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Prolific juvenile Chipotle heads for sales this month

Eve Johnson Houghton’s durable two-year-old Chipotle is heading to the sales this month.

The son of Havana Gold has been a real success story this season, having been bought for just 10,000 guineas.

He won the Brocklesby on the opening day of the Flat season at Doncaster, where his trainer was at pains to state he was far from just an early type – and how right she was.

Chipotle went on to win the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot – and on his ninth run of the season on Saturday, he landed Redcar’s Listed Two Year Old Trophy, which is likely to be his last for his adoring trainer.

“He has danced every dance,” said Johnson Houghton.

“I probably should have put him up to six furlongs earlier than I did. I regretted running him at Doncaster (in the Flying Childers), because by then I knew he wanted six.

“I think he’ll improve again for going up to six furlongs, and he’s really tough.

“It’s rare for a horse to do what he’s done, win the Brocklesby, at Ascot and still be winning in October – but he’s pretty good.”

Unfortunately for Johnson Houghton, however, he now has a date at the sales.

“There’s nothing left this year for him, and he was bought for a two-year-old syndicate, so he’s got to go to the sales unfortunately,” said Johnson Houghton.

“That was the name of the game when we bought him. Some of them might get together and buy him back, I don’t know, but his next appointment is in the sale.

“It’s not a bad way to sign off anyway – he’s done them proud.”

Ayr Gold Cup conundrum for Jumby

A step up to black-type class could await Jumby after a possible tilt at the Ayr Gold Cup in mid-September.

The three-year-old was a winner at Salisbury on Tuesday evening, taking the British Stallion Studs EBF Conditions Stakes by a head from Owen Burrows’ Albasheer.

That performance was Jumby’s sixth run of the season in a campaign that began with a third-placed handicap finish behind subsequent Group winner Creative Force.

Pattern company could now beckon for Eve Johnson Houghton’s colt too, though there may be another handicap prize on the agenda first as the Ayr Gold Cup remains under consideration.

“We were thrilled with him, really pleased,” the trainer said of the Salisbury success.

“He’s in the Ayr Gold Cup, but it depends on the ground whether we go there or not.

“He’d be quite well in because I imagine the handicapper won’t be kind after that, and then we’ll have to go up to Pattern class.

“I’m not in a hurry with him now, he’s a big horse and he’s had plenty of racing this year.

“He’ll stay in training for next year and I think he’ll be a lovely horse for next season.”

Johnson Houghton is also in no hurry to decide on the next outing of juvenile sprinter Chipotle, who was last seen finishing a creditable ninth behind Winter Power in the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes.

The two-year-old is entered in the Mill Reef at Newbury and the Middle Park at Newmarket, but is currently resting in his paddock after a busy campaign since his debut victory in the Brocklesby at Doncaster in March.

Chipotle has been a star for Eve Johnson Houghton this season
Chipotle has been a star for Eve Johnson Houghton this season (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He has got a few things (to consider), he had a good few early entries,” the trainer said.

“We’re just giving him a week or two off, it was a tough enough race at York and then we will look at our options.

“He certainly wasn’t disgraced, he was only beaten six lengths, he’s run a lovely race.

“He’s a really tough, genuine horse but again, he’s had plenty of racing so he’s having a bit of time off in the paddock, a week off to freshen him up, then we’ll see where we go after that.”

Chipotle has Goodwood option after luckless Newbury run

Chipotle could bid for compensation in the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood after his  bid for the Weatherbys Super Sprint Stakes at Newbury on Saturday was scuppered.

The two-year-old, who was victorious in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot, started as 15-8 favourite for the lucrative contest but was severely hampered on more than one occasion.

Eventually finishing ninth of the 22 runners, the bay was beaten three and a quarter lengths by Richard Hannon’s Gubbass.

Trainer Eve Johnson Houghton is now considering the Group Three Molecomb  after the colt’s blighted Super Sprint performance.

“He just got murdered, he got absolutely wiped out twice which is annoying,” she said.

“He was only beaten three lengths and that was with having been stopped in his tracks at least twice.

