Tag Archive for: Glen Shiel

Glen Shiel primed for Chipchase assignment

Glen Shiel is reported to be “cherry-ripe” ahead of his bid for a fourth victory at Newcastle in Saturday’s Pertemps Network Chipchase Stakes.

While winless in eight starts since memorably providing jockey Hollie Doyle with a first Group One success in the 2020 Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot, the sprinter has been running well in defeat – notably finishing second at Royal Ascot and on Champions Day last term.

Now an eight-year-old, the Hambleton Racing-owned gelding again filled the runner-up spot on his return at Haydock before finishing fourth in the Group Two Greenlands Stakes in Ireland a fortnight later.

Glen Shiel struck gold three times at Newcastle between January and August of 2020 and Hambleton’s head racing manager, Cosmo Charlton, is anticipating another bold showing on his return to Gosforth Park.

He said: “He’s in great form at home, Archie (Watson, trainer) has got him bouncing.

“He’s an eight-year-old now and a big old unit. He always needs his first run, but I think he arguably needed that last run a little bit as well.

“I think he’s cherry-ripe now. We didn’t go to Ascot last week because of the ground, so we said we’d look towards the Chipchase and fingers crossed for a good run.

“I think it’s a good Group Three. There’s some improvers in there and it’s a strong-looking race, but our horse has got good course form and has to go there with a really good each-way chance.”

Magical Spirit at Beverley
Magical Spirit at Beverley (Hannah Ali/PA)

Hambleton have a second string to their bow in the form of Magical Spirit, who is also a previous winner over the course and distance.

“Again he goes really well at the track. Obviously he’ll be a bit of an outsider and it’s a hard task, but he could run well at a decent price,” Charlton added.

Karl Burke has high hopes for Spycatcher, who was beaten just a head at Newcastle on All-Weather Championships Finals Day following a tardy start.

The four-year-old subsequently finished second to Highfield Princess in the Duke of York Stakes, but disappointed when stepped up to seven furlongs for Haydock’s John of Gaunt on his latest outing.

Burke hopes the combination of a return to Newcastle and the application of headgear will enable Spycatcher get his season back on track.

“He’s in great form and looks really well. He wears cheekpieces for the first time, which we think will help him and sharpen him up,” the trainer told Sky Sports Racing.

“He’s one of those that just misses the kick sometimes, but he’s jumped very well with the cheekpieces on. I don’t think he’s ungenuine, I think he just lacks concentration sometimes.

“After his disappointing last run, I thought it made sense to go back to the all-weather and back to Newcastle. We know he handles the track well.

“He was unlucky on Good Friday – he’d have definitely won if he’d jumped with the field.”

Sense Of Duty is a leading contender for William Haggas, having taken her record to three wins from four starts when defeating subsequent Commonwealth Cup third Flotus at Haydock last month.

Hugo Palmer’s Ebro River and the Julie Camacho-trained Judicial – winner of the race in 2020 – also feature in a competitive contest.

Glen Shiel delights connections with Champions Sprint effort

Glen Shiel thrilled his connections with a brave effort when second in defence of his Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes title.

Trained by Archie Watson, the seven-year-old proved the fire still burns very brightly with a game front-running performance in first-time blinkers.

Hollie Doyle had the rest of the field in trouble with a furlong to run, but William Buick had stalked them on Creative Force and had enough left to win by a length.

“He ran a fabulous race and he’s just an absolute legend of a horse. He’s been second in two Group Ones this year,” said Simon Turner of owners the Hambleton Racing Syndicate.

“He’s earned loads of prize money for his owners and given them another massive thrill on a big stage. We’re just really proud of him – we’ve run out of superlatives.

“We’d love an extra six-furlong Group One at Ascot as he certainly seems to enjoy it there.

“I don’t foresee him going overseas. Next year he’ll be easier to place as he won’t have his Group One penalty and (progeny of) Pivotal seem to go on forever. He ran right up to his best on Saturday, so hopefully there’s more fun to be had with him next year.

“Given what he showed yesterday, his programme will be based around the big sprints again but there’s no reason why he couldn’t run in Listeds or Group Threes if it suits him.

“I think he proved yesterday he’s pretty much as good as ever. It was a great move by Archie to go for the blinkers, to not even try them at home, they certainly worked.”

Glen Shiel ‘bang on course’ for Maurice de Gheest

Glen Shiel is heading to Deauville next for a crack at the Prix Maurice de Gheest.

Archie Watson’s durable seven-year-old proved he does not need the mud to help him mix it with the best when he was beaten only a little over two lengths by Starman in a fast-ground July Cup.

History would suggest the ground will be softer at Deauville for the Group One on August 8 – but even if the sun shines, Glen Shiel’s connections will head to France full of hope.

“It was a terrific run – we were over the moon,” said Simon Turner, of owner Hambleton Racing Syndicate, on the sixth-placed finish at Newmarket.

“Archie was always confident he’d be effective on quicker ground, and he was proven to be spot on.

“It was a super run – and while we felt he loves soft ground, being marooned on his own probably wasn’t totally ideal, (so) in a race of fine margins he could maybe have been a fraction closer.

“He’s bang on course for the Maurice de Gheest now, and we’re looking forward to running him there and excited about his targets later in the year.

“Six and a half furlongs should be ideal, because he’s such a strong-staying sprinter. It should suit him really well, and hopefully we can go there with confidence whatever the ground is.”

