Tag Archive for: Keeneland

Oisin Murphy back with Mawj for Breeders’ Cup prep

Oisin Murphy will reunite with Saeed bin Suroor’s 1000 Guineas heroine Mawj in Keeneland on Saturday night when she lines up for the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.

Off the track since beating Dermot Weld’s Tahiyra to claim Classic honours at Newmarket, Bin Suroor has elected to take the battle-hardened three-year-old Stateside for her comeback run.

She has reportedly settled well in Kentucky and the Godolphin trainer is optimistic his charge is in a good place ahead of her tilt at the $600,000 contest over a mile and a furlong.

“She has arrived there and is out of quarantine and away now to the stables,” said Bin Suroor.

“She is looking good, is in good form and happy, and we are looking forward to running her Saturday.

“Oisin Murphy is going over to ride and so far is so good. She has done her main work in Newmarket and Oisin rode her in her last piece of work on the Limekilns round gallop. We’re hoping we will see good results from her again.

Jockey Oisin Murphy celebrates on board Mawj after winning the 1000 Guineas Stakes
Jockey Oisin Murphy celebrates on board Mawj after winning the 1000 Guineas Stakes (David Davies for The Jockey Club/PA)

“She will have to be in a good position in the race, but as usual I like to have my horses handy and if she is somewhere close I would be happy. Oisin knows her well and so far so good.”

Mawj will have further US assignments on the agenda in just under a month’s time, with the outcome of her performance in Keeneland set to help formulate running plans for the Breeders’ Cup where she could stick to a mile or stretch out to 10 furlongs for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

“She could go for the Mile or the Filly & Mare,” continued the trainer. “It is between the two races and we will see. We have to see which horses are running and which race might suit her.”

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Keeneland and not Sun Chariot the plan for Mawj

Mawj will skip the Sun Chariot at Newmarket in favour of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on October 14.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor had it between those two races for the comeback of the 1000 Guineas winner, and he has plumped for the $600,000 contest over a mile and a furlong.

Mawj has not been seen since beating Tahiyra at Newmarket in early May and subsequently Dermot Weld’s filly has won the Irish Guineas, the Coronation Stakes and the Matron Stakes.

“She worked on Saturday and she worked well, she’s in good form,” said Bin Suroor.

Mawj (right) got the better of Tahiyra at Newmarket
Mawj (right) got the better of Tahiyra at Newmarket (David Davies/PA)

“The plan is we are going to head to Keeneland for the QEII, that’s what we decided, she’s in good form and she’s working well.

“It was Keeneland or the Sun Chariot, but we thought the Keeneland race was a better prep for the Breeders’ Cup. We’ll bring her back in between.

“I’ve been very pleased with her, her condition is good and I’m pleased with everything I’ve seen.

“American racing should suit her, she’s a tough filly, the flat track will suit her better, I think. She beat Tahiyra in the Guineas and no one else has managed that.”

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Keeneland prep for Breeders’ Cup hope Live In The Dream

Live In The Dream will head to America to acclimatise ahead of his Breeders’ Cup tilt with a run in the $350,000 Woodford Stakes at Keeneland.

The flying four-year-old proved appropriately named at York when storming to success in the Nunthorpe and booking his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in the process – setting up a trip of a lifetime to Santa Anita for enthusiastic connections who were all tasting big-race success for the first time.

However, before the main event in California on November 4, trainer Adam West has elected to give his thriving speedster an early taste of the action Stateside and Live In The Dream will head to Kentucky on October 7 for a contest won in the past two years by Wesley Ward’s Golden Pal.

West said: “We can’t rely on getting any good ground in the Abbaye and we think the experience out in America – the bell, the stalls they have, the pace they set, a turning track – will hold him in better stead for the Breeders’ Cup.

“The race itself is five and a half furlongs so we’re not expecting to do serious damage there, but the experience for him in that racing style will be invaluable. If we’re leading them at the half-furlong marker then we’ll know we have a really good chance in the big race.”

West reports the Prince Of Lir gelding to be in tip-top form following his exploits on the Knavesmire and with excitement building ahead of the upcoming cross-Atlantic raids, he hopes an outing at Keeneland will help keep a lid on his charge ahead of his main target four weeks later.

Jockey Sean Kirrane, trainer Adam West (right) and the winning connections celebrate winning the Nunthorpe
Jockey Sean Kirrane, trainer Adam West (right) and the winning connections celebrate winning the Nunthorpe (Simon Marper/PA)

“He’s been thriving ever since the Nunthorpe, he’s been really, really well,” added West.

“I’ve just been trying to switch him off a little bit actually so that the next race can bring him on. It’s very hard to keep something at its maximum for as long as the two races (Nunthorpe and Breeders’ Cup) are separated, so hopefully this will do the trick.

“It’s very exciting and we can’t wait.”

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Hills delighted to hit the jackpot with Ancient Rome in Kentucky

Ancient Rome could be set for further adventures overseas having scooped almost £1million when victorious at Kentucky Downs on Saturday.

A four-time winner and fourth behind Modern Games in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains when trained in France by Andre Fabre, the son of War Front is two from two since switched to Charlie Hills for new owner Fitri Hay.

