Posts

Bradley delighted by Royal Ascot efforts

Nick Bradley reflected on Royal Ascot with pride after a busy and successful meeting for his eponymous racing partnerships.

The syndicate had entrants on all five days of the Royal meeting, with Eldrickjones coming closest to victory when finishing second behind Berkshire Shadow in the Group Two Coventry Stakes.

The son of Cotai Glory was beaten by a length and a quarter having started at huge odds of 66-1, and Bradley feels the Roger Fell-trained bay could have gone one better had luck been on his side.

“The two two-year-old colts ran really well, with Eldrickjones finishing second in the Coventry,” he said.

Eldrickjones (right) finishing second in the Coventry Stakes
Eldrickjones (right) finishing second in the Coventry Stakes (David Davies/PA)

“I think if you ran that race again and it worked out slightly differently, he’d probably win.”

Bradley’s other two-year-old colt was racecourse debutant Kaboo, who finished sixth in the Windsor Castle Stakes after finding himself at the centre of a huge gamble that saw him backed from 66-1 down to 15-2.

Your first 30 days for just £1

“That was an almighty debut to finish sixth,” Bradley said of the colt’s run.

“Again, I think if you ran that race on a different day he’d be finishing better than sixth.

“Both are exciting colts to take forwards. We’ve only got three two-year-old colts in training, so for two of them to run so well at Royal Ascot, it says a lot about what we’re trying to do.”

The syndicate enjoyed a third-placed finish in the Group Three Albany Stakes, a race they won last season with Dandalla, with George Boughey’s Oscula this time carrying the hopes of the partnership when galloping alone down the inside rail to cross the line two lengths behind the winner.

“We took a brave man’s tactic in that race, I sent both of them up the rail,” Bradley said of the tactics employed by Oscula and Hellomydarlin, his second runner in the contest.

“I said to the jockeys ‘if we get it right, you can claim the glory, if we get it wrong, it’s my fault’.

“I just thought, with the way the races were running previous to that, that the rail would be the place to be.

“We very nearly pulled it off. I think if we had won I would be smiling for a very long time, especially having won it the previous year.

“Mark (Crehan, jockey) gave her (Oscula) a great ride, she’s a filly that we didn’t pay a lot of money for competing against Dubawis and £400,000 yearlings.

“We were proud of her performance.”

Dandalla returned to the fixture after her success last year, this time taking aim at the Group One Commonwealth Cup and finishing fourth at 33-1 after failing to fire in previous runs at Newbury and Haydock.

Dandalla winning the Albany Stakes during the 2020 Royal meeting
Dandalla winning the Albany Stakes during the 2020 Royal meeting (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“Myself and Karl always had faith in Dandalla, we knew that the engine was still there,” Bradley said.

“It was just a case of getting things wrong at Haydock and we’ve put the record straight.

“To put the record straight in a race like the Commonwealth Cup was very rewarding. Fourth in a race like that, behind two rockets that finished first and second (Campanelle and Dragon Symbol), it’s probably a career best run.”

After a busy Royal Ascot the syndicate will now look forward to Newmarket’s July meeting as their next target.

“We have had runners there every day of the week, I think we took over 200 owners there in total,” said Bradley.

“It was rewarding and we’re now going to look forward to the next one and try to get things right for fixtures like the Newmarket July meeting.”

Burke Sweet on Nottingham winner Honey

Honey Sweet took the first steps to justifying Karl Burke’s high opinion of her when making a winning debut at Nottingham on Sunday.

Burke has always held her in high regard and was delighted to see the daughter of Adaay get off the mark in ready fashion.

The Middleham trainer believes she is a potential black-type filly, but is no hurry to firm-up plans as he sees her more as a long-term prospect, having gone to 50,000 guineas to secure her at Tattersalls Sales in October.

“She’s a nice filly. I’ve always thought a lot of her,” he said.

“I loved her as a yearling at the sales. We went a lot more than myself and Nick (Bradley, owner) had planned. I just couldn’t leave her behind and thankfully she’s proved us right so far.

Your first 30 days for just £1

“I think there’s loads of improvement there. All of mine improve for a run.

“She was stuck on the outside and overcame that. I don’t know what she beat, but it was a nice performance.

“She’ll improve for stepping up a furlong.”

Burke admits he has to give thought to a Royal Ascot run, but feels it might come too soon.

“Where we go from here, I’m not 100 per cent sure. Ascot is obviously on everyone’s mind at this time of year,” he said.

