Last Empire digs in for Oak Tree success

Last Empire proved her stamina with a gutsy success in the Whispering Angel Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood.

Running over seven furlongs for the first time in the Group Three, Kevin Ryan’s mare was handy throughout before seeing off the late challenge of Onassis.

It was another northern raider, in John Quinn’s prolific winner Highfield Princess, who put the pace to the race.

She was widest of all in stall 17, but the five non-runners helped negate the draw somewhat – and Jason Hart rode her into an early lead.

Coming down the hill, Hart was able to get a breather into his mount – and with two furlongs to run, still looked comfortable in front, but Danny Tudhope had him in his sights on the winner.

The two had a good battle to the line. Just when it seemed Last Empire (16-1) had done enough, Onassis emerged to throw down one last challenge, before going down by half a length – with Highfield Princess a further neck away.

Ryan said of Last Empire: “She’s got the trip well there. If they’re going to get it, they’ll get it round here.

“She loved the soft ground, albeit a bit tacky today.

“The last run she ran very disappointingly, but she came back very heavily in season – so we just drew a line through it.”

The North Yorkshire trainer gave the five-year-old a break of more than two months, following her Haydock defeat last time.

He added: “We thought we’d not rush her back, just take our time and start again.

“She looked great today. Danny had a good draw – and you have to keep it, you have to believe you’re going to get the trip.

“We always had in our minds at the beginning of the season to go to Ascot for Champions Day and go for the six-furlong race, but these things might change.”

Onassis ran another fine race for Charlie Fellowes, and the Newmarket trainer was full of praise for his runner-up.

He said: “Onassis is so tough and ran a massive race.

“She got a dream run through from the back, but on that holding ground it’s harder to pick up.

“With (stablemate) Vadream, everything went wrong that could have gone wrong – and (jockey) Jamie (Spencer) said she had a really rough race.”

Atomic Force impresses with front-running Chantilly strike

Atomic Force put up another scintillating performance for an all-the-way win in the Group Two Darley Prix Robert Papin at Chantilly.

Kevin Ryan’s hugely-talented juvenile was never headed as he added this prize to last month’s equally impressive course-and-distance victory in the Prix du Bois on his previous trip to France.

Stephane Pasquier again had the son of Cotai Glory out in front from the outset after breaking very well – and although the field briefly closed up mid-race, Atomic Force quickened again to win emphatically by two and a half lengths from outsider Baghed.

A second British challenger, Hellomydarlin, was third for George Boughey.

The winner has changed hands since his first Chantilly victory – from Hambleton Racing to Siu Pak Kwan.

But he remains in Ryan’s North Yorkshire yard, and he said: “He’s a very straightforward horse, has a huge amount of ability, a great temperament, a great mind.

“He has a high cruising speed and he quickens off it. He’s a wonderful horse to deal with.

“He cruises through a race, and he has that good turn of foot, and he’s done it very stylishly again today.”

As a gelding, several high-profile targets cannot be considered – but Atomic Force does hold an entry in next month’s valuable Ballyhane Stakes at Naas.

Ryan is in no rush to make definite plans, however.

“He’s a fantastic horse,” he said.

“From day one, he’s been a lovely horse to deal with, and has identified his ability very early and then just kept improving with it.

“I’m delighted for the (new) connections as well.

“He’s limited as to what he can go for. We’ll let him get home, and I’ll discuss that with his connections at the end of week.

“We won’t make any decisions (just yet), and we’ll do what’s right by the horse.”

Earlier on the card, Victor Ludorum returned to winning form for the first time in six starts, since his success in last year’s French 2000 Guineas at Deauville, easily collaring front-running Brentford Hope in the Group Three Prix Messidor.

Mickael Barzalona tracked Richard Hughes’ British contender on Andre Fabre’s charge, before leading two furlongs out and taking the measure of the runner-up – who stayed on well to keep the remainder at bay but was beaten three lengths.

Barzalona told Sky Sports Racing: “That was great. He was a little bit disappointing in his last run (fifth in the Group One Prix d’Ispahan at ParisLongchamp).

“He’d come back very well from his first run of the season.

“(But) today it was a nice, regular pace – and I was pretty happy.”

A return to the top level, and a clash with John and Thady Gosden’s top miler Palace Pier, may beckon for Victor Ludorum in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville next month.

“That might be part of the normal programme for him,” said Barzalona.

“It’s going to be a top race, against Palace Pier, but he deserves to be in it.”

Barzalona and Fabre completed a big-race double when Noticeable Grace took the Group Three Prix Chloe.

Barzalona again hauled back a long-time leader but only just in time on this occasion, as Noticeable Grace pounced deep in the final furlong to pass Charlie Appleby’s Creative Flair to win by a head.

In a busy finish, Rougir also eventually got the better of Creative Flair to bag second spot by a nose.