His class came to the fore when landing the Chesterfield Cup at the Qatar Goodwood Festival and he further advertised his qualities when making a successful raid on the Grade Three Mint Millions Stakes.

“It was fantastic and he’s done very little wrong since he has joined us,” said Hills.

“He’s got his good form back again and he had such good form as a two-and three-year-old. He seems to be enjoying himself and travelled over there great.

“It’s great when you have a horse who you know can travel well and it hopefully gives us a few nice races to go for in the future.”

Ancient Rome could now go in search of further riches Stateside, with international outings in both France and Bahrain also possibly on the agenda.

Ancient Rome surges clear to win at Goodwood
Ancient Rome surges clear to win at Goodwood (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Hills continued: “You have to give full credit to Fitri Hay and her team for finding that race over there and he’s Kentucky-bred so it made sense with that amount of prize-money for a Grade Three to go for it.

“We’ve had a brief chat this morning and we really need to get him home first, but there should be some nice races to go for.

“We could look at the Coolmore Turf Mile at Keeneland or we could go to France for the Prix Dollar and maybe the Bahrain Trophy a little bit later on.

“I’m sure he will get a bit further as well. I don’t see a mile and a quarter being a problem and he’s a really exciting horse to have in the yard, it’s great.”

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International goals on the horizon for Stenton Glider

German 1000 Guineas runner-up Stenton Glider could be on her travels again later this year as Hugo Palmer plots a course for America with the talented filly.

The three-year-old has thrice finished runner-up in four starts this term, taking the silver medal in the Fred Darling at Newbury and again in Dusseldorf, before achieving another second-place effort when collared late on by Mystic Pearl in Saturday’s Coral Distaff at Sandown.

She was also unplaced behind Mawj in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on her second start this term.

Palmer felt Andrea Atzeni’s mount was a little unfortunate not to add to her Chester novice win as a two-year-old on her latest run in the Listed mile contest.

He said: “She was unlucky in some regards. She fended the other two off, they softened her up, Bridestones (third) and Magical Sunset (seventh), but she is rated 10lb higher than Bridestones.

“She is a very genuine filly, she’s tough and she tries, but she is also one of those that just does enough.

“I think she was content in herself that she was just doing enough and William’s (Haggas) filly has just come wide and late, and done her without any chance to respond.

“It was difficult from that draw (10), as I don’t think Andrea could have done anything else, as if she’d had a tow into the race and been able to quicken off the heels of something, she might have gone on and been a little bit clear of them.”

Palmer has plenty of faith that the best is yet to come from the strapping daughter of Dandy Man, who will be handed entries at Ascot and Haydock.

“We will probably make an entry in the Valiant at Ascot (July 29), but we’d be more likely to go to the Dick Hern (Haydock, August 12). She is a very big filly and still filling her frame. I think she’ll be, with luck and a fair wind, a really nice four-year-old. She didn’t run until the back end last year and she is just growing and changing all the time.”

Palmer saddled Hawksmoor to finish third in the Grade One Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland in 2016 and thinks a return to the Kentucky track could be a good long-term fit for Stenton Glider.

“The priority will be to make her a stakes winner this year,” added the Cheshire handler. “I’ve always had it in the back of my mind if she could be good enough to go and warrant the trip, I’d love to take her to the QEII at Keeneland in October. I think American racing there would suit her really well.

“The priority is to make her a stakes winner now she is Listed, Group Two and Group Three placed.

“She is gorgeous and I think she will keep getting better. If she could win either the Dick Hern or the Valiant, then the Atalanta at Sandown (September 2) would be another possibility for her.”

Hackman looks set for a trip to Goodwood
Hackman looks set for a trip to Goodwood (David Davies/PA)

Meanwhile Hackman, who was runner-up to the impressive Kylian in Friday’s Listed Dragon Stakes, will head to Goodwood.

Winner of a five-furlong Listed race at Chester in May, the Mehmas juvenile had little chance with the winner but has taken the race well.

Palmer said: “He is in really good order. He toughed it out to be second, but James (Doyle) has ridden him to be Listed-placed twice over that track at Sandown this year and he just said he feels like it’s a long way on him.

“So he is going to go to the Molecomb and hopefully maybe that very sharp five will play to his strengths.

“He’s not a superstar, but he is a well-above-average horse and can definitely win stakes races.”

Hugo Palmer may stay close to home with Brad The Brief this weekend
Hugo Palmer may stay close to home with Brad The Brief this weekend (Mike Egerton/PA)

Goodwood is also a possibility for Brad The Brief, who seems poised to miss the Group One Pertemps Network July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday in favour of the Listed Raymond & Kathleen Corbett Memorial City Plate at Chester.

“When I left him in, it looked likely there was going to be more rain, so I would say Brad The Brief is an unlikely runner in the July Cup,” said Palmer.

“But we got pretty wet up here, so I would say he’s pretty likely to run in the seven-furlong Listed race at Chester on Saturday.

“While he has never won over seven, he has always shaped like he could and if that went well, then the (Group Two) Lennox could easily be on his radar as well at Goodwood.”

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