“I think it’s fair to say he was very, very unlucky – he’ll probably go to the Molecomb next.”

The trainer did have some luck at the weekend when stable favourite Accidental Agent landed Newmarket’s Fine Watch Club Handicap by half a length under Georgia Dobie.

Accidental Agent loves the straight mile at Ascot
Accidental Agent loves the straight mile at Ascot (John Walton/PA)

Accidental Agent is entered at Ascot in the seven furlong Moet & Chandon International Stakes on Saturday, a track that seems to suit the gelding as he won the Queen Anne Stakes there at the Royal Meeting in 2018.

“He’s in at Ascot on Saturday for the big handicap there,” Johnson Houghton said.

“But there’s not much for him over straight miles, so if we don’t go there then we might go to Salisbury for the Sovereign Stakes.

“He’s definitely much better over a straight mile.”

Royal Ascot hero Chipotle out to add Super Sprint success

Eve Johnson Houghton is “very hopeful” her Royal Ascot hero Chipotle can follow up in the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury.

An impressive winner of the Brocklesby at Doncaster in March, the Havana Gold colt has since proved that debut success was no fluke by scoring twice at Ascot – most recently pulling clear of his rivals in the Windsor Castle Stakes.

Bought for just 10,000 guineas as a yearling last autumn, Chipotle – who is drawn in stall 20 of 22 – is a hot favourite to claim the lion’s share of the £200,000 prize fund up for grabs in Saturday’s feature event.

Johnson Houghton said: “The draw is what it is. I think I’m happy enough with it – but if I’m not afterwards, I’ll let you know!

“We’re drawn near Vintage Clarets (22), who looks the obvious danger. I think we’re as good as it can be really.

“He’s in great form, and it will be perfect ground I should think, so we’re very hopeful.”

Vintage Clarets is bidding to provide his trainer Richard Fahey with a fourth Super Sprint success following the previous triumphs of Peniaphobia (2013), Lathom (2015) and Bengali Boys (2017).

Since finishing third behind Chipotle in the Brocklesby, the son of Ardad has won at Beverley and Ayr and finished a close-up third in the Coventry Stakes at the Royal meeting.

Vintage Clarets winning at Beverley
Vintage Clarets winning at Beverley (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Vintage Clarets is a very quick horse, who I think will be helped by coming back in trip, and Chipotle has a penalty for the Royal Ascot win,” said Fahey.

“We aren’t mob-handed this year for once, but you only need one runner if it’s the right one.

“It’s been a lucky race for me, and Vintage Clarets has a lot of natural speed.”

Another trainer who has already enjoyed Super Sprint success is Jonathan Portman, having struck gold with Mrs Danvers in 2016.

This time he will saddle bottom-weight Sienna Bonnie, who cost just 4,000 guineas and will be ridden by Hollie Doyle.

Portman said: “Sienna Bonnie ran well at Windsor last time out and has been in really good form since.

“The Super Sprint has been the target for a while, but we are hoping for as much sunshine as possible to dry out the ground – the last two or three times she’s run, the ground hasn’t quite been as quick as she would have liked.

“She’s up against it with those with higher ratings, such as Chipotle, and it won’t be an easy task, but we’re looking forward to it”

Tom Dascombe is no stranger to training speedy juveniles and has high hopes for Delmona, who was not beaten far when fifth in a Newmarket Listed event last month.

Tom Dascombe has high hopes for Delmona
Tom Dascombe has high hopes for Delmona (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Delmona has been in great form since Newmarket and is a very straightforward and easy filly at home,” said the Cheshire trainer.

“She is lightly raced, but a big field should suit her.

“She’s got a nice weight (8st 9lb) to run off. She’s not that well in on ratings, but we do think there’s more to come from her and are expecting a big race.”

Richard Hannon has so far added three Super Sprint victories to his father’s record haul of seven wins in the race.

He appears intent on adding to that tally, with chief hope Gubbass (Sean Levey) joined by five stablemates in Symphony Perfect (Hayley Turner), Raging (William Buick), Zoltan Star (Tom Marquand), Desert (Andrea Atzeni) and Banner Moonshine (Sam Hitchcott).