Watson’s stable stars all set for July Cup

Archie Watson is struggling to split his two runners in the Darley July Cup as the three-year-old Dragon Symbol clashes with stablemate Glen Shiel for the first time.

Dragon Symbol was involved in a controversial finish at Royal Ascot when he was first past the post in the Commonwealth Cup only to lose the race in the stewards’ room to Campanelle.

Glen Shiel was also second at Ascot in the Diamond Jubilee, a return to the form which saw him win there on Champions Day last season.

“I think we know where we are at with Glen Shiel, because he can win these Group Ones and he is consistent at his level, which is more than enough to win a July Cup under the right circumstances,” said Lambourn trainer Watson, looking forward to Saturday’s Group One showpiece at Newmarket.

“I would say with Dragon Symbol, we don’t really know where his peak is yet. I’d say they ran similar races on the figures at Ascot, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see either horse finish in front of the other because they are both high-class sprinters.

“It is an incredibly strong race, though – you have all the strands of form coming together. You have got Oxted coming back up from five furlongs; you have got Dragon Symbol from the Commonwealth Cup, Rohaan from the Wokingham and Glen Shiel and Starman.

“It is probably the most competitive race of the season so far – and it is great to be involved. I would love to win the race, and we go there with two good chances.”

Glen Shiel ‘in great form’ for July Cup assignment

Glen Shiel will be the first leg of what could be a famous Group One double attempt this weekend for owners Hambleton Racing, as he goes for gold in the Darley July Cup.

With his Archie Watson-trained stablemate Mehmento due to contest the Prix Jean Prat at Deauville on Sunday, the syndicate members are certainly getting value for money.

In Glen Shiel’s case he arguably sets the standard at Newmarket on Saturday, having won on Champions Day last year and finished a narrow second in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot.

“That was him right back at his best and I think he stripped a good deal fitter for his run in Ireland,” said Hambleton’s Simon Turner.

Glen Shiel was Hollie Doyle's first Group One winner
Glen Shiel was Hollie Doyle’s first Group One winner (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He’s in great form at home, but obviously it looks a really good renewal this year.

“He’ll be there to do his best and hopefully run well. Needless to say we wouldn’t be too upset if we saw a lot of the possible rain fall, but Archie is adamant that he doesn’t need desperate ground to run very well.

“It’s going to be a big field and with the three-year-olds coming in it does look a really strong race, so it will be interesting to see how the younger ones match up against their elders.

“What we do know is that if it does rain it won’t affect us, whereas some of them might not be at their best.”

Mehmento impressed when winning at Epsom on Derby day
Mehmento impressed when winning at Epsom on Derby day (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Mehmento fared less well at Ascot when beaten in the Jersey Stakes – but had previously won a Listed race at Epsom, together with finishing second in the Greenham at Newbury.

“I suspect we’ll run Mehmento in France in the Prix Jean Prat over seven furlongs. I think it’s the plan,” said Turner.

“He does have other options, but at this moment Archie is leaning towards France.

“It’s an amazing weekend for us with two Group One runners – it’s what it’s all about.”

July Cup is next on Glen Shiel’s agenda

Glen Shiel will head next for the July Cup at Newmarket after his gallant second in Royal Ascot’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

The seven-year-old ran admirably to finish a length behind Sir Michael Stoute’s big-race favourite Dream Of Dreams on Saturday.

Owners Hambleton Racing were thrilled with the Archie Watson-trained gelding, and now have a string of further Group One targets to look forward to this season.

Glen Shiel (left) finishing second in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes during day five of Royal Ascot
Glen Shiel (right) finishing second in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot (Steven Paston/PA)

“He’s just a complete legend of a horse – we were pretty confident he’d strip fitter for his first run at the Curragh, and he was right back to his best,” said the owners’ racing director Simon Turner.

“It was possibly even a marginal personal best, which is saying something at the age of seven – he ran his heart out.

“It was a super race – you’d have thought he won, with the ovation his owners gave him when he came back in.

“He’s just given his owners so much pleasure, and we can’t wait for the rest of the season.”

The July Cup will be next, with a trip to Deauville for the Prix Maurice de Gheest also under consideration before a bid to retain his Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes crown.

“He’ll go to the July Cup next,” said Turner.

“He’s got other Group One options in France, like the Prix Maurice de Gheest – then he’ll go to Haydock for the Haydock Sprint Cup and then the race he won last year at Ascot on Champions Day.

“Those would be the major races that would be at the front of our minds.”

Glen Shiel has been a model of consistency since specialising in sprint distances and has been unplaced just once when running over a six-furlong trip, in fourth on his first start of this season at the Curragh last month.

“If you look at him since he dropped to six furlongs and started sprinting, he’s never been far away,” added Turner.

“He really thrives on his racing, this horse. He deserved a break after last year, and I think Archie just felt he’d need that run (at the Curragh) just to get him right back to where he wanted him.

“He’s a super consistent horse and he’s just been a brilliant acquisition for us, to say we only paid £45,000 for him.

“He’s just been a super horse, and there’s nothing to say he won’t be just as good for the rest of the year, so we’ve loads to look forward to.”

