Flotus plans remain open for discussion

A final decision on whether classy juvenile filly Flotus runs again this year has yet to be taken.

The Simon and Ed Crisford-trained daughter of Starspangledbanner has always been held in high regard, winning her maiden in style and then sent off favourite for the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Things did not quite go to plan there or in two subsequent runs – but she put it all together with a dominant display in the Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy at Ripon and only the late surge of Aidan O’Brien’s Tenebrism denied her Group One honours in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Tenebrism just denied Flotus Group One glory in the Cheveley Park Stakes
Tenebrism just denied Flotus Group One glory in the Cheveley Park Stakes (Tim Goode/PA)

Ed Crisford said: “She bounced out of the Cheveley Park well, but there’s still no decision what we are going to do with her.

“I don’t know if she’s finished or if America could be an option, we’ll see what the owners what to do.

“Fast Attack (winner of the Oh So Sharp Stakes for the stable on Friday) would have more scope to get a trip next year, while Flotus is more about speed.

“You can’t really compare the two, but they are two very nice fillies.”

Flotus team considering Group-race options after Ripon success

A choice of Group One and Group Three targets is on the minds of joint trainers Simon and Ed Crisford for their impressive Listed winner Flotus.

The juvenile filly bounced back to form on Monday when she dominated what had looked a competitive field for the British Stallion Studs EBF Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy Stakes – making all to win by four and a half lengths.

That performance immediately attracted the attention of the bookmakers for future targets, as her ante-post odds for this month’s Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket were halved into 8-1.

Ed Crisford was hugely heartened by the performance as Flotus continued her 100 per cent record in partnership with Silvestre De Sousa, who was back on board for the first time since her debut win at Goodwood in May.

Three disappointments followed in Pattern company at Royal Ascot, Newmarket and Newbury.

Crisford said: “Obviously she won extremely well, bounced back to form after her maiden win at Goodwood when we thought she was a very nice filly.

“It had just slightly gone wrong the last few races (before Ripon).

“But Silvestre gave her a very positive ride, and she came right back to form.”

Both the Cheveley Park (September 25) and Ayr’s Firth of Clyde Stakes (September 18), over the same six-furlong trip, are under consideration next.

“I don’t think we’ve got any (definite) plans as of yet,” her joint trainer added.

“We’ll just see how she is in the next few weeks. She’s in the Cheveley Park, (and) she’s in the Firth of Clyde up at Ayr.

“But she’s come out of the race great, and we’re very pleased with her.

“She shortened up in the betting – but the Cheveley Park is a tall order, going up against all the very good fillies.

“So I don’t know where we’re going to go yet.”

Whichever option is taken, Flotus has demonstrated emphatically that she must be taken seriously by all opponents.

“When she won her maiden, we thought she was nice, and that was why we went straight to (Royal) Ascot,” said Crisford.

“She was favourite that day in the Albany, but it just didn’t really go right for her in those races – whether it was the ground, or she was a bit keen at Newmarket (in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes).

“Then over five (furlongs, in Newbury’s St Hugh’s Stakes), she settled better – but I think she had just slightly lost her confidence.

“The way she then did it (at Ripon) was very impressive, but we need to speak to the owners whether we go Group Three or Group One.”

A more definite schedule is in place for another of the Newmarket yard’s very promising juveniles, with Daneh on course for the Group Two Rockfel Stakes this month after she finished a close second to Mise En Scene at Goodwood last weekend.

Crisford said “She ran a really, really good race – I think they were two nice fillies, first and second.

“She’s still learning, running up to a very high level, and she’s come out of it really well.

“We’ll just see how she is the next few weeks, but I think we’ll probably be aiming her at the Rockfel.”

Flotus powers back to winning ways in Ripon feature

Flotus bounced back to form with an impressive victory in the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy Stakes.

Joint-trainers Simon and Ed Crisford were winning the Bank Holiday feature at the North Yorkshire course for the second year in succession – while Silvestre de Sousa was back on board for the first time since Flotus was an equally emphatic winner on her debut at Goodwood in May.

The daughter of Starspangledbanner had been partnered by Frankie Dettori and then James Doyle in the intervening months, but finished well beaten on all three starts at up to Group Two company.

De Sousa tracked across from an awkward draw in stall two this time, claiming the stands rail and forging ever further clear to win at 6-1 – by four and a half lengths from the consistent Hellomydarlin.

After her second career victory, Flotus was halved in price by Betfair into 8-1 for the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes over this same six-furlong trip at Newmarket at the end of next month

The key, De Sousa suspects, is to allow her to have her own way and demonstrate her natural speed throughout.

