Tag Archive for: Dave Loughnane

Queen Olly puts down Royal Ascot marker on York debut

Queen Olly earned herself a place on trainer David Loughnane’s Royal Ascot team with a clear-cut debut victory in the Frank Whittle Partnership ebfstallions.com Maiden at York.

The Shropshire handler has clutch of high-class juvenile fillies this term, as evidenced by the recent Chester and Ascot victories of Absolutelyflawless and Omniqueen.

Carrying the same Amo Racing silks as the latter, €300,000 purchase Queen Olly was seemingly well fancied to strike gold on the Knavesmire as the 11-4 favourite and got the job done in fine style.

After being given time to find her feet by Rossa Ryan, the daughter of No Nay Never moved stylishly into contention before kicking three and a half lengths clear of Catch The Paddy.

Asked if he was feeling the pressure given the winner’s hefty price tag, Loughnane said: “We’ve had more expensive juveniles run this year so not on that front, if I felt pressure it was because I felt she was the nicest we had.

“I don’t really feel pressure. We make an assessment of them and they have to go and prove it’s right. Thankfully she has, they don’t always but she’s done it 10-fold.

“She’s still a bit green but she had to muscle her way out of a tricky spot, she hit the front, pricked her ears and didn’t really do a lot but Rossa said to her ‘we’ve got to put this to bed’ and she took a fair bit of pulling up.

“I said the first day I sat on her she was a Royal Ascot filly and she’s an Albany filly to me, all day long. She’s out of a Galileo mare so she could be better over seven furlongs going forward, but Royal Ascot was what we had in mind and I think she’s proved she’s good enough.”

Fine Wine and Jack Duern in full flight at York
Fine Wine and Jack Duern in full flight at York (Tim Goode/PA)

Fine Wine is clearly maturing as his name suggests judged on the way he made every yard of the running in the Paddy Power ‘Making Flat Less Flat’ Handicap.

The Scott Dixon-trained five-year-old was having his 17th run since October and was registering his fifth win in that time, showing his rivals a clean pair of heels.

Despite only running at Hamilton on Sunday, Fine Wine produced a career-best effort and bounced out of the stalls under Jack Duern.

At the head of affairs throughout, he may have looked a sitting duck at halfway but once Duern asked him a question Fine Wine picked up and scooted clear, taking lengths out of some good handicap sprinters.

The 5-1 chance beat Raasel by three lengths, a huge margin in such a race, with Good Effort a short-head back in third.

“That was quite impressive really,” said Dixon.

“There was definitely a few worries about running him back so quick. He’s always sore the day after he runs and I had no intention of declaring him really, but I trotted him up on the morning of declarations and he was like like a dressage horse.

“I thought we should declare and he’s produced what is by far his most impressive performance to date.

“The Dash (at Epsom) is the next target. We’ve been an unlucky second and third in the race before, I’d love to win it and I’ve always thought Fine Wine would be a Dash horse.

“I think we’ll go straight there. He deserves a couple of weeks off.”

Tim Easterby rarely leaves a big York meeting without a winner and Cruyff Turn made sure that would be the case once again with a game success in the Paddy Power Hambleton Handicap.

Successful at the Ebor meeting in August, the 8-1 winner was sat in the perfect position just behind the pace-setting Lion Tower.

Cruyff Turn just holds off Brunch
Cruyff Turn just holds off Brunch (noseband)

David Allan asked him to quicken entering the final furlong but he failed to put the race completely to bed and top-weight Brunch came from off the pace to throw down a sustained challenge, with Cruyff Turn holding on by a head.

Easterby said: “That was brilliant, he’s a super horse and galloped out well.

“He got knocked over a bit at Thirsk in the Hunt Cup and was taken on early on so it didn’t go to plan, but it’s come off today.

“We’ll aim for the Ebor meeting back here. I’m not sure where we’ll go between now and then. This was one of the plans today so we’ll just work away.”

Stoute ready to take the wraps off Derby hope Desert Crown

Sir Michael Stoute insists Desert Crown is “not a spectacular homeworker” ahead of his highly-anticipated reappearance in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York.

The master of Freemason Lodge has saddled six previous winners of the recognised Derby trial, with both Shahrastani (1986) and North Light (2004) going on to claim Epsom glory.

