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RacehorseClub dreaming big with Create Belief and The Lir Jet

Create Belief spearheads what could be a dream weekend for the RacehorseClub ownership group when she lines up on Longines Irish Champions Weekend.

Not only does the Royal Ascot winner hold serious claims of gaining her first Group One win in the Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes at Leopardstown, but The Lir Jet, now trained in America, runs in a $600,000 race at Kentucky Downs.

Create Belief has been brought along superbly by Johnny Murtagh, who broke his Group One duck in the Matron 12 months ago with a similar type in Champers Elysees.

“We always liked her. She finished third on her only run at two when she was a bit backward, but she was always going to be better this year and won her maiden in April,” said Murtagh.

“Since then she has just improved out of all recognition, but she always had the size and scope to do that. I think she’s between 15-20 kilos heavier now than she was in April, which is a good sign as it shows they are improving and strengthening up all the time.”

For the RacehorseClub, which offers microshares to its members, it has been something of a dream start, with Balko Des Flos going agonisingly close in the Grand National and Create Belief already winning at Royal Ascot – and now she is now competing at the top level.

“When you look through the racecard on a Group One day not many syndicates have runners in them, let alone have a fancied runner in one of the biggest races on Irish Champions Weekend,” said Murtagh.

“It’s great for everybody to be involved in that kind of race and it happened last year for us with the Fitzwilliam syndicate who owned Champers Elysees at the time. She went and won it so let’s hope history can repeat itself.”

Ben Coen celebrates winning the Sandringham Stakes with Create Belief
Ben Coen celebrates winning the Sandringham Stakes with Create Belief (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Murtagh went on: “For the members of the RacehorseClub, if they can get to enjoy the feeling of winning a Group One it would be fantastic.

“We haven’t been able to have many of the members visit, or owners in general, though it is opening up now. There are 4,000 (spectators) allowed (at Leopardstown) this weekend and hopefully after that things can begin to open up. It will be great to see a few of the members this weekend and there’s a stable visit organised for later in the month.

“Hopefully we’ll have a good end to the season with this filly.

“All our best horses run this weekend and we’re pretty excited about it, but everybody else has their best horses running this weekend so it’s going to be tough.”

The Lir Jet won the Norfolk Stakes at Ascot last year, beating Wesley Ward’s Golden Pal, so plenty of Americans are aware of him already.

The Lir Jet (left) beating Golden Pal in the 2020 Norfolk Stakes
The Lir Jet (left) beating Golden Pal in the 2020 Norfolk Stakes (Julian Finney/PA)

He has left Michael Bell, been gelded and sent to Kentucky-based Brendan Walsh, who brought Extravagant Kid over to be third in the King’s Stand this year.

“The day he beat Golden Pal at Ascot it raised a few eyebrows over here. It bodes very well over here that he’s beaten a horse as good as that,” said Cork native Walsh of The Lir Jet.

“I’d obviously seen the horse before he came here, he’d had his excuses lately with the ground and whatnot and I think he’ll do really well as he looks to have the right credentials.

“The race he’s running in this weekend we won last season with Guildsman (ex Archie Watson) and on paper he’d be every bit as good as him.”

He went on: “We’re hopeful he’ll make the Breeders’ Cup later in the year, but we’ll see how things go this weekend. It would be good to have the option of stretching out to a mile, but this seems a nice distance on Sunday (six and a half furlongs) and this would be a stiffer track than most in the US.

“It helps that he’s been here before (seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf) and there’s plenty to build on.”

As for the RacehorseClub, the microshare idea is more established in the States and has enjoyed great success.

“There are an awful lot of partnerships here now, especially around the better horses. Even the bigger owners are doing it, spreading themselves over more horses,” said Walsh.

“This one is very interesting, it’s a bit like the MyRacehorse syndicate (who owned Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Authentic). It attracts people into the game which is what we all need, getting people involved for smaller amounts of money.

“The start this club have had is amazing and it gives people great insight as to what is involved – it can only be good.”

American speedster Extravagant Kid all set for King’s Stand

Brendan Walsh is relying on his American raider Extravagant Kid to atone for Benbaun’s narrow defeat by Takeover Target in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Walsh worked for Newmarket trainer Mark Wallace when Benbaun was beaten a short head by the Australian challenger back in 2006.

Takeover Target was seven when he landed the Group One dash over five furlongs – and although Extravagant Kid is a year older, he is in the form of his life and won the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan on his most recent start in March.

“Being an Irishman, I grew up and worked in Europe for many years – I worked for Godolphin for many years,” Walsh told a virtual press conference hosted by Great British Racing International.

“When I worked for Mark Wallace at Newmarket we had a horse called Benbaun, who was just touched off in the King’s Stand Stakes by Takeover Target.

“I’ve been around Royal Ascot all my life. You come over here and don’t expect it. We’ve watched (fellow US trainer) Wesley (Ward) over the last few years – but for me it was the last thing I would have expected to have a runner at Royal Ascot.

“It’s very special, knowing how big it is at home.

“It is nice to be able to run over there and compete with the very best of European trainers and jockeys.”

Walsh, who bought Extravagant Kid out of a claimer, has 65 to 70 horses in training in Kentucky.

“I think the travel and a different track, when you get to an age like him – an eight-year-old – you are trying to find something a little different,” he said.

“They have pretty much seen it all before, and this for him suits his character and it’s really picked him up – maybe that’s what most of his improvement is accredited to.

“My assistant Charlie Lynch is with him. He says he hasn’t missed a beat since he got there, pretty much like was doing in Dubai. You can’t beat that. We’ve prepared him for it, and it looks like it’s all going to plan.

“The Dubai thing was in my mind for a couple of years. I travelled a lot of horses with Godolphin back in the day and I thought this was the right year to go with Extravagant Kid.

“He thrived in Dubai when he got there, and he seems to be thriving in Newmarket since he got there.

“I’ve got no real hang-ups about it. I think it’s as we would want it, and if we get a good trip we will see if he’s good enough or not.

“I’m gutted I’m not going to be there. The way things are at the moment, it makes it very tough for us to travel. All the same it is still very exciting.”