Tag Archive for: John Quinn

Princess aiming to rule in Sceptre Stakes

John Quinn is anticipating another bold showing from the ultra-consistent Highfield Princess in the Japan Racing Association Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes at Doncaster on Wednesday.

The four-year-old has yet to finish out of the placings in seven outings so far this season and has shot up a full 26lb in the ratings.

Since dominating her rivals in the Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, Highfield Princess has won a Listed prize at Chelmsford, finished a close third in a Group Three at Goodwood and filled the runner-up spot in the Group Two City of York Stakes.

Going back against her own sex on Town Moor, the daughter of Night Of Thunder is expected to be in the thick of the Group Three action once more.

“I’m very happy with her – she’s in grand nick,” said Quinn.

“Touch wood she seems in good form at home, so let’s hope for a big run – let’s hope she wins.

“She’s a very consistent filly who is versatile, genuine and tough.

“She bumped into a Group One horse at York (Space Blues), so fingers crossed she can go one better on Wednesday.”

One of the big dangers to Highfield Princess is Ivan Furtado’s stable star Just Beautiful.

Ivan Furtado saddles Just Beautiful in the Sceptre Stakes
Ivan Furtado saddles Just Beautiful in the Sceptre Stakes (Mike Egerton/PA)

After wins at Chelmsford and Musselburgh earlier in the year, the three-year-old finished a creditable sixth in the Group One Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket before being narrowly beaten in a Group Three in France on her latest appearance.

Furtado said: “It looks like the ground is going to be on the fast side, which is what she needs.

“She won’t be inconvenienced by the drop to seven furlongs, she’s in good order and I think she deserves to win her Group race.

“She was probably a bit unlucky in France. The ground was softer than ideal and it was a typical French race in that it was a bit tactical, the early fractions were slow and it turned into a bit of sprint.

“She came back in good form and is ready to go again. We know she stays a mile, so she should run all the way to the line at Doncaster.”

Double Or Bubble is a leading contender for Chris Wall, while Henry de Bromhead’s Wren’s Breath and Loch Lein from Jessica Harrington’s yard are two interesting challengers from Ireland.

Glesga Gal will be a big outsider for Hugo Palmer, but the Newmarket handler believes she could outrun her odds.

He said: “I’m sure she’s up to this level and I’m desperate to run her on fast ground.

“It’s a hot edition of the race. She’s got black type twice this year on ground that didn’t suit her over six furlongs and a mile and we’re finally getting to run her on nice, fast ground over seven furlongs, which I’m really looking forward to.”

Safe Voyage likely to miss Boomerang defence

Safe Voyage is unlikely to defend his crown in the Clipper Logistics Boomerang Mile at Leopardstown.

John Quinn’s stable stalwart bagged his third Group-race victory on Irish Champions Weekend last season, before going on to finish a close third in the Prix de la Foret and then run at the Breeders’ Cup.

The eight-year-old opened his account for the current campaign in a Listed event at Chester in July, since when he has finished last in Goodwood’s Lennox Stakes and fifth in the City of York Stakes.

Safe Voyage has the option of returning to Ireland this weekend, but the prospect of fast ground means he is a doubtful runner there on Saturday

“The ground is very quick over there, so I don’t think Safe Voyage will be going,” said Quinn.

The Malton handler could still be represented on Irish Champions Weekend, with Keep Busy pencilled in for Sunday’s Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh.

Her stablemate Liberty Beach will not be joining her in the same Group One contest, however.

“Keep Busy might run in the Flying Five,” Quinn added.

“Liberty Beach won’t go – I think she might have had enough for the year.

“She’s had a hard enough season. It’s not set in stone yet, but she won’t go for the Flying Five – and we’ll see after that.”

Quinn ‘toying’ with Pontefract outing for Keep Busy

Keep Busy could have her first six-furlong outing in over a year in Sunday’s EBF Stallions Highfield Farm Flying Fillies’ Stakes at Pontefract.

The John Quinn-trained four-year-old has run some good races in top company this season, as well as winning a Listed race at Ayr.

She finished fifth in the King George Stakes at Goodwood last time out when Quinn felt she was a little outpaced, so he is looking at options over further.

“We’re toying with the idea of running on Sunday,” said Quinn.

