Tag Archive for: Cheveley Park Stud

Allaho ruled out of Cheltenham Festival due to injury

Hopes of a third Ryanair Chase win for the brilliant Allaho have been dashed for the second year in succession after connections were again forced to rule him out of the Cheltenham Festival.

The Willie Mullins-trained 10-year-old carried the colours of Cheveley Park Stud to stunning Ryanair wins in 2021 and 2022, but missed the entirety of last season through injury.

He made a successful return from 19 months on the sidelines in the Clonmel Oil Chase in November and while he had to make do with minor honours in third when favourite for the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day, he bounced back to winning ways when notching a third triumph in last week’s Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase at Thurles.

That 13-length victory saw Allaho cement his place at the head of ante-post lists for this year’s Ryanair Chase on March 14, but he will not be making the trip to Prestbury Park.

Chris Richardson, Cheveley Park’s managing director, told the PA news agency: “Allaho was found to be lame after his race at Thurles and it’s been diagnosed as a strained hock, so he’s going to require several weeks rest and recuperation and therefore sadly misses Cheltenham.

“It’s very frustrating, as it was good to see him return to form the other day, but he wasn’t 100 per cent afterwards and we’re just going to have to give him the time, I’m afraid.”

Allaho on redemption trail at Thurles

Allaho bids to bounce back from King George defeat in the Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase at Thurles on Sunday.

The Grade Two contest has twice proved a springboard to Cheltenham Festival glory for the Willie Mullins-trained gelding, with his 2021 and 2022 triumphs preceding a pair of stunning front-running victories in the Ryanair Chase for owners Cheveley Park Stud.

He was similarly jaw-dropping when winning the 2022 Punchestown Gold Cup, but having since spent 19 months on the sidelines, there is a question mark over how much of his former brilliance he retains.

The 10-year-old was solid rather than spectacular when making a successful comeback in November’s Clonmel Oil Chase and could finish only third as a hot favourite for Kempton’s Boxing Day showpiece.

“Allaho came out of his last race fine,” said Cheveley Park’s managing director Chris Richardson.

“I think it’s fair to say we were hoping for a bit more from him (in the King George), maybe the ground was a bit lively and there is maybe a slight question mark whether he really stayed the three miles.

“I think coming back in trip will suit him well, so hopefully he can run well on Sunday and then we can head back for the Ryanair again.”

Envoi Allen winning the Ryanair Chase
Envoi Allen winning the Ryanair Chase (Mike Egerton/PA)

Henry de Bromhead’s Envoi Allen, who proved a super-sub for Allaho when winning last season’s Ryanair Chase, has also been declared for the Cheveley Park team.

Allaho is one of four runners for the champion trainer alongside Appreciate It, Capodanno and Stattler, with the Mouse Morris-trained French Dynamite completing the field.

The latter has been kept fresh since finishing third behind Classic Getaway, trained by Mullins and owned by Cheveley Park, at this track in November.

“He’s grand, the ground is good so I’d be hoping for a good run,” said Morris.

“It’s a good race, they always are but this is the right race for him. It’s a Grade Two on good ground and I don’t have a lot of options.

“I still have to get him qualified for the National, he needs to be in the first four over three miles so I don’t know just yet. I’m hoping for a big run this weekend anyhow.”

Cheltenham Gold Cup hero A Plus Tard retired

A Plus Tard, winner of the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup, has been retired from racing.

Owned by Cheveley Park Stud and trained by Henry de Bromhead, A Plus Tard gave jockey Rachael Blackmore a historic victory in the Prestbury Park feature as she became the first woman to ride the winner of jump racing’s blue riband.

The 10-year-old rocketed to a 15-length success that day, supplementing three previous Grade One wins, including a 22-length verdict in the 2021 Betfair Chase.

However, A Plus Tard has struggled to make his mark since that Gold Cup win, pulling up on two occasions and finishing third at Aintree in April before bowing out when unplaced in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown last month.

A Plus Tard in action at Aintree last April
A Plus Tard in action at Aintree last April (Tim Goode/PA)

Richard Thompson, director of Cheveley Park Stud, paid tribute to the gelding who realised the dream of his late father, David, when winning at Cheltenham.

He said in a statement: “My father and I sat down in early 2018 and agreed a plan to buy some National Hunt horses to be trained in Ireland with the aim of winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

“Just over four years later, we achieved this objective when Rachael Blackmore rode A Plus Tard to victory in front of 70,000 people at the first Cheltenham Festival post Covid.

“My father watched A Plus Tard win the Savills Chase in a thrilling finish on television on December 28, 2020. He died the very next day. It was the last horse race he ever watched.

“A Plus Tard was also the first Cheltenham winner in the red, white and blue Cheveley Park Stud colours and also Rachael Blackmore’s first winner at Cheltenham in the 2019 Listed Close Brothers Novices’ Chase. Rachael rode him to five of his six victories and Darragh O’Keeffe rode him in the other one.