Desert Crown, who has so far only won a minor maiden event at Nottingham, has been a huge mover in the ante-post market for the premier Classic in recent weeks and is now a best priced 6-1.

The Nathaniel colt, who carries the same Saeed Suhail colours of 2003 Derby hero Kris Kin, is the narrow favourite to book his ticket to Epsom with victory on the Knavesmire – but Stoute has revealed his preparation through the spring has not been straightforward.

“We’re only just up for a race and that’s why he hasn’t run yet – because he had a minor hiccup, which has delayed the start of his season,” said the trainer.

“We’ve only just got him there ready to go to the races. He’s not a spectacular homeworker and he surprised us when he won at Nottingham last year.

“His work here has been workmanlike – but he’s a very talked about horse!”

Desert Crown is one of nine colts declared for Thursday’s feature, with James Ferguson’s El Bodegon making his first appearance since rounding off his juvenile campaign with a top-level triumph in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud in October.

That form has worked out exceptionally well, with Aidan O’Brien’s runner-up Stone Age now Derby favourite and the fourth home Buckaroo also impressing on his latest appearance.

John Gosden has trained four previous winners of the Dante, including two subsequent Epsom scorers in Benny The Dip (1997) and Golden Horn (2015).

This year the Clarehaven handler, who now trains in partnership with son Thady, is represented by recent Leicester scorer Magisterial, the mount of Frankie Dettori.

Mark and Charlie Johnston’s Royal Patronage turns out less than two weeks after finishing down the field in the 2000 Guineas, while Bluegrass bids to strengthen O’Brien’s formidable Derby hand.

Masekela is an interesting contender for Andrew Balding off the back of finishing second in Newmarket’s Feilden Stakes.

The field is completed by Kevin Ryan’s Dark Moon Rising, Saeed bin Suroor’s White Wolf and the Dave Loughnane-trained Kingmax, who steps up in trip after finishing fourth behind Native Trail in the Craven Stakes.

Loughnane said: “I have no worries at all about the trip, to be honest – I’ve always felt he wanted a mile and a quarter.

“We ran him in the Craven to see if he was going to be quick enough for a Guineas or not. He showed to us that he wasn’t, so I’d be very hopeful a mile and a quarter shouldn’t be a problem at all for him.

“He was only rated 86 going into the Craven, so it was a proper hike up and I think he’ll be a much better horse over 10 furlongs.”

Kingmax is not currently entered in the Derby at Epsom, but could yet earn himself a starting berth.

“We feel he’s good enough to be in these sort of races and he has to go and prove it on the track now,” the trainer added.

“The Dante is the plan for now. He’s got an entry in the French Derby, which is also over 10 furlongs.

“If he was to go and run very well or win the Dante and we thought he’d get further, there’s always the option to supplement for Epsom.”

Retirement beckons for Lola Showgirl following Group Three strike

Lola Showgirl is set to be retired following her Group Three success at Lingfield on Saturday.

Winner of the Kensington Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last summer, the five-year-old recorded her first victory at Pattern level when making all the running in the Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes.

A possible defence of her Royal Ascot crown was mooted as a potential swansong, but following a hefty rise in the ratings, trainer Dave Loughnane feels now is the time to draw stumps.

He said: “She’s gone up 19lb for winning on Saturday, so she is now rated 105 and I think that’s her now – she’ll probably retire.

“She’s in foal to Oasis Dream and it’s very much job done with her.”

While Lola Showgirl will not be on his team, the Shropshire-based trainer is still likely to be well represented at next month’s showpiece meeting in Berkshire.

Go Bears Go is a leading contender for the Commonwealth Cup, while in the last week Absolutelyflawless and Omniqueen have looked potential contenders for the Royal Ascot two-year-old races with victories at Chester and Ascot respectively.

Absolutelyflawless in the clear at Chester
Absolutelyflawless in the clear at Chester (Tim Goode/PA)

Loughnane, though, plans to make a final decision on their participation closer to the time.

He added: “I don’t want to go to Royal Ascot for a day out – I’d have to feel that they’re both capable of winning.

“Especially with Omniqueen, Amo Racing (owners) could have a lot of two-year-olds going to Royal Ascot and we don’t want to be running four or five of them against each other.

“There are plenty of other Group races around the same time. There’s a few races in Ireland and a few other options, so we’re leaving everything on the table at the moment.

