Tag Archive for: Lionel

Menuisier favouring Irish Derby date for Goodwood hero Lionel

David Menuisier is leaning towards running Lionel in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby next following his victory at Goodwood last week.

While nothing is decided as yet, the Pulburough handler feels there are several reasons to believe why the test at the Curragh is the best fit for his colt.

In the immediate aftermath of his victory Menuisier also mentioned the Queen’s Vase and the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, as well as the Grand Prix de Paris, with the St Leger later in the season another aim.

“We’ll give ourselves a little bit of time, let the Derby run and see what’s what, but my first thought is to go for the Irish race,” said Menuisier.

“Ascot is a lovely galloping track but I just think the Curragh, with it’s long straight, might suit him and the ground is more likely to be good at the Curragh than Royal Ascot.

“So that’s the vibes, but we haven’t really had a proper discussion yet because we don’t have to make a plan yet.

“While we are thinking of the St Leger, don’t forget he hasn’t even run over a mile and a half yet. While he might stay, I’d want to run over a mile and a half next and that could potentially lead to the Leger.

“I think we’ve plenty of pace though, the Leger is in our minds but he could have the pace to be very good over one-mile-four.”

Menuisier could be tempted by Irish Derby with Lionel

Lionel broke his maiden and in the process opened up a wealth of big-race options – including the Irish Derby – with victory in the British Stallion Studs EBF Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood.

Trained by David Menuisier, the Lope De Vega colt had caught the eye when third on his reappearance at Newbury behind Natural World.

He had been declared for the Lingfield Derby Trial but his trainer felt the ground was too quick there and decided to bide his time.

That now looks a smart move, as despite being friendless in the market at 17-2 in a field of just six, Lionel, who was outpaced at halfway, demonstrated stamina in abundance at the finish for Jamie Spencer.

Frankie Dettori attempted to dictate matters from the front on the heavily-backed Aldous Huxley, but he was challenged on all sides by Lysander and Maksud.

Just as if it looked like Dettori’s mount had done enough, Lionel’s stamina kicked in late in the day and he won going away by a neck with half a length back to the William Haggas-trained Lysander.

“I am emotional because I thought he was beaten two (furlongs) out,” said Menuisier.

“The form of the yard coming into this was not brilliant. A lot of people talk about statistics. When you train racehorses, you don’t want to look at statistics too much. We have been proving for long enough that we are not too bad at training racehorses.

“He had no luck at Newbury. We lost the race at the start. He went into the stalls and it was all new to him. Now he knows how to win and hopefully he will keep going.

Trainer David Menuisier has a nice prospect
Trainer David Menuisier has a nice prospect (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“The plan was to ride him a bit handier, but he couldn’t be handier.

“I don’t regret taking him out of the Derby – I am going to win with Sir Bob Parker – the main reason why we took him out of the Derby, and obviously it was a concerted discussion, was because we feel he is probably too weak mentally to handle the prelims. He is too immature. I don’t want to frighten him.

“We want to bring him on gradually. I think he is a very good horse, I have always said that, but he wants to be a grown up to win at Epsom and he is not.

“He is in at Royal Ascot and he is in the Irish Derby and he is in the Grand Prix de Paris in July. I think he will handle any ground. I don’t want it to be too quick on unconventional tracks. On a nice, big galloping track, he will be fine. On unconventional tracks, he wants a bit of cut in the ground to counter the cambers and undulations.

“At the moment, when I say Ascot, I can’t write off the Queen’s Vase. I can’t write off the King Edward VII and can’t write off the Irish Derby.

“Doncaster in September (St Leger) is a good possibility. The dam (Gretchen) won a Group Two (Park Hill Stakes) there and he will stay well in time. But he has got pace to win over one mile and four. I think the Curragh over one mile four sounds like a good idea. He is entered in the Arc and entered everywhere.”

The connections of Lysander were not too down heartened by his display back in third.

“He wasn’t beaten too far and we are mulling over what we do next. It wasn’t a bad run, but the ground was too soft for him. He had a hard race, but I would hold on to those Derby tickets a while longer. We will see how he takes this,” said Harry Herbert, managing director of owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing.