“For all of the above reasons, A Plus Tard will always be a very special horse in the history of my parents’ ownership of Cheveley Park Stud.

“A special thank you to Henry de Bromhead and all the team at Knockeen and to Rachael too. To win the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the Holy Grail of National Hunt racing and we will never forget March 18, 2022.”

A Plus Tard will remain at De Bromhead’s Knockeen yard in the immediate future before returning to Cheveley Park in Newmarket to enjoy his retirement.

Rachael Blackmore and Henry de Bromhead with A Plus Tard
Rachael Blackmore and Henry de Bromhead with A Plus Tard (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

De Bromhead added: “A Plus Tard was our first horse to train for Cheveley Park Stud and the Thompson Family. He was bought from France by Alex Elliot and gave us many memorable days, culminating in the 2022 Gold Cup.

“He was sublime that day, not only visually impressive, but also one of the highest rated winners of the Gold Cup in the last 30 years, as well as being one of the best horses we have ever had in our yard.

“We were delighted when this very special horse won Cheveley Park Stud their first Gold Cup.”

Blackmore was equally fulsome in her praise of A Plus Tard, telling Betfair: “He had everything you could ask for in a horse, speed, stamina, really accurate jumper.

“To feel him accelerate like he did after the last in the Gold Cup is a feeling I’ll never forget, I feel so lucky to have been on his back.

“He was incredible and such a special horse to me. He will enjoy a very well-deserved retirement now.”

A Plus Tard bows out the winner of eight of his 23 career starts, with over £957,000 in prize-money.

Cheveley Park big guns being readied for festive action

Cheveley Park Stud director Richard Thompson is anticipating a busy Christmas for the team, with the majority of their formidable National squad set to be in action over the festive period.

Dual Ryanair and Punchestown Gold Cup hero Allaho will fly the Cheveley Park flag in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, while several horses look set to carry the famous red, white and blue colours across the four days of Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival.

A twin assault is being prepared for the Savills Chase on December 28, with stablemates A Plus Tard and Envoi Allen both confirmed as intended runners by trainer Henry de Bromhead earlier this week.

Thompson is particularly intrigued to see how A Plus Tard performs, with the nine-year-old having largely struggled since his sensational victory in the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Rachael Blackmore celebrates with Envoi Allen at Cheltenham
Rachael Blackmore celebrates with Envoi Allen at Cheltenham (Tim Goode/PA)

“I think Henry feels it’s the right race for both horses,” he said.

“A Plus Tard has run twice in the Savills, winning in 2021 and finishing second the following year, and Envoi is going there in decent form after finishing second at Down Royal.

“It will be fascinating to see how A Plus Tard runs. He seems to be in great form at home, but as everyone knows he has had issues since he won the Gold Cup.

“He hasn’t run since April and we will know a lot after December 28 in terms of what have we got on our hands – have we got the old A Plus Tard back, or are we having to look again at his career going forward?”

Other upcoming entries for Cheveley Park include familiar names like Quilixios, Sir Gerhard, Grangeclare West and Classic Getaway.

The latter pair are poised to have their sights raised after impressing on their seasonal debuts.

Grangeclare West in winning action at Punchestown
Grangeclare West in winning action at Punchestown (Brian Lawless/PA)

Thompson added: “I think the two to look out for are Grangeclare West and Classic Getaway – they’re both very interesting horses based on their last performances and it will be fascinating to see where they run and how they run.

“Quilixios was disappointing last time out and is a little bit in and out, but he did win the time before over fences.

“We’ve only got 14 (National Hunt) horses in training and I think 12 of them are entered over Christmas. It’s an important time of year obviously and there’s a bit of prize-money to picked up to hopefully pay a few bills!”

Allaho confirmed for King George bid

Allaho will bid to provide Cheveley Park Stud with another big-race victory at Kempton on Boxing Day after being confirmed an intended runner in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase.

While better known as a major force on the Flat, the owners have enjoyed huge success over jumps in recent years, with the Gold Cup triumph of A Plus Tard the obvious highlight of several winners at the Cheltenham Festival.

The Willie Mullins-trained Allaho is a dual winner at Prestbury Park, having twice dominated his rivals in the Ryanair Chase, while he proved his stamina for the three-mile distance of the King George with another sensational performance in the 2022 Punchestown Gold Cup.

The nine-year-old missed the whole of last season through injury – but having proved his well-being with a comeback win in the Clonmel Oil Chase last month, Cheveley Park Stud director Richard Thompson is looking forward to seeing him line up in one of National Hunt racing’s most prestigious races.

“That (King George) is the plan and has been the plan for a while. I said to Willie to do whatever he thinks and it’s his decision,” said Thompson.

