Tag Archive for: Cheveley Park Stud

Cheltenham Gold Cup is the next stop for A Plus Tard

A Plus Tard will head straight to the Cheltenham Gold Cup as connections aim to go one better than last year in the blue riband event.

The eight-year-old was the runner-up behind his Henry de Bromhead-trained stablemate Minella Indo in the contest last season, beaten just a length and a quarter.

Having won the Betfair Chase at Haydock on his return to action this season, he had to make do with second place when defending his Savills Chase crown over Christmas.

A Plus Tard was a facile winner of the Betfair Chase
A Plus Tard was a facile winner of the Betfair Chase (Simon Marper/PA)

“A Plus Tard has been a fantastic horse for us – he won the Savills in 2020, he was second in the Gold Cup, he beat Chacun Pour Soi over two miles at Leopardstown two years ago and he won the Betfair Chase,” said Richard Thompson of owners Cheveley Park Stud on Sky Sports Racing.

“He’ll just go straight to Cheltenham now, that’s the plan, that worked well (last year) so he won’t run again before Cheltenham.

“We will go there with a great chance I think and as long as the race pans out for us well, he’ll have a terrific chance hopefully.

“He’s definitely my personal favourite, I just love the way he’s so consistent.”

Thompson also confirmed plans for eight-year-old Allaho, who returned to action this season with an impressive victory in the Grade One John Durkan Chase at Punchestown in early December.

“There was a time when we thought he would potentially step up and start in the Gold Cup, but I think this year we’ll definitely go for the Ryanair with him,” he said.

Allaho winning the John Durkan
Allaho winning the John Durkan (Brian Lawless/PA)

“Allaho first time out for the last couple of seasons hasn’t really been on song, but he fought hard, stayed on well and we were really proud of him to win another Grade One like that.”

Cheveley Park also own Envoi Allen, who at one point enjoyed an 11-race unbeaten spell before falling in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last year.

His form has been sporadic since with the gelding beaten into sixth in the John Durkan, but he was a Grade One winner when last seen at Leopardstown over two miles and will now be aimed at either the Ryanair or Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

“A little bit of the gloss has come off Envoi in the recent months but he’s won his sixth Grade One,” said Thompson.

“The John Durkan was a bit disappointing to be frank, but he came back and he won over Christmas.

Envoi Allen winning the Paddy's Rewards Club Chase
Envoi Allen winning the Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase (Niall Carson/PA)

“It was a three-runner race, Chacun Pour Soi got taken out of the race in the morning but there you go, he won his sixth Grade One but he’s a horse that there’s perhaps a slight question mark over at the moment.

“He’s won us a Ballymore, he’s won us a Champion Bumper – he owes us nothing. He’s got an entry for the Champion Chase and the Ryanair, he could go for either.

“We’ll look at the situation nearer the time most probably, I don’t think he’ll run again before Cheltenham. At the moment I think it’s 50-50, Ryanair or Champion Chase.

“The Champion Chase is a real quality race this year. Shishkin looks a superb prospect and we’d have our work cut out against him. Envoi is quick, he jumps quickly and it could well suit him – we wouldn’t rule the Champion Chase out.”

Ferny Hollow is another horse to run in the red, white and blue silks of Cheveley Park and he too has his Cheltenham Festival target pencilled in after a win over the festive period.

Ferny Hollow, ridden by Paul Townend, goes on to win the Racing Post Novice Chase
Ferny Hollow, ridden by Paul Townend, goes on to win the Racing Post Novice Chase (Niall Carson/PA)

“He’s a horse that won the Champion Bumper, came back over hurdles and beat Bob Olinger and then had an issue so he was off the track for quite a while,” Thompson said.

“He’s won us two Grade Ones and at the moment he’s favourite for the Arkle. That’s the race we’re aiming for.”

On the same day as Ferny Hollow’s Leopardstown win, Sir Gerhard was also triumphant when taking a maiden hurdle by eight lengths and throwing his hat in the ring for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival.

“It looks like the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle for him but he’s up against Jonbon and Constitution Hill,” said Thompson.

“We’ve got a lot of faith in Sir Gerhard, he’s one of our top prospects.”

A Plus Tard all set for Savills Chase defence

A Plus Tard is expected to prove “hard to beat” when he defends his crown in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown.

Henry de Bromhead’s charge flew home to deny the reopposing pair of Kemboy and Melon in a thrilling renewal of the Grade One feature 12 months ago.

The seven-year-old went on to fill the runner-up spot behind stablemate Minella Indo in the Cheltenham Gold Cup – and is the ante-post favourite to go one better at Prestbury Park in March following his spectacular return to action in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month.

