Tag Archive for: Hierarchy

Loughnane anticipating bold Bear show in Commonwealth Cup Trial

David Loughnane believes a reproduction of Go Bears Go’s Breeders’ Cup form will make him tough to beat in Wednesday’s Merriebelle Stables Commonwealth Cup Trial at Ascot.

The colt finished runner-up to Twilight Gleaming in the Juvenile Turf Sprint at Del Mar on his last appearance, having won a novice on his debut at Ascot and finished runner-up in the Norfolk Stakes at the Royal meeting on his second appearance as a juvenile.

Victory in the Group Two Railway Stakes followed, after which the son of Kodi Bear was third in the Phoenix Stakes and fourth in the Middle Park – both Group One events.

With two good Ascot runs under his belt, Loughnane feels track experience will help the bay as he faces just four rivals in the five-furlong Group Three contest.

“I thought there would be more runners, but I’m not going to complain,” said the Shropshire handler.

“I’m very happy with him. He seems to have trained on from two to three, but until you run them you never know.

“He is in a good place and we have never been out of the first two at Ascot, and hopefully it will remain that way after Wednesday.

“He is favourite and rightly so. Clive Cox’s horse is a nice horse (Wings Of War), but he is obviously carrying a penalty which we don’t have to carry and, if he has trained on, he’ll be hard to beat, particularly if he runs up to his Breeders’ Cup form. I’m very happy with him at home and fingers crossed.”

Newbury’s Mill Reef Stakes first and second, Wings Of War and Hierarchy, lock horns again, with the latter horse last seen finishing sixth in the same Del Mar contest as Go Bears Go.

“Hierarchy ran very well at the Breeders’ Cup,” said trainer Hugo Palmer.

Wings Of War ridden by Adam Kirby (second left) wins the Mill Reef Stakes from Hierarchy (left)
Wings Of War ridden by Adam Kirby (second left) wins the Mill Reef Stakes from Hierarchy (left) (Steven Paston/PA)

“He went very well and in the last 100 yards he just went pop and was beaten just over a length.

“Ascot will be his first run of the year. I think he’s trained on, I think he’s very well but he’s never been a ‘wow’ horse at home, he’s always just done enough, so we’ll have to find out on the racecourse.

“He was second in the Mill Reef and then wasn’t quite right. We took a blood test and his inflammatory markers were up.

“We gave him three days off, turned him out in a cage in a paddock in Newmarket and there clearly wasn’t much wrong with him at all as he managed to turn himself upside down and lacerate all four legs and then he had to have another week off.

“I think that’s what cost him a Breeders’ Cup victory.”

The Richard Hannon-trained Erhaz and Richard Spencer’s dual all-weather winner Space Cowboy complete the line-up.

Charlie Appleby saddles Valiant Prince
Charlie Appleby saddles Valiant Prince (David Davies/PA)

Charlie Appleby saddles dual Meydan winner Valiant Prince in the Paradise Stakes, with the four-runner affair billed as a Queen Anne Stakes trial.

Intellogent, New Mandate and Sir Busker also go to post in that race, with Eve Johnson Houghton fielding Whistle And Flute in the Royal Ascot Two-Year-Old Trial Conditions Stakes – a race she landed last year with subsequent Windsor Castle victor Chipotle.

Ground key to Ebro River target

Hugo Palmer will seek softer ground for Ebro River after his fifth place in the Abernant Stakes on seasonal debut.

The colt was a three-times winner as a juvenile last season, landing a novice before taking the Listed National Stakes at Sandown and then the Group One Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.

Amongst those victories were a series of outings in Group company that included a third-placed run in the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes, fourth-placed performances in both the July Stakes and the Richmond Stakes and a fifth in the Coventry Stakes.

Palmer felt Ebro River was unsuited by the good ground on his Newmarket return earlier this month and the three-year-old will now seek a sprint target on a surface with slightly more cut – with York, Haydock and Ascot all under consideration.

Ebro River following his Curragh victory
Ebro River following his Curragh victory (Niall Carson/PA)

“Ebro River was a busy two-year-old last year, he had nine starts and ran very well in a series of Group Twos before winning the Group One Phoenix in Ireland,” Palmer said.

“He’s a son of Galileo Gold, who won the 2000 Guineas for us. Terrifyingly, that was six years ago now. He’s from his first crop. Against everyone’s expectations Galileo Gold made a really good start to his stud career and he has been his leading light.

“He’s had one start this year and he was a tiny bit disappointing, but the ground was very quick at the Craven meeting. I thought we might get away with it first time out but if you’re going to try to get away with ground you don’t like, Newmarket is not the place to try.

“It was just too quick for him. I didn’t declare him for the Pavilion at Ascot on Wednesday, he definitely needs cut in the ground. He could go to York, he could go to Haydock, he could wait for Ascot. He could go almost anywhere.

“This being England and this being Europe, we will get soft ground sprints this year.”

Arion hails from the family of the great Ouija Board
Arion hails from the family of the great Ouija Board (Cathal McNaughton/PA)

Palmer is hopeful he has an Oaks prospect in Arion, a three-year-old Dubawi filly who finished second on her racecourse debut at Newmarket last season before winning a Chelmsford novice.