“It would be a big step up after just one run and we wouldn’t have enough time with a filly like her to have another run.

“We’ll see how she trains when we get her going again. I think she’s a nice filly and I hope we can turn her into a black-type filly somewhere along the line.

“She’s got plenty of filling out to do in her frame. She’s not just an early two-year-old.”

One of Burke’s juvenile stars from last year, Dandalla, is to have a thorough check-up after finishing last in the Cecil Frail Stakes at Haydock on Friday.

“She’s fine. We’re just going to run a few tests on her over the next couple of days,” he revealed.

“It was a bit of a head-scratcher. Whether it was the ground or not – he time men tell me they went too quick and stopped. That would bear out the way the race ran, but even allowing for going too quick, she was beaten a fair way out.

“Ben (Curtis) reported with two furlongs to go he thought he was going to bolt up, and then 100 yards later she’s flat. We’re not sure, but she seems fine and she looks great. She had been working well up to going into the race, so maybe it was a combination of ground, a physical niggle and then the way the race was run as well.

“We’ll do a few tests, see what they throw up and take it from there.”

Dandalla ready for Haydock mission

Hopes are high that Dandalla can get back on the winning trail in the EBF British Stallion Studs Cecil Frail at Haydock.

Karl Burke’s filly looked a potential superstar in the making as she left rivals trailing in her wake in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, after which she touched off fellow Nick Bradley Racing-owned filly Fev Rover in the Duchess of Cambridge at Newmarket.

While Fev Rover has gone on to finish third in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, Dandalla has slightly lost her way – finishing fifth in the Cheveley Park Stakes in September and seventh on her return to action in the Fred Darling at Newbury last month.

The daughter of Dandy Man drops in distance and class for Friday’s six-furlong Listed feature, and connections are expecting a bold showing.

“This looks a good spot for her,” said Bradley.

“We’re going to do something slightly different regarding going into the stalls, because she’s been a little bit difficult the last couple of times. Hopefully that works, and I think she’ll run a big race.

“I think a repeat of her run at Newbury will probably see her win here, or certainly go close, but I would expect her to come on for the run as well.

“We’re going there hoping she’ll win.”

Dandalla is set to face five rivals on Merseyside, with Kevin Ryan’s older mare Last Empire and Richard Fahey’s Ventura Diamond renewing rivalry after finishing second and third in the Kilvington Stakes at Nottingham a fortnight ago.

Recent Ripon scorer Twilight Spinner (David O’Meara), Dense Star (Stuart Williams) and Mamba Wamba (Adrian Nicholls) also feature.

Burke sets sights on Newbury with Dandalla

Dandalla is all set to reappear in the Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Newbury on April 17.

Karl Burke’s filly was a Royal Ascot winner last season, in the Albany Stakes, and followed up in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket.

While she disappointed when only fifth in the Cheveley Park Stakes on her final outing, Burke has high hopes she will resume winning ways on her reappearance.

“She heads for the Fred Darling at Newbury, or what was,” said the Leyburn handler.

Dandalla demolished her rivals at Royal Ascot
Dandalla demolished her rivals at Royal Ascot (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“That has been the plan for a long time and at the moment she’s bang on course for that.

“She’s wintered really well, done everything we’ve asked and I’m very happy with her.”

Another top-class filly in the yard is sprinter Lady In France, who was last seen finishing a close fourth in the Prix de l’Abbaye behind Wooded.

“Lady In France, we felt, was a bit unlucky to miss out in the Abbaye really,” said

“If you run that race 10 times she would probably win it six or seven times, it was just a bit of bad luck.

“She likes a bit of soft ground, but we are hopefully taking her to Bath for a Listed race (Whitsbury Manor Stud/British EBF Lansdown Stakes) as a prep run for a race in France, there are a couple of Group Threes we can choose from.

“We’ll go to France with her, but she’s very much ground dependant. While she has won on good ground she’s better with a bit of cut. She doesn’t need it heavy, though.”

Fev Rover team in no rush to decide on possible seasonal finale

Connections of Fev Rover will wait until next week before deciding whether the Group Two-winning filly will run again this season.

Trainer Richard Fahey and owners Nick Bradley Racing 43 and Partner will give the Prix du Calvados winner time to recover after finishing fourth in a rough race for the Prix Marcel Boussac at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.

Should the daughter of Gutaifan be given the go-ahead to run again this year, then her target will either be a Group One over a mile at Saint-Cloud later in the month or the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland.