Owned by Cheveley Park Stud, A Plus Tard will be a warm order to enhance his claims for the blue riband by making it three from three at Leopardstown on Tuesday.

Cheveley Park director Richard Thompson said: “He beat Chacun Pour Soi over two miles here two years ago, he won this race last season and won the Betfair Chase last month, so he’s building up a helluva CV.

“Everyone saw what he did at Haydock. I’m still recovering from that, to be honest! If he can repeat that sort of form he’s going to be hard to beat, isn’t he?

“He came with a tremendous late run to win this last year and it probably isn’t as strong a race this time around – there aren’t as many runners.

“But we’ve been involved with horses long enough to know you can never take anything for granted, especially in a steeplechase.”

Kemboy is running in the Savills Chase for the fourth year in succession after winning in 2018, finishing fourth in 2019 and being narrowly denied last year.

Kemboy after winning last season's Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown
Kemboy after winning last season’s Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown (Niall Carson/PA)

The nine-year-old is one of four runners for Willie Mullins along with last year’s third Melon, John Durkan runner-up Janidil and Franco De Port.

“Kemboy and Melon both ran a cracker last year and probably cost one another the race in the end, but what can you do? I could see where both jockeys were coming from,” the champion trainer told Racing TV.

“I’m questioning what I’m going to do with Melon. He’s been second in Cheltenham four years running to very good horses in very good races – how can I get him to win?

“We’ll have to do something different. I’m toying with the idea of the Stayers’ Hurdle, but I didn’t put him in any hurdles races! We’ll maybe put him in over hurdles after Christmas. There’s a big one in him somewhere.

“Janidil ran a fantastic race in the John Durkan and I think going out to three miles won’t be any harm to him. He did run in the Albert Bartlett as a novice hurdler and we said it might have been too far for him, but these horses get stronger and stamina improves with age.”

Delta Work won the Savills Chase and the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown two seasons ago and is one of two leading contenders for Gordon Elliott along with Galvin, who was last seen finishing second to Frodon at Down Royal.

The enigmatic Samcro is a third Elliott runner.

“I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be a competitive race but it’s nice to be well represented,” said the Cullentra handler.

“Delta Work will come on a lot from Down Royal (finished fourth) and he’s in good form.

“Galvin will love the ground and I though he ran a career best in Down Royal. He’s one of those horses that you love everything to do with him.

“He runs a good race every day and wants to please you the whole time, so we’re very lucky to have him.”

Irish Arkle likely to be next target for Ferny Hollow

The Irish Arkle is likely to be next on the agenda for Ferny Hollow after he starred in a double for Cheveley Park Stud on the opening day of the Christmas Festival at Leopardstown.

The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old beat esteemed stablemate Appreciate It in the Champion Bumper and got the better of Bob Olinger in a maiden hurdle in 2020, but missed much of last season through injury.

He made a winning on his return to action and chasing debut at Punchestown earlier in the month and followed up in the Grade One Racing Post Novice Chase.

Cheveley Park director Richard Thompson said: “As Willie said afterwards, Ferny Hollow was exceptional on the day.

“To be off the track for over a year, come back and win and then come out three weeks later and win a Grade One – giving 13lb to a very good filly (Riviere D’etel)- was fantastic.

“I have to admit I thought he was going to get beaten at one stage, but he really pulled it out.

“In the short term I think we’ll be looking towards the Irish Arkle at the Dublin Racing Festival.”

Sir Gerhard in the clear at Leopardstown
Sir Gerhard in the clear at Leopardstown (Niall Carson/PA)

Thompson was also delighted to see last season’s Champion Bumper hero Sir Gerhard make a successful start to his hurdling career on the same Leopardstown card.

He looks set to step up to Grade One level sooner rather than later.

“He looked a class act, didn’t he,” Thompson added.

“I think we’ll be looking towards the Dublin Racing Festival with him as well.”

A Plus Tard leading strong Cheveley Park squad for Christmas engagements

A Plus Tard, Envoi Allen and Ferny Hollow could all be in Grade One action for Cheveley Park Stud at Leopardstown over the festive period – but Allaho is likely to miss out.

Henry de Bromhead’s A Plus Tard will be a hot favourite to make it back-to-back wins in the Savills Chase on December 28, following his scintillating comeback in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month.

The previous afternoon his stablemate Envoi Allen could drop back in trip for the Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase after coming up short behind Allaho in the John Durkan at Punchestown, finishing a lacklustre sixth.

