Tag Archive for: Fozzy Stack

Breeders’ Cup outing an ‘outside possibility’ for Castle Star

A trip to the Breeders’ Cup is considered an “outside possibility” for Castle Star following his narrow defeat in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

A winner at Listed and Group Three level at the Curragh in May, Fozzy Stack’s star juvenile had since finished second in the Railway Stakes and fourth in the Phoenix Stakes on home soil before his trip across the Irish Sea last week.

The son of Starspangledbanner certainly justified his place in Group One company on the Rowley Mile – beaten just half a length into second place by the Richard Fahey-trained Perfect Power.

Stack will assess the youngster’s well being before deciding whether to send him to Del Mar next month or give him a well-earned break.

Reflecting on his Newmarket performance, the trainer said: “He ran a cracker. It’s a bit unfortunate the gaps didn’t open in time, but that’s racing.

“We probably didn’t have as clean a run as the winner. I’m not saying we’d have beaten him.

Fozzy Stack (left) was pleased with Castle Star's performance
Fozzy Stack (left) was pleased with Castle Star’s performance (PA)

“He’s been very consistent all year and he’s put in a career-best on his seventh run of the season.

“The Breeders’ Cup would be an outside possibility, but we’ll just see how he is over the next while.

“If he doesn’t go to America, we’ll put him away and train him towards the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot next season.”

York under consideration for Hermana Estrella

Fozzy Stack’s Hermana Estrella could return to action on the Knavesmire as a run in the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes is under consideration.

The two-year-old made a winning debut earlier in the campaign, announcing herself with an impressive victory in the Group Three Coolmore Stud Irish Fillies’ Sprint Stakes at Naas.

The daughter of Starspangledbanner was triumphant by a length over the six-furlong trip and defeated Gavin Cromwell’s Quick Suzy in the process.

The latter has gone on to taste Group Two success when taking the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot, but Hermana Estrella has not been seen since that Naas contest in May.

York could now be the scene of a comeback, however, with Stack considering the Group Two event for the filly’s first run since May.

“She might go to the Lowther Stakes up at York,” the trainer said.

“She’s a big filly and we decided that we’d just give her a bit of time.”

Stack confirmed that Hermana Estrella has not suffered any sort of injury setback, but rather has just been handled patiently due to her size.

“She’s not had an issue, she’s just a big filly,” he added.

“We are taking our time with her.”

Fozzy Stack eyeing Go Bears Go rematch for Castle Star

Castle Star will have another crack at his Railway Stakes conqueror Go Bears Go in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes on August 8.

Fozzy Stack’s youngster was strongly fancied for the Group Two at the Curragh following a stylish victory in the Marble Hill Stakes on his previous outing.

However, Castle Star was on the back foot after a slow start and despite making up many lengths, he could not catch David Loughnane’s impressive winner and went down by a length and a quarter.

“He’s come out of the race well, importantly, and he’ll probably run in the Phoenix next,” said Stack.

“It’s possible the ground was a bit quick but he fell out of the gate, so he gave away ground at the start.

“He made up a lot of ground but you can’t give good horses like that a 10-length head start. He ran well, though.”

Stack was also out of luck in the Airlie Stud Stakes on Sunday with the filly Cheerupsleepyjean, who went off the evens favourite having finished third in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot.

Cheerupsleepyjean (blue) ran a fine race to be third in the Queen Mary
Cheerupsleepyjean (blue) ran a fine race to be third in the Queen Mary (David Davies/PA)

She found those exertions took a toll, though, and she could only finish third behind Joseph O’Brien’s Velocidad.

“I think she just ran a bit flat,” said Stack.

“It was quite a quick turn around from Ascot and she was just flat.

“There were only a few runners, she got Group Two placed again, which is something.

“There’s a Listed race at Naas over five furlongs next month which could be an option.”

Castle Star bypasses Royal run in favour of Railway date

Fozzy Stack has decided to skip Royal Ascot with his smart juvenile Castle Star and instead wait for the GAIN Railway Stakes at the Curragh on June 26.

Narrowly beaten on his first two outings, he stepped up to Listed class for the First Flier Stakes in early May and was a comfortable winner.

He was then even more impressive in the Marble Hill Stakes three weeks later, winning by two lengths over six furlongs.