Glen Shiel raring to go on return to scene of his finest hour

Glen Shiel returns to the scene of his finest hour, with conditions set to be very much in his favour, in Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The seven-year-old landed the British Champions Sprint on soft ground at the Berkshire track last October, giving rider Hollie Doyle a first Group One success in the process, and the duo will team up again in the six-furlong feature on the final day of the Royal meeting.

Glen Shiel already has a run under his belt this term, having finished fourth in the Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh last month, and Simon Turner, racing director for owners Hambleton Racing, reports Archie Watson’s charge to have progressed for the run.

Hollie Doyle will be aboard Glen Shiel once again
Hollie Doyle will be aboard Glen Shiel once again (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

He said: “Obviously we welcome the rain at Ascot and he’s in great condition at home.

“He’s come on for his reappearance run in Ireland and we couldn’t be happier with him.”

Glen Shiel has shortened in the market for the Diamond Jubilee following the rain, and Turner thinks plenty more will support him with his ability to act on soft ground.

He added: “It was testing ground when he won there in the autumn and while he handles it, I don’t think he needs it. It probably just doesn’t inconvenience him as much as some of the others.

“We are excited to run him and I think plenty of people will latch on to Glen as he has that soft ground form, and he certainly deserves to be in the conversation.”

Dreams Of Dreams (nearest to camera) was just denied last year
Dreams Of Dreams (nearest to camera) was just denied last year (Julian Finney/PA)

Dream Of Dreams is reported to be in tip-top shape as he bids to atone for narrow defeats in the last two runnings of the race.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained sprinter failed by just a head to peg back Blue Point in 2019 and went down by the same margin to Hello Youmzain 12 months ago.

He did manage to get that elusive success at the highest level in Haydock’s Sprint Cup in September and warmed up for a third crack at this coveted prize with a smooth victory over Garrus at Windsor last month.

“He’s going very good at home,” said Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Saeed Suhail.

“He couldn’t be better, you just don’t know about the draw (three) but with 14 runners it shouldn’t make much difference.

“He’s working very well and he couldn’t be better.”

Nahaarr represents William Haggas
Nahaarr represents William Haggas (Steven Cargill/PA)

William Haggas thinks Nahaarr will be better with cut.

“Nahaarr ran a very good race in the Duke of York,” said the Newmarket handler.

“I think he might be a little bit better with a bit of cut in the ground. If they go fast and he can wait a bit I think he’ll come home well.”

Ventura Rebel was fifth behind Starman at York on his seasonal debut, but his excellent course form could put him in the picture.

His trainer Richard Fahey said: “He’s been to Ascot three times and he’s won there (at the May meeting), he’s been second (as a two-year-old in the Norfolk Stakes) and he’s been third (to Golden Horde in last year’s Commonwealth Cup).

“He loves the track and I was delighted with his comeback run at York, which doesn’t really suit him. He’s been training exceptionally well and while I’m not saying he’ll win, I won’t be shocked if he runs a big race.”

Royal Commando (centre, green/white cap) is one of two runners for trainer Charlie Hills
Royal Commando (centre, green/white cap) is one of two runners for trainer Charlie Hills (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Charlie Hills expects his two runners, Royal Commando and Garrus, to do themselves justice.

“Royal Commando’s win in the Cammidge Trophy has worked out well,” said the Lambourn trainer.

“We would have run in between in Ireland, but the ground wasn’t great so we’ve come straight here. He was fourth in the Commonwealth Cup last year and I’m happy with his training, so I think he should run well at a decent price.

“Garrus has really stepped up this year and I can see him running a huge race.”

Tim Easterby’s grey Art Power has sound claims, while the German-trained Namos and Irish Group Three winner Sonaiyla add further spice to an intriguing contest

Hambleton lining up dual Ascot assault with Shiel and Mehmento

Glen Shiel and Mehmento will fly the flag for the Hambleton Racing Syndicate at Royal Ascot next week – but the team has been reduced by the sale of Twilight Spinner.

Already a Group One winner at the track, Glen Shiel will be running in the Diamond Jubilee for Archie Watson and Hollie Doyle, with Mehmento representing the same connections in the Jersey Stakes.

However, Twilight Spinner, a hugely impressive winner of a Haydock Listed race last time out, has been sold to Scott Heider and will join Joseph O’Brien.

“Glen Shiel is in great order at home. He’s tightened up a lot, Hollie is very happy and Archie is delighted with him, so we’re very much looking forward to running him,” said Hambleton’s racing manager Simon Turner.

Hollie Doyle is overcome with emotion after Glen Shiel provided her with a first Group One
Hollie Doyle is overcome with emotion after Glen Shiel provided her with a first Group One (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“I think as much as anything he thrived on a really busy schedule last year and after a fair break – he’s probably quite a stuffy horse – he just needed the run in Ireland first time out. He’ll be better for that race.

“When you look back at where he came from last season, running in handicaps over seven furlongs and he’d been running over further the season before that, it appeared worth a try with him sprinting. There was no stopping him once he did.”

Mehmento went close in the Greenham first time out before disappointing in the French Guineas, but he got his season back on track with an easy win in a Listed race at Epsom last week.

“You’d like to think he’ll be going to the Jersey with a good chance,” said Turner.

Mehmento powers away to win at Epsom on Oaks day
Mehmento powers away to win at Epsom on Oaks day (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He ran a great race for one so inexperienced in the Greenham, France didn’t work out for a variety of factors, but he was very much back to himself last week and never looked in any danger to my eye.