“She’s running really well at the moment but she’s just getting run off her legs over five furlongs on these quick tracks.

“She won over six twice as a two-year-old and won a Listed race over five and a half. I think she’s versatile but on these quick tracks they just get her at it, so we are thinking about Sunday.

“The winner at Goodwood is probably very, very good but I think they took each other on up front and then got into a battle. We decided to hold Liberty Beach up for a chance but then she got squeezed and a furlong out I thought Keep Busy was really going to do something, but then the pendulum swung right round to the stands side who looked massively favoured in the last 100 yards.

“So while the French filly (Suesa) is possibly very, very good, she could have been flattered as it was a funny race.

“We were delighted with Keep Busy, though, she ran well, but we’re thinking of stepping her up in trip.”

Mr Wagyu on course for Great St Wilfrid test

John Quinn’s improving sprinter Mr Wagyu has been given the all-clear to add to his laurels in the William Hill Great St Wilfrid at Ripon on Saturday.

The six-year-old began the season with a rating of 70 on May 1 and his win at Goodwood last time out has seen him put up to a career high mark of 99.

Goodwood was his fifth win of the season, and a 13th in all, and Quinn now has his sights set on the highlight of the season at Ripon.

“We’re happy with him, he’s come out of Goodwood very well and we’re intending to run him,” said the Malton handler.

“This horse was a nice horse in his younger days but then he lost his way a bit. He’s come back better than ever this season.

“Of course it gives you great satisfaction when that happens, it’s great for everyone in the yard – the lads and the lasses have done a great job looking after him.

“I don’t know where it’s come from, this improvement. He wintered well and we were happy with him but I never thought he’d do what he’s done – but we’re delighted.”

Wonderful Wagyu does Quinn proud again

John Quinn’s incredibly consistent Mr Wagyu won for the fifth time this season when making most of the running in the Unibet Stewards’ Sprint Handicap at Goodwood.

The six-year-old began his winning spree nine runs previously at Hamilton in early June off a lowly mark of 68, yet was running off 91 on this occasion following three more wins and a host of placed efforts.

Following a heavy storm an hour before racing the ground was once again on the soft side and all the runners made their way towards the stands side – but by then Jason Hart had already seized the initiative.

Breaking from stall 17, Mr Wagyu was soon in an early lead and it was one he was not to relinquish, as the 16-1 chance won by two and three-quarter lengths from Able Kane.

“He’s been in tremendous form all summer, all he’s done is improve so it’s great,” said Quinn.

“His owners are very loyal and he’s by far the best horse they’ve had – owners have been fantastic to keep horses in training, it’s great to be here and see people here.

“We thought he had enough on today and his best form is on better ground, but he’s incredibly versatile and won very well.

“We felt the ground would be better stands side, but he’s won well in the end.

“He doesn’t take any training and just loves to race. He’s got great early pace, so I felt this pace would suit. You can’t say you think you are going to win a £50,000 handicap, but at halfway I felt he’d be bang there.”

Andrew Balding’s good week continued as Oo De Lally (10-1) came down the outside to win the Thames Materials Handicap.

Back down in grade having found Listed company too much last time out, William Carver’s 5lb allowance on the top weight proved crucial.

Oo De Lally and Will Carver score in the opener
Oo De Lally and Will Carver score in the opener (John Walton/PA)

Seven Brothers and Shark One Two gave game chance close home, but Oo De Lally clung on by a length.

Balding’s wife Anna Lisa said: “William said it is pretty slow and the horse finished very tired, but I think they all did. We knew it would suit. Claiming was useful off the horse’s mark and on this ground the 5lb made a big difference.

“He is a really super horseman, no one deserves it more, he is hard working and an incredibly popular member of the team.

“Will Carver has just ridden out his 5lb claim, 50 winners is fantastic and he’s ridden this fella absolutely 100 per cent to instructions. He’s held on to the horse for as long as possible and produced him at the right time.

“It’s lovely to see Will’s parents here as well. He only lives 20 minutes down the road so it’s fantastic.

“He’s a star in every way.”

Princess aims for new heights in Oak Tree Stakes

John Quinn believes recent rainfall at Goodwood could help Highfield Princess negate her awkward draw in stall 17 in the Whispering Angel Oak Tree Stakes.

