Tag Archive for: Lysander

Royal Patronage on Derby trail for Highclere

Royal Patronage will carry the hopes of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing in the Cazoo Derby on Saturday week after connections ruled out running the promising Lysander at Epsom.

Having finished second to Derby favourite Desert Crown in the Dante Stakes at York a fortnight ago, Mark and Charlie Johnston have given Royal Patronage the green light to take his chance in the premier Classic.

Highclere’s managing director Harry Herbert has since made no secret of the regard in which the William Haggas-trained Lysander is held and hoped he too might book his ticket for Epsom with victory in the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood.

But having come up narrowly short on the Sussex Downs – beaten three-quarters of a length into third – his sights have now been turned towards Royal Ascot.

Herbert said: “We had high hopes for Lysander and we still do, it was just very frustrating when the rain arrived at Goodwood.

“I think this horse has such a good action and he was slightly all at sea off that slow pace when they really quickened it up, but he still ran a hell of a race.

“We’re not going to the Derby with him now and will head to either the Hampton Court or the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“He had a hard race the other day in sticky ground and William just feels going to Epsom would be the wrong move for the horse right now.

“He’s very talented and we never like turning down the Derby, but we’ll take a longer term view.”

Jason Hart and Royal Patronage after winning the Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket
Jason Hart and Royal Patronage after winning the Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket (Tim Goode/PA)

Despite being beaten just over three lengths by 9-4 Epsom favourite Desert Crown at York, Royal Patronage is a general 25-1 shot.

Herbert is not necessarily expecting the Highclere runner to reverse that form, but does feel he has been underestimated in the market.

He added: “He’ll definitely run there, all being well. I spoke to Charlie Johnston on Tuesday morning and he tells me he’s in very good form.

“He won impressively at Epsom last year, so he’s handled the track pretty well and we’re hopeful that he’ll stay the mile and a half. If he does, he could give everyone a lovely shout.

“We feel the rhythm of the Dante possibly didn’t suit him as they went slow and then really sprinted, but take nothing away from the winner, who won well and deserves to be Derby favourite.

“It’s a difficult race and anything can happen, as we’ve seen so many times before.

“I think we’re probably too big a price for a talented horse who is proven on the track.”

One who could still turn up at Epsom is Godolphin’s Nations Pride who came through a workout on Wednesday morning and a decision on whether to supplement him will be made in the next 48 hours.

Trainer Charlie Appleby said on Godolphin’s Twitter account: “Nations Pride has impressed in his work at Moulton Paddocks this morning with William Buick on board. A decision will be made in the next 48 hours whether he will be supplemented for the G1 Derby @EpsomRacecourse.”

Lysander seeking to add extra spice to Derby picture

Lysander will attempt to underline his lofty reputation and book his place in the Cazoo Derby when taking on six rivals in the British Stallion Studs EBF Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood on Friday.

The three-year-old was third on his debut at Newbury in October and then broke his duck for in-form trainer William Haggas when scoring by eight and a half lengths on the all-weather at Newcastle last month.

His odds for the premier Classic have been shortening, and Harry Herbert, chairman and managing director of owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, hopes the son of New Approach can take the next step and leap into the Epsom reckoning.

“It is a big day on Friday with Lysander running in the last of the Derby trials,” said Herbert.

“He is a very exciting horse from what we have seen at home, and we are going to have a look on Friday to see if he is a Derby horse.

“He is a very exciting prospect. Roger (Varian) liked his horse (Sonnerie Power) who was third behind him at Newcastle and while it was a small race, there were a couple of fancied ones in there and he put the race to bed.

“He comes with a big reputation, but we’ll see. It’s time to find out and then go on to the next level.”

Natural World renews rivalry with Lionel in the Cocked Hat Stakes
Natural World renews rivalry with Lionel in the Cocked Hat Stakes (Steven Paston/PA)

Natural World is no longer in the Derby picture, since Charlie Appleby is reliant upon Walk Of Stars and Nahanni for Epsom, but the trainer expects him to improve for his third place finish in Lingfield’s Derby Trial.

“Natural World has posted two pleasing efforts to date and came out of his race at Lingfield well,” Appleby told the Godolphin website.

“He looks to have come forward mentally for that run and any improvement on that performance should make him a big player.”

Lionel, who suffered traffic problems when a staying-on third to Natural World at Newbury, missed his intended engagement in the Lingfield Derby Trial as trainer David Menuisier decided to wait with the son of Lope De Vega.

Jamie Spencer had a luckless run aboard Lionel at Newbury (Simon Milham/PA)

“I think we would be quietly confident of turning around form with Natural World from Newbury,” said Menuisier.

“There is a lot going his way, to be honest, so fingers crossed. I would not want to run him on rattling fast, but it is not going to be that. It is a matter of seeing what he does and take it from there.”

Maksud, who represents Hughie Morrison, runs having won his only start to date.

Morrison said: “He came from Shadwell’s dispersal. He was said to be a nice horse by Angus Gold (racing manager to Shadwell Stud).

Hughie Morrison hopes Maksud can maintain his unbeaten record
Hughie Morrison hopes Maksud can maintain his unbeaten record (Adam Davy/PA)

“His lad said he was a nice horse, and while I always take everything with a pinch of salt, I was pleasantly surprised.

“You’d hope that he has improved. He had a thick, woolly coat when he ran and he’s only just getting rid of it now. That’s another reason why I have held on to him.”

Elsewhere on a cracking seven-race card, the William Hill Height Of Fashion Stakes is the last recognised Oaks trial.

With thunder storms possible along the West Sussex coast and light rain expected on raceday morning, many trainers are keeping a watchful eye on the skies at the South Downs track.