“He probably ran to a similar level to the Greenham and that would be knocking on the door in the Jersey. He might need to raise it to win, but he’s not got many miles on the clock.

“Archie has the Prix Jean Prat at Deauville as a target for him, so we’d like to think he’ll go very well in the Jersey.”

It is a small but select team for Hambleton, which has been reduced by one this week.

“We’ve only got the two runners. We probably would have run Twilight Spinner in the Commonwealth Cup, but she has been sold to race for Joseph O’Brien,” said Turner.

“She is clearly a very smart filly and we wish her new connections all the best with her.

“She was bought as a yearling for £30,000, she’s returned a handsome profit for her owners and we genuinely wish Mr (Scott) Heider all the success with her.”

Diamond Jubilee next for Glen Shiel

The Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot is next on the agenda for Glen Shiel following his promising return to action in Ireland.

Making his first appearance since providing record-breaking jockey Hollie Doyle with her first Group One victory on Champions Day at Ascot, Archie Watson’s sprinter was a hot favourite for the Group Two Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh.

The seven-year-old could finish only fourth, but connections are optimistic of an improved performance when he returns to Berkshire for the showpiece meeting.

Cosmo Charlton, head racing manager for owners Hambleton Racing, said of Glen Shiel’s Curragh effort: “We were happy enough with that for his first run of the year. He was always going to come on a bit.

Hollie Doyle after winning the Qipco British Champions Sprint on Glen Shiel
Hollie Doyle after winning the Qipco British Champions Sprint on Glen Shiel (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“Although he handles heavy ground, obviously the meeting was nearly abandoned. First time back on that ground, Hollie felt he’d come on for the run – and I thought he might just have been on the wrong part of the track as well.

“I think there were a combination of factors – and under a penalty first time out, it was no penalty kick. He could have got away with it, but it didn’t quite pan out.

“It was very much a prep, and it’s all systems go for Ascot now. He certainly handles plenty of cut, but Archie has made it very clear that decent ground won’t be a problem for him.”

Another exciting prospect for the Hambleton team is the David O’Meara-trained Twilight Spinner, who created a huge impression when streaking clear in the Cecil Frail at Haydock last week.

The Twilight Son filly has not taken up her entry in Wednesday’s Ballyogan Stakes at the Curragh and does not as yet hold any at Royal Ascot, as connections consider their options.

“I’m not sure where she’ll go next at the moment – we’re just resting on that performance,” said Charlton.

“It was obviously very soft ground at Haydock, and a couple underperformed, but she couldn’t really have been more impressive – she pulled right away in the closing stages.

“She’s clearly a quality horse – and David thinks she could be very, very good, so fingers crossed.

“She’s not in the Commonwealth Cup. There’s a possibility she could be supplemented for something like that, but it’s early days and there is no firm decision on what we’re doing yet.”

Mehmento (right) remains an exciting prospect
Mehmento (right) remains an exciting prospect (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Mehmento, who was last seen finishing down the field in the French 2000 Guineas having previously pushed the high-class Chindit all the way in the Greenham, is set for a more immediate outing at Epsom next week.

Charlton said: “The ground was just too slow for him in Paris. We thought he might be OK on it, having won at Southwell really well, but it didn’t work out.

“When he ran in the Greenham at Newbury the ground was on the quicker side, and he quickened up like a really good horse.

“Adam (McNamara) was delighted with him turning for home in the French Guineas, but he didn’t pick up on the ground – it’s as simple as that.

“We’re heading towards the Surrey Stakes at Epsom next Friday. Looking at the weather forecast, it should be decent ground.”

Glen Shiel eyes Greenlands glory

Archie Watson’s Champions Day hero Glen Shiel returns to action in the Group Two Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh.

The Hambleton Racing-owned seven-year-old made giant strides last season, progressing from finishing second off a mark of 100 on the second day of racing’s resumption to winning the British Champions Sprint Stakes.

That was a first Group One victory for his jockey Hollie Doyle – which grabbed all the headlines – but it was no fluke either, given Glen Shiel had been second in the Haydock Sprint Cup on his previous outing.

While Saturday’s ground will be testing, conditions are not expected to hinder Andre Fabre’s former inmate, who won a Group Three over course and distance last summer.

“The Greenlands has always been the plan for Glen Shiel’s first run of the season, and I have been very happy with his preparation,” said Lambourn trainer Watson.

“The rain and the track hold no fears for him, and I hope he can start off his season by running a very good race.”

Glen Shiel has been a bargain buy for his owners, costing £45,000 in May 2019.

Simon Turner, of Hambleton Racing, said: “Glen Shiel’s owners are buzzing to have him back in action.

“He was the only syndicate-owned Group One winner in Europe last year, and the dream is firmly alive he can be just as good this year. Archie is very happy with how he’s trained, and he should enjoy the ground.”

Paddy Twomey’s Sonaiyla, the David O’Meara-trained Summerghand and Joseph O’Brien’s Speak In Colours appear to be his major rivals – but the latter’s trainer admits the six-year-old grey has not been at his best this term.

Summerghand bolsters the British challenge in the Greenlands Stakes
Summerghand bolsters the British challenge in the Greenlands Stakes (Dan Abraham/PA)

“Speak In Colours has a great record at the Curragh, but has yet to hit top form this season,” said O’Brien.