The Coventry Stakes had been on his agenda but Stack felt he would better off staying in Ireland for now.

“We’re going to wait for the Railway Stakes. We’ll stay closer to home at the moment and we’ll travel later on in the year,” said Stack.

“He’s shown already he’s as effective over five and six. He’ll go for the Railway, then maybe the Phoenix and the Morny or the Middle Park, something like that.

“There’s a chance he could be a Guineas type next year, but let’s just get over this year first and then take it from there.

“He’s always worked well at home from the first day. He went nicely yesterday but we just decided we’d stay at home and go to the Curragh, which is just an hour up the road.

“It’s a hassle travelling at the moment with Covid and there’s also the Brexit situation so with another option upcoming, we felt it just made sense.”

Star shines with impressive Marble Hill performance

Castle Star leapt to prominence in the betting for the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot with a stylish display in the GAIN Marble Hill Stakes at the Curragh.

A five-furlong Listed winner at the track last time out, Fozzy Stack’s charge found the extra furlong well within his compass in the hands of Chris Hayes.

Sent off at 5-2, Castle Star was dropped right out by Hayes before he came swinging into contention with just over a furlong to run.

Despite the ground being testing, the son of Starspangledbanner quickened up impressively to beat Masseto by two lengths.

Betfair cut him to 6-1 from 14-1 for the Ascot race.

Castle Star was an impressive winner
Castle Star was an impressive winner (Brian Lawless/PA)

“It’s not often you see someone taking a pull a furlong out,” said Stack.

“The first day in Cork, Chris got there a bit soon and we are learning how to ride him now.

“He’s improving and bouncing out of his races.

“The plan in my head after the last day was to go straight to Ascot, but he was going to come out over the door, so we said we’d bring him up here and see how we got on.

“The Coventry is a possibility, but I wouldn’t rule anything in or not. There is the Railway back here which deserves consideration and we’ll just see nearer the time.

“He’s very straight forward, has a great constitution, bounces out of his races and is uncomplicated. If I didn’t run him this week, he would have killed somebody at home!”

Epona Plays and Billy Lee on their way to winning the Lanwades Stud Stakes
Epona Plays and Billy Lee on their way to winning the Lanwades Stud Stakes (Brian Lawless/PA)

Epona Plays ran out a hugely impressive winner of the Group Two Lanwades Stud Stakes.

Willie McCreery’s filly ran eight times last season, showing steady progression, but has taken her form to a new level this term.

Winner of a Group Three at Naas last time out, she dominated from the front on this occasion, winning by four lengths under Billy Lee.

“She just got into a lovely rhythm there,” said McCreery

“There were only six runners and we could see there was probably going to be no pace in the race.

“We wanted to try to take the pace out of the Group One filly (Champers Elysees) and not to leave anything for her. That’s a tough mile today.

“I was a bit nervous yesterday morning when I saw the lads walking the track, but the Curragh is the most drying plain in the country, so I never had any worry that it wasn’t going to be run.

“It’s fantastic for owner Renzo Forni, who has been a fantastic supporter of me since Joanna Morgan retired.

“I’ve nothing at the minute target wise and we’ll see.”

Pinar Del Rio landed the opener
Pinar Del Rio landed the opener (Brian Lawless/PA)

Lee had earlier struck gold aboard Pinar Del Rio (2-1) in the Tally Ho Stud Irish EBF (C&G) Maiden.

Third first time out at Naas, he put that experience to good use to beat Thunder Eclipse by a length and a quarter.

“He’s an uncomplicated horse, he had a lovely first run and I was hoping coming here today that he might do something like that,” said winning trainer Paddy Twomey.

“He’s showing a lot of class and he has to step up now, whether that’s running back here or going to the UK, I don’t know.

“I don’t think that ground is what he’s looking for – I think he wants nicer ground – so for him to do that in the ground, I’m happy.”

Verhoyen was a comfortable winner to bring up Lee's hat-trick
Verhoyen was a comfortable winner to bring up Lee’s hat-trick (Brian Lawless/PA)

Lee then made it a hat-trick as Verhoyen (12-1) powered home by two and three-quarter lengths in the Betway Handicap.

Winning handler Michael Grassick said: “We’ll have a crack at the Scurry and hopefully the handicapper doesn’t take that too literally.

“We could also look at the big six-furlong race here on Champions Weekend.”