On a quicker surface, Quinn admits his rapidly-improving filly might have too much to do on Wednesday, being drawn widest of all, but has hopes the middle of the course may not be disadvantageous in testing conditions.

The story of Highfield Princess is something of a fairytale – because this time last year she was rated 57. Seven wins later, including a Royal Ascot success in the Buckingham Palace Stakes, she is rated 100.

“She’s certainly earned a crack at this. I’ve never had a filly improve as much as she has,” said Quinn.

“This time last year she was no better than selling class really, yet 12 months later she’s in Group races. It’s incredible.

“She was phenomenal at Royal Ascot, and the horse she beat there (Danyah) came out and won the International on Saturday – and she beat him well. That’s very good form.

“We took her from there to Chelmsford, where she won a Listed race, and that came soon enough after Ascot – where you never have an easy race – but she’s had 24 days since then and she seems absolutely fine.”

He added: “She hasn’t got the best draw in the world – but with the ground getting softer, you just don’t know. She might be OK out there.

“She obviously likes the big fields. There were 28 at Ascot, and she’s a real straightforward filly – no fuss or frills.

“On quick ground, drawn out in 17 would leave her a lot of running to do, but on softer ground it might not be quite as bad as it looks.”

Charlie Fellowes is similarly pleased the rain has arrived for his two contenders – Vadream and Onassis, who were last seen finishing second and fourth respectively in a Group Three at York.

Onassis after winning at Royal Ascot last year
Onassis after winning at Royal Ascot last year (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“The soft ground definitely makes it interesting from my point of view,” said the Newmarket trainer.

“Vadream ran on very soft ground at Ascot, and it was probably a career-best when she was third in the Jersey. I think she probably goes on any ground, to be honest, but at least she’s proven she handles it.

“Onassis absolutely loves soft ground – she’s won on heavy twice, including over the course and distance at Goodwood.

“I really liked her run last time over a trip that was too short and on ground that, over that trip, would have been quick enough.

“I think we go there with two really good chances.”

The other Group Three on the card is the Markel Molecomb Stakes, which is set to stage a rematch between the first three home in the Dragon Stakes at Sandown at the start of the month.

The impressive winner of that Listed event was Ed Bethell’s Fearby, with the David Loughnane-trained Mojomaker second and Kaboo from Karl Burke’s yard third as the hot favourite.

Bethell said of his charge: “I’m happy with the way he’s trained since Sandown. Obviously running on heavy ground will be a very different question to what he’s been asked before, so we’ll have to see if he goes on it or not.

Fearby impressed at Sandown
Fearby impressed at Sandown (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He’s in great form, and I’m happy we decided to run over five furlongs, rather than running over six in the Richmond on soft ground.

“I’m hopeful rather than confident – it’s a step up. It’s the natural progression, and he goes there looking a million dollars, so I’m just hopeful that he’ll run a big race.”

Eve Johnson Houghton’s Windsor Castle Stakes winner Chipotle, who has finished ninth in the Super Sprint at Newbury since his Royal Ascot triumph, adds further strength in depth.

Further big-race targets on the horizon for Highland Princess

John Quinn is to consider two contrasting targets for Highland Princess after the filly continued her progression with victory in a Listed contest at Chelmsford.

The four-year-old is likely to go for one of her two early-closing entries over seven furlongs, either the hurly burly of the Moet & Chandon International Heritage Handicap at Ascot on July 24 or the Group Two Sky Bet City of York Stakes at York on August 21.

Highland Princess burst on to the scene when taking the Buckingham Palace Handicap at Royal Ascot – and followed up with a game all-the-way win in the Queen Charlotte Fillies’ Stakes on Sunday.

“She’s a very tough genuine filly. I’m delighted with her,” said Quinn.

“She’s in the big handicap at Ascot and she’s also in a Group Two at York. We’ll see. I haven’t really thought about it yet.”

Quinn revealed his two smart sprinters, Keep Busy and Liberty Beach, could go for the Group Two Paddy Power Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh on July 17.

Keep Buy has run twice since they finished fifth and sixth respectively behind Oxted in the King’s Stand Stakes at the Royal meeting.

After landing a Listed prize at Ayr seven days later, Keep Busy reappeared in the Coral Charge at Sandown on Saturday, but was slowly away and suffered trouble in running. She eventually finished seventh behind Came From The Dark.

