Luisa Casati has brought together aficionados of two differing types of saddles and will aim to do her connections proud in the Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood.
The Vadamos mare is trained in Lambourn by Tom Ward, a keen cyclist who shares his passion with the syndicate that own the bay – Velocity Racing.
The group was put together by former trainer Harry Dunlop when he held a licence of his own, and upon his retirement from the training ranks he wanted to maintain his involvement with the partnership.
Each member pays £1,000 for the year and the usual benefits of shared ownership are combined with cycling trips, some of which Dunlop hopes will coincide with European runs later in the season.
Before then there is a target closer to home as the five-year-old holds an entry for the Group Two Lillie Langtry Stakes, over a mile and six furlongs.
A mile and a half has been Luisa Casati’s trip so far this year, a distance over which she was a gallant third when beaten just a neck in the Listed Prix de la Porte de Madrid at Saint-Cloud in March.
Following that run she headed to Goodwood for a Listed event on home turf, this time winning the Daisy Warwick Fillies’ Stakes ahead of Juddmonte’s well-regarded Time Lock.
That success was the biggest of Ward’s career, but connections are hopeful there are more big days to come after her fifth-placed run when last seen in the Group Two Lancashire Oaks at Haydock.
The race was a steep step up in grade and the filly looked to be running on towards the line, suggesting an increase in distance will be appreciated when she returns to Goodwood.
“We have about 20 members and they are like-minded souls, they buy a share of the horse and then we put on cycling trips,” Dunlop explained.
“We’ve just come back from a trip to France, which was the Normandy battlefields, and then we went to Versailles and to the Grand Prix de Paris on the Friday night.
“We’ve got a mixture of fun things for people and Luisa Casati has been an amazing horse for us.
“I started it about four years ago and a lot of the members have become friends because they’ve stayed with us, which is great.
“I’m helping Tom a little bit anyway, he’s training a couple of my ex horses and he’s pretty enthusiastic about his cycling too, which is quite important!
“The Goodwood win for us was very special, a lot of the partners were there and we went into it hopeful of a nice run but certainly not to go and win like that.”
Now a Goodwood return is in the diary, the syndicate can plan a day out at the meeting before looking further afield in the latter stages of the season.
“She ran well the other day, things went a little bit against her, including the ground, but we’re hopefully going to aim for the Lillie Langtry at Goodwood on Saturday,” Dunlop said.
“Tom’s keen as she has won at the track already and that should mean it will suit well.
“Everyone will certainly try to be there, most people are based in Berkshire and Hampshire, there are a few more who are based further up north as well, but I’m sure there’ll be a big presence.
“Tom has mentioned a possible trip to Baden-Baden which we’re likely to do later in the year, similarly I think there are some options in France too.
“I think she is going to be a better autumn filly as the ground might be softer for her so hopefully we can keep going.”