“When it comes to making entries, we’ll sit down and go through everything and see who is the most suited to go there and who is the most suited to go elsewhere.”

Desert Crown puts Derby hopes on the line in Dante test

Derby plunge horse Desert Crown and Group One-winning colt El Bodegon are among nine colts declared for the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York on Thursday.

Despite only winning a Nottingham novice event to date, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Desert Crown is a best priced 6-1 for next month’s premier Classic following sustained support in recent weeks.

The Nathaniel colt, who carries the colours of Stoute’s 2003 Derby hero Kris Kin, is the narrow favourite to book his ticket to Epsom with victory on the Knavesmire under Richard Kingscote.

Speaking after steering the Stoute-trained Kiteflyer to victory at Chepstow on Tuesday, Kingscote told Sky Sports Racing: “He (Desert Crown) was impressive first time and I know the boss is delighted with him at home.

Richard Kingscote rides Desert Crown in the Dante Stakes
Richard Kingscote rides Desert Crown in the Dante Stakes (Adam Davy/PA)

“I’m looking forward to him on Thursday. We’ll learn more about him and he’ll learn more about the game.

“We’re all in the same boat. No one has really had any nice ground to gallop on – we’re all suffering with a bit of a dry spell. But I’m sure York have produced lovely ground, as they always do.”

James Ferguson’s El Bodegon makes his first appearance since rounding off his juvenile campaign with a top-level triumph in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud in October.

That form has worked out exceptionally well, with Aidan O’Brien’s runner-up Stone Age now Derby favourite and the fourth home Buckaroo also impressing on his latest appearance.

John Gosden has trained four previous winners of the Dante, with both Benny The Dip (1997) and Golden Horn (2015) both going on to follow up in the Derby.

This year the Clarehaven handler, who now trains in partnership with son Thady, is represented by recent Leicester scorer Magisterial, the mount of Frankie Dettori.

Mark and Charlie Johnston’s Royal Patronage turns out less than two weeks after finishing down the field in the 2000 Guineas, while Bluegrass bids to strengthen O’Brien’s formidable Derby hand.

Masekela is an interesting contender for Andrew Balding off the back of finishing second in Newmarket’s Feilden Stakes.

The field is completed by Kevin Ryan’s Dark Moon Rising, Saeed bin Suroor’s White Wolf and the Dave Loughnane-trained Kingmax, who steps up in trip after finishing fourth behind Native Trail in the Craven Stakes.

Loughnane said: “I have no worries at all about the trip, to be honest – I’ve always felt he wanted a mile and a quarter.

“We ran him in the Craven to see if he was going to be quick enough for a Guineas or not. He showed to us that he wasn’t, so I’d be very hopeful a mile and a quarter shouldn’t be a problem at all for him.

“He was only rated 86 going into the Craven, so it was a proper hike up and I think he’ll be a much better horse over 10 furlongs.”

Kingmax is not currently entered in the Derby at Epsom, but could yet earn himself a starting berth.

“We feel he’s good enough to be in these sort of races and he has to go and prove it on the track now,” the trainer added.

“The Dante is the plan for now. He’s got an entry in the French Derby, which is also over 10 furlongs.

“If he was to go and run very well or win the Dante and we thought he’d get further, there’s always the option to supplement for Epsom.”

Loughnane looking forward to 2022 with juvenile stars

David Loughnane is excited about next year for Go Bears Go and Hello You after they ended their juvenile campaigns with excellent performances at the Breeders’ Cup.

Go Bears Go was a fast-finishing half-length runner-up to Twilight Gleaming in the Juvenile Turf Sprint at Del Mar, while Hello You just faded in the last half-furlong when fifth to Pizza Bianca in the Juvenile Fillies’ Turf.

Both horses were Group Two winners in 2021 with Go Bears Go taking the Railway Stakes at the Curragh and Hello You the Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket.

“It was a great experience and both ran great races. I couldn’t be happier with them,” said the Shropshire handler.

As for next year, Loughnane plans to aim Go Bears Go at the Commonwealth Cup and Hello You will begin in a Classic trial.

“I thought going into it five might be a bit sharp for him over there. He missed the break by a millisecond which he’s never done before,” he said.

“I don’t know whether it was the stalls are wider over there or having a stalls handler in the gate with him that just took his mind off the job for half a second.

“Had he jumped, he’d have won. In four more strides he’d have won, but I couldn’t be any prouder of the horse. He ran an absolute belter of a race and it capped off a fantastic year for him.