“Something kicked off in the gates near her and she missed the break. Then she got stuck down the inside,” said the North Yorkshire trainer.

“It just didn’t happen, but she’s fine and she’ll go for the Sapphire at the Curragh.

“Liberty Beach is very well. The two of them might run in the same race.”

Keep Busy upholds family tradition at Ayr

Keep Busy emulated her dam with victory in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Land O’Burns Fillies’ Stakes at Ayr.

John Quinn’s four-year-old was dropping down in class, having run consistently well at Group One and Two level in her last four starts but without a victory since her last trip to Scotland at Hamilton in August.

Keep Busy, a Group One runner-up at the Curragh last year and back in action quickly after her admirable close fifth as a 50-1 shot in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last week, was sent off the 4-7 favourite this time to gain a deserved fifth career success and second at Listed level.

She duly did so with the minimum fuss, following the example set by her mother Look Busy – who won this race by a short head back in 2008.

Ridden by Jason Hart,  Keep Busy was not quite so hard-pressed to make her class tell – striking from off the pace a furlong out, after being positioned in midfield early on, and quickly confirming her superiority to win by three-quarters of a length from Irish challenger Dickiedooda.

Mid Winster, prominent throughout, just held on for third half a length further back.

Quinn was delighted to see Keep Busy win for the first time in seven starts – and confirmed she will soon be going back up in class again.

“She did it well – she was going away at the line,” said the North Yorkshire trainer.

“It’s only seven days after Royal Ascot, so I’m delighted.

“I’ll give her a little chance now for a while. But she does thrive on racing – the more I ran her as a two-year-old the better she was, then last year she only started running in June and then ran nine times.”

A return to the Curragh for the Group Two Sapphire Stakes is therefore on Keep Busy’s agenda – with high-profile dates at Goodwood, York and ParisLongchamp all possibly in the diary for her later in the season.

“She does like racing,” added Quinn.

“Her mum was supremely tough, and this one is the same.

“That said, there’s only so much for her. But there’s the Sapphire at the Curragh, the Group Two in about three weeks.

“That would be the plan, and then back for the Group Ones she ran well in last year – I put her in at Goodwood (King George Stakes) this morning, and the Nunthorpe, and she’ll be entered in the Abbaye.

“But I’d say the Curragh (next), all being well, would fit nicely.”

Keep Busy staying busy with Ayr engagement

King’s Stand Stakes fifth Keep Busy makes a quick reappearance in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Land O’Burns Fillies’ Stakes at Ayr on Tuesday.

The four-year-old was sent off a 50-1 chance in the Group One sprint won by Roger Teal’s Oxted, but finished one place in front of better-fancied stablemate Liberty Beach, who had landed the Temple Stakes at Haydock in which Keep Busy was only fifth.

The John Quinn-trained pair will have all the major five-furlong races for the rest of the season on their agendas.

“Keep Busy came out of the King’s Stand fine, so we’re happy to let her take her chance,” said the Malton handler.

“It looks a good opportunity, she’s well, so now I just hope she wins.

“Keep Busy always improves for her first run of the season and she did again, that’s her, she’s tough so we’re happy to run her again.”

As for plans for the rest of the season for the duo, Quinn said: “The two of them are in the Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh (July 17), they’ll be put in the King George at Goodwood and in the Nunthorpe.

“They are both proper five-furlong fillies and they beat all the other fillies well at Ascot. With a bit of luck they’ll win a Group One this season.”

Beach and Busy to represent Quinn in King’s Stand contest

John Quinn is set to be two-handed in Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes with Liberty Beach and Keep Busy lining up at Royal Ascot.

Both horses ran with great credit at the meeting in last summer with Liberty Beach finishing third behind Battaash in the Group One, while Keep Busy was runner-up to Art Power in the five-furlong handicap for three-year-olds.

The pair clashed on their seasonal reappearance in the Temple Stakes at Haydock last month, with Liberty Beach taking the Group Two prize and Keep Busy finishing fifth.

Quinn was pleased with the pair and is looking forward to seeing them bid for Group One honours.

“They are working well. I’m very happy with them. They’ve come out of Haydock well.” said the North Yorkshire handler.