Both Envoi Allen and Allaho are also entered for the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton, but Cheveley Park director Richard Thompson has ruled out running either in the Boxing Day showpiece.

Richard Thompson (right) with A Plus Tard at Haydock
Richard Thompson (right) with A Plus Tard at Haydock (Simon Marper/PA)

He said: “We were delighted to win the John Durkan with Allaho. He had the form, having won the Ryanair at Cheltenham last season, and he was very gritty on the day.

“I think he probably needs a break after that. Maybe he’ll have a run in February and then go on to Cheltenham, or maybe he’ll go straight to Cheltenham and then Aintree after that.

“We look at Allaho as a horse that will hopefully be around for another three or four years, so we’re not that fussed about running him too much.”

Envoi Allen headed the market against Allaho in John Durkan, and Thompson admits he might never fulfil the huge potential he showed earlier in his career.

“Envoi Allen was disappointing, but maybe that’s his form over two and a half (miles). He’s still a very good horse, but potentially the talking horse is not quite what people thought he might be,” he added.

“We’re thinking he’s going to come back in trip on the 27th, as long as he’s good form.”

On the opening day of Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival, Ferny Hollow is set to line up for the Grade One Racing Post Novice Chase.

Having been off the track since beating Bob Olinger in a maiden hurdle last year, the Willie Mullins-trained gelding made an excellent start to his chasing career on the John Durkan undercard.

Thompson said: “He’d been off for a year and it was chasing debut as well, so it was great to see him come back and show that acceleration.

“We’ve got big hopes for Ferny Hollow – he could be special. His form last year was top-notch, having beaten Appreciate It in the Champion Bumper and Bob Olinger over hurdles.

“I think he’ll run at Leopardstown on Boxing Day (St Stephen’s Day), so with him and Envoi Allen and A Plus Tard obviously going back to the Savills, it could be a lively one for us.”

Huge afternoon in store for Cheveley Park at Punchestown

Cheveley Park Stud director Richard Thompson is fascinated to see who will come out on top between Allaho and Envoi Allen in a mouthwatering renewal of the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase.

Thompson revealed last month he was not against the idea of two of Cheveley Park’s biggest guns locking horns in the Grade One contest – and was as good as his word, with both declared on Friday morning.

Thompson said: “Let’s see what happens – this is what sport is all about, isn’t it?”

Henry de Bromhead’s Envoi Allen is the likely favourite, having bounced back from a fall at Cheltenham and an injury suffered at Punchestown in the spring with a runaway victory at Down Royal in October.

The Willie Mullins-trained Allaho is rated 11lb higher than Envoi Allen off the back of his spectacular display in Cheltenham’s Ryanair Chase last season, but has been off the track since chasing home esteemed stablemate Chacun Pour Soi at Punchestown in April.

“Allaho will probably bowl along from the front, you’d think – that’s his running style. With Envoi, it will be fascinating to see what he can do,” Thompson added.

“Envoi is a machine – he’s got tremendous acceleration. Allaho has obviously done it in the Ryanair, producing one of the most impressive performances at Cheltenham in recent years.

“Allaho came out in the John Durkan last year and didn’t run to form, so that could count against him. Envoi has obviously had a run already and that could be a deciding factor.

“You’d have to say Envoi potentially has the edge as he’s race-fit. He has won five Grade Ones, but this is a proper step up, so let’s see what he’s got.”

It promises to be another big day for the Cheveley Park team, with Ferny Hollow making his eagerly-anticipated return to action in the BetVictor Beginners Chase.

The 2020 Champion Bumper has not been seen in competitive action since claiming the notable scalp of Bob Olinger in a Gowran Park maiden hurdle in November of last year.

Thompson said: “We’ve got three of our big guns in action and I’ll be travelling over to watch them.

Richard Thompson (right) with Ferny Hollow at Cheltenham last year
Richard Thompson (right) with Ferny Hollow at Cheltenham last year (Simon Cooper/PA)

“We had an amazing day at Haydock two weeks ago with A Plus Tard winning the Betfair Chase. That will live in my memory forever and you can’t buy days like that – it’s magic dust.

“Ferny Hollow has been working well and schooling well.

“We know he’s got the ability and Willie likes him a lot, so we’ll hope for a decent run from him.

“It will tell us about his season going forward as well.”

Cheveley Park eyeing more big-race success with Ontheropes in Trophy test

Ontheropes bids to provide Cheveley Park Stud with yet another big-race victory in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on Saturday.

While better known as a major player in breeding and Flat racing circles, Cheveley Park has enjoyed remarkable success in the jumping world in recent seasons with a relatively small pool of horses.