Glass Slippers on course for Goodwood return

Top-class sprinting mare Glass Slippers is on course to make her belated return to action in the King George Qatar Stakes at Goodwood.

Kevin Ryan’s five-year-old has won three times at Group One level, landing the Prix de l’Abbaye in 2019 and both the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last season.

She has not been seen in competitive action since the latter of those victories in November, having sidestepped May’s Temple Stakes at Haydock and missed an intended appearance in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot due to a pulled muscle.

Glass Slippers filled the runner-up spot behind the brilliant Battaash in the King George Stakes at Goodwood last summer and a rematch is on the cards.

Ryan said: “She’s great and is heading for Goodwood now. She’ll start her season down there.

“She just pulled a muscle and had to have a couple of days easy. We weren’t going to take any chances with her.

“She’s fine now and we’re looking forward to Goodwood.”

Gis A Sub enters Gimcrack frame following Spindrifter success

The Gimcrack Stakes at York emerged as a likely target for Gis A Sub after he got off the mark with a narrow success at Pontefract.

Beaten a nose into second place by the Richard Hannon-trained Bosh on his racecourse debut at York a couple of weeks ago, Kevin Ryan’s juvenile was the 5-4 favourite to go one better in the £20,000 British Stallion Studs EBF Spindrifter Conditions Stakes.

Sent straight to the lead by Tom Eaves, Gis A Sub showed signs of inexperience in the closing stages, but had enough in reserve to repel the challenge of Hellomydarlin by half a length.

“He’s a very progressive horse and a horse we think an awful lot of,” said Ryan.

“Obviously he idled a bit in front there today. He’ll improve and learn from that race again, but we’re very pleased with his performance.

“He’d done everything right before his first run – we don’t take them to York if we don’t think they’re good enough – and we’ll look towards going back there now for the Gimcrack.

“I don’t think we’ll run him again between now and then, but we’ll just see how he comes out of the race – if we think he needs to run again, he will.”

Al Simmo (right) leads the way at Pontefract
Al Simmo (right) leads the way at Pontefract (Mike Egerton/PA)

Al Simmo (2-1 favourite) made it three from three for the season for trainer Steph Hollinshead in the Napoleons Casino Bradford Fillies’ Handicap.

Successful at Doncaster and Nottingham on her two previous outings, the daughter of Al Kazeem completed her hat-trick in fine style under Clifford Lee – passing the post with three-quarters of a length in hand over Aramis Grey.

Hollinshead said: “I’m really chuffed with her – she just keeps improving.

“I’ll be honest, I don’t think this has come from nowhere. She was third second time out at Redcar and on her third run at Doncaster she ran against the colts in a race won by Starman. She’s also much stronger this year, so hopefully there’s a bit more to come.

“I know the owner is looking at the Ebor meeting at York in August. She’ll probably run again before then, but I know that’s where the owner would really love to go.”

Atomic Force overpowers Chantilly rivals

Atomic Force made every yard of the running to claim an impressive success in the Prix du Bois Longines at Chantilly.

Trained by Kevin Ryan for Hambleton Racing, the Cotai Glory gelding had finished second on his debut at Musselburgh in April before following up with victory at Hamilton last month.

Upped to Group Three company in France, Atomic Force was partnered by Stephane Pasquier – who had the British raider smartly away in the six-furlong heat.

Wesley Ward’s runner Napa Spirit sat on his heels, but Atomic Force was soon bowling along in front and he had his nine rivals in trouble from some way out, with Pasquier only having to keep him up to his work to prevail by five lengths.

Black Lives Matter finished best of the rest, with Best Sixteen a further length back in third.

“We were very hopeful, but we probably didn’t expect him to win quite as impressively,” said Simon Turner, Hambleton’s racing director.

“He looks a very good horse.

“He enjoys a little bit of ease underfoot, and we thought there was every chance he’d get it there (Chantilly) – it just looked a nice stepping stone.

“He’s progressing quickly and looks a quality two-year-old.

“The (Prix Robert) Papin could be an option for him. We’ll consider all the good Group sprint races that he’s eligible for, see how he comes out of it and be guided by Kevin really.”

Erasmo had earlier struck gold for Andre Fabre and Mickael Barzalona in the Prix Paul de Moussac.

The Oasis Dream colt had won twice as juvenile but could finish only second on his return in the Prix La Force, prompting Fabre to drop back to Listed company for his last two starts.

After winning at ParisLongchamp in May, he was switched back up to Group Three level for this mile heat – and while Erasmo had to work hard for the win, he kept on well in the final furlong to see off Best Lightning by a short neck.

Godolphin’s Lisa-Jane Graffard told “Erasmo is a very brave horse, who never runs a bad race, and this is a fantastic result for him.

“We will see how he comes out of the race, but he has been kept busy so far this season. We may give him a break before bringing him back for the autumn, possibly looking at one of the races on Arc weekend.”

