George Boughey is excited to see Derby runner-up Hoo Ya Mal makes his debut for the yard in the John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes at Goodwood.
The three-year-old, formerly trained by Andrew Balding, was a widely unconsidered 150-1 shot for the premier Classic at Epsom last month, but ran a huge race to pip subsequent Irish Derby hero Westover to second behind the hugely impressive Desert Crown.
Hoo Ya Mal was subsequently sold for £1.2million to an Australian-based syndicate on the eve of Royal Ascot with a view to heading Down Under ahead of a likely tilt at Melbourne Cup.
But while the son of Territories remains set join top Australian trainer Gai Waterhouse later in the year, for the time being he is enjoying a temporary spell in Newmarket with Boughey, who is hoping the colt can establish himself as a genuine St Leger contender with a positive performance at Goodwood.
He said: “Hoo Ya Mal came to me in fantastic condition, having finished second in the Derby, and we’ve just been looking after him.
“His work is good, he’s the highest-rated horse in the race and he goes there with a good chance. It’s great to have a horse of his calibre in the yard.
“He was bought to go to Australia and that’s very much the plan. Gai has been in Europe for the summer and I think we’ll have more of a definitive plan after he runs.
“He’s in the Leger and while he’s not in at York (Great Voltigeur Stakes), he could go to York – the plan is pretty fluid at the moment, what he does over here.
“I’d like to see him in the Leger and I think that’s very much the plan for Gai and Adrian (Bott, Waterhouse’s training partner). They’d like to see him there and he’s certainly going the right way.”
Hoo Ya Mal will have a change of tack on Thursday, with the hood taken off and a tongue-tie applied.
Boughey added: “He’s been a very straightforward horse to train at home. He’ll probably wear a red hood to post, but he’s possibly a bit more relaxed at home.
“Andrew Balding was very good. When the horse came we had a long chat about him and he said he probably doesn’t need the hood any more.
“A lot of horses Down Under wear a tongue-tie. They don’t seem to worry so much about that and it can only be a help.”
Chief among Hoo Ya Mal’s rivals is New London, who has won three of his four starts for Charlie Appleby and steps up in class following a lucrative handicap victory at the July meeting.
The Dubawi colt holds an entry for the St Leger, but will be subjected to the test of running at Group level before loftier targets are pencilled in.
“We know the Gordon Stakes is a great pointer towards the Great Voltigeur, we’ll get the Gordon Stakes out of the way with him first and then we’ll see,” Appleby said.
“After that we will hopefully not be putting round pegs into square holes.”
Others in opposition include James Ferguson’s Deauville Legend and the Karl Burke-trained Al Qareem, who finished first and second in the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket three weeks ago.
Al Qareem carries the colours of Nick Bradley Racing and Bradley is confident of a bold showing.
“He is in great form. He goes there with a massive chance and is definitely overpriced,” he said.
“In an ideal world we would be running over one-mile-six or one-mile-five rather than a mile and a half and any rain would help him, but I think he has a massive chance.”
Balding’s Masekela, the Charlie Fellowes-trained Grand Alliance and West Wind Blows from Simon and Ed Crisford’s yard also feature in the Group Three contest.
A field of nine juveniles have been declared for the Group Two Richmond Stakes, with Paul and Oliver Cole’s course and distance winner Royal Scotsman setting the standard on ratings after finishing third in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Oliver Cole said: “The horse is in really good form and we decided to skip the July Stakes at Newmarket because he’s a big horse and we wanted to give him a bit more time between races as he’s still growing.
“He goes there in great form and I think he’ll run a big, big race.
“He ran in the Coventry on pretty quick ground and I don’t think the ground worries him. We didn’t have enough cover in the Coventry, so arguably there’s improvement there.
“He’s done very well between the Coventry and the Richmond, so fingers crossed.”
Michael O’Callaghan’s Crispy Cat also brings Royal Ascot placed form to the table, having finished third in the Norfolk, but he has since disappointed in the Railway Stakes at the Curragh.
Other hopefuls include Balding’s dual winner Chateau, Tom Clover’s impressive Windsor scorer Al Karrar and the Nick Bradley Racing-owned Marshman, who won readily on his debut for Burk at Ayr.
Bradley added: “His work at home has been excellent. He’s been working with Lethal Levi, Holloway Boy and Cold Case which are some of Karl’s fastest colts.
“When he won he was a little green, he made a mess of the start and was again green at the finish, but he’s probably my best chance of the week on the figures.
“He could be anything. Karl hasn’t said he is going to win, but he’s definitely done nothing wrong at home – his work at home is really excellent.”