“You could see with Keep Busy the run wasn’t lost on her. That was her usual. It’s her style.

“Liberty Beach has come on as well. Both will turn up.”

Quinn has a choice of races for his unbeaten two-year-old Tipperary Sunset – Wednesday’s Windsor Castle Stakes and the Norfolk Stakes on Thursday.

The son of Ardad looked smart when adding the Continental Two-Year-Old Trophy at Beverley to his debut success at Hamilton.

“We’ve put him in the Windsor Castle and we’re going to put him in the Norfolk,” he said.

“He’s come out of Beverley really well and I intend to run him in one or the other.”

Quinn has Frankenstella in the Ascot Stakes, but the four-year-old filly is not certain to make the cut and ground conditions might not be in her favour.

“She might not get in and she might need rain to run. We’ll keep a good eye on everything,” he said.

Tipperary Sunset still unbeaten and heading for Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot-bound Tipperary Sunset remained unbeaten after a taking victory in the bet365 Continental Two Year Old Trophy at Beverley.

The John Quinn-trained juvenile was a winner on his racecourse debut at Hamilton earlier in May and maintained his flawless record when posting a three-quarter-length success under James Sullivan in the five-furlong contest.

Springing from the starting stalls to gain an advantage from the off, the Ardad colt made all of the running and was never passed as he galloped to a game victory over Robjon at 4-1.

“We’ve always liked him,” Quinn said.

“From breaking him in, he’s a lovely mover, (he has a) nice mind.

Tipperary Sunset enjoys a deserved drink of water (PA)
Tipperary Sunset (PA)

“His early work was good and we thought ‘well we like this one’

“We’ll go to Royal Ascot, it’ll be between the Norfolk and the Windsor Castle.

“He’s progressed, this fella has had two runs and today he’s gone away at the line.

“He’s well worth his chance (over a) stiff five, Jimmy (Sullivan) said he wasn’t stopping, the ground was fine and he’ll handle better ground as well.”

Sullivan credited the winner’s swift start as one of his key attributes, saying: “He jumped very quick and I was always holding onto him, so he had the best chance.

“When something came to me at the finish, he kept galloping to the line.

“For two-year-olds, they need to be able to jump out, especially on a sharp track when they have a good draw, so when he jumped and made a length out of gates it was one box ticked.”

The jockey then secured a quickfire double when taking the bet365 Handicap aboard 7-1 chance Byron’s Choice for trainer Michael Dods.

Byron's Choice brought up a double for James Sullivan
Byron’s Choice

The six-year-old began to chase the race leader, Mark Johnston’s 2-1 favourite Sibaaq, in the final furlong and was eventually able to cross the line a neck ahead of his rival.

Sullivan said: “He went through the race very well for me, he’s a grand big horse and I think he handles the conditions very well.

“Obviously he had a bit of weight to carry and I think having a bit of size helped him, they went a solid gallop and brought a bit of stamina into it and he stayed nicely.

“He’s a big horse and he covers a lot of ground, I was always confident in the last furlong that he’d get to the front.”

Trevolli struck as the 4-6 favourite to take the bet365 Median Auction Maiden Stakes for Phil Kirby and Ben Curtis.

Trevolli got favourite-backers off to a good start (PA)

The three-year-old was beaten by half a length at Redcar earlier in the month on what was his first run for the trainer after leaving the care of Adam West, a performance he built on at Beverley to score by a head from Taylored.

A photo was required to split the first two past the post, but Kirby’s gelding just prevailed after being ridden prominently from the off.

The Each Way Extra At bet365 Handicap then secured Curtis a double as he steered John Mackie’s Colony Queen  (7-1) to victory – and he made it a treble on the day when taking the concluding Bet Builder At bet365 Handicap aboard Bawaady (15-8 favourite) for Sir Michael Stoute.

Poet’s Lady provided Kevin Stott with a double when the filly triumphed in the Price Promise At bet365 Handicap for David Barron.

The jockey had already enjoyed success in the Hilary Needler Stakes aboard Lady Ayresome and returned to the winner’s enclosure with Barron’s filly after the duo justified their status as 2-1 favourites.

Registering a length-and-a-quarter victory, the four-year-old was ridden behind the race leaders until the final half-furlong before passing Fox Power to cross the line first of the field of nine.