Menuisier is one who would welcome any rain for Ottilien, whose last three runs have come on easy ground in France.

Menuisier said: “We are relying on the thunder storms appearing for Ottilien. She is a nice filly. She won over one mile and two furlongs at two at Saint-Cloud, and she won at Chantilly the other day, beating a good field. She is in good form and we are obviously keeping our fingers crossed.

“We left her in the Oaks just in case, but she is very ground dependent. She wants at least good to soft ground – she wants slow ground for sure.”

Runaway Nottingham maiden winner Silk Sea Road (Haggas) and impressive 16-length Kempton novice scorer Emotion, who drops back in trip, are likely to be among the principals in the 10-furlong Listed contest.

Moonlight Frolic made the required improvement from last season’s debut run when scoring over a mile at Thirsk on her return for Amy Murphy.

The Newmarket handler would also welcome any rain and said: “She is a lovely filly and obviously needs to step up again from winning at Thirsk and going to Goodwood. I think there are a quite a few with similar profiles to her.

“We’ll take our chance and we’ll know where to go moving forward. I think she’d want a bit of cut but she’s not ground dependent.”

Makinmedoit was a close-up third in the Lingfield Oaks Trial
Makinmedoit was a close-up third in the Lingfield Oaks Trial (Steven Paston/PA)

In contrast, Harry Eustace feels Makinmedoit, third in the Lingfield Oaks Trial, would benefit from faster ground.

He said: “We don’t want any more rain. The quicker the better for her. It is the last three-year-old fillies’ Listed race of the year, so we though we would just take our chance. But if it comes up soft, then we won’t go.

“I was going to get Goodwood out of the way and then we will see where we go. She might just have an easy month and then we might go to France after that.”

Derby dreams for Highclere set to be put to the test this week

Highclere Thoroughbred Racing have already tasted Classic success this season and managing director Harry Herbert has issued a positive bulletin about their Cazoo Derby hope Lysander, who puts his Epsom aspirations to the test in Goodwood’s Cocked Hat Stakes on Friday.

The New Approach colt was an eyecatching third on his debut at Newbury at the latter end of the 2021 season and created a taking impression on his reappearance when bolting up by eight and a half lengths in a Newcastle novice event in April.

The 120,000 guineas yearling has entries for both Epsom and the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, but Herbert is in no doubt about which race is the prime target provided he comes through his next assignment with flying colours.

“It has always been the likely plan (Goodwood), we had him in the Lingfield Derby Trial, but that would have been quite a quick turnaround. William (Haggas) was always keen to give him a nice gap between Newcastle and Goodwood and then Goodwood will tell us a lot more,” said Herbert.

“Look, we all know how far it is from winning a novice at Newcastle to lining up in a Derby, but he’s a very talented horse from what William has seen at home and Tom Marquand thinks very highly of the horse.

“So let’s see what see what happens at Goodwood and at the moment, if he was to win and win well, the plan would be to go for the Derby. I think he’s a really exciting colt, but it’s just one step at a time.”

Lysander is a best price of 50-1 for the premier Classic.

Royal Patronage poised to put Derby hopes on the line

Royal Patronage could bid to reignite the Derby dreams of his connections in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York next week.

Trained by Mark and Charlie Johnston, the Wootton Bassett colt won three times as a juvenile last season, including a narrow verdict over Saturday’s 2000 Guineas hero Coroebus in the Royal Lodge at Newmarket.

Royal Patronage renewed rivalry with Coroebus in the season’s first Classic, but after setting a fierce gallop for much of the way, he gave way late on and passed the post in eighth place.

Harry Herbert, managing director for owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, said: “Sadly he went way too quick. The fractions were crazy for him and he was never going to get home with those fractions.

“Thankfully he’s come back all right and he’s obviously very fresh. He virtually anticipated the gates opening and it was very hard for Jason (Hart) after that.

“He still ran very well and proved he has trained on, but it was absolutely not what we wanted to happen. We wanted him to travel with horses in front of him and finish his race off, not the other way round.”

The Derby was always viewed as Royal Patronage’s chief target and Herbert is hoping he can get his season back on track on the Knavesmire.

He added: “I would say it would be very likely he will run in the Dante and we’ll see if we can get it right because he’s a very talented colt and we need to find out more with regards to the Derby.

“The Dante does come up quick, I totally appreciate that, but the horse is in very good hands and speaking to Charlie Johnston we’re both singing off the same hymn sheet, but it’s entirely their call as regards the well-being of the horse.”

Harry Herbert (right) has high hopes for Lysander
Harry Herbert (right) has high hopes for Lysander (Tim Goode/PA)

Royal Patronage is one of two potential Derby runners for the Highclere team along with the William Haggas-trained Lysander.

Third on his only start at two at Newbury in the autumn, the son of New Approach opened his account in some style on his reappearance at Newcastle last week.

He holds an entry in this weekend’s Lingfield Derby Trial and will either test his Derby credentials there or in the Cocked Hat at Goodwood later in the month.

“He’ll either go to Lingfield or wait for the Cocked Hat. It’s completely William’s call and it depends which way round William wants to do it,” said Herbert.

“Do you run back quick after his very impressive race at Newcastle, or give him more time and run in the Cocked Hat? And let’s say he won at Goodwood, well then he’s still got two weeks until the Derby.”

He added: “We’re very excited about him. This horse has worked exceptionally well at home, he’s the most beautiful individual and has a wonderful pedigree.

“He’s got ticks in a lot of the right boxes and both Tom Marquand and Michael Hills have ridden him at home and been very impressed with him.

“He’s turned a few heads, so we’ll see. It’s a fair way to go from winning a novice at Newcastle to lining up in a Derby, but at the moment that’s the plan.”