“There was encouragement in his latest start, and he’ll handle this ground better than most, but he’ll need to bounce back to something like his best if he’s to win.”

The Lanwades Stud Stakes also carries Group Two prestige, with seven fillies chasing valuable black type.

Johnny Murtagh’s Matron Stakes winner Champers Elysees heads the market but carries a Group One penalty for that success.

Jessica Harrington runs Valeria Messalina, who was behind Champers Elysees in the Matron but had pushed One Master very close before that at Goodwood.

However, Harrington fears the testing conditions could be against her.

“She’s in great form. She’s got to start somewhere – she’s being aimed at Royal Ascot (Duke of Cambridge entry), so we really need to get a run into her,” said the County Kildare trainer.

“But I took her out the last time at the Curragh because the ground was soft.

“She’s never run on soft ground, and most of her family didn’t like it. So I would be a bit worried about the ground for her, but she’s got to get out there and have a run.

“All her form is on good or good to firm, apart from once second on good to soft (2019 Oh So Sharp Stakes).”

The Gain Marble Hill Stakes is the other Group Three on the card.

Greenlands Stakes target for Glen Shiel

The Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh has been identified as a likely comeback target for star sprinter Glen Shiel.

Bought for £45,000 out of Andre Fabre’s yard in the spring of 2019, the Pivotal gelding has proved an excellent acquisition for the successful Hambleton Racing team.

The seven-year-old has won five times for his current connections, with the highlight being his thrilling triumph in the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot in October – a first Group One success for jockey Hollie Doyle.

Glen Shiel also landed the Group Three Phoenix Sprint Stakes at the Curragh last summer – and a return to the home of Irish Flat racing on May 22 has been pencilled in as a potential starting point for the new campaign.

Cosmo Charlton, head racing manager for Hambleton, said: “Glen Shiel is in fantastic form. Everyone is very happy with him.

“He’s stepped up into faster work now, and Archie (Watson, trainer) is really pleased.

Victory with Glen Shiel was a special moment for Hollie Doyle (Alan Crowhurst/PA)
Victory with Glen Shiel was a special moment for Hollie Doyle (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“We’re weighing up possible starting point options, but it might be the Greenlands Stakes over in Ireland – a Group Two at the end of May.

“The Duke of York (at York) is still under consideration as well, but I think the likelihood is he’ll go to the Greenlands and then on to Royal Ascot for the Diamond Jubilee.”

Hambleton on a high after Glen Shiel’s breakthrough win

Members of the Hambleton Racing syndicate can finally take in what it means to be Group One winners, following Glen Shiel’s breakthrough success at the highest level at Ascot.

Having gone close in the Haydock Sprint Cup, Archie Watson’s charge was surprisingly overlooked in the betting under Hollie Doyle on Saturday.

However, Doyle was on the crest of a wave after winning the opening race on Champions Day on Trueshan – and she took the early initiative before holding off the late lunge of Kevin Ryan’s Brando by the narrowest of margins in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes.

“Saturday was a massive moment for us,” said Hambleton’s Simon Turner.

“Our blueprint has always been to buy in the more affordable area of the market with top trainers, and try and compete at the highest level possible.

“At £45,000, Glen would be one of our more expensive purchases – but he seemed ridiculous value at that level. He’s been a revelation since dropped back to sprinting, and has been superbly handled by Archie Watson, who is destined for the very top of his profession in my opinion.

“Archie’s numbers are simply superb. Some have him pigeon-holed as two-year-old trainer, but there are countless examples of Archie achieving superb results with cast-offs from other yards too, many of them cheaply acquired.

“On a personal level, to win a race at the highest level with Hambleton Racing makes me very proud. We owe much of our success to Kevin Ryan, who has always looked after us exceptionally well and has provided us with any number of good horses along the way.

“I regard Kevin as a good friend, and it was no surprise he was the first on the phone on Saturday to congratulate me, despite the fact he’d just missed out with Brando. That’s the mark of the guy – he’s not just a just an outstanding trainer, but a true sportsman too.”

There are many different business models that syndicates adopt, with some offering shares for as little as £50, but Hambleton Racing hope theirs is one of the more robust on the market – with the loyalty shown by members as living proof.

Turner said: “Owning with us isn’t cheap – typically an owner will spend between £2-4,000 on their share and another £3,000 on the annual costs.

“We’d be among the more expensive syndicates but operate with some old-fashioned values. We certainly don’t penalise owners when their horses do well, so won’t be taking a penny of the £275,000 that Glen Shiel has won for his owners this year.

“We’re very proud of the fact many owners have been with us for over 10 years, which must mean we’re doing something right.

“I don’t think we’ll suddenly change our approach and start spending twice as much at the sales now. We’ll continue to seek out the best value we can at the sales. Thankfully, there seems to be a lot of value around at the moment.”

While most of the publicity around Glen Shiel’s win concerned Doyle, given it was her first Group One win, the same also applied to Watson – who was understandably delighted.

“I’m so proud of Glen Shiel, Hollie, and the whole team after the Champions Sprint,” said the Lambourn trainer.

“Hollie gave him a fantastic ride, and he was so tough. He hasn’t stopped improving all year, and to win a Group One is unbelievable.

“I am so pleased for Hambleton Racing, who are such huge supporters of ours, and for all his owners.

“Huge credit must go to Tom Biggs, who bought Glen Shiel for just £45,000 as a five-year-old horse in training last year.”