Allaho and Envoi Allen are among those to carry the red, white and blue colours to Cheltenham Festival glory, while A Plus Tard blew his rivals away in last Saturday’s Betfair Chase at Haydock.

This weekend the team are chasing another top tier National Hunt prize, with the Willie Mullins-trained Ontheropes many people’s idea of the most likely winner.

Richard Thompson (right) with A Plus Tard at Haydock
Richard Thompson (right) with A Plus Tard at Haydock (Simon Marper/PA)

Cheveley Park Stud director Richard Thompson said: “Last weekend was very exhilarating and I’m looking forward to going to Newbury.

“Can we win the two big races on two Saturday afternoons in a row? I don’t think so, but we’re going there with a big chance.

“We’ve had seven winners from 15 runners at Cheltenham and we’ve won 14 Grade Ones now, which includes three Champion Bumpers, a Ryanair, a Ballymore, a Savills and a Betfair Chase – it’s unbelievable.”

Ontheropes looked fairly ordinary after his first four starts over fences, but a made a big step forward when runner-up to esteemed stablemate Monkfish on his sole start of last season at Fairyhouse.

He returned from almost a year on the sidelines to win last month’s Munster National at Limerick, a race Mullins landed four years ago with Total Recall, who went on to follow up at Newbury.

“Willie seems happy with him and hopefully he has still got a few pounds in hand,” Thompson added.

“He looked the part (at Limerick), but I’m just thinking after last Saturday, surely it can’t happen again this weekend. The success we’ve had is hard to put into words.

“As long as he runs well and jumps well and finishes the race in a good place, that’s great.”

Ontheropes is one of three runners for Mullins, along with the Rich and Susannah Ricci-owned pair of Annamix and Brahma Bull, while a formidable Irish contingent also includes Eklat De Rire.

Henry de Bromhead’s charge unseated Rachael Blackmore at last season’s Cheltenham Festival, but made an excellent reappearance at Wexford last month.

“Second-season novices seem to have a good record in it and he has that profile,” said De Bromhead.

“It was probably a bit early to gauge it (at Cheltenham), but he seemed to be going well and Rachael was happy with him. It was a bit unfortunate.

“We really like him and think he’s a very good horse. Whether he can make that step, we’ll find out on his next couple of runs really.

“We were happy to pitch him in at Cheltenham last season and when you’re up at that rating, I wouldn’t like to be predicting how far they can go – I prefer them to go out and do it themselves.

“He’s a horse we think a lot of and we’re looking forward to it.”

One of the leading hopes for the home team is Enrilo, who bids to provide Paul Nicholls with a sixth Ladbrokes Trophy success.

The Ditcheat handler won back-to-back renewals of the prestigious handicap as a rider aboard Broadheath and Playschool in the 1980s, while Strong Flow provided him with a first win as a trainer in 2003.

Enrilo (left) in action at Sandown
Enrilo (left) in action at Sandown (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The brilliant Denman won under a welter burden of 11st 12lb in both 2007 and 2009 – and in Enrilo Nicholls believes he has another serious contender.

He said: “He’s fine. He schooled on Thursday morning. I’m very happy with him.

“He went to the gallops day at Newbury last week and did some work there. He won’t need the run, I’d have thought.

“I’ve been very happy with his preparation.”

Last year’s winner Cloth Cap, trained by Jonjo O’Neill, bids to become only the fourth dual winner of the prestigious contest – and the first to go back-to-back since Arkle in the 1960s.

He will be ridden by Tom Scudamore, who said: “It’s going to be a lot harder off an 18lb higher mark, but the way he went and won it last year, you would be hard-pressed to say he wouldn’t have won it with another 18lb on his back.

“Having said that, this year we have some Irish horses coming over that look pretty unexposed and you have to give them the utmost respect.”

Fiddlerontheroof mixed it with the best novices around last season and was not winning out of turn on his return to action in the Colin Parker Memorial Chase at Carlisle.

He is one of three runners for Colin Tizzard along with Copperhead and Mister Malarky.

Fiddlerontheroof after winning at Carlisle
Fiddlerontheroof after winning at Carlisle (Ashley Iveson/PA)

Joe Tizzard, assistant to his father, said: “Fiddlerontheroof goes in there with the best form. He did it nicely at Carlisle and we couldn’t be happier with him at home.

“It’s a competitive race, as it always is, but he goes in there ticking lots of boxes.

“Copperhead is a classy horse on his day, but just wasn’t right all of last season. He seems well at home. I would have loved to have got a prep run into him, but we couldn’t because the ground.

