Tag Archive for: Laurel

Laurel on course to return from lengthy absence at Royal Ascot

John and Thady Gosden’s Laurel will have her first run for over a year in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The lightly-raced five-year-old has not been seen since disappointing when well fancied for last year’s Lockinge at Newbury.

As a three-year-old she was beaten less than a length in the Sun Chariot Stakes, on what was just her third ever run, and connections are keen to see what she is capable of given the chance.

“Laurel is on target for Ascot when I was talking to John on Friday,” said Barry Mahon of owners Juddmonte.

“Unfortunately she didn’t get to have a prep run, but John and Thady just felt there was nothing suitable in the last few weeks so they decided they were happy to go straight to Ascot.

“She’s very lightly raced, but we always felt she had high-class ability. She’s been off a long time so it’s going to be a remarkable training feat to turn up at Ascot and win after over 12 months off, but they have done it before.”

On Friday at Doncaster the famous colours filled the first two places in what looked a hot novice race, with a Shamardal filly out of Midday, the Ralph Beckett-trained Indelible, beating Amphius (Harry Charlton), a Kingman brother to Sangarius.

“We don’t really have a definitive plan. I suppose we’ll see what handicap mark she gets and she could be a possible for the Sandringham at Ascot,” said Mahon of the winner.

“If not she could step up in class if she doesn’t get a normal handicap mark. You could see her getting 10 furlongs definitely, 12 I’m not so sure.

“She’s a nice filly, she’s won two of her three and she can progress as the year goes on, her work at home has always been of a nice level so hopefully she keeps going forward.

“She was in the Guineas and the Irish Guineas but she’s just taken an age to come to hand, she’s had no setbacks or anything, she still had her winter coat on about a week ago and the wet spring took its toll on her.

“It looked a good race, we like the second horse Amphius with Harry Charlton, I think he’s a nice colt.”

On Sunday Kassaya, a half-sister to last year’s Guineas winner Chaldean, easily went one better than on debut and booked her Royal Ascot ticket.

“Kassaya has a load of ability, she shows plenty of speed at home and Andrew (Balding) has been excited by her for the last couple of weeks,” said Mahon.

“She ran well on debut when the ground was on the soft side and she hit the front plenty early before getting mugged late on.

“She’d come forward nicely from that, I thought she still looked green and she can take another jump forward. All being well we’ll have a look at something at Ascot for her.

“I think we’ll stick at five for the minute, the way she hit the line yesterday suggests she could go up to six after that.”

High-class filly Laurel to miss rest of the campaign

Laurel will miss the rest of the season due to the injury which saw her ruled out of Royal Ascot.

John and Thady Gosden’s lightly-raced daughter of Kingman was due to line-up in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at the summer showcase, but was a late absentee having suffered setback the weekend before her intended engagement.

Connections did have their sights on a quick return in the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket later this week.

But it appears the issue is more serious than first envisaged with the Group One-placed filly set to remain on the sidelines for the rest of the current campaign and a decision on her future still to be made.

“Unfortunately she is going to miss the rest of the season,” explained Barry Mahon, European racing manager for owners Juddmonte.

Laurel (Left) finishing second to Fonteyn (right) in the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket last autumn
Laurel (Left) finishing second to Fonteyn (right) in the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket last autumn (Tim Goode/PA)

“Initially it looked like it was going to be an insignificant thing, but it turned out to be a bit more than we thought.

“She’s on her way back to the farm for a rest, she definitely won’t run again this season and it is to be decided whether she stays in training next year or not.

“She’s a very lightly-raced filly and John and Thady both said to me last week they would love to keep her in training next year.

“She’s a high-class filly who could win a Group One and she’s only run five times in her life so I can sort of understand their point and maybe that is the right thing to do. But we will speak with Prince Khalid’s family and see what they would like to do and unfortunately she won’t be running again this season.”

Late setback rules Laurel out of Duke of Cambridge engagement

Connections of Laurel will look to the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes after she was frustratingly ruled out of the Duke of Cambridge Stakes with a late setback.

Trained by John and Thady Gosden, the daughter of Kingman was towards the top of the market for the one-mile Royal Ascot Group Two – a race which had been her main target for the first half of the season – but her name was missing from the 10 declarations on Monday.

A winner of three of her five starts, she would have had a fine chance of bouncing back from a below-par effort in the Lockinge where she was tasked with taking on colts for the first time.

However, she suffered an issue over the weekend which will keep her on the sidelines during the Royal meeting, with the focus now switching to getting her back to full fitness for her next assignment, which could come on July 14 at Newmarket’s July Festival.

“She’s just had a little setback over the weekend and this morning John and Thady weren’t 100 per cent happy with her, so unfortunately we couldn’t declare her,” said Barry Mahon, European racing manager for owners Juddmonte.

“It’s just a bit of wear or tear and it was 50-50, but you are on the big stage and when you are not 100 per cent happy it’s not worth taking the risk. So we said we will give her an easy few days and probably aim for the Falmouth at the July meeting.”

Mahon added: “It’s frustrating as this is the race we had in mind for her all year, but the filly’s welfare always comes first and once the trainer wasn’t 100 per cent happy that was it, there was no question.”

Laurel headlines high-class Kempton treble for Gosdens

Laurel underlined her Classic potential with an authoritative success in the Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes, completing an Easter Monday Kempton treble for co-trainers John and Thady Gosden.