Monday Musings: Tom and Hollie’s Top Class Show

Many famous men through history have had to accept second place in their relationships with their even more well-known better halves, writes Tony Stafford. Their own celebrity was undoubtedly the reason they first came to the attention of their future partners, none more so than Joe Di Maggio, America’s supreme baseball star of the 1950’s, who had to grow accustomed, once hitched, to being referred to as Mr Marilyn Monroe.

Joe clearly accepted that slight (as it was in those unenlightened days) on his manhood, for why else would he have continued to support the troubled platinum blonde film star through the various subsequent alliances and scandals that stretched all the way to a President of the United States? For Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels, read John F Kennedy and Marilyn, illicit alliances half a century apart.

While entertainment and sport stars have occasionally got together, rarely has it been on such an equal basis as Mr and Mrs Hollie Doyle. Sorry, not quite yet, as although the wonderful Hollie and the equally admirable Tom Marquand are no married couple, they do live together in Hungerford. After Saturday’s exploits where the 20-some pair – Tom is the younger by two years – monopolised Champions Day at Ascot to the tune of four wins, so 67% of the six races, Tom hinted that marriage might be on the horizon.

Halfway through Saturday’s card, the various television outlets were in full Hollie mode. She won the first two races on Trueshan (by miles in the Stayers) and thrillingly by a nose on Glen Shiel (Sprint) before finishing a creditable second on Dame Malliot behind the highly-talented Wonderful Tonight, trained by David Menuisier in the fillies’ and mares’ race. Had the finishing order been reversed you could have imagined Frankie Dettori, already tailed off on Stradivarius in the opener and destined to share in Palace Pier’s first career defeat later on, wondering what was going on. Ascot’s supposed to be his private venue, but sorry Frankie, even Peter Pan had to grow old one day.

As it turned out, Glen Shiel was her final win, but after a brief break in the changing room while Palace Pier was struggling into third behind The Revenant in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, she picked up lesser cheques, for sixth in the Champion Stakes on Extra Elusive for her new boss Imad Sagar, and another second on Sir Michael Stoute’s Solid Stone in the Balmoral Handicap which closed the show.

I’m not sure whether the Marquand/Doyle team pools its earnings. By all accounts they usually sit down to relax after their respective long days, maybe playing a game of cards, watching telly or maybe even examining closely the relative quality of their performances.

At times one or other might be in the ascendant, as Hollie clearly was in the first half of Saturday when the total earnings of her two wins and three minor places added up to a whopping £495,000. Modesty precludes me from checking just what the precise share of that will go to the jockey, but somewhere around seven per cent might not be far wide of the mark.

So Hollie could rightfully say as they shuffled the cards: “Here’s my Group 2 and Group 1, can you match that?”. Well, fortunately, late-starting Tom could indeed counter. “Yes Hollie, here’s my 62 grand for the Balmoral Handicap on Njord, but my Group 1 and the 425k Addeybb won in the Champion Stakes easily matches your day’s work!”

In monetary terms it might just do so, but in the media perception – I still didn’t watch it on ITV, but Sky Sports Racing, who had to share their rightful coverage of Ascot with Racing TV and the national broadcaster - both revelled in Holliemania. It was indeed mostly a one-way street.

In the end, though, it proved to be almost a dead-heat on the earnings front, the final figure arriving at almost exactly £1 million (505 Tom and 495 Hollie); just like their riding styles: tidy, unobtrusive and in each case being in the right place at the right time in just about all their races.

I’ve mentioned Tony Nerses before and there’s no doubt that Imad Sagar’s Racing Manager played a big part in securing Hollie’s services earlier in the year. When the news came it was with a mixture of surprise at the appointment and dread that it might all go pear-shaped, but the tiny Hollie quickly grew into the role. The first Group races soon came, notably on Sagar’s Extra Elusive at Windsor in August, the highlight of her personal five-timer that day. Now she has that first Group 1 on her ever-expanding list of achievements and a record number of winners for a female rider: already pushing 120, that in a truncated year. Which of them will win the championship first? Possibly Hollie, but either will be a credit to the accolade.

There seems no limit to the list of potential employers – if you’re good enough for Sir Michael Stoute, you’re good enough for anyone. At the same time Marquand has seamlessly moved from the guy who happened to be available to partner Addeybb in those two winning Group 1 rides in Australia last winter to now being the go-to man for that well-travelled mudlark’s trainer, William Haggas.

I use the term mudlark advisedly, and there is little doubt that there is no point in turning up on Champions Day if you cannot cope with the soft ground that is almost inevitable in mid-October. That was always the main argument against staging such an important date so late in the year. In a normal mid-October once the European pattern gets through the various Classic schedules of the three major racing nations, there is little scope to go elsewhere. The Irish have their Champions weekend; France and the Arc meeting follows three weeks later, so this is where our big day has to be.

Not that the winners of Saturday’s races are anything but worthy, even if the names John Gosden and Aidan O’Brien, for whatever reason, didn’t manage to collect any first prizes. I was surprised to hear that Gosden was citing the going for Stradivarius’ capitulation in the opening Stayers race. It was the fourth time he’d contested it and he’d won it only once previously. This time he’d gone through the extra exertion of a full preparation for the Arc with a mile and a half run in one of the trials. Gosden’s suggestion that because the Arc had been run at a pedestrian pace it was less demanding than usual seemed surprising.