“He’s working well and schooling well and I think he’s back to somewhere near his best, which would give him an each-way chance.

“Mister Malarky has had a couple of runs and ran quite nicely at Ascot last time. It’s not easy to judge when he’s right, but on his day he’s quite talented.”

Kitty’s Light (left) during a recent racecourse gallop at Newbury
Kitty’s Light (left) during a recent racecourse gallop at Newbury (Adam Davy/PA)

Christian Williams has high hopes for Charlie Hall Chase runner-up Kitty’s Light, saying: “It’s great to have a horse running in these type of races that we think has got a genuine chance.

“Three runs ago he did all bar win the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown, he had a lovely first run back at Chepstow and then he was second in the Charlie Hall in ground that a bit sticky for him.

“We’ll see how we get on. He’s a horse we hope could be running in Grand Nationals at some stage, or if he keeps improving he might even make up into a Gold Cup horse.”

Tributes paid to hugely influential Pivotal, as superstar sire dies aged 28

Cheveley Park Stud have announced the death of Pivotal, the champion sprinter and sire of 32 individual Group One winners, at the age of 28.

Bred and raced by Cheveley Park, the son of Polar Falcon had been the stud’s flag-bearer since his retirement in 1997.

In the care of Sir Mark Prescott, he broke the all-age track record at Folkestone as a juvenile and was crowned champion sprinter as a three-year-old in 1996, winning the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York, following his victory in the King’s Stand Stakes (then a Group Two) at Royal Ascot.

Though his career on the track spanned just six races – ridden in all but one by George Duffield – he became one of Europe’s leading sprinters, although his greatest influence was as a sire, who initially commanded a stud fee of just £6,000.

Pivotal died peacefully in his paddock, and Chris Richardson, Cheveley Park’s managing director, paid a heartfelt tribute.

He said: “It hasn’t been a great day. Pivotal was an icon in his own world and is a dear friend who gave a huge amount of pleasure to David and Patricia Thompson and all of us at Cheveley Park Stud.

“From the moment he was born he was always a little superstar and we were very fortunate to have him.

“Winning the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot and going on to York and winning the Nunthorpe and then retiring and doing what he has done…to have so many Group One winners – it is incredible really.”

Pivotal immediately proved popular with commercial breeders and soon sired his first British Group One winner in Kyllachy, who emulated his father in the Nunthorpe before also retiring to Cheveley Park.

Such was his commercial success, Pivotal was a leading British-based first-season sire, who proved his versatility, despite having a tag of producing progeny who preferred easier ground.

Tenebrism on her way to winning the Cheveley Park Stakes
Tenebrism on her way to winning the Cheveley Park Stakes (Tim Goode/PA)

Richardson added: “He had that moniker of producing offspring that liked soft ground, and some of his early progeny did appreciate a bit of give in the ground. Then we had the likes of Golden Apples (winner of the 2002 Eclipse Award), who won the Del Mar Oaks from his first crop. He was pretty versatile.

“Sir Mark put him on the map. He broke the all-age track record at Folkestone and he gave the Thompsons their first Group One win in their Cheveley Park colours, which was obviously very special to have a home-bred colt do that.

“He has had a fantastic life, but it is a sad day. They are all friends. It is hard for everybody here. The stallion handler, John Rice, has looked after him for all these years, day and night, and has slept next door to him. So it is very hard for everybody here. It is like seeing somebody for 20 years every day – they become really close friends.”

Pivotal sired Classic winners such as Sariska, Halfway To Heaven, Falco, Buzzword and Saoire, plus Dubai World Cup winner African Story and Qipco Champion Stakes hero Addeybb, and Richardson hopes his legacy will live on for many years to come.

Crowned champion European broodmare sire from 2017 to 2019, his daughters have produced 26 individual Group One winners to date, including back-to-back Champion Stakes winner Cracksman and most recently Tenebrism in this season’s Cheveley Park Stakes.

St Mark's Basilica is a grandson of Pivotal
St Mark’s Basilica is a grandson of Pivotal (Nigel French/PA)

He has also made an impact as a sire of sires, with seven of his sons having sired seven Group One winners, most notably Siyouni, who has already produced multiple Group One winner St Mark’s Basilica and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe victor Sottsass.

Richardson added: “Of his last crop of foals, we have two fillies and a colt, and from the last crop of 30 mares he covered in 2020, he got 15 in foal.

“There are around 10 foals born this year, that we will look forward to seeing perform. We are fortunate that around 75 per cent of our broodmare band has a Pivotal influence.”