“He was obviously off the track for a year and a half. He’s been a brilliant horse for us and you’d hope that he’s going to be in good enough shape to compete and do a decent job.

“He’s been a fantastic horse, it will be great to be there and it’s very exciting.”

Paul Townend celebrates winning the Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup on Allaho
Paul Townend celebrates winning the Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup on Allaho (Brian Lawless/PA)

Thompson admits Allaho’s comeback victory over just two rivals at Clonmel was more solid than spectacular and is keeping his fingers crossed he can show his true brilliance in the King George.

He added: “He won the Ryanair in 2021, the Ryanair in 2022 and the Punchestown Gold Cup in 2022, and in between times he put in that performance in the John Durkan in 2021, which I think it’s fair to say was a bit workmanlike.

“He wasn’t the Allaho that he was in either of the Ryanairs or in the Punchestown Gold Cup that day, but he still won another Grade One.

“Who knows what will happen at Kempton, but it’s great to be in the race. I appreciate every single one of our Grade Ones, especially the amazing Grade Ones, and the King George is definitely one of those.

“There are Grade Ones and there are Grade Ones – and this is a proper Grade One.”

Cheveley Park pair justify big price tags at Naas

Grangeclare West and Mahon’s Way showed their class to provide owners Cheveley Park Stud with a notable double at Naas.

Trained by Willie Mullins and Henry de Bromhead respectively, the pair of point-to-point graduates were expensive purchases at £430,000 and £360,000.

Grangeclare West impressed when winning his bumper and a maiden hurdle, but disappointed in successive Grade One events earlier this year before rounding off his season on a high in lesser company at Punchestown in the spring.

The seven-year-old was a 7-4 shot for his reappearance and debut over regulation fences in the Mongey Communications Beginners Chase and jumped well under Paul Townend on his way to a near three-length victory over Heart Wood, with 11-10 favourite Corbetts Cross back in third.

“He looks to be born to jump fences, he loved it,” said the champion jockey.

“He had a blow but his jumping was getting him a long way. The two fences being taken out in the straight didn’t help but his class got him through.

“He’s always promised and I’d say with chasing he could fulfil his promise.”

Mullins also landed the bumper with the Jody Townend-ridden Fleur Au Fusil (100-30).

Mahon's Way impressed at Naas
Mahon’s Way impressed at Naas (PA)

Mahon’s Way (3-1) had earlier dominated his rivals in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Hurdle, with Rachael Blackmore doing the steering as he pulled five and a half lengths clear.

“He’s a lovely horse and Alex Elliott bought him last year after he won his point-to-point. He came highly recommended and does everything well,” said De Bromhead.

“He went through that ground but I’d say he’d have a preference for nicer. It’s tough work out there and you would think he will get further.”

De Bromhead and Blackmore also teamed up to land the Cavan Developments Home Builders Supporting St Marys GAA Maiden Hurdle with the similarly impressive Slade Steel, who proved much too strong for the 8-11 favourite King Of Kingsfield.

Slade Steel and Rachael Blackmore return to the winner's enclosure
Slade Steel and Rachael Blackmore return to the winner’s enclosure (PA)

The trainer added: “He was a nice bumper horse last year, we didn’t run him too much and it is nice to see him come out and do that.

“He really stayed at it. He won his point-to-point and I’d say he’s adaptable, he has a bit of pace as well.

“He has an entry in the Royal Bond and we’ll find a novice for him somewhere.”

High-class Flat performer Smooth Tom (10-1) made it two from two over obstacles in the BetVictor Fishery Lane Novice Hurdle in the hands of 5lb claimer Philip Donovan.

Willie Slattery, brother and assistant to trainer Andrew, said: “He’s a 90-rated horse on the Flat and I was surprised how big a price he was. He handles soft ground but you would always be a bit worried about a Flat horse on winter ground.

“Andy was talking about giving him a rest and if he runs again it will probably be Leopardstown at Christmas. He’s going to have to step up again.”

Chosen Diamond was a 7-1 winner of the Overlander Horseboxes Novice Handicap Chase, while the €40,000 Brown Lad Handicap Hurdle went to 20-1 chance Espanito Bello for owner-trainer Barry Connell, who said: “They went a mad pace in front which suited him and he jumped super.

“I might look at the Proudstown, it’s a €100,000 handicap hurdle and he should be still competitive.

“That’s his fifth win here and they might make a statue of him now!”

A Plus Tard could bypass Betfair Chase engagement

A Plus Tard is “odds against” to bid for a second win in the Betfair Chase at Haydock later this month, according to Cheveley Park Stud director Richard Thompson.

The nine-year-old was a brilliant winner of the Grade One contest in 2021 before going on to lift that season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup in spectacular fashion.

However, a disappointing defence of his Haydock crown set the tone for a lacklustre campaign last term, pulling up on his return to Cheltenham before finishing a well-beaten third at Aintree.

