samantha says…

BATTAASH sets the standard here as one of the fastest horses in the world. This gelded son of Dark Angel won two group twos and the Nunthorpe last season. He was second to Blue Point for the second year running in this race last year but there’s no Blue Point to get in his way this year. He probably didn’t appreciate the soft ground in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp in October finishing fourteenth when Glass Slippers won convincingly and Shades Of Blue was eleventh. The filly Glass Slippers could be his biggest threat this year with the absence of Sceptical. By Dream Ahead, she won twice at two years of age and ran over a range of trips last season but proved she was a sprinter by going to France and winning a listed, group three and the group one Prix de l’Abbaye on her final three starts of 2019. She’s a smart filly with a big future this season and gets a crucial 3lbs from Battaash.

There are three other fillies in the race – Kurious, Liberty Beach and Shades Of Blue. In her two year old season, Kurious won on debut but was then highly tried in the Queen Mary and a listed race. She returned with a second at Sandown but was last to Khaadem at Newbury. Next time, she won the Scurry Stakes at Sandown and then followed up in the Coral Charge. Shades Of Blue wears blinkers for the first time in this race and won at Ascot on debut and then finished third, beaten a head, in the Queen Mary. She was really consistent at the beginning of last season and won a listed race at Maisons-Laffitte in June. She was eleventh in the Abbaye and returned this season in the group three Palace House but could only manage seventh, three places behind Well Done Fox. Liberty Beach gets even more weight then the other two fillies from the rest of the field as she is a three year old. She won her first two starts before coming fourth in the 2019 Queen Mary. She then won a listed race at Sandown and the group three Molecomb in July. To conclude her season, she came second to Living In The Past in the group two Lowther Stakes. She made her seasonal reappearance by winning the listed Cecil Frail Stakes really well.

Well Done Fox is a two times listed winner at two and he also placed in the Flying Childers and the Cornwalis, behind Sergei Prokofiev. He was last in the Commonwealth Cup Trial and fifth behind Kurious this time last year. He was fourth in the Palace House ahead of Shades Of Blue last week. Sergei Prokofiev won the Rochestown on his third lifetime start. He came third in the Coventry but was then last in the Phoenix Stakes and seventh in the Middle Park. Five furlongs is ideal as he won the Cornwalis in 2018 but he finished tenth in the Woodlands Stakes on the 8th June and will need to improve significantly on that. Rocket Action won once as a two year old from five starts and was then gelded and had a wind op before returning to the track. He was three from five last year with two of those victories coming in class twos under Tom Queally. He’s out of a six and seven furlong winning mare.

Equilateral is Battaash’s stablemate. There has been a surprising amount of talk about this five year old in the leadup to this. He is a listed winner in England in the Scarborough Stakes and on the start after that, he was behind Hit The Bid in a group three at Newbury. Earlier in 2020, Equilateral won a listed race smartly in Meydan before following in Waady in a group two. Hit The Bid has a lot of air miles under his belt. He’s a dual group three winner in Ireland and was last seen finishing fourth in a Dundalk group three. He’ll be one of the bigger priced runners with Oisin Murphy on board. The same can be said for Tis Marvellous, who was second in the Wokingham at this meeting last year. He’s probably more of a handicapper and was fourth to Equilateral on his last start.