The biggest surprise, though, in view of his less than outstanding record at this fixture – nowhere near the level of his three Gold Cups there or four Goodwood Cups in high summer – was that he started as short as 11-10.  Trueshan came to the race having won six of ten career starts, including a defeat of smart stayer Withhold in Listed class last time at Salisbury. Runner-up Search For A Star had won the last two renewals of the Irish St Leger for Dermot Weld and third home Fujaira Star had won a Royal Ascot handicap before impressing in a top-class Ebor at York and following home Search For A Star at the Curragh. It was a hot race.

I fully expected Andrew Gemmill to have been at Ascot on Saturday for Trueshan’s win, but he stayed home. Andrew was one of the four original owners – the Singula Partnership- of Trueshan but in May last year they leased the horse to the Barbary Lions 5, a bigger syndicate of 20 in which the quartet also participates. That lease ends at the end of the year according to Andrew and it will be interesting to see whether Alan King will allow this four-year-old gelding to run over hurdles which must have been the original plan. More than likely he’ll be happy to stay on the level and try to win next year’s Gold Cup.

Some spectacular results have been achieved by two of Saturday’s winners, cheaply bought at auction some way into their careers. The Darley-bred Glen Shiel had already raced 11 times in all, once at two, then as a three- and four-year old for Godolphin with Andre Fabre, winning three times. Turning up at the Doncaster May sales as a five-year-old, unraced so far that year, he was bought on behalf of Archie Watson for £45,000 and didn’t see a British racecourse until October. Five runs before the turn of the year didn’t produce a win, but the first of three pre-lockdown appearances did.

On January 8 at Newcastle off a mark of 96 and ridden by Hollie, he won readily. It was not until another five runs later, also at Newcastle in late June that he collected again and that was the start. The son of Pivotal has shown his and his trainer’s ability with a second to Dream Of Dreams in the Haydock Sprint Cup and then by reversing that form while also seeing off perennial Group 1 sprint contender Brando, much to his rider’s evident disbelief.

Marquand was also the beneficiary of an inspired purchase. The four-year-old Njord had started out with Sheila Lavery’s Irish stable, gaining his first win off 63 in May last year. He collected again on October 13 before going to Goff’s sales six days later when BBA Ireland paid 54,000 Euro on behalf of Jessica Harrington. By now on 82, he ran back at Gowran Park only nine days after the sale, winning comfortably. Another win, soon after racing’s resumption in June came off 88 at The Curragh. On Saturday Njord ran away with the highly-competitive Balmoral Handicap and must now be on at least 110, more than three stone higher than where he started.

I highlighted the chance of The Revenant last week in this column and was not at all surprised that he coped with conditions better than Palace Pier when going one better than last year in the QE II. He now has the remarkable figures of 10 wins, two seconds and a third in 13 career starts. In that race, Sir Busker’s alarming tendency to hang left when put under pressure didn’t stop him from finishing fourth, showing that if he had been drawn on the stands side in that most unfair of all Cambridgeshires, he might well have won it. Fourth in this coveted Group 1 and almost £35k will have been satisfactory compensation.

One other horse that we in the UK probably have hardly noticed – I hadn’t! - even after his achievement of splitting Addeyyb and Magical, who was unluckily denied a run at a crucial stage, is Skalleti. This five-year-old, trained in Marseille by the talented Jerome Reynier has a record on a par with The Revenant’s. Even after Saturday’s defeat he has 12 victories from 16 and this autumn has a Deauville Group 3 victory over subsequent Arc winner Sottsass and an easy Prix Dollar victory on Arc weekend on his record.

Preconceptions proved misguided in several cases on Saturday, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that some of the winners weren’t up to standard. They were.

- TS

Archie Watson thrilled to send out first Group One winner

Plenty of plaudits will rightly be attributed to Hollie Doyle following her breakthrough Group One success aboard Glen Shiel at Ascot – and it should not be lost it was also a first victory at the highest level for trainer Archie Watson.

In the four years that he has held a licence, Watson has made giant strides, enjoying plenty of success both at home and abroad, and since teaming up with Doyle, who turned 24 last weekend, he has now formed what is fast becoming a formidable partnership.

Seeing the pair notch doubles together at tracks like Wolverhampton and Lingfield has become a common sight, and the duo finally enjoyed glory on the biggest of stages thanks to the victory of the Hambleton Racing-owned gelding in the Qipco British Champions Sprint.

Watson said: “That is my first Group One winner and it is absolutely amazing. He is some horse and there aren’t many Group One horses that are picked up for £45,000 at a horses in training sale. He has just improved throughout the year.

“I was delighted to see Hollie get her first Group One winner as she is such a hard-working rider. I’m so pleased that I was able to give her that breakthrough Group One as we have had so many winners together. Her being on this winner means a lot to me and the yard.

“I’ve been knocking on the door at Group One level with the likes of Soldier’s Call, Snowy Winter and Absolute Blast, who were all Group One-placed. For him to get his head in front is massive for the yard, as we’ve only been going just over four years.”

Making the decision to purchase Glen Shiel at the Goffs UK Spring Horses In Training/P2P Sale was a shrewd decision by Watson, but equally as important to helping the six-year-old realise his potential was reverting him back to sprinting this campaign.