Trainer Henry de Bromhead has again entered A Plus Tard for the Betfair Chase on November 25, but Thompson feels that may be a big ask on his first run back.

He said: “I think it’s odds against he runs at Haydock, but he’ll be out soon I think. I’m told he’s in good form and we’re looking forward to seeing how he runs.

“He’s had a few issues, as everyone knows. I think those are sorted now, hopefully, and he’ll be out soon, but the Betfair Chase may be a bit of a stretch for him as it’s only two weeks away.”

When asked if A Plus Tard could make his comeback at a slightly lower level, Thompson added: “I would have thought that will be the plan more than the Betfair Chase. Henry will make the plan, but I get the flavour that he may go that route.

“There’s no pressure. He’s a Gold Cup winner and a Betfair Chase winner and has given us four Grade Ones – he’s given us some fantastic days.”

Allaho back on course in Clonmel Oil contest

Jumps fans are served up a midweek treat in Ireland on Thursday as one of the sport’s superstars makes his long-awaited return in the Clonmel Oil Chase.

Willie Mullins has landed seven of the last 10 editions of the Grade Two feature at Powerstown Park, with Champagne Fever (2014), Kemboy (2018) and Douvan (2019) among those on the roll of honour.

This year the champion trainer saddles two of the of declared runners, with Janidil joined by his long-absent and esteemed stablemate Allaho.

The Cheveley Park Stud-owned gelding was spectacular in winning back-to-back renewals of the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham, pummelling his rivals by 12 and 14 lengths respectively, before successfully stepping up to three miles with a 14-length demolition job in the 2022 Punchestown Gold Cup.

He has not been seen in competitive action since the latter of those triumphs 19 months ago, but will nevertheless be a short price to dispatch of his three rivals in the hands of Paul Townend.

“Allaho has been fantastic for us, winning a couple of Ryanairs, a Punchestown Gold Cup and a John Durkan. It’s great to see him back and hopefully he can show us that he’s back to his best,” said Cheveley Park Stud director Richard Thompson.

“He’s nine turning 10 in January, he’s been one of the stalwarts from the bunch of jumps horses we bought and hopefully we’ll still have some good days with him.

Allaho before morning exercise at Willie Mullins’ yard
Allaho before morning exercise at Willie Mullins’ yard (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

“He’s been off the track since April 2022, a good year and a half, so it will be fascinating to see him back and we’ll see how he gets on.

“Before he got injured last season we hoped he might be a three-time winner of the Ryanair and hopefully still can be.”

The biggest threat to the Mullins pair is French Dynamite, who bids to provide Mouse Morris with another big-race win following Gentlemansgame’s victory in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby on Saturday.

Morris said: “He’ll probably take the run and it would be hard to think we’ll beat Allaho, but it’s a good place to start and it will put him right for wherever we want to go afterwards.”

John Ryan’s outsider Grange Walk completes the quartet.

Thompson revels in Inspiral Breeders’ Cup glory

Cheveley Park Stud director Richard Thompson is targeting further top-level success next year with the brilliant Inspiral following her last-gasp victory at the Breeders’ Cup on Saturday.

A homebred daughter of Frankel, the John and Thady Gosden-trained filly headed for Santa Anita in search of a sixth Group or Grade One win in the hands of Frankie Dettori.

Stepping up to a mile and a quarter for the first time for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, Inspiral was still well back in the field rounding the home turn, but her trademark acceleration soon kicked in as she fairly rocketed home under an inspired ride to get up and beat Warm Heart by a neck.

Cheveley Park has enjoyed huge success on the Flat over the past three decades and more recently taken the National Hunt game by storm – but Thompson admits the the team’s triumph in the Californian sunshine may have been the biggest highlight of his racing life.

“It’s hard to put into words, it really is. I’ve seen some big moments on the racecourse over the years, but that’s got to be right up there,” he said.

“Inspiral is a homebred filly, it was her sixth Group One and as well as that it’s the way the race unfolded – it’s California, it’s Santa Anita.

“My legs had gone after the last furlong!”

Frankie returns victorious with Inspiral
Frankie returns victorious with Inspiral (PA)

With Inspiral having now proven her stamina over the longer distance, there is every chance she will bid for further 10-furlong riches on home soil next summer.

Thompson added: “She obviously stayed the mile and a quarter. She probably needs the right ground and the right track, but she needed every inch on Saturday, didn’t she?

“That home straight at Santa Anita is a bit short, but she needed every inch of that particular straight and she was running on at the end, which is a good sign.

“You’d like to think she’ll run in another handful of Group Ones next year and let’s see what she can do. As long as she’s enjoying her racing and John and Thady tell us that she’s in great form and wants to race, she’s carrying on, which is great for us and everybody.”