Safe sights set on further Gaunt glory

Safe Voyage aims to erase the memory of a disappointing run in the Lockinge Stakes and wrap up a fifth win at Haydock, in the Betway John of Gaunt Stakes.

His latest success at the Merseyside circuit came in this race when it was last run in 2019, since when Safe Voyage has won twice at Group Two level – at York and Leopardstown last season – as well as going close in the Group One Prix de la Foret on Arc day in October.

John Quinn’s talented eight-year-old failed to show his true form at Newbury when finishing last of 11 on his latest start in top company, but his trainer is confident of a much better display in Saturday’s Group Three contest back on his happy hunting ground.

“I’ve been pleased with him since the Lockinge. It didn’t really work for him – but he loves Haydock, and we’re hoping for a good run,” said the Malton handler.

“The ground will be fine for him, so it’s fingers crossed.”

Tom Dascombe is hoping Brad The Brief will prove adaptable when he tries seven furlongs for only the second time, having been hampered on his first attempt at the Curragh last month.

“He’s generally been a six-furlong horse, (but) we think that seven will suit,” said Dascombe.

“Soft ground is an absolute must, and I think he’ll get the ground anyway.”

Toro Strike winning at Goodwood
Toro Strike winning at Goodwood (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Paul Hanagan is bullish about the chances of the Richard Fahey-trained Toro Strike, who impressed on his seasonal reappearance in a conditions event at Thirsk last month.

“I couldn’t be happier. He was just on his head early on round that sharp track at Thirsk. I think Haydock will probably suit him better,” the jockey told Sky Sports Racing.

“He’s come out of the race well, and we’re really happy with him. Even just to look at him, he’s a beautiful-looking horse and has a wonderful temperament.

“He’s got everything going for him. We’re really hopeful.”

Queen Jo Jo represents Kevin Ryan
Queen Jo Jo represents Kevin Ryan (Martin Lynch/PA)

Queen Jo Jo was third behind Safe Voyage in the City Of York Stakes in August when she last tackled seven furlongs.

Kevin Ryan knows conditions will be more testing, but has no qualms about running the five-year-old mare.

“It’s going to be very testing ground and over seven furlongs, but she’s in good form and we’re there to take our chance,” said the Thirsk-based trainer.

William Haggas saddles Group Three-winning filly With Thanks, and said: “I hope she’ll enjoy the ground, but she will need her first run.

“I’m trying to get her to Ascot for the Duke of Cambridge Stakes, so she’ll probably need this, but she’s done very well so far and I’m hopeful she’ll run a very good race

“She’s much better than last year, and much stronger, and she’s very genuine.”

Charlie Appleby’s Glorious Journey returns to British action after running well in Dubai and Saudi Arabia earlier in the year, with recent Victoria Cup winner River Nymph (Clive Cox), Kinross (Ralph Beckett) and Irish raider Njord (Jessica Harrington) completing the field.

Liberty Beach blazes a trail to take Temple triumph

Liberty Beach made all the running on her return to action to gamely win the Casumo Best Odds Guaranteed Temple Stakes at Haydock.

John Quinn’s filly had some top-class form to her name last season, including on her most recent outing when third in the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp in October.

All of her rivals bar stable companion Keep Busy had the advantage of a run on their side, but Jason Hart’s mount showed her usual early speed on leaving the stalls.

She soon seized an advantage and was doing things easily on the front end while the rest of the field were struggling to keep tabs on her at halfway.

With a furlong to run, it looked as if Liberty Beach (13-8 favourite) was going to register a ready win, but the lack of a recent outing allied to testing ground began to take its toll and her stride started to shorten.

Karl Burke’s Ainsdale, who had been one of the first off the bridle but is a soft-ground specialist, and his stable companion Lady In France began to close all the time, but the line came just too late for both, with Liberty Beach holding off Ainsdale by a neck.

The winner was trimmed to 8-1 from 10s for the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in which she was third to Battaash last year.

“A very good day – she’s very quick,” said Quinn.

“This filly has won three times first time out – the other filly (Keep Busy) has never won first time out.

“The two of them are in the King’s Stand, and they’ll go there.

“She ran a good race in it last year, only nine days after winning the Cecil Frail here.

“She (also) ran a very good race in the Queen Mary as a two-year-old.