“Five to six furlongs will be his trip over here next year. I suppose the most logical option would be something along the lines of the Commonwealth Cup.

“We’ll see how it goes. He thrived off the whole travelling. There are loads of options, including Dubai at the end of February. He’ll go for a nice holiday now and then we’ll take it one step at a time. We’ll see how he is come January and then we’ll make a plan from there.”

Loughnane felt the long trip to California took its toll on Hello You, but has no concerns about her staying a mile next season.

“The journey over there probably took a bit more out of her. She jumped, she travelled, she got a lovely run through the race,” he went on.

“She travelled like a dream and turning for home, I thought how far does she win, then when Johnny (Velazquez) asked her she just didn’t go though with it completely. She pulled up a tired horse. It took a lot out of her. She was only beaten a length and a half in a Grade One over there when she wasn’t at her best.

“I have no doubt on her day she was probably the best horse in the race. She’ll go for a holiday as well now and we’ll come back and try for a Guineas trial with her.

“I have no concerns about her getting the mile. I said whatever she did this year was only going to be a bonus to what she does next year.”

Go Bears Go to wait for Middle Park at Newmarket

Go Bears Go will sidestep Sunday’s Prix Morny and head straight for next month’s Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

An impressive winner on his racecourse debut at Ascot in May, the Kodi Bear colt returned to the Berkshire circuit for a tilt at the Norfolk Stakes at the Royal meeting, where he was narrowly denied by Perfect Power.

Go Bears Go then travelled to Ireland to claim Group Two honours in the Railway Stakes and only narrowly missed out on a big-race double at the Curragh when beaten a length into third place in the Group One Phoenix Stakes earlier this month.

Loughnane was initially left considering a quick return to action in either the Gimcrack at York or the Prix Morny at Deauville, but has now decided to keep his powder dry for the Middle Park on September 25.

He said: “He’s not going to France. We’re going to give him a bit of a freshen up and target the Middle Park.

“He’s ready for a bit of a freshen up. He’s only run four times, but he’s on the go a while.

“We’ll give him a bit of time now and get him ready for Newmarket.”

Morny and Gimcrack options open for Go Bears Go

Go Bears Go is likely to contest either the Prix Morny or the Gimcrack Stakes on his next appearance following his narrow defeat at the Curragh on Sunday.

Successful on his Ascot debut in early May, the Kodi Bear colt was beaten a head in the Norfolk Stakes at the Royal meeting before going one better in the Group Two Railway Stakes at the Curragh in June.

Go Bears Go was favourite to successfully graduate to Group One level over the same course and distance in Sunday’s Keeneland Phoenix Stakes, but had to make do with minor honours in third behind fellow British raider Ebro River.

While proud of his stable star’s effort, trainer Dave Loughnane feels a number of factors meant he was not at his very best.

He said: “He’s done nothing wrong and lost nothing in defeat.

“I think we learnt a number of things on the day. Firstly, six weeks is just too long for him between his runs – he seems to appreciate a bit more racing.

“Secondly, we had slight concerns about the ground. He won on soft ground first time out, but he’s just a better horse on a quick surface.

“He was also drawn out on a wing on his own a little bit and was kind of in no man’s land for part of the race. I think having a bit of cover might have just benefited us a bit more.

“At the end of the day he was beaten a length on his first start in a Group One, so you couldn’t be disappointed.”

David Loughnane has not lost any faith in Go Bears Go
David Loughnane has not lost any faith in Go Bears Go (George Selwyn/PA)

Ground conditions will dictate whether Go Bears Go heads to France for his next start or lines up at York’s Ebor meeting.

“He’s a Group One horse, whether he won yesterday or not. Yesterday wasn’t our day, but I have no doubt in my mind we’ll be winning a Group One very soon with him,” Loughnane added.

“We have a couple of options. There’s the Prix Morny at Deauville in a couple of weeks’ time, and the Gimcrack in York is also an option.

“He’d have a 3lb penalty in the Gimcrack, with it being a Group Two, but that wouldn’t bother us. It will all depend on where the quicker ground is.

“The ground looked pretty soft in Deauville yesterday, but the weather does look pretty good between now and the Morny. You never know in France as they do seem to water the tracks a lot and we’re not going to go there unless it’s quick ground.”