Watson said: “We always intended to drop him down in trip, as when we first got him we raced him over a mile and a quarter. Since he has dropped to six furlongs he has just improved.

“He has been so consistent and he hasn’t been out of the first two over six furlongs. He has gone from winning off big weights in handicaps into conditions races and now into stakes races.

“He has only run in four Group races and he has improved in all of them, having learnt how to race over the trip.”

Though now able to celebrate the victory Watson, who watched the race away from the track, admits he was on edge awaiting the outcome of the result.

He said: “Waiting on the photo-finish was not good for me, but I thought he just held on. As it was literally a bob of the heads, you can never be confident in a situation like that.

“While I’m delighted to give Hollie her first Group One, I’m also delighted for his owners Hambleton Racing as they have been big supporters of mine.

“A lot of credit needs to go to Tom Biggs, who spotted him at the sale with me – he buys all these horses and puts me in the privileged position to train them.”

Having kept Glen Shiel busy since the start of the year, Watson intends to give his new stable star a well-deserved break before taking aim at all the major sprint races over six furlongs next year.

He said: “Everything has gone fantastic today and he will have another holiday now. I think straight tracks really play to his strengths, so he won’t be going to the Breeders’ Cup or Hong Kong. We will look at all those six-furlong races in Europe for him.

“I hope there are still more big wins in him, there will not be too much difference in him from being a six-year-old to a seven-year-old. He has been in such good form and it has been great to strike while the iron has been hot.

“Hopefully there is still more to come and he can be very competitive in these sorts of races next season.”

Hollie Doyle leaves lasting impression on unforgettable Champions Day

Hollie Doyle made her mark on an unforgettable Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot with a double that included the first Group One triumph of her career.

Glen Shiel gave the record-breaking 24-year-old that landmark success when just holding on for glory in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes.

Doyle and connections of the Archie Watson-trained six-year-old had a few anxious moments waiting for the result of the photo-finish, before it was confirmed Glen Shiel (16-1) had beaten Brando by a nose.

The epic success by the narrowest of margins capped a momentous week in another season to remember for Doyle, for it was only on Wednesday she broke her own record for number of winners by a female rider in a calendar year.

“It is a dream come true, a massive dream come true, especially on this horse. Everyone in the yard adores him,” said Doyle, who at Windsor in August became the first female jockey to ride five winners at a single meeting.

“My aim at the start of the year was to ride a Group winner and I always said a Group One one day, but I didn’t think it would come this year.

“I don’t get too carried away, but I’m a bit delusional as to what is going on at the moment as it has all been a bit of a whirlwind. It has been a great few years.

“It feels really unusual as for someone like me it doesn’t normally happen, but it has done today.

“I’m in a state of shock right now. I didn’t think I’d won, so to have had the result we have was incredible.”

She added: “It’s not about me it’s about Archie Watson, he has campaigned this horse unbelievably. No one else would have won a Group One with this horse.”

It was only 35 minutes earlier she had become the first female to ride a winner on British Champions Day with an easy victory in the opening Long Distance Cup on Trueshan (11-1).

Leading over a furlong out, Alan King’s stayer stormed away from the opposition to score by seven and a half lengths from Search For A Song.

“That was incredible, I travelled all over them. He doesn’t like being crowded, so I switched him at the three-pole and the further I went, the better,” said Doyle.

Hollie Doyle opens her British Champions Day account on Trueshan (left) in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot
Hollie Doyle opens her British Champions Day account on Trueshan (left) in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“This is a proper horse, he won his first two starts. I’ve always liked him – but I’m not going to lie, I didn’t realise he would be up to Group Two level like today.

“The further I was going, the better. He was tanking with me and he went through the ground like a tractor.

“The pace was reasonable, but he was travelling and he felt like he was hacking round there. I switched my fellow round horses as they said he didn’t like getting crowded in the Ebor and when I pushed the button, he responded.”

A remarkable hat-trick looked on the cards when she went out to partner Dame Malliot in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

But as hard as they tried, Doyle and her mount had to play second fiddle to Wonderful Tonight and William Buick.

Thumbs up from Hollie Doyle's partner Tom Marquand after his win on Addeybb in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot
Thumbs up from Hollie Doyle’s partner Tom Marquand after his win on Addeybb in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Doyle lost nothing in defeat in the biggest race on the card, the Qipco Champion Stakes, as she steered Roger Charlton’s 33-1 outsider Extra Elusive into a creditable sixth place.

However, she would have taken pride in the outcome as the winner, Addeybb, was ridden by her partner, Tom Marquand.

Fittingly, the couple fought out the finish of the concluding Balmoral Handicap, with Marquand landing the spoils on Njord and Doyle second on Solid Stone as they ended the day all square with two winners each.

Doyle said at the conclusion of a remarkable afternoon: “It has been incredible and you wouldn’t have called it. We both came here with a few chances, but in Group Ones and races like that you need a bit of luck. It has exceeded all expectations.

“Tom really liked Addeybb today and I think that is the icing on the cake, for the horse to win a Group One in England. I thought Dame Malliot was my best chance, but I just bumped into a good one there. Glen Shiel was incredible.

“It feels really special as we are the younger generation and we are probably two of the youngest people to have ridden four winners on Champions Day out of six races.

“We are going for a meal around here somewhere which will be nice. I’m not sure who is paying, we will have to go half and half!”