Creat Belief (7-2 favourite) lifted the Betway Spring Fillies Handicap for Johnny Murtagh, while the closing Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap went to the Ger Lyons-trained Lust (11-2).

Royal Ascot one of the options for Hermana Estrella

A tilt at the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot will be considered for Hermana Estrella following her debut victory at Naas on Sunday.

The daughter of Starspangledbanner justified trainer Fozzy Stack’s decision to pitch her in at Group Three level on her racecourse debut as she got the better of several previous winners in impressive fashion.

While her 50-1 success was a surprise to many, Stack revealed it was her exciting homework which prompted him to run her at Pattern level at the first time of asking.

He said: “She’d been working well at home. She hasn’t been away to work or anything and hasn’t even worked on grass, so it was actually a very good performance.

“She’d shown plenty of talent at home. If it hadn’t worked out we’d have been left with egg on our face if she’d run very green, but it worked out well.

“She’s a smart filly.”

Hermana Estrella is likely to run in either the Albany next month or stay at home for the Group Two Airlie Stud Stakes at the Curragh.

“Royal Ascot would be a possibility, or maybe the race on Derby weekend here,” Stack added.

“It will be the Albany or that race, I’d imagine. We’ll take our time and talk to connections and see what everybody wants to do.

“She gets six furlongs well, so the soft ground in Naas might have helped on that front, but I don’t think she needs it soft.

“I’d like to think she could step up in trip for something like the Moyglare later in the season.”

Newcomer Hermana Estrella claims surprise Naas verdict

Hermana Estrella was a surprise winner of the Group Three Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies Sprint Stakes at Naas for Chris Hayes and Fozzy Stack.

A two-year-old daughter of Starspangledbanner, the filly was making her racecourse debut after being purchased for £42,000 as yearling.

The outsider of the field of seven, the bay started at 50-1 and cut through the field with two furlongs left to travel to take on leader Quick Suzy.

The two fillies locked horns from the furlong pole onwards, where Hayes’ mount slowly began to pull away from her rival to record a one-length success.

Quick Suzy was the eventual runner-up at 6-1, with 14-1 chance Missing Matron in third and Aidan O’Brien’s 2-7 favourite Contarelli Chapel finishing fourth.

“She’s a very smart filly and Fozzy doesn’t make entries like that unless they are good,” said Hayes

“She’s one of our nicer two-year-olds.

“She was green and raw as you would expect going against experienced company, but to me I was coasting and everything was going in slow motion.

“When Ryan’s (Moore) horse (Contarelli Chapel) faded away, I wanted to chase after Gary (Carroll, aboard Quick Suzy).

“She was green and ran around, but won with her ears pricked. She is one to look forward to.

“I sat on her twice at home, Mark Enright has been riding her in a bit of work and we have always held her in high regard – that’s why she had that entry.”

Class tells for Lady Wannabe at Listowel

Lady Wannabe made the most of having her sights lowered with victory in the Edmund & Josie Whelan Memorial Listowel Stakes.

Fozzy Stack’s filly had raced exclusively in Pattern company so far this year, most recently finishing down the field when a 150-1 shot for the Group One Matron Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown.

Returning to Listed level for the first time since winning at Killarney in August of last year, the daughter of Camelot was a 14-1 shot under Chris Hayes – and proved her class with a near two-length verdict over Aidan O’Brien’s Keats.

Hayes said: “She had a good run the last day in superior company.

“We followed them around – they went good and hard, and the ground was as quick as she wanted – but the drop back in trip suited, and the rain came, which worked out a treat.

“That is probably her ideal trip (nine furlongs). She probably didn’t get home over a mile and a quarter, and they were going a gear too quick for her over a mile.

“She was able to get into a rhythm today and hopefully she can do something again later on.”

Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning combined for a double on the card, with 100-30 chance Sheer Bravado landing division two of the Feale Handicap and Agitare justifying 2-5 favouritism in the Jet & Peggy O’Carroll Memorial (C & G) Maiden.

The latter was not winning out of turn, having previously been placed at Listed and Group-race level this season.

Una Manning, daughter of the winning trainer and wife of the winning rider, said: “He was due his win – it took him a little while, but it was a good performance.

“The boss (Bolger) is delighted with him. He will get further and will go to the horses in training sale later on.”