Maxime Guyon took the other two Group races on the card, landing the Prix Bertrand du Breuil Longines with Ecrivain and the Prix du Lys Longines with Northern Ruler.

Lady Ayresome scores Hilary Needler victory

Lady Ayresome found an extra gear at the finish to run out a cosy winner of the Hilary Needler Trophy Fillies’ Conditions Stakes at Beverley.

All eyes were on Kyber Crystal, who had chased home impressive National Stakes winner Ebro River on her debut, but she was never able to get in a blow in the five-furlong affair.

Lady Ayresome (11-2) was already a winner over the course and distance last time, but she was drawn highest of the 11 runners on this occasion, with Kevin Stott getting her away smartly before tacking over towards the far rail.

He settled alongside Jilly Cooper before giving the Kevin Ryan-trained Lady Ayresome the signal to go on a furlong from home, with Guilded swiftly setting out in pursuit down the middle of the track.

However, when Guilded got to Lady Ayresome’s quarters, the winner kicked again, eventually coming home three-quarters of a length clear, with Jilly Cooper sticking on for third, a further three and three-quarter lengths behind.

Betfair offer 20-1 about Lady Ayresome’s chances in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot next month.

Stott said: “She was very tough, she stole a length and I had to either get her out or take her back. Obviously with the experience of winning here, she knew the track.

“She jumped really good and we’ve come across and got a nice lead – we got to the front a bit too early if anything, as she was just pricking her ears a bit a furlong down.

“Fair play to her, she’s very tough and she’ll get a bit further.”

Ryan’s son and assistant Adam added: “She’s taken a step up when we’ve asked her, so there’s surely something round the corner for her, but let’s get today over and done with first.

“She enjoys the stiff finish there, so I’d say she’s a filly that’s going to get six furlongs. Let’s get past today, but she’s obviously a filly that’s worthy of a crack at something better.

“I think she’s a filly that probably does want a bit of ease in the ground, hopefully she’ll get get six furlongs in time but we’ll just enjoy today before we make any plans.

“I’m delighted to for the Riverside Racing Syndicate, they’re all local to our area and it’s great to have a horse win like that.

“She’s such a game filly, wherever she goes you know you will get your money’s worth.”

As her name – and the name of the 20-strong Riverside Racing ownership syndicate, together with red and white colours – suggests, Lady Ayresome belongs to a group of avid Middlesbrough football fans.

Syndicate spokesman Graham Frankland said: “We came here more in hope than expectation, but she’s a game filly and she stuck her head out for us.

“We’re very happy that she’s got to this stage and we’re hoping that it hasn’t finished yet, that she’s got more to come.

“If we went to Royal Ascot, it would be the Albany (over six furlongs). It would be a dream come true to have a runner there. We started off with nothing two and a half years ago and this filly has given us something to really look forward to.”

Royal Ascot reappearance on the agenda for Glass Slippers

Kevin Ryan’s Glass Slippers will head directly to Royal Ascot in June after connections opted to miss this weekend’s Temple Stakes at Haydock.

The mare enjoyed a successful four-year-old campaign last season, culminating with victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland in November – the first European-trained runner to win that race.

A prior win in the Group One Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes qualified the bay for the latter race, a run that was bookended by second-placed performances in both the King George Qatar Stakes at Goodwood and Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp.

Saturday’s Temple Stakes had been suggested for the five-year-old’s seasonal debut, but Ryan has confirmed she will be seen next at Royal Ascot.

“We’re skipping the Temple Stakes,” he said.

“We’ll go straight to Ascot, or at least that’s the plan.”

Glass Slippers is entered in both the King’s Stand, a race she finished fifth in when beginning her season last year, and also holds an entry for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs.

“She’s in both races and we’ll decide a bit closer to the time which to go for,” her trainer said.

The mare is eligible to defend her Breeders’ Cup crown in November as the only age restriction on the race is that entrants must be over three years old, but Ryan will focus on her early campaign before planning another trip to the States.

“We’ll worry about that (the Breeders’ Cup) when we get to the end of the year,” he said.

“We’ll think about her targets in Europe first, but she’s in great nick at home.”

Racing Insights, 28th April 2021

Wednesday's free feature is the Trainer Stats report, whilst the free races offered to all readers are...

  • 1.15 Wolverhampton
  • 2.35 Pontefract
  • 3.10 Pontefract
  • 3.55 Ascot
  • 5.05 Wolverhampton
  • 6.30 Punchestown

I'm going to take a look at the Trainer Stats report today, as in-form Kevin Ryan has two handicappers out on Wednesday and they're in the same race. Kevin's 'cappers are in really good form right now, having won 10 of 39 in the last 30 days and prior to Tuesday's 5.05 race they have 5 wins and 4 places from 19 starts in the past fortnight, as highlighted below...