Niamh says…

BATTAASH looks a cut above the rest here and his last run can be ignored as the ground was very soft that day in France. He hasn’t run badly here the last two years so it is harsh to say he does not perform well at Ascot; it is just unfortunate for him he ran into a true course specialist the last two years with Blue Point otherwise he would have won this race twice already. Liberty Beach is incredibly quick, and has the benefit of a prep run that showed she has clearly trained on. She gets a lot of weight from her rivals, carrying a featherweight 8st 9lbs and is one of the more likely candidates to overturn Battaash.
Race 6 – Duke Of Cambridgeshire Stakes (Fillies’ Group Two)
Samantha Says…
I find this race quite fascinating. Magic Lily will have the number one saddle cloth as she has a 3lbs penalty. She’s already ran four times in 2020 – she won two group twos in Meydan and then came a good second to Barney Roy in a group one. She ran at Newmarket on the 6th June and finished third, looking a bit one-paced as Queen Power flew past to take second. They’re dropping two furlongs in trip to a mile. On Queen Power’s only attempt at a mile, she was second to Muchly and she has since ran to good effect over further, winning a listed race over one mile two, finishing fourth in the Ribblesdale and fourth in the Winter Hill. She’s trained by Sir Michael Stoute who also has Jubiloso. Lord Grimthorpe put in a good word for this filly on ITV’s Friday show and. She won her first two outings before finishing third in the Coronation Stakes and a group three at Glorious Goodwood. Last time, she was seventh of eight behind LAVENDER’S BLUE. Lavender’s Blue and Jubiloso are of equal ability on official ratings. The former finished second to Queen Power before coming last in the Oaks. She won well at Sandown in August and then finished fourth in the Sun Chariot Stakes. She’s a good horse on her day and I feel like a few of these fillies have questions to answer but she seems straight forward.
Miss O Connor began her career at four years of age in Ireland with trainer John Feane. She then moved to William Haggas and won at Nottingham on soft ground. She won the Dick Hern at Haydock before a good group three win in France. She’s a really likeable daughter of Roderic O’Connor. She has 2lbs to find with Lavender’s Blue, Jubiloso and Magic Lily on official ratings but any rain will aid her cause under James Doyle who has made a great partnership with William Haggas. The same can be said for Sean Levey and Richard Hannon. They team up with Kingman filly Posted. She broke her maiden on her eighth attempt after running consistently in defeat. On her ninth start, she won a Newmarket handicap and then finished fourth in a group three and a listed, behind Agincourt. On seasonal reappearance, she finished fifth to Nazeef with Agincourt seventh and Ionic Choice ninth.
Agincourt was so consistent at four, never finishing out of the top three. She won a fillies’ handicap at York and concluded her season winning a listed race at Newmarket, with Posted fourth. She was a 40/1 shot on reappearance and ran like one. Nazeef is the current favourite. She was third on debut and then won two class fours and a class three. Her Kempton listed victory thirteen days ago was impressive. She’ll be one of the well-fancied runners. Ionic Choice has Oisin Murphy on board. Her last win was in late October 2018 when winning a listed race but has lost her way since.
Invitational’s trainer/jockey combination of Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni have been flying since racing resumed. She won twice at the beginning of last season but went without a win until November when she won a listed contest at Fontainebleau on heavy ground. She won well on the all-weather in January. Last to mention is the French filly Wasmya. She won three races last season but found the group one Prix de la Foret a bit too hot. She ran on to get second in a seven furlong listed race in May when French racing restarted. She has a tongue strap on for the first time to help her.
Niamh says…
NAZEEF will be tough to beat as she has shown she has an awful lot of class and is unbeaten since stepped up to the mile. The big tell on her ability will be how Billesdon Brook runs earlier in the afternoon in the Queen Anne Stakes. I am a big fan of Lavender’s Blue, though, and I think the mile is her ideal trip. She is one of the more likely candidates as Sam has explained.

Dubawi Fifty
Dubawi Fifty

Race 7 – Ascot Stakes (Handicap)
Samantha says…
I am one of Dubawi Fifty’s biggest fans. He was second in this race in 2018 and he picked up an injury shortly after that run and since he has returned to the track he’s slightly lost his way. He runs off a mark of 97, which is the same as he was for this in 2018, and I know he’s better than 97 but he’s just not showing it on the track lately. I’d love to see him run a big race as Karen McLintock has had a really tough time lately and deserves a good run from this boy. I’m going to side with LAND OF OZ, who is four years old and I was a bit shocked to see that as it feels like he’s been around for ages. He’s only tackling this trip for the first time but was seen to good effect over two miles two recently. Verdana Blue, San Benedeto and Smart Champion are worth keeping an eye on too.
Niamh says…
MANCINI has his second start for Ian Williams here, and I thought William Buick is an eye-catching jockey booking. He races prominently and was staying on again over 2 miles at Haydock behind Moon King last time, suggesting the further trip around here will suit. Ian Williams won this race last year where Mancini ran a great race to be 7th, I think another year is likely to have improved him further although he will need to step up again. Charlie D could run a big race for Tom Dascombe and Richard Kingscote who are in great form. He has a nice light weight and goes well on a sounder surface. He could be one for an each way price but he will be up against some of these other stayers, especially the likes of Verdana Blue.