Chipotle on course for Super Sprint challenge

Impressive Windsor Castle winner Chipotle is among 23 remaining juveniles in the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury on Saturday.

Eve Johnson Houghton’s two-year-old won the Brocklesby, the first juvenile turf race of the season at Doncaster, and took his record to three wins from four outings at Royal Ascot.

Johnson Houghton said: “Chipotle will definitely run unless it’s bottomless ground, but it looks as if we might be heading for a bit of a heatwave and that will be ideal for him. He travelled fine at Sandown, but the last furlong was heavy, and he was on the worst of it. He just couldn’t pick his feet up out of it.

“He was very impressive on fast ground at Royal Ascot, and the time was very good too. He’s been great since, but I can’t take any credit as he trains himself and just sleeps, eats and works.

“Unfortunately, Charlie (Bishop) is banned, but we’ve got a worthy replacement in David Probert.”

Unusually there will not be a maximum field this year for the £200,000 contest, but another who ran well at Ascot and who could turn up is Richard Fahey’s Vintage Clarets – third to Berkshire Shadow in the Coventry.

“I’m contemplating it,” said Fahey.

“He’s a very fast horse and I think if he’d run in the Norfolk rather than Perfect Power he would have won it.

“The thing with the Super Sprint is that it can be a messy race, you can get drawn on the wrong side.

Vintage Clarets is in Super Sprint contention for Richard Fahey
Vintage Clarets is in Super Sprint contention for Richard Fahey (Mike Egerton/PA)

“However, I own half of him and I’m looking at the prize-money!

“It’s something we target, it’s a racing man’s race, a race I look forward to every year.”

However, Fahey will not be running Khunan, who performed well in defeat behind stablemate Perfect Power in the Norfolk, with either the Molecomb or Richmond Stakes at Goodwood on his agenda.

Richard Hannon’s Gubbass, not seen since a promising winning debut at Leicester, could run for a stable with a formidable record in the race, as could Banner Moonshine, Desert, Raging, Symphony Perfect and Zoltan Star.

One of the attractions of the Super Sprint is that it is not always won by one of the bigger outfits. Rod Millman, who won with Lord Kintyre in 1997 and Bettys Hope two years ago, has a likely enough sort again in Amazonian Dream, while Jonny Portman, successful in 2016 with Mrs Danvers, has a live outsider in Sienna Bonnie.

Silvestre de Sousa and Bettys Hope (white cap) winning the Super Sprint for Rod Millman
Silvestre de Sousa and Bettys Hope (white cap) winning the Super Sprint for Rod Millman (Daniel Hambury/PA)

Millman, who has also had a second and two thirds in the race, said: “Amazonian Dream was only just beaten by Berkshire Shadow at Newbury first time out and we feel he’s improved at home since, but he hasn’t shown it on the track for whatever reason.

“He’s got a bit to find with Chipotle on Royal Ascot form, but he boiled over there, which surprised us as he’s usually very quiet. He’ll probably wear a lip chain in the preliminaries to see if that helps, and at the moment I’ve got Oisin Murphy to ride.

“It’s a race we always try to find one for, and we are always very well looked after.”

Portman said: “Sienna Bonnie hasn’t had quite the same run into the race as Mrs Danvers, who was unbeaten, but it’s a good race for her and it’s been her target all year. She is at the foot of the weights and drying ground will be ideal for her.

“She’s a ‘jump and run’ horse who likes fast ground, and the last three times it’s not been ideal for her. She’s still run very respectably in good company.”

Real deal Marco Ghiani celebrates first Royal Ascot winner

Rising star Marco Ghiani gave a jubilant celebration as he stormed to victory aboard Real World for Saeed bin Suroor in the Royal Hunt Cup.

The talented apprentice had fellow Godolphin runner Eastern World from Charlie Appleby’s yard for company as the pair blazed along on the far rail – but once Ghiani hit top gear on the 18-1 winner he shot clear.