Of that 5 from 19 record over the past two weeks, those runners are 4 from 17 on the Flat, 4 from 14 on Good to Firm ground, 3 from 11 over trips of 6/7 furlongs and 2 from 5 at Class 5, which should be of interest as the 4.25 Pontefract is a 9-runner, Class 5, Flat handicap over 6f for 3yos on Good to Firm (good in places) ground worth £2,970 and here's how his pair look on the card...

On pure form figures alone, Bergerac would look to have the better chance of the two here, he's also rated 9lbs higher by the assessor and scores much better on the Geegeez Speed Ratings. Bergerac also has Kevin Stott in the saddle, a man in good recent form and proven at this venue. Tiny Danser, on the other hand, is making a handicap debut today after finishing fourth in a lower grade last time out.

You'll probably have noticed the 4 in the icons under Bergerac's name too, highlighting some relevant stats at play here, such as...

...all of which are positives here.

Bergerac hasn't actually won a race yet, but has finished in the first three home in four of his five starts to date, including three runner-up finishes, a result he achieved at Wolverhampton last time out when beaten by just a length behind a 7/2 favourite despite not having raced for 228 days. He should come on for the run and providing the ground isn't a little too quick for him, he could go well here.

That said, Tiny Danser is still a maiden too after three defeats that have seen her finish fourth on her first and last runs. She ran pretty well for much of her last race, before fading in the last of seven furlongs at Redcar just over two weeks ago. She was returning from 20 weeks off track that day and like her stablemate, is entitled to improve for having had the run, which was her first on turf. The drop back in trip should also be beneficial for her here and her opening handicap mark of 68 looks reasonable/workable as on her racing debut, she was two lengths clear of another filly who subsequently won off a mark of 69.

With no wins from eight starts between them, Instant Expert will be less informative than usual...

...but if we switch to the view that shows us place finishes across both codes, Bergerac suddenly comes to life...

Our pair are drawn the lower half of the draw with Tiny Danser grabbing the rail draw in #1, whilst Bergerac is in number 4 and it has to be said that stall 1 is not only the better of the two here, it's actually the best place to be in 9-runner contests over this track and trip...

Getting a good draw is pretty important, but it's not the be all and end all here at Ponty. It's all very well being on the rail, but if your race tactics aren't right, you won't win and from a purely pace perspective, hold-up horses fare badly here.

Leaders, however, do prosper here, whilst both prominent and mid-div runners win a little more often (7% and 12% respectively) than expected and all this success is at the expense of hold-up horses who have only won 20% of the races from 31.7% of the runners, whilst leaders have won just as many times (20%) from just 12.7% of the runners...

There then arises a little bit of an anomaly, as low drawn runners fare best, as do leaders, but low drawn leaders don't actually do that well at all. In fact low drawn horses get their worst results when leading and their plan should be to hang back slightly and tuck in behind the leaders. Needless to say, all hold-up horses fare poorly, whilst top billing goes to high drawn pace-setters...

And armed with all that data, we can look back upon our runners' last four contests (three in Tiny Danser's case, of course) and attempt to make an educated/informed guess as to how they might run here...

...and what that says is that if the handicap debutant Tiny Danser doesn't go off too fast, she could well have a ideal 'pozzy', whilst Bergerac would seem to have some work to do.


I think it's fairly clear from everything above, bar the pace/draw heatmap, that Bergerac would be Kevin Ryan's best chance of a winner here, but how do I think they'll actually get on?

Well, I think that despite the pace/draw situation that Bergerac has a real chance of landing this and his current 4/1 odds look quite attractive as I expected him to be in the 3/1 to 7/2 range, so I'm happy at 4's. He won't have it all his own way and I suspect that the main challenge should be coming from the likes of Julie Johnston, who is very interesting at 7/1 and Danny Tudhope's mount Readman who can also "be had" at 4/1.

As for Tiny Danser, making the frame isn't a forlorn hope, but I fear she's not quite ready/good enough here and will probably end up in midfield.



Seven Brothers has the answer to Popmaster at Doncaster

Seven Brothers made a winning seasonal reappearance at Doncaster when taking the Handicap for Kevin Ryan and Kevin Stott.

His victory was subject to a photo finish, however, with Ed Walker’s 5-4 favourite Popmaster crossing the line only a nose behind the 13-2 winner.

The three-year-old was beaten only once from three runs last season, the sole loss coming when he tackled the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes, and Stott felt a winter break had been of benefit after his two-year-old campaign.

“We liked this horse a lot last year after his two wins,” the jockey said.

“I think because he was a breeze-up last year, by the end of the year everything had just got to him a bit.

“We put him away after the Gimcrack and he really strengthened up over the winter, mentally as well. I couldn’t fault him today.

“I wasn’t too sure if I’d won actually, but all credit to the horse.

“I’m very sure he’ll come on from this run, I think he’ll definitely go forward.”