Richard Thompson (second right) with Frankie Dettori and Inspiral at Deauville
Richard Thompson (second right) with Frankie Dettori and Inspiral at Deauville (PA)

Considering possible plans for 2024, Thompson said: “I guess you might see her over the stiff mile in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot, but we’ll give 10 furlongs a shot at some stage during the summer, absolutely.

“You could potentially see her in the Nassau at Goodwood or the Juddmonte International at York. I wouldn’t have thought she’d run in both of those as they’d probably be too close together, but certainly one of those could come into play.

“We can look at anything from eight to 10 furlongs, depending on the track and the ground, and hopefully we’ll have another couple of great days with her. That’s the objective.”

Inspiral ready to step up for Santa Anita challenge

Only a late setback will stop Inspiral heading to the Breeders’ Cup as connections are ready to “roll the dice” once again in a bid to end her campaign on a high.

Trained by John and Thady Gosden, the daughter of Frankel has been a high-class performer since her juvenile days and achieved the enviable feat of Group One victories at two, three and four when defending her Prix Jacques le Marois title in scintillating fashion in the summer.

She backed up that Deauville victory in supreme style when carrying Frankie Dettori to the easiest of victories in Newmarket’s Sun Chariot Stakes and having skipped the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on account of the testing ground at Ascot on British Champions Day, she has now been given the go-ahead for a first taste of action in America.

“It’s all systems go and the plan and we’re all very excited,” said Chris Richardson, managing director of owners Cheveley Park Stud.

“John Gosden seems very happy with her, so at the moment, fingers crossed, if there are no setbacks we’re looking forward to next weekend.

“She couldn’t have done it more easily at Newmarket (last time) and stamped her authority and John is very happy with where she is, so we may as well roll the dice again.”

Inspiral and Frankie Dettori with connections at Deauville
Inspiral and Frankie Dettori with connections at Deauville (PA)

Inspiral will be racing beyond a mile for the first time in her career when she lines up in the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

However, buoyed by her going-away Sun Chariot success on the Rowley Mile, connections feel Santa Anita is the perfect spot to test the filly’s stamina reserves.

Richardson added: “The way she finished at Newmarket, she wasn’t stopping and she was well clear in the Sun Chariot.

“I think that gave us reason to think the slightly further trip on that sharper track at Santa Anita would suit her perhaps.

“It’s unknown territory, but depending on the run of the race, we think she will see it out.

“It will give us a few more options for, all being well, if she stays in training if she does stay a bit further.”

Envoi Allen set for return to Down Royal next

A defence of the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal could be next on the agenda for Envoi Allen following an underwhelming reappearance at Gowran Park last month.

A three-time Cheltenham Festival winner, having won the 2019 Champion Bumper, the 2020 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and last season’s Ryanair Chase, the Cheveley Park Stud-owned gelding is clearly a top-class operator, but has become increasingly difficult to predict over the past couple of years.

The nine-year-old made a successful start to last season at Down Royal, one of eight Grade One victories on his CV, but is set to return to Northern Ireland on another recovery mission having been beaten into third behind Easy Game in the PWC Champion Chase a couple of weeks ago.

Envoi Allen returns to the Cheltenham winner's enclosure
Envoi Allen returns to the Cheltenham winner’s enclosure (Tim Goode/PA)

“He was a bit rusty (at Gowran) and as we know with Envoi, he can occasionally throw in a disappointing run and then he comes back and shows us how good he is,” said Cheveley Park director Richard Thompson.

“He won two Grade Ones last season and you’d very much hope he’ll come on for that last run. It was a bit disappointing, but he’s given us eight Grade One wins and is a three-time Cheltenham Festival winner, so he’s been a marvellous horse to own and owes us nothing.

“I think that’s where he’ll probably go next (Down Royal), he seemed to enjoy that last year.”

Another Cheveley Park star with a point to prove this term is Envoi Allen’s stablemate A Plus Tard.

A Plus Tard winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup under Rachael Blackmore
A Plus Tard winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup under Rachael Blackmore (David Davies/PA)

The nine-year-old was a sensational winner of the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup for Henry de Bromhead, but a listless display when bidding for back-to-back victories in last season’s Betfair Chase set the tone for a bitterly disappointing campaign.

He was pulled up again in the Gold Cup in March and while a third-placed finish behind Shishkin in the Aintree Bowl was a small step in the right direction, Thompson admits only time will tell whether he can return to his brilliant best.

He added: “He obviously had some issues last season and it didn’t go according to plan. He’s had some work done on him over the summer, I won’t go into specifics as I won’t be able to be technical about it.

“We’ll have to give him a run and see where he’s at, because although we had excuses in the Gold Cup, where he was impeded, and we had the issue before he was due to run in the Savills Chase and his bloods were wrong after the Betfair Chase, he was a tired horse after he ran at Aintree.

“We need to make sure he’s in good shape when he comes out for his first run and take it from there in terms of what sort of campaign he’ll have. We need to see how he runs first time out.”