Listen to our preview of Day One and Two here –

Preview of racing at the Curragh including the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas

By Luke (@lukekeena1)

Make sure to check out our podcast preview

Racing on Friday comes to us live from the Curragh with the opening Classic of the season in Ireland. The Tattersalls 2,000 Guineas takes center stage with eleven runner heading to post. The Ger Lyons trained Siskin is the favourite and is hard to look past.

This son of First Defence was a very good two year old , who was unbeaten for the year. He rose through the ranks and finished the season winning the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes over six furlongs at the Curragh. He showed a great attitude to fight off Monarch Of Egypt and Royal Lytham. This will be the first time he races over the mile but I think he will have no issues with it. He looks like he will be very hard to beat and the 5/2 available may look to have been a good price after the race.

At a bigger price, I think Royal Lytham will run a good race. This son of Gleneagles appears to be the fourth string for Ballydoyle but I would give him a massive chance. He showed a great attitude to win the Tattersalls July Stakes at Newmarket in July of last year. He finished off the season in the Phoenix Stakes when he ran a good race to finish third. It is clear to see in the replay that his saddle slipped and he didn’t have the clearest of passages home. That being said, he kept on gamely after being passed by the first and second. I think the step up to a mile will suit and he could go close at a double figure price.

Samantha: Siskin

Killian: Siskin

Niamh: Lope Y Fernandez


The third race on the card is the Equine MediRecord Handicap over six furlongs. I think the Jessica Harrington trained Flash Gordon will go close. I would put a line through his last run when he ran below par. Prior to that he finished third behind So Perfect in the Group 3 Lacken Stakes at Naas. He is a son of Kodiac with plenty of speed who will hopefully have improved over the winter. His opening mark of 96 is not very lenient but I think if he has improved over the winter he will go close at a double figure price in this ultra competitive race.

The fifth race on the card is the Coolmore Ten Sovereigns Gallinule Stakes over a mile and a quarter for three year olds. I think Mythical is a worthy favourite and will be hard to beat. He had the best form coming into the race after some good runs as a two year old. On official rating he is ten pounds clear of the rest. The form of the Zetland Stakes seems to be working out as the second and third have both run very good races in the Derby and Oaks trails at Lingfield. He saw out the trip well as a two year and I think he will take a lot of beating.

The penultimate race on the card is the Paddy Power Lincolnshire over a mile. This looks to be a very competitive renewal. I put Current Option up as a horse to follow for the season, but he is just a bit short. I will take a chance on the other Ado McGuinness runner, Saltonstall. He was second in the race two years ago when trained by Michael Halford off a two pound lower mark. His final two runs of the season were disappointing but prior to that he ran some nice races. He was a close third over a mile and a quarter at the Curragh when he probably just didn’t see out the trip. Earlier in the season he won the Galway mile. While Current Option may very well go on and win the race, he is just a bit short for a very competitive race and Saltonstall looks to be value at 18/1.

The final race on the card is the Coolmore Magna Grecia Irish EBF Mooresbridge Stakes over an extended mile and a quarter. Fleeting is a horse I have followed since her third in the Epsom Oaks last year. While she may not have won a race last year she ran some very good races in defeat. The pick of those runs came at Longchamp when she finished a very close second to Villa Marina when she didn’t have the clearest of runs, which happened on a few occasions last year. I think she will have too much pace for Search For A Song who I think will taken off her feet. Providing she gets a clear run I think she is the one to beat.

Preview of racing at Naas

By Luke (@lukekeena1) and Killian (@KillianBroderi1)

After what has seemed to be an eternity, we have live racing back in Ireland. Naas hosts a eight race card getting underway at 2:55.

The first race I have a selection in is the first division of the Clinton Higgins Chartered Accountants Handicap over six furlongs. I like the Andrew Slattery trained Sunset Nova. While his form towards the end of the season was disappointing, he did show good form earlier in the season. He ran five good races in a row off a higher handicap last summer. He finished that run of good form off with a win at Tipperary off a mark of 70. He is only a four year that I could see improving over the winter. I think he will outrun his double figure price.

