Prix Morny the ‘obvious’ aim for Shareholder

A move up in trip for the Prix Morny appears likely for Shareholder, with connections confident there is more to come from their impressive Royal Ascot hero as the season progresses.

Shareholder was one of the highlights of a successful week at the Royal meeting for owners Wathnan Racing as he blitzed the opposition in the Norfolk Stakes.

Both Shareholder and fellow Karl Burke-trained juvenile Leovanni obliged for the Qatar-based operation as their pre-Ascot spending spree at both the breeze-up sales and privately paid dividends over the course of the five-day meeting.

And having rapidly gone from exciting €460,000 purchase to Royal Ascot winner via a race at Beverley and in little over a month, the future appears bright for Shareholder.

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A trip to Deauville for Group One action on August 18 has been described as “pretty obvious” by Wathnan racing adviser Richard Brown, who is excited to see how the son of Not This Time develops under the careful tutelage of the Spigot Lodge team.

“It was an amazing week and the horses did us proud.” said Brown.

“I think Shareholder was winning 40 days after being in the sales ring and he has gone from France to Newmarket, then to Karl’s and had a run in between and I think everything he has done so far has been done on pure ability.

“He is going to have to learn to race a bit more professionally and he’s seen plenty of daylight in both races. I think he is going to be much better when tucked in and given some cover over six furlongs and then showing that turn of foot coming from behind.

James Doyle aboard Shareholder after winning the Norfolk Stakes
James Doyle aboard Shareholder after winning the Norfolk Stakes (John Walton/PA)

“It’s pretty obvious, there is only really one race, and I would imagine he would go to the Prix Morny.

“I’m sure now Karl will have a bit more time with him, he will be able to bring him back and get him to a good place and he will have so much more time over six furlongs to race professionally and when he does, hopefully he can show he is up to Group One standard.”

Leovanni was equally as impressive when scorching to Queen Mary success a day earlier and having got Wathnan off the mark for the week, it will be a victory Brown will always be grateful for.

The daughter of Kodi Bear, who was a £190,000 Doncaster breeze-up buy, had impressed on debut at Nottingham, but found herself somewhat unwanted on the day of the race at Ascot and was sent off at odds of 22-1.

However, she made a mockery of that price to strike by almost two lengths and now has connections working back from Newmarket’s Cheveley Park Stakes later in the season.

“I was really impressed with Leovanni and her biggest asset is her temperament, she was so chilled before, during and after the Queen Mary,” continued Brown.

“You couldn’t help but be impressed by the way she quickened away from them and she did us proud.

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“She got us out the blocks after a slightly frustrating Tuesday when we hit the crossbar a couple of times and it was great – she was a big pressure release for the whole team and I think I will forever be in her debt because there was a lot of pressure on.

Leovanni (right) winning the Queen Mary
Leovanni (right) winning the Queen Mary (David Davies/PA)

“The whole point of the team assembled was that it is not just about Ascot, but also the future and she will definitely be a big part of that now.

“I really haven’t had much of a chance to properly talk to the team yet, but I would imagine we will work backwards from the Cheveley Park. She will probably get a bit of a break now, she’s had a sale and two fairly quick runs.”

As well as the two to find the scoresheet, there was also plenty of excitement derived from the performances of Archie Watson’s Electrolyte and Richard Fahey’s Columnist, who were beaten a nose and a quarter of a length respectively in the Coventry Stakes.

With both Shareholder and Leovanni set for a short breather before returning to action, it is the vanquished Ascot runners who will fly the Wathnan flag in the coming weeks with Electrolyte on course for the July Stakes at Newmarket and stablemate Aesterius heading to Sandown on Friday week for the Dragon Stakes.

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