Stott then claimed a double on the card when Ben Lilly obliged at 5-2 to take the two-and-a-half-mile Follow At The Races On Twitter Handicap for trainer David Brown.

The four-year-old was tested at the staying distance for the first time after winning over a mile and six furlongs on his latest appearance at Wolverhampton, but the expended trip was no hinderance as he came home a length and a quarter ahead of Sashenka.

Tom Clover’s Rogue Bear was a winner on his racecourse debut when taking the Visit Novice Stakes under Jack Mitchell.

The three-year-old was one of only two of runners taking to the track for the first time from the field of nine, but his inexperience proved no disadvantage as he surged to a smart one-and-a-quarter-length success at 18-1.

“He’s a really talented horse and he’s shaped up so nicely at home,” said Clover of the Kodiac gelding.

“He has been gelded as he’s not the most straightforward to train, but he’s really grown up the last month or two.

Rogue Bear and Jack Mitchell on the way to victory
Rogue Bear and Jack Mitchell on the way to victory (Mike Egerton/PA)

“We’d hoped he’d show us something like that and to actually go and do it is really impressive.”

Secretinthepark made his 60th run under rules a successful one as he claimed the Free Tips Daily On Handicap.

The Josephine Gordon-trained 11-year-old was fourth on his seasonal reappearance at Newmarket earlier in the month and looked as game as ever when battling past 9-4 favourite Autumn Flight to prevail at 7-2 for trainer Michael Mullineaux.

“He ran a very good race last time at Newmarket, his first run back after a break,” Gordon said.

“I’m not normally that confident, but I did quite fancy him today.

“He’s straightforward, he knows more about racing than we do as he’s 11 years old.

“He travels good and luckily he’s still got loads of toe left in him.

Secretinthepark was a popular winner
Secretinthepark was a popular winner (Mike Egerton/PA)

“I don’t think the same jockey has ever won on him more than once, so we’ll go for the second (win) next time!”

John and Thady Gosden’s Side Shot appreciated a return to a left-handed track as he held on to the take the Sky Sports Racing Sky 415 Handicap under Robert Havlin.

The Frankel gelding was second on his seasonal reappearance at Kempton in March and went one better this time on Town Moor, prevailing by three-quarters of a length at 9-2.

“A nice galloping track is what he wants, he’s a funny horse,” Havlin said.

“He’s always better going left-handed, at Kempton the last day I could barely keep him on the rail, but he’s a horse that will probably stay a mile and a half.

“I went out with no plan, I could have made it (the running) but I was happy with where I was, the gallop was even and I had plenty of time up the straight here.”

The penultimate race on the card, the Download The At The Races App Fillies’ Handicap, went to 16-1 chance Al Simmo for Steph Hollinshead and Clifford Lee, before the Sky Sports Racing Virgin 535 Handicap was taken by Astrogem (8-1) for Ryan Tate and Harry Eustace.

Glass Slippers records famous success in Turf Sprint

Glass Slippers gave Europe a first ever victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint when striking for North Yorkshire trainer Kevin Ryan at Keeneland.

Winner of the Prix de l’Abbaye in 2019 and just touched off from a poor draw in last month’s renewal, the four-year-old filly showed just how much she thrives in the latter part of the campaign with a dramatic success.

Glass Slippers – who landed the Flying Five at the Curragh on Irish Champions Weekend – was not the best out of the gates and Tom Eaves was happy to place her towards the rear of the field, but near the rail.

Up front, Bombard and Into Mystic shared the early pace with Wildman Jack, Texas Wedge and Leinster joining in as the runners approached the top of the stretch.

At that point, Eaves started to make his move on Glass Slippers, who was helped when a gap appeared as the early trail-blazers started to go back.

Glass Slippers responded in game fashion and galloped on strongly all the way to the line, scoring by half a length from Wet Your Whistle with Leinster third.

Ryan – having just his second Breeders’ Cup runner – said: “It’s been a funny year for us in the UK, and with this filly you have to plan her races out as she is a filly who improves as the year goes on.

“We knew she goes round a bend very well, as she had won at Chester, and Tom had a word with Ryan Moore who told him to take his time and opt for the shortest route. Being over five and a half furlongs that extra half a furlong was massive.

“She has always been a good traveller and thrives wherever she goes, although she had not been this far, but through the week as she was drinking and eating well we got happier with every passing day.

“It’s great that she will be back for another season next year and if things go to plan I would love to come back to run in this race at Del Mar.”

Ryan’s only other Breeders’ Cup runner, East, was second to Newspaperofrecord in the Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2018.

“This is what we do the job for and I’m very lucky to have had some very good horse,” he went on.

“I wasn’t able to attend my first Breeders’ Cup, but it’s great to come out here and this filly is very special.”

Delighted owner Terry Holdcroft said: “I’ve been breeding horses for over 40 years and she is the best I’ve ever bred.