It was all over from there, and even though 11-2 favourite Astro King tried to make late gains he was still four and three-quarter lengths adrift. Grove Ferry and Ouzo took third and fourth respectively.

Ghiani said: “He often misses the break, but to avoid that he was blindfolded and went in late.

“I managed to stay next to William Buick and at the two he was quickening away while looking at the crowd.

“He’s a bit of a baby and an improving horse with few races under his belt.

“I walked the track and hoped we would stay on the rail.

“He is an improving horse, he is still a bit of a baby.”

He added: “I want to say thank you to Stuart Williams (boss) and Mr Bin Suroor and Sheikh Mohammed.

“Thank you very much everyone.”

Real World was first - with daylight second...
Real World was first – with daylight second… (Steven Paston/PA)

Bin Suroor said: “When Marco came in to ride him I said if you want to be famous you must win on him at Royal Ascot.

“I liked him last year when we looked after him, but this year he’s started to show us something.

“He can miss the jump, but not today, and when I saw him on the bridle at halfway I thought he could win.

“He handled the ground well and I shall look at Listed or Group Three options for him.”

Chipotle sparked scenes of delight in the winner’s enclosure with victory in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes.

Starting at 22-1, the Eve Johnson Houghton-trained youngster – winner of the Brocklesby at Doncaster at the start of the season – travelled at the rear of the group on the far side of the track in the hands of Charlie Bishop, who timed it to perfection in picking off his rivals.

Dig Two was two and a quarter lengths back in second, with Boonie another head away in third. But it was another disappointing race for American trainer Wesley Ward, with his Frankie Dettori-ridden favourite Ruthin ultimately well beaten having led for a long way.

Bishop said: “I was quite keen to get a level break, but he bunny hopped when the stalls opened and I had to be patient. But I got a dream run through.

“We’ve always liked him and we never pressed any buttons when he won the Brocklesby and that race here, but at Sandown he didn’t like the soft and I didn’t give him the best of rides.

Charlie Bishop with Chipotle
Charlie Bishop with Chipotle (Steven Paston/PA)

“Eve’s a brilliant trainer and I feel quite emotional that she’s kept the faith with me.”

Johnson Houghton said: “He’s a horse that trains himself. He travels and when you ask him off he goes. He’s an absolute dude of a horse and he didn’t enjoy the soft ground at Sandown.

“All through the day I felt we couldn’t win from stall one, but then after the Hunt Cup I thought we did have a chance. Charlie had the courage to stay on the far side, and off a rattling fast pace he really picked up.”

Chipotle may head to Sandown next

Eve Johnson Houghton’s unbeaten juvenile sprinter Chipotle may head next to the National Stakes at Sandown.

The colt was a winner on his racecourse debut when taking the Brocklesby Stakes at Doncaster in March, and readily followed up in the Royal Ascot Two-Year-Old Trial at Ascot a month later.

The Listed National Stakes could be next on the agenda this month, with Sandown’s five-furlong trip the distance he is likely to continue to be campaigned at for the first half of season.

“We might go to the National Stakes at Sandown, but he’ll tell me when he’s ready,” said Johnson Houghton.

“He’s very easy – anyone could train him.

“He’s in great form, he’s done well and he’s just the easiest horse to train.”

Johnson Houghton will then consider two juvenile sprints at Royal Ascot, with the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes currently favoured over the Group Two Norfolk.

“He might go for the Windsor Castle,” added the Oxfordshire trainer.

“He’ll stick at five. He would get six, but we’ll stick at five.

“It’s either the Windsor Castle or the Norfolk, but I imagine it’ll be the Windsor Castle.”

A bay son of Havana Gold, who cost £10,000 at Tattersalls’ 2020 Ascot yearling sale, Chipotle may then step up to six furlongs or remain over five and target Newbury’s valuable Super Sprint in July.

The weight each horse carries in the latter race is determined by their purchase price, leaving him particularly competitive because he was a value buy.

“We probably would (step up in trip),” said Johnson Houghton.

“Or we might just go straight for the Super Sprint, because he only cost £10,000.”