“I’m delighted. She had to be tough – 50 yards from the line, I thought ‘Oh socks!’. But she dug deep – and as Jason (Hart) said, nothing passed her after the line.”

With the standout five-furlong performer Battaash having met with a minor setback which delayed his return to training this season, Quinn hopes race fitness could play a part at Ascot.

“As you know well, it’s nice to get them out and get a run into them. Anyone can only do so much at home, so to have a run into both of these is vital really,” he said.

“She has a lot of class, and a lot of speed. She could have been unbeaten as a two-year-old.

“She might have gone close in the Queen Mary (with a better draw) – she was second in the Lowther when the winner made the running and kicked.

“We didn’t know whether she’d get six.

“Then last year she had a very good year. Her last run in the Abbaye was very good.

“She’s won on good to firm, good, soft, heavy – both these fillies are very versatile.

“The two of them are very good. One has sparked on the day, and the other things just didn’t go for her. That’s horseracing – there’ll be another day for her.”

Quinn fillies set for rematch in Temple Stakes

John Quinn finds it hard to split his speedy fillies Keep Busy and Liberty Beach, who will do battle in the Casumo Best Odds Guaranteed Temple Stakes at Haydock.

The stablemates have the same rating of 109, and the score is one each on their two meetings in Group Ones last year.

Keep Busy was two and a half lengths in front of Liberty Beach when they were second and seventh to Glass Slippers in the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh in September.

The tables were turned the following month, with Liberty Beach third behind Wooded in the Prix de l’Abbaye and Keep Busy a length and a half away in fifth.

Liberty Beach (red) is one of two runners for John Quinn in the Temple Stakes at Haydock
Liberty Beach (red) is one of two runners for John Quinn in the Temple Stakes at Haydock (Dan Abraham/PA)

Quinn is anticipating a tight rematch in Saturday’s Group Two.

“I’m happy with them,” said the North Yorkshire trainer.

“They are fit and they are well. Their prep has gone well, and we’re hoping for a bit of luck.

“Keep Busy has won on very soft ground, and Liberty Beach has won on soft ground as well. They both go on it.

“I hope they’ve got good chances. A dead-heat will do me.”

The in-form Jabbarockie will try to bridge the gap between handicaps and group company when he steps up in class at the age of eight.

Preston trainer Eric Alston accepts his horse faces a stern test, but Jabbarockie has won competitive sprint handicaps at Chester and Musselburgh on his two starts this season.

Eric Alston steps Jabberockie up in class
Eric Alston steps Jabbarockie up in class (Mike Egerton/PA)

“He’s in great form with himself, but it’s going to be a tough ask,” said Alston.

“The owners are all local, and we had the choice of going to York or Haydock, and they wanted to go and have their big day.

“He’s very genuine, and hopefully it will work out for him.”

Martyn Meade is looking forward to finally getting Method out, in the Casumo Bet100Get10 Sandy Lane Stakes.

The highly-regarded three-year-old sprinter is back to full health after missing his intended seasonal debut in the Pavilion Stakes at Ascot last month.

Method makes a belated seasonal debut in the Sandy Lane Stakes
Method makes a belated seasonal debut in the Sandy Lane Stakes (Francesca Altoft/PA)

“It will obviously be his first run of the year. We were going to run him earlier, but he was just not 100 per cent – he is now, so we will see how he performs there,” he said.

“If he runs well there, then we will be targeting the Commonwealth Cup. That will be the idea for him.

“Five furlongs was too short for him when he was beaten at Newmarket on his last start. As long as he reproduces his two-year-old form, he should be OK. You need a decent race to see how good he is.”

Umm Kulthum reverts to six furlongs after weakening in the closing stages when unplaced in the Fred Darling Stakes over seven at Newbury last month.

Richard Fahey reports the daughter of Kodiac, who won the Group Three Firth Of Clyde Stakes at Ayr and was a close third in the Group One Cheveley Park, to be ready to return to the fray.

“We’re happy enough with her. It’s a tough race but we’ll know where we are,” said the Musley Bank trainer.

“You’d imagine the drop back to six will help her. It will be a good guide for her.”

Archie Watson’s Dragon Symbol steps up markedly in class after winning all his four starts to date.