“It’s lovely that we kept her and didn’t sell her. Kevin has put an incredible amount of time and detail into training the filly.

“We had a programme at the start of the year and we didn’t budge from it. We won a qualifying Group One in Ireland and only just missed out on the Abbaye and one of the reasons to keep her in training is that things might change – we haven’t been able to go racing at home and it was such a great opportunity to be able to come here and watch her run.”

Eaves said: “Kevin knows this horse like the back of his hand and he told me he couldn’t have been happier with her. I didn’t chase the pace and waited and rode my luck. There was a lovely gap for us rounding the turn.

“This is a day I will never forget.”

Monomoy Girl justified her short price when winning the Breeders’ Cup Distaff for a second time.

The five-year-old took the prize in 2018 but was restricted to only three starts in the interim, winning them all.

Brad Cox’s mare showed she was as good as ever when overcoming a wide berth to regain her crown and give her trainer a fourth Breeders’ Cup win of the weekend.

Her main rival Swiss Skydiver ruined her chance when she stumbled leaving the stalls, though the Preakness winner did her best to get into the race on the turn for home.

However, she could not maintain her challenge and weakened in the straight as Monomoy Girl and Florent Geroux lifted the prize from Valiance and Dunbar Road.

It was also redemption for Geroux as he had been unshipped from Starship Jubilee on leaving the stalls in the Filly Mare & Turf.

Cox said: “She is a champion. I’m very proud of her and I thought she was better than she had ever been coming into this and she proved that was her trip.

“It was a very fast time on a fast racetrack. She’s just a tremendous filly. I thought we were in a good spot at the eighth pole and Florent did a fantastic job.

“I’m very fortunate to be part of her – I think we’ve seen greatness.”

Monomoy Girl is due to go to the sales, but asked if that decision might be reversed, co-owned Sol Kumin said: “We will go out and enjoy tonight, get on the phone and put up a game plan and figure it all out, but ultimately it will be concentrating on what is best for her.”

Fellow co-owner Stewart Grant said: “Considering that she had some training issues, most people would have packed it in and sold her, but we love to race and with a very special team headed by Brad we were able to put her together again.

“Her career speaks for itself, with all the Grade One wins, two Breeders’ Cups and an Eclipse award.”

As for Swiss Skydiver, trainer Kenny McPeek said: “She stumbled at the start and Robby (Albarado) said after she left a little awkward that he kind of got stuck down inside and she was struggling down in there.

“But Monomoy Girl is a great filly, she’s deserves all the fame status.

“We’ll regroup and get a programme together for next year and come back at them again.”

He added: “There’s a very good chance (be back as a four-year-old). I’m a little worried about her finish, that’s uncharacteristic of her but we’ll go over her thoroughly and see what we’ve got.

“I think physically she’s probably fine but it wasn’t her day.”

Audarya flies the flag for Fanshawe at Breeders’ Cup

James Fanshawe is relishing the prospect of sending out his first Breeders’ Cup runner when Audarya contests Saturday’s Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf.

The daughter of Wootton Bassett was winning a handicap on the all-weather at Newcastle as recently as early August, but has made huge progress since by claiming a surprise Group One win in the Prix Jean Romanet before finishing a close third in the Prix de l’Opera.

Fanshawe is well aware of the task facing his charge in America, but is adamant she is not there just to make up the numbers.

He said: “It’s a very different track to what she’s been racing on – it’s round two bends and much tighter.

“She’s a very well balanced filly, so I don’t think that will be a problem, and what will suit her is a truly-run race.

“At this time of year you’re just hoping your filly is in the same form as she has been for her last two races, as you’re going into the winter and some thrive and some start to hibernate.

“She seems well and is showing no signs of that. I hope she’ll run a very big race.”

British hopes are also carried by John Gosden’s Terebellum.

Impressive in the Group Two Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket in early June, the Godolphin-owned four-year-old was subsequently narrowly denied Group One glory in both the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket.

However, she could finish only fifth on her latest appearance in the Sun Chariot.

Gosden said: “It was very, very soft ground for Newmarket in the Sun Chariot. They seldom called it heavy and that was the description they were giving on the day.

“She found that a little bit too testing. Like most horses, she likes what we call good ground.”

Aidan O’Brien’s Peaceful and Cayenne Pepper, from Jessica Harrington’s yard, represent Ireland.

Following three successive runner-up finishes, Cayenne Pepper ran out an impressive winner of the Group Two Blandford Stakes at the Curragh in September.

“I think it probably was a career-best last time,” said Harrington.

“I was convinced she was a mile-and-a-half filly, but in the Irish Oaks and in the race at Cork (Give Thanks Stakes), she was in front until the last half-furlong and got run out of it.

“Bringing her back in trip for the Blandford, and winning it like she did, I really was absolutely delighted with her.”