The bay is due to line up for the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday and Palmer is keen to see if she can live up to the expectations that come with her impeccable pedigree.

“She’s probably one of the best bred horses in Europe, she’s by Dubawi and out of a winning full-sister to Australia, which makes her a granddaughter to Ouija Board,” he said.

“She raced twice last year, she was second on debut over seven furlongs at Newmarket and then won a Chelmsford maiden.

“She’s obviously bred to stay a mile and a half and we hope she will. She’s entered for the Pretty Polly at Newmarket on Saturday, a race that Ouija Board, her grandmother, won.

“We dream that she might make up into an Oaks filly. If she was the first foal of the mare I would be even more excited by her than I am, but she’s the third Dubawi out of this mare that I’ve had to train and she’s the only one that we’ve managed to win a race with.

“She is much the best that her dam has produced, but there is a big gap between being much the best and being the Oaks winner.”

Palmer inherited Brad The Brief when he took over the reins at Manor House Stables, a gelding owned by the yard’s previous co-owner Andrew Black.

The five-year-old was a prior Group Three winner when trained by Tom Dascombe and the weather will dictate when he first runs for his new handler.

“Brad The Brief is owned by Chasemore Farm, by Andrew Black. Andrew was, until recently, partners in the yard with Michael (Owen),” Palmer explained.

“He’s now just an owner here but an important owner. It’s great to have a lovely horse like this, he’s rated 108, he’s a Group Three winner and he just must have soft ground.

“He’s had endless entries but what rain has been forecast hasn’t come, he’s in really good order and it’s particularly frustrating.”

Dubawi Legend heads Palmer’s Del Mar team

Hugo Palmer has a trio of chances as he searches for his first Breeders’ Cup winner.

Dubawi Legend is prominent among the Newmarket trainer’s Del Mar team next week – in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, a race which will be his second top-level venture after finishing runner-up in this month’s Dewhurst Stakes.

The colt was two lengths behind Native Trail at Newmarket.

“His run in the Dewhurst Stakes was an enormous run, but in a funny way we were all disappointed that he didn’t win,” said Palmer.

“As he went into the dip we thought he had them all cooked, but the favourite found another leg as they came up the hill. We were hugely happy with how the horse ran, and he’s come out of it in great form.”

Dubawi Legend (second from right) finishing second in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse
Dubawi Legend (second right) finishing runner-up in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket (Tim Goode/PA)

Dubawi Legend previously finished third in the Acomb Stakes at York, a result Palmer felt was not representative of his ability – beaten four and a quarter lengths by Royal Patronage.

“He’s only had three starts, and the start in the middle (York) was a disaster,” he said.

“He is an inexperienced horse, but he has always been quite a forward horse.”

Palmer expects Dubawi Legend to handle the track well at Del Mar.

“I think the ability to handle tracks like Epsom and Newmarket is what they need to handle a very tight American track,” he said.

“Horses need to be very sure footed – they need to have great command of their limbs, great balance, and be able to gallop on both legs. These are all things which you need to do at Newmarket, and if they can’t do it there they won’t be able to do it at Del Mar.”

Also headed stateside for Palmer is Hierarchy, who will drop to five furlongs for the first time in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.

Hierarchy (left) finishing second in the Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury
Hierarchy (left) finishing second in the Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury (Steven Paston/PA)

The Mehmas colt was the winner of two novice events before finishing third in the Group Three Sirenia Stakes at Kempton, and then second by a head in the Group Two Mill Reef at Newbury.

“This horse is very much a sprinter – he’s a very fast horse and he’s improved with every single run this year,” said Palmer.

“He was just touched off by Wings Of War in the Mill Reef, only beaten a head, and was fighting back at the end – having shown a lot of speed.

“The plan since then has been to drop him back to five furlongs for the first time.

“We just backed off him for a few days, and he seems to have come right back to himself. He has to handle the travel, and everything else as well, but I’d be surprised if he didn’t.

“He’s a neat, balanced horse and has answered every question we’ve asked of him this year.”

Palmer’s third entrant is Ocean Road, a Qatar Racing-owned three-year-old filly last seen finishing third in this month’s Pride Stakes .

Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf contender Ocean Road
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf contender Ocean Road (John Walton/PA)

The daughter of Australia is due to take on the Filly & Mare Turf over a mile and three furlongs.

“Ocean Road has had a light campaign this year,” said her trainer.

“She was third in the Lingfield Oaks Trial – and then from a terrible draw, on ground she hated, she finished sixth in the Oaks at Epsom.

“She wasn’t able to run then until the Pride Stakes at Newmarket, where she got behind a wall of horses and met trouble in-running.

“She ran on well to finish third – it was a career-best performance.”

Palmer considers the faster conditions very likely to be found at Del Mar will be more suitable.

“The ground was just a little bit dead and tacky for her at Newmarket,” he added.

“I think she’ll be much better suited by fast ground, (and) stepping up to one mile and three furlongs at Del Mar should be to her advantage as well.

“She’s going to need to step up – and she’s going to mix it with the likes of (Aidan O’Brien’s) Love.”