“There are only two possible races for her – there’s a Group One in France in about two and a half weeks at Saint-Cloud, a mile race. There’s that or the Breeders’ Cup,” said Bradley.

“I said to Richard (Fahey), let’s have a chat in a week’s time when he’s got her home and seen how she is.”

Your first 30 days for just £1

Bradley reflected on her bad luck in the Marcel Boussac won by Tiger Tanaka.

“I thought she was very unlucky, but that happens in horse racing,” he said.

“She ran great, she got interfered with twice, the jockey got banned but that doesn’t really help us – that’s racing.

“After the race she was fine, there wasn’t a cut on her.”

Dandalla may have lost her 100 per cent when only fifth in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket, but Bradley has not lost faith in her and is hoping she will develop into a Classic contender in the spring.

The daughter of Dandy Man had won her three previous races, including the Group Three Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Group Two Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket.

Dandalla winning the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket
Dandalla winning the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket (Hugh Routledge/PA)

“She won’t run again this year. She’ll be prepped for a run, potentially, in a Guineas and run in a trial – probably at Newbury for the old Fred Darling,” he said.

On her run in the Cheveley Park, Bradley felt the Karl Burke-trained filly did not handle the track.

“She was fine. She was sound afterwards and I just think she hated the dip,” he said.

“There was a strong tailwind that day and they can only run so fast when you’ve got a wind like that and then to run into a dip.

“That made it even harder and she changed her legs three times in the space of about 50 yards. I think that was the issue there.”

Burke points to track as factor in Dandalla’s Newmarket defeat

Karl Burke believes the undulations of Newmarket contributed to Dandalla’s disappointing effort in the Cheveley Park Stakes.

The daughter of Dandy Man was a brilliant winner of the Albany Stakes in June – and while she followed up with a gritty display in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes on the July Course, she was not nearly as impressive as at Royal Ascot.

Dandalla was nonetheless well fancied to extend her unbeaten record to four on her return to Headquarters on Saturday – but after travelling strongly for much of the race, she was ultimately well beaten in fifth place.

Burke said: “She’s fine. She trotted up sound and ate up, and there’s nothing untoward.

“We think she ran a very similar race to what she did at the July meeting. She changed her legs three times as soon as she started running downhill from the bushes, and just didn’t really lengthen.

“I’m not saying for one minute we would have got near the leaders, but it’s probably not her track.”

The Spigot Lodge handler plans to give his filly a break before bringing her back next spring – and remains confident there is plenty to look forward to.

He added: “We won’t run her again this year. We’ll prepare her for a spring campaign and probably have a go at one of the seven-furlong Guineas trials and take the season from there.

“We’ll probably aim for the race at Newbury (Fred Darling Stakes) if we were going to go down that route, but her homework will tell us where we are.

“We think we’ve still got a very good filly for next year.”

Dandalla camp confident in Cheveley Park

Trainer Karl Burke is full of confidence as Dandalla returns to Newmarket for the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes.

A winner on her racecourse debut at Newcastle, the daughter of Dandy Man turned in one of the most impressive performances of this year’s Royal Ascot meeting with a six-length demolition job in the Albany Stakes.

She was given a fright by fellow Nick Bradley Racing-owned juvenile Fev Rover in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes on the July Course the following month, but clung on grimly by a head – and the runner-up has since won in Listed and Group Two company.

Burke remains adamant his filly was not at her best on that occasion, having spiked a temperature during preparation – but having since sidestepped a possible tilt at the Prix Morny, the Spigot Lodge handler believes she is back at the top of her game.

Karl Burke (right) with Dandalla following her latest victory at Newmarket
Karl Burke (right) with Dandalla following her latest victory at Newmarket (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“We couldn’t be happier with her. She’s ready to run and hopefully she’ll do herself justice,” said Burke.

“It took her a little while to come to herself (after the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes), but the last month has been very good.

“I think the bit of rain they’ve had will help, although she is a good-actioned filly and we were surprised how well she handled the ground at Ascot. I don’t think she’s ground dependent.

“It’s going to be an exciting race, with some nice Irish fillies coming over, but you want to be taking on the best in these races.

Your first 30 days for just £1

“We’re looking forward to running our filly – hopefully she can prove us right.”

Nick Bradley is similarly optimistic about Dandalla’s chances, saying: “I think she’ll be four from four by Saturday evening.

“There’s nothing better in my eyes – we go there full of confidence in her.”