The daughter of Kingman had looked the part when making a winning debut at Newmarket in July.

She followed up in a mile novice at Kempton and was only beaten three-quarters of a length by Fonteyn when trying Group One company in the Sun Chariot on the Rowley Mile.

Having her first start since that October reverse, and partnered by Ryan Moore for the first time, she easily put her eight rivals to the sword in the Racing TV-sponsored Listed contest.

Though the early pace was pedestrian, Moore sat just on the withers of early pace-setter Abhayaa, before gradually winding the Juddmonte-owned filly up.

Having asked her for a response, she quickly lengthened with a furlong and a half to run and strode clear with ease under hands and heels for a three-and-a-half-length success from the staying-on Lightship, who was rated 29lb inferior on official ratings.

Laurel was cut to 5-1 (from 6-1) by Betfair for the Lockinge at Newbury and 7-1 (from 8s) for the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Thady Gosden said: “It was her first run of the year and she ran a little fresh early, but she did it nicely.

Laurel pictured on her debut at Newmarket
Laurel pictured on her debut at Newmarket (Adam Morgan/PA)

“It was all very uncomplicated and she picked up well in the straight and went through the gears nicely.

“Obviously from stall nine you have to either be positive or accepting from the back, so Ryan went forward on her and she picked up well.

“She is a talented filly, as she has shown, and she is improving. We just have to find the right spot for her now. There are fillies’ races we can go for over a mile or a mile and one, then there are the open races. We’ll have to see.”

Gosden senior was quick to pay tribute to not only the ability of Moore, but also his post-race insight.

He said: “Not only is he probably the greatest international jockey, but he is also the greatest adviser after a race. What he tells me after a race is worth a great deal. He guides you well and he made a lot of sense there.

“Ryan was very happy with her and he likes her a lot. The filly was very immature as a two-year-old and then she has come through.

“Her immaturity probably cost her the Sun Chariot and I think not knowing much about it as well as she hit the front and wandered about a bit. She is learning all the time.

The Duke of Cambridge (at Royal Ascot) is an obvious target,

“She is a lovely filly. She didn’t do a lot last season. She won a novice and then won here and was second in a Group One. She is very much an improving filly. Her mother has not had a lot of luck as a broodmare, but this filly has turned it around.

An outing in Group Two company appears to be next up for Laurel with Gosden senior earmarking either the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket on May 7th or the Ridgewood Pearl Stakes at the Curragh as potential options ahead of an engagement at Royal Ascot.

Gosden added: “Ryan has given me two options so I’ll be scratching my head, but I’m clear with what I’m doing with the first one.

“The Duke of Cambridge (at Royal Ascot) is an obvious target, but talking to Ryan it is what we do between then and now.

“If it was fast ground at Newmarket (for the Dahlia Stakes) he was steering me elsewhere which is very good advice. They are on them, they feel and they know them.

“Thady has mentioned a race in Ireland (Ridgewood Pearl Stakes) so that is a possibility. He has been reading the book and I haven’t so he is ahead of me on that. He is always race planning well ahead of me.”

Laurel booked for Snowdrop assignment

Sun Chariot runner-up Laurel is to make her return to action in the Racing TV Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes at Kempton on Easter Monday.

Trained by John and Thady Gosden, the Juddmonte-owned four-year-old made giant strides last season having not made her debut until the end of July.

She won that day at Kempton and returned there in September to defy a penalty before stepping straight into Group One company at Newmarket, beating all bar Fonteyn.

“Laurel is a lovely filly and looks great at the moment. She’s going to start off at Kempton in the Snowdrop on Monday week,” said Juddmonte’s Barry Mahon.

“She’s in good form and hopefully she’ll have a good year. She’ll have no penalty at Kempton, she handles the all-weather having won there twice and we’ll try to get her season up and going.

“She’s not a stakes winner yet, so the aim will be to make her a stakes winner and then progress throughout the year.”

Another lightly-raced Juddmonte filly who made giant strides last season was Ralph Beckett’s Haskoy.

She was another to win her first two outings, the second a Listed race at York, before being stepped up in distance and class for the St Leger in which she crossed the line second before being placed fourth due to causing interference.

Haskoy (right) just got the better of fellow Juddmonte-owned filly Time Lock at York
Haskoy (right) just got the better of fellow Juddmonte-owned filly Time Lock at York (Mike Egerton/PA)

“She’s in great form, I saw her on Wednesday at Ralph’s. She had a nice break during the winter when she came back to the farm,” said Mahon.

“We probably threw her in at the deep end a little bit going for a St Leger on just her third start, so we gave her a good break and she went back to Ralph in January.

“She’s probably a little way off a run, I’d say you wouldn’t see her for six or seven weeks yet but she’s done well and she’s a filly we’re looking forward to this year.

“I think we’ll be starting her over a mile and a half. She won the Galtres over that trip at York so we know she’s effective at that distance.

“We’ve got Westover for the Coronation Cup I suppose but she’s a nice filly, we know she stays but I don’t know she needs to be going over any further than a mile and six (furlongs), the weakest part of her race in the Leger was probably the last 50 yards.

“She’s definitely an exciting filly though, her and the filly that was second at York, Time Lock. They are two good four-year-olds to go to war with.”