Kevin Ryan is looking forward to saddling Glass Slippers
Kevin Ryan is looking forward to saddling Glass Slippers (PA)

Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup action gets under way with the Filly & Mare Sprint, for which Bob Baffert’s Gamine is the likely favourite.

The following race is the Turf Sprint, in which Kevin Ryan is set to saddle dual Group One-winning filly Glass Slippers, who was last seen finishing second when bidding for back-to-back wins in the Prix de l’Abbaye.

Ryan said: “She’s a top-class filly and the Breeders’ Cup is a very important meeting – it’s nice to have a filly that is good enough to run there.

“She comes out of her races very well – she’s very tough and genuine.

“She’s one of the best I’ve trained. She’s just been a very progressive filly who has kept on improving and I’m very privileged to have her to train.”

Chad Brown’s Complexity and the Brad Cox-trained Knicks Go are among the leading contenders for the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, while George Weaver’s Vekoma and Steven Asmussen’s unbeaten colt Yaupon lock horns in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Cox’s Monomoy Girl is a hot favourite for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, ahead of Kenny McPeek’s Swiss Skydiver.

Safe Voyage one of the big hopes as Yorkshire trainers target Breeders’ Cup

Three Yorkshire trainers have their eyes on a first Breeders’ Cup success at Keeeneland this weekend.

John Quinn, Kevin Ryan and Nigel Tinkler fly the flag for the white rose county in the United States’ biggest racing Festival.

Quinn unleashes his fine stable stalwart Safe Voyage in the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile on Saturday.

The seven-year-old is a dual Group Two winner this season and was a close third in the Prix de la Foret on his latest start.

John Quinn has high hopes for Safe Voyage
John Quinn has high hopes for Safe Voyage (Edward Whitaker/PA)

The Settrington trainer revealed he has had this race mind for some time.

He said: “Early in the spring, we thought the Breeders’ Cup could suit Safe Voyage. He’s got some very good form going left-handed.

“His best form before this season was over seven furlongs, but he then won and dug deep when he won over a mile at Leopardstown, so the mile at Keeneland will hold no fears for him.”

“He finished third in the Qatar Prix de la Foret at ParisLongchamp last time and has been in good form since that race at the start of October. He’s come out of that race well.”

Having a first Breeders’ Cup runner is a dream come true for Quinn – and Safe Voyage is not going to just make up the numbers.

“This is our first Breeders’ Cup runner and it’s wonderful for us. We’ve been training a long time and he has a live chance. It’s something we all aspire to.”

Glass Slippers, Ryan’s contender for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, was also in action at ParisLongchamp where she was second in her bid to win the Prix de l’Abbaye for the second year running.

The four-year-old filly gained her place when winning the ‘Win and You’re In’ Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh.

Ryan’s first Breeders’ Cup runner was East, who was second to Newspaperofrecord in the Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2018.

Kevin Ryan relies on Glass Slippers in the Breeders' Cup Sprint
Kevin Ryan relies on Glass Slippers in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (John Walton/PA)

“The Breeders’ Cup has been on our mind all season. She won the ‘Win and You’re In’ race at the Curragh and also ran well in the Abbaye from a bad draw,” said the Hambleton handler.

Ryan would not mind some rain in Kentucky this week for his filly. He said: “She’s very versatile as far as the ground is concerned, but I think she is a better filly with some cut in the ground.”

Tinkler has faith in Ubettabelieveit, who heads to the Juvenile Turf Sprint on Friday with a progressive profile.

The Kodiac colt burst on the scene when winning the Listed National Stakes at Sandown in July and improved on that to lift the Group Two Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster in September. His only blip was in the Gimcrack Stakes at York that was run in testing conditions.

“I think he’s definitely improving. I think he’s better now than when he ran at Doncaster,” said the Malton handler.

“We then took him to Sandown where he ran very impressively and won very easily again. We then took him to York for the Gimcrack, which is over six furlongs.

“The ground was soft, bordering on heavy. He just didn’t like it – he ran too keen. Fortunately, the jockey was quite lenient with the horse, and gave him a very easy race, and he bounced back well to win the Flying Childers at Doncaster.”

On ground conditions at Keeneland, Tinkler is hoping for no more rain.

“At the moment I think the ground is fine. It does drain very well at Keeneland apparently, but soft ground would be a concern,” he said.

Nigel Tinkler feels Ubettabelieveit is improving
Nigel Tinkler feels Ubettabelieveit is improving (Steve Davies/PA)

It will also be a landmark day for the young jockey Rowan Scott who will keep the ride on Ubettabelieveit.

Tinkler said: “Rowan Scott, who rode him when he won the Flying Childers, will keep the ride. He’s a good lad.

“Nothing really phases him, so I don’t think the occasion will be a big thing for him. He’s very level-headed and he’s young. I don’t have any qualms about putting him on.”