Allaho missed the whole of last season through injury
Allaho missed the whole of last season through injury (Brian Lawless/PA)

Allaho, a dual winner of the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham for Willie Mullins, has been sidelined by injury since a dominant success in the 2022 Punchestown Gold Cup – but appears to be on the comeback trail.

“All is good with him, as far as I’m aware,” said Thompson.

“I can’t give you any recent details because we’re waiting for Willie to give his view on the programme and I haven’t heard any word recently.”

Inspiral ready to face French fancy in Sun Chariot

Inspiral and Mqse De Sevigne lock horns in an intriguing Anglo-French clash for the Virgin Bet Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

John and Thady Gosden’s Inspiral has won seven of her 11 starts for Cheveley Park Stud, a record which includes four victories at Group One level in the hands of Frankie Dettori – who heads into the weekend one short of 500 career winners at Headquarters.

The four-year-old has been kept fresh since successfully defending her crown in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville in August and connections are looking forward to her return on what is set to be the penultimate Saturday of Dettori’s riding career in Britain.

“She’s in good form and the ground will suit. Softer ground can dampen her finish, but I think the ground on Saturday will be perfect,” said Cheveley Park’s managing director Chris Richardson.

“It’s very competitive and the French filly, Mqse De Sevigne, is to be respected, as are all the field.

“I think the French filly is the one we’ve got to be worried about, but if you’re not in you can’t win, so let’s hope Frankie can work some more magic.”

Plans beyond this weekend for Inspiral remain uncertain, although a trip to the Breeders’ Cup next month is not being ruled out.

Richardson added: “She’s obviously lightly raced, so we can see after Saturday whether Mrs Thompson (owner) will consider the Breeders’ Cup option as her swansong, or indeed whether she might stay in training next year, which hasn’t been decided yet.”

Mqse De Sevigne powered to victory in the Prix Jean Romanet
Mqse De Sevigne powered to victory in the Prix Jean Romanet (Scoopdyga/France Galop)

Mqse De Sevigne is on a Group One hat-trick for French maestro Andre Fabre after winning the Prix Rothschild over a mile and the Prix Jean Romanet over a mile and a quarter.

She is likely to encounter quicker ground than she has so far this season over the Rowley Mile, but Fabre – who won the 2015 Sun Chariot with Esoterique – is not too worried.

He said: “She is in good shape and I hope she should run well.

“I don’t think the ground is too much of a concern, maybe over this distance it might be a bit sharp for her but she has done well over this distance before.

“She will go for the Breeders’ Cup (Filly And Mare Turf) after this.”

Frankie Dettori leaps in celebration from Coppice after winning the Sandringham Stakes at Royal Ascot
Frankie Dettori leaps in celebration from Coppice after winning the Sandringham Stakes at Royal Ascot (David Davies/PA)

The Gosden team have an interesting second string to their bow in the form of Coppice, who is sent back into battle just eight days after winning the Listed Rosemary Stakes over the course and distance.

Barry Mahon, racing manager for owner-breeders Juddmonte, said: “She’s an intended runner, she came out of last weekend in good shape and the ground looks like it’s going to be good to firm.

“It’s a huge jump up, but we’re planning on going to America with her as a four-year-old and we thought we’d give her one little bite at a Group One here before she went.”

The Richard Hannon-trained Heredia also faces a step up in class after winning the Listed Dick Hern Stakes at Haydock and the Group Three Atalanta Stakes at Sandown on her two most recent starts.

“Richard Hannon has been really pleased with her since Sandown, she has bounced out of that race,” said Richard Brown, racing manager for owners St Albans Bloodstock.

“We took our time and said we would only do it if you were completely happy and Richard says she has never been better, so we’re happy to take a chance.”

Meditate (Aidan O’Brien), Random Harvest (Ed Walker), Goldana (Joseph O’Brien) and Roman Mist (Archie Watson) complete the field.

Inspiral team hail ‘unbelievable’ Jacques le Marois double

Cheveley Park Stud’s Chris Richardson has reflected on a “special moment and a great triumph” as Inspiral oozed class in the defence her Prix Jacques le Marois title at Deauville.

The four-year-old is now a four-time winner at Group One level, and was arguably at the peak of her powers on the Normandy coast as she scooted clear of big-race favourite Big Rock following an inspired ride from Frankie Dettori, who was registering a record-extending eighth success in the showpiece event.

The victory was made all the more spectacular coming just 11 days after Inspiral had failed in her bid to topple Paddington in Goodwood’s Sussex Stakes, and Richardson, who is managing director of Cheveley Park, was full of praise for both Dettori and the training heroics of John and Thady Gosden following the filly’s quick turnaround in fortunes.

Inspiral after her exceptional Deauville victory
Inspiral after her exceptional Deauville victory (PA)

He said: “Unbelievable, it was fantastic and it’s full marks to every aspect of the team really.