In the second division of the handicap I will side with the Adrian McGuinness trained Never Back Down. Just over a year ago he was rated 97 when trained by Hugo Palmer. His best run since switching yards came at Dundalk off a mark of 78 when he finished runner up to Geological. While his overall form is not very appealing, he has dropped a lot in the handicap and I think he will run a good race at a double figure price.

The fifth race on the card is the Kuroshio At Compas Stallions Committed Stakes over five furlongs for three year olds. Southern Hills is a horse I liked last season, but missed most of the season after a setback. He improved gradually through the early part of the season before going on to win the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot. While on jockey bookings he looks to be the O’Brien second string I think he will run a good race before possibly going onto the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

The last race I have a selection in is the Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital Woodlands Stakes over an extended five furlongs. I think Sceptical is a sprinter to follow this year and should take a lot of beating here. This lightly raced four year old showed rapid improvement over the winter. He won three races and achieved a rating of 114. I think he will win and it will be a nice stepping stone onto Royal Ascot.

Killian’s selections:

4:00 Poets Pride

5:35 Forever In Dreams

2020 Qipco 1000 Guineas Runner By Runner Guide

Minding is one of Aidan O’Brien’s four winners of the 1000 Guineas.

By Niamh Townsend and Samantha Martin

An epic weekend of ‘behind closed doors’ racing action comes to a high class conclusion on Sunday, as the second Classic of the racing calendar takes place at Newmarket – the QIPCO 1000 Guineas.

Saturday’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas saw the Andrew Balding trained Kameko surge to victory under Oisin Murphy for Qatar Racing, and he looks set for a very exciting season ahead. But now all eyes will be on the fillies, can Quadrilateral live up to all of the hype that she has attracted following a very promising 2 year old season? Can Love provide Aidan O’Brien with a 4th win in the last 5 runnings of this race? Or will a different filly spring a surprise?

We have produced a runner-by-runner guide to take you through each of the contenders for this year’s 1000 Guineas, and with any luck work out who the likely winners are.

  1. Boomer – Kingman X Wall Of Sound (Singspiel) 

Jockey: Richard Kingscote 

Trainer: Tom Dascombe

Drawn 7

Boomer tried to make all on debut but could only manage fourth of five runners. She put that behind her to win at Newbury and comfortably win the group three Prestige Stakes by a neck. The filly that came second to her, Dark Lady, had previously been fourth to Under The Stars but beat Millisle in a group three after the defeat by Boomer. The form of that race was reversed though when Dark Lady came seventh in the Cheveley Park, which Millisle won. Boomer was second in the May Hill, beating Cloak Of Spirits, and she finished the season with a fifth in the Fillies Mile, behind Quadrilateral and Love

  1. Cloak Of Spirits – Invincible Spirit X Pivotique (Pivotal) 

Jockey: Andrea Atzeni 

Trainer: Richard Hannon

Drawn 5

This filly has only had the three starts so far, winning on debut at Ascot in July where she beat the talented Queen Daenerys easily and suggested she had plenty of ability. She seemed a little out of her depth in the May Hill Stakes next time out, where her jockey reported she hung right-handed. She would improve for the run once more as displayed in her run in the Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket where she finished ahead of Under The Stars, and was only beaten half a length into third by Albany Stakes winner Daahyeh who would go on to finish second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf next time out.

  1. Final Song – Dark Angel X Rahiyah (Rahy) 

Jockey: Pat Cosgrave 

Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor

Drawn 2

Final Song easily won her maiden over five furlongs before being third to Raffle Prize in both the Queen Mary and the Duchess of Cambridge. In October, she finished sixth of nine, when favourite, in the Oh So Sharp Stakes which Rose Of Kildare won. She spent the early part of 2020 racing in Meydan where she won, came second and came third in three runs. In late February, she came third at Riyadh over a mile on fast ground. She has the benefit of a recent run which the others don’t have. 

  1. Graceful Magic – Gutaifan X Magic Escapade (Azamour)

Jockey: Charles Bishop

Trainer: Eve Johnson Houghton

Drawn 9

This filly gave her connections a brilliant season last year, earning them more than £50,000 in prizemoney with victories at Sandown on her debut as well as valuable handicaps at Doncaster and Newmarket’s July Course. She finished off the season with a good 2nd to Rose Of Kildare at Ayr in a Group 3. However, these were all over sprint trips and her only start over further than that (7 furlongs) saw her finish last, although it was suggested the ground was not quick enough for her that day which would be a concern with the amount of rain that is forecast this weekend. 