A Plus Tard sets out on Festival path with Betfair Chase reappearance

Cheveley Park Stud director Richard Thompson is excited to see last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up A Plus Tard make his return to action in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday.

A Grade One winner over two miles a couple of years ago, the seven-year-old successfully stepped up to three miles when lunging late to land a thrilling Savills Chase at Leopardstown last Christmas.

Connections elected to head straight to the Festival off the back of that victory and it almost paid off, with A Plus Tard finding only stablemate Minella Indo too strong in the blue riband.

With Minella Indo having suffered defeat on his seasonal debut at Down Royal three weeks ago, Thompson is aware that the other star stayer in Henry de Bromhead’s yard is likely to improve for the run.

That being said, he is anticipating a bold showing on Merseyside from A Plus Tard, who will be a first ever runner at the track for the De Bromhead team.

“It’s very exciting to be going to Haydock on Saturday. He’s in great shape, I think. He’s bouncing around and looking the part, so we’ve got to go in with confidence,” said Thompson.

“It’s obviously his first run of the season, but apart from that he’s in cracking form.

“We’re hoping for a big run, but we’ve got to recognise that he could improve for the run, of course.”

Thompson believes the fact conditions at Haydock are unseasonably dry is a positive for A Plus Tard’s chances as he bids to deny proven mud lover Bristol De Mai a fourth Betfair Chase success.

Minella Indo and A Plus Tard (right) after finishing first and second in the Gold Cup
Minella Indo and A Plus Tard (right) after finishing first and second in the Gold Cup (David Davies/Jockey Club)

“We’ve got a bit lucky with the ground – that’s a plus, anyway,” he added.

The main reason A Plus Tard is travelling across the Irish Sea at this early stage of the campaign is the fact he prefers left-handed tracks.

Provided all goes according to plan this weekend, the son of Kapgarde looks likely to follow the same route as last season in preparation for his bid to go one better in the Cotswolds.

Thompson said: “All roads lead back to Cheltenham in March. We’ll see how Saturday goes, but he’ll probably go back to the Savills Chase again and then on to the Gold Cup.”

John Durkan could see showdown between Allaho and Envoi Allen

Allaho and Envoi Allen could potentially lock horns in what would be a mouthwatering clash for the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase.

Allaho was a brilliant winner of the Ryanair Chase at last season’s Cheltenham Festival and champion trainer Willie Mullins has already nominated the John Durkan as a potential comeback target.

If the seven-year-old does reappear on December 5, he would likely meet the Henry de Bromhead-trained Envoi Allen, who bounced back from a fall at Cheltenham and injury at Punchestown in the spring with a wide-margin success at Down Royal last month.

Both horses represent Cheveley Park Stud, whose director Richard Thompson said: “Envoi Allen going to go for the John Durkan, most probably – that’s the idea.

“Rachael (Blackmore) felt that tremendous acceleration at Down Royal and she said the power he had was great. It was great to see him back on form.

“His next run will be a true test – Allaho might run against him.”

Envoi Allen at Down Royal
Envoi Allen at Down Royal (Niall Carson/PA)

Asked if he would prefer to keep the two Cheveley Park stars apart, he added: “I’m not too worried about it actually.

“If both trainers think they’re ready to go and that is the right race for them, we’ll let them run against each other and see what happens.

“Allaho is in the Tingle Creek as well. I think the John Durkan is probably the favourite, but I haven’t spoken to Willie for a while so I’ll catch up with him next week.”

Ladbrokes Trophy on the agenda for Ontheropes

Ontheropes is on target for the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on November 27.

Trained by Willie Mullins and owned by Cheveley Park Stud, the lightly-raced seven-year-old landed his first win over fences last time out in the Munster National.

He had previously finished second behind sidelined stablemate Monkfish on his only outing last season and will be aiming to improve the record of Irish-trained horses in the race.

Mullins’ win with Total Recall in 2017, who also won the Munster National prior to running at Newbury, was Ireland’s first since Bright Highway in 1980, although his Be My Royal was first past the post in 2002 before subsequently being disqualified after failing a drugs test due to contaminated feed.

Chris Richardson, Cheveley Park Stud’s managing director, said: “All being well, the Ladbrokes Trophy is the plan for Ontheropes. Everything that Willie has said to me is that this is his target.

“I’m told he is in good form and the Ladbrokes Trophy is the opportunity that we are looking at and it would be nice to have him running over here.

“He has a profile that matches quite nicely to the Ladbrokes Trophy and he has had a good summer.”