“Frankie really looked after her at Goodwood and as I’ve said before, when he made his move on Inspiral to get the rail, her burst was short lived and he accepted it and just let her come home – and full marks to John for having the courage to say let’s go back 11 days later too.

“It all worked in her favour and I think it was probably one of the best performances of her career.”

Last year Inspiral prevailed by a neck from David Simcock’s Light Infantry, but this time around a stellar cast of milers had assembled and what made the triumph all the more remarkable was Dettori’s ingenious ploy of taking the filly all the way over to the far side of the track from her position in stall one to find the perfect position to mount a winning challenge.

Frankie Dettori hails the Deauville crowd after an inspired ride
Frankie Dettori hails the Deauville crowd after an inspired ride (PA)

“It was sensational and to be as brave as Frankie was to go from basically draw one to draw 12 and come down the outside having gone a lot further than everybody else, I think even he was as wide-eyed surprised that she just kept on motoring,” added Richardson.

“She loves a fast pace which she got and the ground had dried up enough and she has proved now that she goes on fast ground, good ground and good to soft ground.”

The Marois serves as a ‘win and you’re in’ race for the Breeders’ Cup Mile and a trip to Santa Anita in November is just one of a plethora of options now available for Inspiral, who also holds entries closer to home in the Matron Stakes (Leopardstown, September 9), Sun Chariot Stakes (Newmarket, October 7) and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on British Champions Day (Ascot, October 21).

However, with all connected with the daughter of Frankel revelling in her latest triumph, the dust will be allowed to settle on her successful French raid before plans for later in the season are firmed up.

Inspiral and Frankie Dettori with Richard Thompson and Chris Richardson at Deauville
Inspiral and Frankie Dettori with Richard Thompson and Chris Richardson at Deauville (PA)

Richardson added: “Sadly Mrs (Patricia) Thompson (Cheveley Park owner) couldn’t be there, but Richard her son came with me and had a really special day. He was thrilled just like his mother and it was a great lift for everyone really. It was a special moment and a great triumph for all concerned.

“There is lots to think about now. John and I just thought on the plane home we would see how she is in a week to 10 days time. Mrs Thompson is also coming up this week, so we can discuss what plans we might want to consider.

“She has plenty of entries and if the Breeders’ Cup is something Mrs Thompson is prepared to consider then who knows, she might end up there. We will enjoy this moment and enjoy the next few weeks of planning.”

McDonald keeps up Royal Ascot momentum with Carlisle Listed strike

PJ McDonald was once again seen to good effect aboard Vetiver in the British Stallion Studs EBF Eternal Stakes at Carlisle.

The northern-based rider broke his Royal Ascot duck in last weekend’s Hardwicke Stakes aboard Pyledriver, having previously guided the top-class performer to win last year’s King George at the Berkshire circuit.

McDonald was back on more familiar territory in Cumbria and jumped on the Andrew Balding-trained 7-2 chance Vetiver in the £50,000 Listed feature, a filly whom he had already won on twice.

Carrying the colours of Cheveley Park Stud, the chestnut daughter of Twilight Son was fitted with a tongue-tie for the first time and after briefly being stuck behind horses, she powered home to get up and beat Dandy Alys by half a length.

McDonald said: “I’ve won on her a couple of times around Beverley, but this was a different ballgame today.

“As you can see she wears a hood and she’s a free-going filly. I got into a nice enough rhythm on her and I was keen not to play my cards too early on the ground because at the end of the day today was all about getting her into the first three and picking up some black type.

“I’ve ended up getting myself into a little bit of a pocket, but to be fair to her she showed some guts to come out of there and stick her head out and gallop out through the line.”

Two Brothers with his owners Oliver and Gavin Thompson
Two Brothers with his owners Oliver and Gavin Thompson (Ashley Iveson/PA)

There were jubilant scenes in the winner’s enclosure after Two Brothers (6-1) landed one of the feature handicaps on the card, the Stablemate By Agma Cumberland Plate.

Mick and David Easterby’s inmate had been placed three times since his last triumph and was rewarded for his consistency with a neck verdict over Ravenscraig Castle under Billy Garritty.

“That was very good, we couldn’t have asked for any more,” said Oliver Thompson, who owns the winner along with his brother, Gavin.

“We were optimistic. We’ve had the horse since he was a two-year-old and he didn’t run until he was three. We’ve had a couple of ups and downs, but he’s absolutely awesome!

“This is our first horse. We’re actually related to Mick and he’s found us a good one.”

Clear Angel returns to the Carlisle winner's enclosure
Clear Angel returns to the Carlisle winner’s enclosure (Ashley Iveson/PA)

Clear Angel (7-2) lunged late to lift the Jason Watson 25 Years Carlisle Bell Consolation Handicap.

