Tag Archive for: Lily Agnes

Balon D’Or aiming to hit Agnes target for Owen

Hugo Palmer’s highly-regarded Balon D’Or has a wide draw to overcome in the Caa Stellar Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes on the opening day of the Boodles May Festival at Chester.

The Kodiac colt is owned and was bred by Michael Owen – and named as a nod to the revered annual football award he won in 2001, the former England striker saying he hoped he had “saved a special name for a special horse.”

Balon D’Or made his debut in early April and was a taking winner when coming home a neck to the good, especially considering he was carried markedly right by another horse the moment he left the stalls.

His Chester draw in stall 11, widest of all, does not help his cause but some of the field could defer to a maiden event on Thursday and so he could find himself more handily placed come post time.

“He did really well on debut and I think he’s come forward for it, but he’s got a terrible draw,” Palmer said.

“He’s been given a mountain to climb but that is the luck of the draw, he’s well and we’ll just have to see how we go as there might be some non runners which would help.”

Palmer has a second runner in the contest in Tierney, a Mehmas filly out of a four-time winning mare called Madam Macie who makes her debut in the race.

“She’s a nice filly. Like all of ours, she will come forward and improve for her debut but she’s a nice speedy filly that we like.”

Curragh-based trainer John O’Donoghue is set to have his first Chester runner in debut winner Parkside Boy.

The Kuroshio colt is out of top racemare Carry On Katie, a Group One heroine who won both the Lowther Stakes and the Cheveley Park in 2003.

He ran for the first time in a Dundalk maiden in mid April and duly won by half a length under Ronan Whelan, with this Chester contest then quickly identified as his next target.

“He’s been trained for this race since he won at Dundalk, we feel that a sharp, turning five furlongs is very much his forte,” O’Donoghue said.

“Thankfully we’ve got a bit of luck with the draw in stall four, so we’re looking forward to getting him out again.

“He’s precocious and we didn’t waste any time between when he was broken and pre-trained and then sent to us. Hopefully he’s as effective as his frame and his pedigree suggest at this time of year as a two-year-old.”

Middleham Park Racing own the first two horses in the market in Ziggy’s Phoenix and Ziggy’s Dream, trained by Richard Hannon and Alice Haynes respectively.

Ziggy’s Phoenix was beaten a length on her debut at Kempton in April, after which she headed to Ripon for her first run on turf in a five-furlong novice.

There she was a comfortable winner, crossing the line a length and three-quarters ahead of her nearest rival under Joe Fanning as the 11-4 joint favourite.

Ziggy’s Dream has only one run under her belt but it was a winning performance at Doncaster, where she landed a five-furlong maiden by a length and a quarter on soft ground.

“They’re both named by the same person (co-owner) Simon Woods, it’s a privilege to have two runners in this prestigious race,” said Tim Palin of Middleham Park.

“We won this in 2011 with Lily’s Angel and these are two really nice fillies, we didn’t want to run them (against each other) but both trainers were keen to run so we declared them.

“They’ve both got soft ground form, any rain that falls shouldn’t hinder them – it might even just enhance their chances a wee bit because both horses will stay further.

“They’ll both get six furlongs in time. I think the reason Ziggy’s Phoenix is favoured by the betting market is just that she’s drawn in that pole position, she’s drawn one whereas as Ziggy’s Dream’s (stall six) form is just as good I think, the Racing Post say 3lb better and Timeform say four.

“They’re two nice fillies and hopefully after the first 100 yards they’ll be in the first wave and may the best Ziggy win, may the best horse in the race win.

“We’re there with our two fillies, we think they’re nice and hopefully they’ll be involved in the finish.”



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