Menuisier deliberating Derby run for Sir Bob Parker

Sir Bob Parker could still tackle the Cazoo Derby after finishing third in his trial in France on Sunday.

The David Menuisier-trained Siyouni colt was beaten two and three-quarter lengths by Onesto in the Group Two Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud as he attempted to follow up last month’s Chantilly win.

Cristian Demuro’s mount tracked the pace in the 10-and-a-half furlong event, but dropped to third in the final 100 yards and connections of the Michael Watt-owned colt felt he could have finished closer to the winner.

Despite all of his three runs coming on the other side of the English Channel, Menuisier believes there is still a chance he will make his British debut in the Epsom Classic, for which he is a general 50-1 chance.

“He ran really well,” said the Pulborough handler. “I was really pleased. I don’t think the race was run to suit.

“If he had made more use of him then he would have been better. To me, he should have finished closer than he did. I think he also showed he will be better over further.

“There is nothing set in stone, but there is a chance we might give him a go in the Derby, should he be well or what have you.

“When you look at the results of the sectional times, you know how the horse could be, so I am very pleased with the horse, but I was frustrated with the way the race was run.

“It was part of the plan to let him stride on. It’s OK. I would rather be effective on D-Day rather than in a trial. Trials are there to try things.”

Menuisier is still mulling over options for Lionel, who finished third to Natural World in a deep maiden at Newbury on his seasonal debut.

That was only the second start of his career and the Normandie Stud-owned son of Lope De Vega missed an intended engagement in the Lingfield Derby Trial last weekend.

Menuisier said: “The next one is Goodwood’s Cocked Hat Stakes (May 20) – if the ground is suitable.

“If not, we might go to France for the Group Two Prix Hocquart (at ParisLongchamp) over a mile and three furlongs on May 26.

“It depends on the track. In an ideal world, he doesn’t want it rattling. Goodwood usually do a good job of the ground, but not if it is good to firm.”

Lionel/Newbury
Lionel could have a Derby prep at Goodwood (Simon Milham/PA)

Lionel is a general 33-1 shot for the Derby, but he warned punters that a successful trial may not warrant a place in the line-up at Epsom.

He added: “I’m not convinced the Epsom Derby is Lionel’s race, anyway. I am not sweating about it.

“We are quite open-mined about the whole thing. There is no pressure to do one thing or the other.”

Menuisier retains full faith in Lionel after Newbury return

David Menuisier has hinted he is still keen to take in one of the Derby trials with Lionel following his staying-on third to Natural World at Newbury on Saturday.

The son of Lope De Vega was beaten three-quarters of a length in the Retreat At Elcot Park Maiden Stakes, having suffered traffic problems under Jamie Spencer in the one-mile-three-furlong contest.

Yet despite this luckless effort, he remains a general 66-1 chance for the Cazoo Derby at Epsom on June 4.

“He is definitely one of the best I have trained. He is a really nice horse,” said Menuisier.

“The ground was really nice at Newbury, so when it is like that, usually they take things quite well. I am delighted with him.

“It was a tough contest and I don’t want to be too cheeky, but I felt we were beaten by circumstances, rather than the opposition.

“To be perfectly honest, in our mind we won the race and that is why there is a chance that perhaps we might not run in maidens – we might just go up to the next level.”

Connections are mulling over options following his eye-catching seasonal debut, where he showed plenty of improvement from his runner-up effort on heavy ground over a mile at Newbury last October.

David Menuisier could aim high with Lionel
David Menuisier could aim high with Lionel (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“We will give him a few days. We are flat out until Wednesday and then we can start taking the pressure down a bit and look at the second wave,” added the Pulborough handler.

“The horses have to do the talking. It is not for us to put words into their mouth.

“Next time he will have a test, but I feel those better races will have more pace and this horse wants pace, because he has such a long stride and he can quicken drastically off a strong pace. Then, is he good enough or not? It is up to him to show us. I can only speculate that he is a nice horse.

“He has all the right entries, he has the right pedigree. I have doubts about the trainer, but that is the only doubt I have!

“I don’t like to talk horses up. There are one or two things we can improve and he will improve with experience.

“It is very early days for him but down the line, he will be a really good four-year-old. Whatever he does, he is bred to just get better and better and better.”