Making his first appearance since winning at Wetherby in late April, Susan Corbett’s charge benefited from a patient ride from Graham Lee, arriving on the scene late to score by a head from Strongbowe.

Corbett said: “This has been a while in the making as he was a very expensive yearling (€120,000). He kept having issues and we actually bought him online for 1,500 guineas.

“We obviously needed to do some work on him, he had a bone chip and various things. He definitely likes a cut in the ground and we’ve been praying for rain for so long. We’ve had him a few races and either the ground was against us and one day he had an allergy to the shampoo we used!

“It’s been a comedy of errors and the lads that own him have waited a while, but now they’re getting their just desserts which is good. He just seems to be getting better and better.”

Due For Luck made a winning debut in the opening race at Carlisle
Due For Luck made a winning debut in the opening race at Carlisle (Ashley Iveson/PA)

The John Quinn-trained Due For Luck (9-1) made a successful start to his career in the Mark Nield Wealth Management Restricted Maiden Stakes, pulling two and a half lengths clear under Jason Hart.

Sean Quinn, assistant to his father, said: “He’s always gone alright at home. We trained the mother (Vanity’s Girl) and she went well at home, but never quite did it on the track.

“I saw him at the yearling sales and he’s a fine beast, as you can see there.

“He’s from a fast family I think he’s quite quick. Jason said he’s still a little bit green, so maybe we’ll just go for a novice with a penalty and teach him.”

Title-chasing Joe Fanning landed the concluding Carlisle Supporting Racing Staff Week Fillies’ Handicap on Charlie Johnston’s 7-1 shot Kitai.

Marois repeat on the cards for Inspiral

Connections of Inspiral could opt to bypass both the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket and the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood in favour of a return to Deauville for the Prix Jacques le Marois.

Last season, the John and Thady Gosden-trained filly remained unbeaten in five runs when taking a second Group One victory in the Coronation Stakes, before being defeated for the first time in the Falmouth by Prosperous Voyage.

The daughter of Frankel bounced back to land the Group One Prix Jacques le Marois before she was beaten for just a second time in the Queen Elizabeth II at Ascot in October.

Last week she returned from a 248-day absence and went down a neck by Triple Time in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot.

Chris Richardson, managing director of owners Cheveley Park Stud, was more than satisfied with her Ascot run.

“We were thrilled,” said Richardson. “Although we were disappointed not to win. We were hopeful as we knew Inspiral was in great shape and was the one they had to beat, and unfortunately there was one that did.

“But she’s a talented filly and I felt (it was) a great run for her first time out.

“We put her in the Falmouth, but I’m not sure we’ll go. We went there last year and regretted it.

“So, I suspect we’ll probably go Prix Jacques le Marois again – I don’t know, we’ll see how she is, see what she’s telling us.

“I wouldn’t entirely rule out the Sussex, but John Gosden feels a flat track probably suits her better.”

The iconic red, white and blue Cheveley Park colours filled the runner-up spot again when Khaadem swooped late to deny Sacred the spoils in the Group One Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes.

“Sacred being beaten a neck was frustrating,” said Richardson. “She ran a blinder and she ran her best race there last year and was beaten a length (in the same race).

“It was just frustrating that we came to win the race and Jamie Spencer produced one of his specialties from behind which denied us the triumph, but there we are.

“She’s really thrived from four to five and we’re really pleased with what she’s done.”

Sacred (centre) was beaten by the flying finish of Khaadem (right) in the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes
Sacred (centre) was beaten by the flying finish of Khaadem (right) in the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (John Walton/PA)

The William Haggas-trained daughter of Exceed And Excel may have to use her passport for the first time, as a trip to France may be in the offing.

“The Prix Maurice de Gheest in Deauville will be a serious consideration at this point. I think that’s her ideal trip, six and a half (furlongs),” Richardson added.

“She has got all the entries, because obviously she is desperate to go when the ground is the best for her, which is obviously quick ground as we saw last week.

“The Falmouth for both those fillies was really just in case something went wrong and we couldn’t run last week, and we had that up our sleeve.”

Little went right in running for Twilight Calls, who did well to finish fourth to Bradsell in the King’s Stand.

Twilight Calls got no luck in running under Ryan Moore
Twilight Calls got no luck in running under Ryan Moore (David Davies/PA)

The Henry Candy-trained five-year-old gelding was squeezed for room at the start of the five-furlong dash and failed to get a clear run when Ryan Moore attempted to make his move approaching a furlong out.

Richardson said: “Twilight Calls just got checked at the wrong moment. Ryan was very apologetic. It was not his fault, it was just the way the race unravelled. He said he would have gone very close.

“All being well, he came out of the race fine, and we’ll probably go to Goodwood and then target York.

“I think the Nunthorpe will be his main target, depending on how it’s going.”

He added: “Having run in three Group Ones to be as close as they were was exciting, but a little frustrating from my perspective.”