The highest-rated filly in the field is Ken Condon’s Lowther Stakes winner Miss Amulet, who will carry the colours of Coolmore powerhouse Michael Tabor’s wife Doreen for the first time.

“She’s a very progressive filly. I thought it was a good performance at York, and she’s done very well since,” said Condon.

“She needs to step up again, but all the signs are good.

“She deserves to take her chance in a Group One now, and we’re looking forward to it.”

The Richard Hannon-trained Happy Romance has produced one of the feel-good stories of the season.

Bought for just £25,000 for first-time owners the McMurray Family, she has won four of her six starts to date – including the Super Sprint at Newbury, another valuable sales race at York and, most recently, the Group Three Dick Poole Stakes at Salisbury.

Happy Romance has been a real money spinner for connections
Happy Romance has been a real money spinner for connections (David Davies/PA)

Happy Romance had the option of running in the Group Two Rockfel Stakes on Friday, but Hannon decided to bid for top-level honours.

He said: “Happy Romance is in great form. She has run well and improved all year. She has not run a bad race yet, and this is the logical next step up.

“What she has done has not surprised us, because she has always shown us a lot. She did well at Salisbury as she did travel wider, but she picked up well.

“This is a much harder race than the Rockfel, but you would rather be winning a Cheveley Park. There are only certain opportunities to win a Group One, and this is one of them, so we have to try to take it.

“It would be lovely to see her win a big one, with the season she has had – she deserves it.”

James Ferguson hopes Zoetic can make her presence felt
James Ferguson hopes Zoetic can make her presence felt (Steven Cargill/PA)

The William Haggas-trained Sacred would not be winning out of turn, having finished second in the Queen Mary Stakes, the Lowther and the Flying Childers this season.

Richard Fahey’s Umm Kulthum turns out seven days after winning the Firth of Clyde at Ayr, while Andrew Balding’s Alcohol Free was less than a length behind Happy Romance at Salisbury a few weeks ago and re-opposes.

The Mick Channon-trained Illykato and Zoetic from James Ferguon’s yard complete the field, with the latter bidding for a third straight win for her fledgling trainer.

“She’s been progressing with every single run of her life – she’s grown up and developed mentally and physically,” said Ferguson.

“She might not be one of the favourites, but I think she’s done enough to earn her chance at this level.”

Dandalla tops 12 in the hunt for Cheveley Park glory

Dandalla and Miss Amulet are two of 12 fillies in contention for the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

Karl Burke’s Dandalla is set to step up to Group One company following back-to-back Group Two wins in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Duchess of Cambridge at Newmarket.

The Ken Condon-trained Miss Amulet earned her tilt at the the top level by winning the Group Two Lowther Stakes at York last month.

Condon said: “All going well this week, she’ll be heading to Newmarket – she’s in good form and everything has gone well since the Lowther.

“We’ve all the usual checks and balances to do during the week, but providing she comes through those all OK, we’ll be looking forward to Saturday.”

Condon confirmed Ryan Moore is set to partner Miss Amulet for the first time, with the filly now running in the colours of Doreen Tabor.

She could be joined on the trip from Ireland by Fozzy Stack’s Aloha Star, Jessica Harrington’s Dickiedooda and Aidan O’Brien’s pair of More Beautiful and Mother Earth.

The home team includes Richard Hannon’s prolific filly Happy Romance, the William Haggas-trained Queen Mary, Lowther and Flying Childers runner-up Sacred and Richard Fahey’s Firth of Clyde Stakes winner Umm Kulthum.

Aidan O’Brien is responsible for six of the 11 remaining entries for the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes.

The Ballydoyle handler has confirmed Brazil, Cleveland, High Definition, Kyprios, Ontario and Van Gogh for the one-mile Group Two.

Clive Cox’s dual winner Cobh and Mark Johnston’s Acomb Stakes scorer Gear Up are two of the chief hopes from Britain.

Forty horses have stood their ground for the bet365 Cambridgeshire, with Mick Channon’s Certain Lad heading the weights ahead of William Knight’s Sir Busker and Montatham from William Haggas’ yard.

Haggas also has leading ante-post fancy Sinjaari still engaged, with Roger Charlton’s Tempus and James Tate’s Top Rank others of note.

However, Charlton has warned Tempus is not a certain runner.

He said: “I think his participation in the Cambridgeshire depends on the going.

“The ground was very quick at Newmarket at the weekend. There is rain forecast, but he won’t be running on fast ground.”