  1. Les Hogues – Bated Breath X Hatsepsut Queen (Peintre Celebre)

Jockey: Cieren Fallon

Trainer: George Baker

Drawn 3

Fresh from riding in and winning his first group race on Oxted in the Aubernat Stakes on Friday, Cieran Fallon takes the ride on this fascinating daughter of Bated Breath who is having her very first start for George Baker after a two year old career in France when with Jean-Claude Rouget. She won on debut by a length and then came  second to Earthlight, beaten three and a half lengths at Deauville. Next time out, at La Test De Buch, she easily won a listed contest before being unable to quicken in a group three at Longchamp. In October, she was only beaten a neck in a group three by subsequent French 1000 Guineas winner Dream And Do. She changed hands for €180,000 at the Arqana Arc Sale.   

  1. Love – Galileo X Pikaboo (Pivotal)

Jockey: Ryan Moore

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Drawn 14

The sole entrant for Ballydoyle in this year’s 1000 Guineas, they have won 3 of the last 4 runnings of this Classic which could be a sign of their confidence in this filly. She has already won the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and has shown marked improvement with her racing, her breeding also suggests that the mile will not be a problem since she is by Galileo. The last time we saw her she finished 3rd behind Quadrilateral in the Fillies’ Mile over this course and distance so she will need to reverse that form, but she was not gifted the best run that day and it is likely with a bit more luck on her side that she could get closer to Quadrilateral – she is certainly in the best hands to win a Guineas.

  1. Millisle – Starspangledbanner X Green Castle (Indian Ridge)

Jockey: Oisin Murphy

Trainer: Jessica Harrington

Drawn 11

This filly has been very consistent and will be ridden by Champion Jockey Oisin Murphy. She won twice and placed over in Ireland. At Salisbury, she placed in a group three with Summer Romance in third. She won the Cheveley park in good style, beating Raffle Prize, over six furlongs. She comes from a great yard and is stepping up to a mile for the first time. However, that shouldn’t be a problem because all of her ten siblings who have raced to date have stayed seven furlongs or further. 

  1. Quadrilateral – Frankel X Nimble Thimble (Mizzen Mast)

Jockey: Jason Watson

Trainer: Roger Charlton

Drawn 6

There has been a huge buzz surrounding this filly since she won on debut at Newbury last August, and she certainly lived up to expectations as she improved for her next run before winning a first Group 1 for her jockey, Jason Watson, in the Fillies’ Mile where she gave a visually impressive performance for only her third start and was sure to improve again. Quadrilateral is a very likeable filly, and there is no doubt she would be a popular winner if she were to provide her sire Frankel, so closely associated with Guineas weekend following his own dominant 2000 Guineas win in 2011, with another Classic success. If we are going to see a superstar performance in this race today, this filly would be the more likely candidate and is a worthy favourite. Tongue strap goes on for the first time.

  1. Raffle Prize – Slade Power X Summer Fete (Pivotal)

Jockey: Mickael Barzalona

Trainer: Mark Johnston

Drawn 13

The first thing that jumped out to me was that Frankie Dettori has deserted her for Shimmering! It was in the media last week that he was looking forward to the ride on this filly. However, Mickael Barzalona is a capable replacement. She followed in the smart Daahyeh, who is bypassing this, on debut and two starts later, she won the Queen Mary and then the Duchess Of Cambridge. She only went down a neck to Earthlight in the Prix Morny. In the Cheveley Park, she came second to Millisle. Her dam got seven furlongs and she’s by Slade Power, who was a great sprinter, so stamina is unknown for her.   

  1. Romsey – Mukhadram X Broadlands (Kheleyf)

Jockey: Tom Marquand

Trainer: Hughie Morrison

Drawn 8

This filly is the outsider of the field, but she has certainly been on her travels! Following some decent enough efforts in Pattern races throughout last season she went to Dusseldorf in Germany where she won the Winterkonigin Trial, a listed contest for 2 year old filles, before a good third in the Group 2 Premio Dormello over a mile in Italy. She faces much tougher rivals today and is likely to struggle, although she has definitely earned her place in the line up.