“I think perhaps they’ve probably been trying to ride a race on her, and she’s very ‘on’ and (just) wants to get on with the job,” he said.

“I think it maybe suits her to not complicate things. I just let her be where she wanted to be.

“She’s a really talented filly, and when I won on her first time I really liked her.

“But not every story is a fairytale – so I lost the ride.”

De Sousa was understandably all smiles after renewing the partnership successfully, and extending his 100 per cent record on Flotus.

“I’m glad I’m back on her,” he added.

“She’s a typical sprinter, just likes to get on with the job, and I didn’t complicate things today.

“Drawn two is never ideal (here), especially with speedy horses on your left.

“But she jumped smart, she travelled and she quickened (again) when I wanted her to.

“From halfway, I thought I was a winner.”

Garden Oasis was a brave winner of the Ripon Rowels Handicap as he overcame an over-reach in the final furlong to beat Kettle Hill by a nose in a thrilling tussle to the line.

Tim Easterby’s course specialist was following up his Ripon victory two weeks ago, and also accounting for the runner-up for a second time after a head separated them at York last month.

David Allan challenged two furlongs out this time – and despite sensing the 9-1 shot was in slight discomfort, he was able to eke out the required response to just get the better of William Haggas’ favourite again.

Easterby said: “He’s a wonderful little horse – he really tries his heart out, and he loves it round here.

“The ridges (at this course) and all that don’t bother him.”

Garden Oasis proved himself full of heart as he ran through the pain barrier.

“He struck into the bulb of his heel before the half-furlong pole,” added Easterby.

“Dave said he felt him falter, and thought he’d pulled a shoe off, and it was quite sore when he came in.

“But he’s fine, he’s sound.

“He loves this track, just acts here. That’s a good horse, the second – but he’s really tough and genuine and did really well to win (after over-reaching).”

Garden Oasis just prevailed on the far side
Garden Oasis just prevailed on the far side (PA)

Tom Marquand had to settle for second once more on Kettle Hill, but senses the four-year-old is still improving – and he did not have to wait long for a winner anyway on his trip north, taking the Examworks UK Supporting Wooden Spoon Maiden Stakes on Haggas’ 6-4 joint-favourite Pride Of Priory.

Marquand said of Kettle Hill: “It’s disappointing he didn’t win. He ran a superb race up at York last time, and I thought today would be his day.

“But he had earplugs in, and sometimes it can be a little bit of a lag when you go for them, with them on – and I think, while it helped him relax, it’s probably undone him in the last half-furlong.

“Without a doubt, he’s still improving. We’re still learning plenty about him on the way through, and there’ll be plenty more to come.

“You have to come, whether they’re winners or not. It was a solid run in defeat, and he’s a really nice horse to go forward with.”

As for Pride Of Priory, he added: “This chap, I hope this is the start of his forward progression.

“He’s had a couple of runs on the all-weather, bumping into some speedy types – and he’s not speedy, he’s a lovely galloping horse – so I hope today’s experience will him a lot of good.”

Flotus pencilled in for either Newmarket or Ascot

Flotus could bid to bounce back from Royal Ascot disappointment at either Newmarket or Ascot.

The Starspangledbanner filly made a big impression on her racecourse debut at Goodwood in May and was sent off clear favourite for the Albany Stakes as a result under Frankie Dettori.

However, Flotus trailed home 13th of 15 runners, with joint-trainer Ed Crisford putting the below-par performance down to the prevailing testing conditions on the penultimate afternoon of the Royal meeting.

“That ground was just too heavy for her,” he said.

“We’ll either go to Newmarket for the Duchess of Cambridge or wait for the Group Three at Ascot (Princess Margaret Stakes), depending on how she is.

“She seems fine, but Ascot was a bit of a disaster with the ground. I know she handled soft ground at Goodwood, but it was an early race and almost good to soft that day, whereas at Ascot it was proper heavy, brutal ground.

“Frankie looked after her, which is the main thing, so hopefully we’ve got a filly to go to war with later on in the season.”

Daneh looks another exciting juvenile filly for the Crisford team judged on her impressive debut at Kempton last week.

The daughter of Dubawi is out of Clive Brittain’s dual Group One-winning mare Rizeena and is likely to test the water in stakes company later in the summer.

Crisford added: “You never quite know what they’re going to do on the racetrack, but she did it well. She’s obviously very well bred and a nice filly

“At the moment we haven’t made any firm plans. There are Listed races or she might go for another novice – we haven’t quite decided yet.

“She’s come out of it great and we’re talking to the owner about where we go from here.”