Tag Archive for: Adrian Keatley

Spice too hot for Pontefract rivals

Plenty of water has passed under the bridge since Dash Of Spice triumphed at Royal Ascot in 2018 but he finally returned to winning ways in the Mary Clark “Favourite Day Of The Year” Handicap at Pontefract.

Trained by David Elsworth in those days, he only raced once more that season when the beaten 3-1 favourite in the John Smith’s Cup won by Euchen Glen.

He picked up an injury there which kept him off the track for two full seasons and when he returned to action last year he looked a light of his former self.

Picked up for a relatively paltry £29,000 at the sales by the Ontoawinner syndicate and partners and sent to Adrian Keatley, he has had four runs for new connections, with a second at Pontefract in June his best effort.

Off a mark of 87, down from a high of 104, he was able to dictate under Tom Marquand and won by three lengths from Possible Man.

“It worked out perfect for him today. They left him alone in front and he’s got a lot of class this horse,” said Keatley.

“Hopefully there’s another one or two similar races like that in him this season and then we’ll put him away and hope for another good season next year with him.

“Tom has been lucky for us. It’s nothing against the other jocks, you can only ride what’s under you, but Tom used to ride him for his previous trainer Mr Elsworth and was very complimentary about him after.

“I’ve nothing immediately in mind for him, there might be something at the big Ayr meeting. I’ll speak with the owners but I wouldn’t be keen on over-racing him this season.”

David O’Meara’s Forced Entry had shown precious little in two starts to date but looked a different proposition in the Trevor Woods Memorial British EBF Novice Stakes.

Well beaten at both Carlisle and Lingfield, he looked much more professional on this occasion and was a cosy winner.

Forced Entry (grey) sees off all challengers
Forced Entry (grey) sees off all challengers (Tim Goode/PA)

Jason Watson, stepping in for Danny Tudhope who was riding in America on Saturday evening, always had the 7-1 chance in the box seat just on the outside of Where’s Diana and he quickened up to win by half a length.

Odds-on favourite Bloomington Bride got going too late and was just behind in third.

“I think he enjoyed the track, it’s quite a quirky place going up and down and I think he learned a lot in his last race at Lingfield,” said Watson.

“He’s got ability, I think he’s just been a bit too green to show it and he stayed on gamely today. But to be fair it probably was a bit of a surprise – a welcome one.”

Kevin Stott has enjoyed a good weekend as fresh from a double at Ripon, which included the Great St Wilfrid on Justanotherbottle, he teamed up with Sir Michael Stoute’s Duty Of Care for another winner.

A half-brother to Breeders’ Cup winner Expert Eye, he disappointed at Chelmsford last time out and got back on the winning trail.

The 2-1 joint-favourite did not have much in hand over fellow Newmarket raider, William Haggas’ Ready To Venture, but came out on top in a photo.

Stott said: “He’s a lovely, big horse and he’s done that really well. I’d say he wants further. He’ll get a mile and a half no problem.”

The Fergal O’Brien-trained Teqany (7-2) was second in the Elite Hurdle to Sceau Royal in November but since then has run exclusively on the Flat.

A winner at Chepstow last time out, his first success on the Flat, he made all once more for Dougie Costello.

O’Brien’s partner and assistant Sally Randell said: “He’s such a legend, we’ve had him three years and he’s never been out of the first four.

“He just loves winning, so while it was hard work last time, I did say to Dougie that he might have an easier ride this time because since Chepstow he’s been wild!

“His hurdle mark is so high that we thought going on the Flat was the obvious thing. Hopefully the handicapper doesn’t go mad.”

O’Meara doubled up when Alpha Cru (7-5 favourite) made most of the running under David Nolan in the Happy Retirement Mick Henshaw Novice Stakes.

“She’s done it nicely. We only got her a couple of months ago and she won a novice here and clearly improved for that. We’ll see what the handicapper does,” said O’Meara.

Beverley boost for Kyber Crystal

Kyber Crystal heads to Beverley for the Hilary Needler Trophy with a timely form boost after her Doncaster conqueror Ebro River ran away with the Listed National Stakes at Sandown.

Connections of Kyber Crystal felt a little hard done by after going down by a length two weeks ago – because the winner hung repeatedly to the right, taking her with him.

However, it was still a most encouraging run from the Adrian Keatley-trained youngster against a rival who proved when he doubled his tally on Thursday evening that he is clearly talented.

“We were very pleased with her debut,” said Niall O’Brien, a director of owners Ontoawinner.

“We did feel a bit sore afterwards, because we thought had Ebro River stayed in a straight line when the filly came to make her run she probably would have won the race at Doncaster, but she got a bit intimidated by him.

“He was hanging right. He hung again last night at Sandown, but he has obviously got a fair old engine on him.

“She ran well on her debut, and we go there with a good draw – we’ll be handy and we hope for a big run. Hopefully she can step forward.”

Hester Prynne and May Blossom give David O’Meara a decent hand too on Saturday.

Both juvenile fillies have winning form, with Hester Prynne victorious on her only start to date over the course and distance at the beginning of the month.

May Blossom got off the mark at Pontefract on her second attempt – and although she disappointed in the Listed Marygate Stakes at York, she was hampered on leaving the stalls.

O’Meara expects both fillies to handle the ground, which is likely to be testing after Wednesday’s meeting was abandoned because of waterlogging.

“May Blossom won well at Pontefract, but I don’t think she gave her running at York for whatever reason,” said the North Yorkshire handler.

“She got a bump coming out of the stalls and got behind. I’d like to think we’d see a lot better from her. The ground should be OK. She’s by Mayson.”

“Hester Prynne won nicely there over the course and distance. I think she’ll find the ground fine.”

Lady Ayresome is the other course-and-distance winner in the field, having struck five weeks ago following an encouraging debut at Redcar.

Trainer Kevin Ryan is represented in both feature two-year-old races at Beverley
Trainer Kevin Ryan is represented in both feature two-year-old races at Beverley (PA)

Her trainer Kevin Ryan is expecting a good run from the daughter of Kodi Bear in a competitive 11-runner field.

“She’s a nice filly and she did well last time. She shouldn’t mind the ground and has track form,” he said.

The Thirsk-based trainer believes Ryan’s Party will show that he has improved for his debut when he lines up for the other good two-year-old race on the card, the bet365 Continental Two Year Old Trophy.

“He ran a lovely race first time and will have come on for the run,” he said.

“It looks a strong race, but he’s in good form.”

The John Quinn-trained Tipperary Sunset, who got the better of Ryan’s Party by a length at Hamilton two weeks ago, renews rivalry.

Quinn said: “I’m very happy with him.

“He did well to win – he made all and was strong at the line at Hamilton. I’m hoping for a big run.”

Tom Dascombe is hoping Mercurial vindicates his decision to bypass the National Stakes at Sandown.

The son of Prince Of Lir, who won this race in 2016, confirmed the promise of his debut second at Bath last month when getting up close home to deny his stablemate Russellinthebushes at Chester.

“He was a winner last time out at Chester, and it was a toss-up whether to run him in the National Stakes or at Beverley,” said Dascombe.

“We decided on Beverley, and Hayley (Turner) has won on him, so she’s kept the ride. I hope he runs really well.”

The six-strong field is completed by Mark Johnston’s Musselburgh winner The Gatekeeper, Richard Hannon’s Brighton scorer Robjohn and the Richard Fahey-trained newcomer Straits Of Moyle.