  1. Rose Of Kildare – Make Believe X Cruck Realta (Sixties Icon)

Jockey: Joe Fanning

Trainer: Mark Johnston

Drawn 10

Rose Of Kildare was a typically busy Mark Johnston two-year-old. She’s ran twelve times between 30th April and 11th October. It took her three attempts to get off the mark but she then completed a double at Redcar and Hamilton. She was second to the smart Liberty Beach and then finished eight to Pinatubo in the Chesham. She ran in handicaps on her next four starts coming fifth, first, third and fourth. Next, she was sent up to Ayr to win the group three Firth Of Clyde Stakes, beating Graceful Magic, and, when last seen, she won the Oh So Sharp Stakes at Newmarket. She’s done a lot of miles and I’d be surprise if there was much improvement left in her.  

  1. Shimmering – Lope De Vega X Crysdal (Dalakhani)

Jockey: Frankie Dettori

Trainer: John Gosden

Drawn 1

As Sam mentioned earlier, it is interesting that Frankie Dettori has sided with this filly over Raffle Prize. She broke her maiden on her second start in December, and has got plenty of untapped potential based on that evidence but will obviously need to improve again to figure here. However, since she is unexposed it is difficult to rate her against the likes of Love and Quadrilateral, and preferably you would want her to have a bit more match practice, but she is the unknown quality in this field and could spring a surprise if she has improved on her maiden efforts over the winter.

  1. Summer Romance – Kingman X Serena’s Storm (Statue Of Liberty)

Jockey: William Buick

Trainer: Charlie Appleby

Drawn 4

Summer Romance is by Kingman and a half sister to National Stakes, Queen Mary, Moyglare Stud and Coronation Stakes winner Rizeena. She won her first two starts at Yarmouth and Newmarket by a combined eight lengths before coming sixth of nine to Under The Stars. Her last run was in September when she came third in Salisbury group three behind Millsile

  1. Under The Stars – Night Of Thunder X Jumeirah Palm Star (Invincible Spirit)

Jockey: P J McDonald

Trainer: James Tate

Drawn 12

I think this filly is so likeable and always runs her race, you cannot knock her attitude and I would love to see her run a good race here. She won a Group 3 at Ascot last summer as well as a valuable Auction Stakes at Newmarket in October. She is untested over the mile, but her efforts over 7 furlongs suggests the extra trip shouldn’t be a problem for her, and she is by Night Of Thunder who won the 2000 Guineas himself in 2014.

  1. Yes Always – No Nay Never X Flavia Tatiana (Holy Roman Emperor)

Jockey: Ben Curtis

Trainer: Karl Burke

Drawn 15

Yes Always is the 66/1 outsider of the field. She’s out of a dual winner who was bred by Aidan O’Brien’s wife Anne-Marie. She won with pricked ears on her second start which was over six furlongs at Newcastle. The fact her ears were pricked suggests the race was easy for her and implies she would handle a step up in trip but she is racing against more proven fillies. Her jockey Ben Curtis is in flying form with six winners since racing resumed. 


Niamh – This is another brilliant line up, although it’s a shame we don’t get to see Daahyeh or Powerful Breeze as I think they could have both gone close. I think it is dangerous to underestimate a horse like Quadrilateral, she has clearly got an abundance of talent since not much seemed to go right for her in the Fillies’ Mile last season where she still managed to finish ahead of many of her main challengers in this. She would be my choice, although I think Love is a big threat and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Under The Stars run a big race at a slightly bigger price.

Samantha – I think this is a really exciting race for us to enjoy. Like with the 2000 Guineas, we have an unbeaten at two, long-time favourite in the form of Quadrilateral. Pinatubo failed to win in the colts’ classic after all of the anticipation but I think Quadrilateral can do the business. Jason Watson says that she has done well from the winter and she’s a really exciting ride for him and hopefully it goes better than Kenzai Warrior’s run in the 2000 Guineas. I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that Les Hogues could run a decent race at a big price under another young jockey, Cieran Fallon. Millisle has a great chance too. 

Rein It In Team Selections

Killian – Cloak Of Spirits

Luke – Millisle

Lois – Raffle Prize

Jake – Millisle