“He has done everything right so far this year and he answered everything that we have asked of him since his debut on the all-weather,” said Watson.

“He is going back up to six furlongs, and we are hopeful that he will handle the softer ground up there – because the ground was quick last time out at Musselburgh.

“This is a big step up in class, and it should give us an idea of where we are with him.”

Proven group performers The Lir Jet, Mujbar, Rohaan and Isabella Giles are among those in the 10-runner line-up.

El Astronaute rockets home for Chester hat-trick

El Astronaute blitzed his rivals to claim a third win at Chester in the Boodles Conditions Stakes.

John Quinn’s popular speedball brought a tremendous course record back to the Roodee, having never finished out of the first three in six previous visits.

While he has previously had issues with the starting stalls, the eight-year-old went in first time on this occasion under Jason Hart – and flew out when the gates opened to put his rivals on the back foot from the off.

Both King’s Lynn, the 11-10 favourite in the colours of the Queen, and Ainsdale were closing on El Astronaute as the post loomed, but the leader hung on by three-quarters of a length to seal his 14th career success.

Quinn did not make the trip to Chester, but said from home: “We’re delighted – he’s a legend of a horse.

“He hasn’t lost any pace and he went in the ground. He might like it a bit better, but he’s a very commendable and brilliant horse.

“His record of wins to runs and places to runs is incredible and he looks to be as good as ever, which is phenomenal for an eight-year-old.”

Considering future plans, the trainer added: “We said we’d see how he got on today, so we’ll keep our options open.

“Travel is difficult at the moment, but he’s a great horse to travel – he’s won in Ireland and he’s won in France.

“I’d want my own team to travel with him, though, so we’ll campaign him in England for the time being.

“He takes his racing terribly well, so I’m sure he’ll be out again in May.”

Grove Ferry enjoyed a charmed run through the field to win the tote+ Placepots Pay More Earl Grosvenor Handicap.

Grove Ferry (right) wins the opening race at Chester on Thursday
Grove Ferry (right) wins the opening race at Chester on Thursday (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Andrew Balding’s four-year-old was quietly fancied for the Lincoln having tuned up for that with a win on the all-weather, but he failed to cut much ice in that race.

David Probert only had two behind him as the field turned into the short straight and while it looked clear Grove Ferry was still going well, it was a question of whether he would find a clear passage.

The splits came at just the right time, though, and the 5-1 chance collared Dulas inside the final 100 yards to win going away by three-quarters of a length with Kyrnen, who was last turning in, back in third.

“He did most things wrong. He missed the break and that is normally the end of it considering I had a very good draw, nothing went right in the first part of the race,” said Probert.

“I managed to latch on to something at the back that was travelling well and then I got a nice split, but I think it helped they got racing a long way out.

“He seemed to relish the ground and his hit the line really well. He’s an improving type.

Dark Pine lunged late to claim top honours in the Retraining Of Racehorses Handicap for trainer David Loughnane and jockey Laura Pearson.

Fox Tal (7-2) looked to have done enough to reward favourite backers entering the last half-furlong, but he was ultimately unable to resist the thrust of the 16-1 winner under his 5lb claimer, with a neck separating the pair at the line.

It was a first ride and first winner at Chester for Pearson, who said: “I probably had the easiest run of the lot as I was out the back and out of trouble.

“I really enjoyed riding here, obviously it’s sharp, but I hope that strike-rate continues.

“I can’t believe I beat Silvestre (de Sousa) in a finish, I’m still pinching myself.”

A first ride at Chester and a winner for Laura Pearson on Dark Pine
A first ride at Chester and a winner for Laura Pearson on Dark Pine (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The Chester Plate, a consolation race for the Chester Cup, went the way of a rare Venetia Williams-trained Flat runner in Green Book (5-1) who made all under Franny Norton.

Norton, riding his third winner of the meeting, said: “I’ve been round here that many times, but when I looked over my shoulder I thought I’d gone a lap too soon.

“The good thing about riding for Venetia today was there were no instructions, she told me I’d know what to do. It wasn’t the plan to make the running, but he had 8st 6lb and when they let me control it I thought I’d take it with both hands.

“He was on the wrong leg going down to back but he couldn’t have done it any better, I don’t know where they’ve been hiding him because he was a maiden as well!”