Until recently Cheveley Park’s red, white and blue silks were famous for their Flat exploits but their investment in the winter game has been rewarded with stars such as Envoi Allen, Ferny Hollow, A Plus Tard and Sir Gerhard all delivering on the big stage.

“It’s been a very special year. To be leading owner at Cheltenham was just an extraordinary thing. It was a great tribute to the late David Thompson,” said Richardson.

“Now we are looking forward to another season and the jumping chapter is beginning to get going. It will be as competitive as ever.

“Willie has one or two others in the Ladbrokes Trophy, but certainly on his last performance, Ontheropes deserves to be right up there.”

Sacred stays at home – but will be back next year

Sacred has been put away for the year after connections decided against a trip to Del Mar next month for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

The three-year-old filly has gone back to her owner breeders at Cheveley Park Stud, and will stay in training in 2022.

Cheveley Park Stud managing director Chris Richardson said: “We’ve decided not to go. We would have got our ground – but she’s a very special filly, and Mrs Thompson took the view she’s staying in training next year, and we didn’t want to travel her.

“If all is well, and she’s still in competitive heart, we will consider it as a four-year-old.

“She’s back here (at Cheveley Park Stud) for her holidays. Let’s hope she develops physically and we can stretch her to a mile, which would be good. We’ll see how we get on. The programme is a little easier for those fillies.”

The daughter of Exceed And Excel, trained by William Haggas, posted wins in the Group Three Nell Gwyn Stakes and the Group Two Hungerford Stakes from just three starts this season.

She was seventh in the 1000 Guineas on her only other run.

Unbeaten Inspiral puts reputation on line in Fillies’ Mile

Inspiral bids to cement her place at the head of ante-post lists for next year’s Classics in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.

Bred to be very smart as a daughter of Frankel out of high-class racemare Starscope, the Cheveley Park Stud-owned youngster has so far lived up to her blue-blooded pedigree with a hat-trick of victories.

An impressive debut performance at Newmarket has been followed by even more dominant displays in the Star Stakes at Sandown and the May Hill at Doncaster, meaning she tops the betting for both next season’s 1000 Guineas and Oaks.

Inspiral is widely expected to stretch her unbeaten record to four over the Rowley Mile, but connections are taking nothing for granted.

“She’s done everything right so far and is a lovely filly,” said Cheveley Park’s managing director Chris Richardson.

“She’s working well – but this is a big step up, and she’ll be racing on some rain-softened ground, which she hasn’t encountered before. Her mother went on it – and what will be will be.

“Dreams may be shattered, but we may have even bigger dreams for next year if all goes our way.”

John and Thady Gosden’s Inspiral is one of two unbeaten fillies in Friday’s nine-strong field, along with the James Ferguson-trained Mise En Scene.

The daughter of Siyouni has so far won a novice event at Haydock and the Group Three Prestige Stakes at Goodwood – and got a taste for the undulations of Newmarket during a recent racecourse gallop.

Mise En Scene (right) in action at Goodwood
Mise En Scene (right) in action at Goodwood (Adam Davy/PA)

Ferguson said: “After Goodwood, the first thing Oisin (Murphy) said was that she needs a mile.

“Although the Rockfel is a wonderful race, I didn’t think she had much to prove. She came out of Goodwood fine, but I didn’t think there was much point running over seven (furlongs) again, so we decided to come straight here.

“She did a nice piece of work on the racecourse and she seemed to handle it fine. We are very lucky the track is on our doorstep.

“I understood her price (7-1) at Goodwood, because in her race at Haydock she beat nothing. I knew she was good enough to get black type and I was expecting a good run, but the fact she won was fantastic.

“Oisin rode her very coolly, and if he wanted to he could have got there quicker. He was aware he was going to get there and gave her a beautiful ride, but I think with another furlong she would have gone again.”

Charlie Appleby’s Wild Beauty was no match for Inspiral in Sandown’s Star Stakes, but has since won a Grade One at Woodbine.

“We were delighted to see Wild Beauty win a G1 in Canada, when she improved for the step up to a mile,” Appleby told www.godolphin.com.

“She has taken that race well and goes into this with plenty of experience at a high level.”

Irish raiders Concert Hall (Aidan O’Brien) and Magical Lagoon (Jessica Harrington) also feature.

O’Brien said of his filly, by Dubawi out of the Oaks winner Was: “She’s been improving with every run.

“We’ve been really happy with her – we were pleased with her last run when she won the Group Three at the Curragh.

“We always thought she’d stay further than a mile, and she has seen the seven furlongs out really well in her last few races.

“She’ll be happy that the ground is nice. That’s in her favour.”