Glass Slippers adds to top-level haul in Flying Five

Glass Slippers stayed on in determined fashion to add the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh to her Prix de l’Abbaye success of last season.

Kevin Ryan’s filly had chased home Battaash at Goodwood last time out, having finished fifth behind the same horse at Royal Ascot.

She was actually one of the first off the bridle as Nunthorpe runner-up Que Amoro and Keep Busy went at it hammer and tongs from an early stage.

With two furlongs to run Que Amoro was back-pedalling, but the John Quinn-trained Keep Busy was still at the head of affairs with Maid In India and another Quinn runner, Liberty Beach, also in there fighting.

But Tom Eaves was beginning to get a tune out of Glass Slippers (9-2) against the far rail as they approached the final furlong and she hit the front with 100 yards to run. Keep Busy, running in Doreen Tabor’s silks for the first time, was a game second, with Sonaiyla staying on for third.

A’Ali and Make A Challenge, two of the favourites, never threatened to get in a serious blow.

Speaking from his North Yorkshire base, Ryan said: “She’s so tough and genuine, but she has a lot of class.

“She loves it when they go really quick, but the ground was tacky today so she’s done well to cope with that. I’m absolutely delighted.

“Darren Bunyan has done a marvellous job with her the last 48 hours, it’s not easy handing it over to someone else, but he’s produced her in tip-top shape so I’m very thankful to the Curragh and Darren.

“It was Terry Holdcroft’s (owner of Bearstone Stud) decision to miss the Nunthorpe and give her a bit more time and he’s obviously been vindicated.

“She’s an amazing filly, so simple to train and makes my job very easy. She’ll go back for the Abbaye now.”

Eaves said: “She’s been a great filly for everyone involved and has been extremely good to me.

“It’s a great training performance by Kevin and she seems to come right at the back end of the year. It’s a great result for everyone.

“Kevin didn’t rush her and we were pleased after the run at Goodwood that she was heading the right way again.”

Stat of the Day, 22nd August 2020

Friday's pick was...

2.45 York : Yazaman @ 9/2 BOG 6th at 3/1 (Tracked leaders, ridden 2f out, weakened inside final furlong) 

Saturday's pick runs in the...

4.10 York :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Normally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.


Ben Macdui @ 3/1 BOG the 10-runner, Listed, Julia Graves Roses Stakes for 2yo over 5f on Good ground worth £17,013 to the winner...


As is often the case, the race card is our starting point... it shows a 2 yr old with 2 good results (bt by 0.75L at Gr 3 LTO) and a trainer/jockey partnership to keep the right side of. You can see this for yourself, so I won't labour those points, other than to remind you that A/E & IV numbers the further North of 1.00 you can get, the better! This is explained in more detail in our excellent user guide within My Geegeez.

So, what supporting evidence to the pick can I tell you that you might not already know?

Well, we could look at why trainer Kevin Ryan is a featured trainer in another of my unimaginatively-named microsystems (LateSeas2yo), which as you've probably guessed is centred around a group of trainers who do well towards the back end of the season with their "babies". I like to keep my angles' names simple.

To this end, I like to focus on the following : Kevin Ryan + 2yo + Flat + 5f-1m + 11-45 dslr + July-September, which since the 1st July 2016 has produced 57 winners from 220 (25.9% SR) and 180.26pts (+81.9% ROI) of level stakes profit at an A/E of 1.38 and these include of some relevance today...

  • 55/174 (31.6%) for 194.81pts (+112%) in races worth less than £20,000
  • 48/141 (34%) for 209.46pts (+148.6%) in fields of no more than 10 runners
  • 46/100 (46%) for 64.43pts (+64.4%) at odds of 5/1 or shorter
  • 46/171 (26.9%) for 120.24pts (+70.3%) in non-handicaps
  • 39/138 (28.3%) for 129pts (+93.5%) at 11-25 dslr
  • 31/104 (29.8%) for 56.39pts (+54.2%) were placed LTO
  • 20/59 (33.9%) for 120.48pts (+204.2%) with Kevin Stott in the saddle
  • 15/44 (34.1%) for 0.62pts (+1.41%) with LTO runners-up
  • and 9/37 (24.3%) for 26.88pts (+72.7%) here at York

I know that many of you like me to then combine some of the above into a composite angle, but this does dilute the sample size, of course.

However, if we just focus on the first three pieces of data, we find that those sent off at 5/1 or shorter in fields of 10 or fewer runners in races worth less than £20k are 38 from 80 (47.5% SR) for 49.06pts (+61.3% ROI) profit, with Kevin Stott riding 15 winners from 27 (55.6%) for 29.14pts (+107.9%)...

...pointing us towards... a 1pt win bet on Ben Macdui @ 3/1 BOG as was available at 8.05am Saturday, but as always please check your own BOG status (*some firms are not BOG until later in the morning)To see a small sample of odds offered on this race... here for the betting on the 4.10 York

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!


Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!