Envoi Allen on track for new season after successful surgery

Envoi Allen is on course to resume his career when the upcoming National Hunt season hits top gear following successful surgery on a chipped joint.

Unbeaten in his first 11 races and twice a winner at the Cheltenham Festival, the Cheveley Park Stud-owned gelding fell at this year’s Festival in March and headed afterwards to Punchestown.

However, the former Gordon Elliott inmate, who is now with Henry de Bromhead, was struggling early and eventually pulled up – with a subsequent scan giving him a valid excuse.

Envoi Allen is nearing a racecourse return
Envoi Allen is nearing a racecourse return (David Davies/Jockey Club)

“Everything has been going well since surgery and he’s enjoying his recuperation,” said owner Cheveley Park’s managing director Chris Richardson.

“He’s fresh and well, as far as we know, and we’re looking forward to Henry building him up for another exciting campaign.

“We don’t really know when he might be starting off as unfortunately I haven’t been able to get over there for a while, but I am hoping to get there soon which I’m looking forward to.

“Richard Thompson is very involved and really enjoyed that part of the business with his father and he will be instrumental in taking it forward.”

Envoi Allen is nearing a racecourse return
Sacred has big-race options coming up (John Walton/PA)

Back on the Flat and the stud have exciting options for Hungerford Stakes winner Sacred, who will either run in the Prix de la Foret on Arc weekend or at the Breeders’ Cup.

“If the ground at Longchamp isn’t suitable I think we’ll be heading to the Breeders’ Cup,” said Richardson.

“Mrs T (Patricia Thompson) was instrumental in Queen’s Trust (Filly & Mare Turf winner) going out there and that worked out.

“If the ground doesn’t work out then that is what we’d be looking at, but I think she’ll only have one more run this year, as she stays in training next year, so it’s a case of either/or.”

Inspiral poised to take next step up the ladder at Doncaster

The May Hill Stakes at Doncaster remains the most likely next objective for 1000 Guineas favourite Inspiral.

Impressive on her racecourse debut at Newmarket at the end of June, the Frankel filly was promoted to the top of ante-post lists for next season’s Rowley Mile Classic after maintaining her unbeaten record in the Star Stakes at Sandown last month.

John Gosden, who trains the Cheveley Park-owned youngster in partnership with son Thady, immediately nominated the Group Two May Hill as a potential aim and connections are happy to aim towards Doncaster’s St Leger meeting in September.

Cheveley Park’s managing director, Chris Richardson, said: “Everyone is very happy with her. John was very pleased, she obviously did it very nicely.

“I haven’t seen her since the race, so hopefully I can get down to the yard shortly.

“The May Hill remains a possible target.”

Inspiral is a general 12-1 shot for the 1000 Guineas next May – and while Richardson is not getting carried away just yet, he admits it is a good position to be in.

“We all have dreams,” he added.

Inspiral is Sandown Star

Inspiral maintained her unbeaten record with a thoroughly impressive display in the British Stallion Studs EBF Star Stakes.

Owned and bred by Cheveley Park Stud, the daughter of Frankel had made a big impression when making a winning start to her career on Newmarket’s July Course last month and was the even-money favourite stepping up to Listed class at Sandown.

Deliberately dropped out last by Frankie Dettori, John and Thady Gosden’s filly looked green once angled wide at the top of the home straight, but it is testament to her latent ability that she made swift progress to move to within striking distance of the leaders.

Once asked to fully extend, Inspiral soon kicked clear and was ultimately good value for the winning margin of three and a half lengths.

The hat-trick seeking Wild Beauty filled the runner-up spot, with the winner’s stablemate Sunstrike just a neck further behind in third.

“She’s always been a classy filly. Her mother (Starscope) was with us and she had a lot of ability – and we know all about the father,” John Gosden told Racing TV.

“She’d done normal work at home on the bridle and won very nicely (at Newmarket). We thought this was the race to come for straight away – a Listed race with level weights, rather than giving away 7lb in a novice.

“They went pretty strong up front. Frankie was out the back and thought ‘I better get a move on’. He came round them and then as he said, he hit the front far too soon. She’s never been in front like that before, so she’s done well.

“She’d shown a lot of ability and I thought she’d enjoy the track here. She’ll have no problem getting a mile.”

Considering future targets, the trainer added: “The May Hill at Doncaster would be an obvious place to go with her. That gives her five to six weeks between races and she has a big frame, so she doesn’t want over-racing this year.”

Paddy Power made Inspiral a 33-1 shot for next year’s 1000 Guineas immediately after the race, but soon trimmed her odds for the Rowley Mile Classic to 16-1.