Technique continues learning curve with Oaks Trial outing

Martyn Meade believes the experience of running in Lingfield’s Novibet Oaks Trial Fillies’ Stakes could prove invaluable for Technique ahead of a potential bid for Classic glory at Epsom next month.

Successful on her racecourse debut at Wolverhampton in late January, the daughter of Mastercraftsman marked herself out as an Oaks contender when narrowly beaten by Wirko in the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom two and a half weeks ago.

In the immediate aftermath, Meade suggested his filly could head straight for the Cazoo-sponsored showpiece on June 4, but ultimately decided to give her another outing in this weekend’s Listed contest.

“She’s in good shape and obviously coped with Epsom quite well,” said the trainer.

“Initially I thought about going straight to the Oaks, but then I thought we should step her up and make sure she absolutely gets the mile and a half – and having only run twice, I think that bit more experience might help as well.

“We’ve got plenty of time to be able to do it, so she’ll go and take her chance.”

Meade admits the disappointing performance of Wirko in Wednesday’s Chester Vase tempers enthusiasm to some degree, but is nevertheless confident Technique can prove her worth on Saturday.

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He added: “It would have been nice to see him (Wirko) boost the form, but that wasn’t to be and maybe that was down to the track or something.

“Technique’s work at home has been good and she came out of Epsom very well, so we’ll roll the dice.

“I think she’ll be fine on slightly softer ground. I don’t think that will be a problem at this stage.”

Hugo Palmer’s Ocean Road has all the right credentials to make up into a nice three-year-old.

Related to Michael Bell’s globetrotter Wigmore Hall, she broke her maiden at the second time of asking with an impressive display on the all-weather at this venue in December.

Palmer said: “She’s done well through the winter and she looks a lot stronger now. Her work has all pointed towards an Oaks trial and now we are at that juncture.

“She’s a half-sister to Wigmore Hall and she’s by a Derby winner (Australia), so she deserves a chance to see what she can do.

“We’re running in a trial to tell us where we are and we’ll know an awful lot more after it.

“The Oaks picture does look open, but we are only halfway through the trials I suppose – we’ve still got the Musidora at York, the Goodwood race and a few others and who knows what is still to come out of Ballydoyle?”

Nash Nasha (left) on her way to winning at Sandown
Nash Nasha (left) on her way to winning at Sandown (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Charlie Appleby’s Nash Nasha has also won on the all-weather at Lingfield and battled well to defy a 7lb penalty on her return to action at Sandown a fortnight ago.

“She’s come out of her last race well and already has a bit of experience there (Lingfield). Admittedly it was on the all-weather, but she’s been there at least,” said Appleby.

“We thought the ground was going to be pretty soft at Chester, so we thought it might be more sensible ground for her at Lingfield.”

John Gosden has saddled three of the last four winners of the Oaks Trial. Now in partnership with son Thady, the Clarehaven handler this year has two contenders, with Frankie Dettori partnering Loving Dream and Martin Harley booked to ride Regent.

Aidan O’Brien’s Divinely is the sole Irish representative, while the Marco Botti-trained Invite, Roger Varian’s Save A Forest and Sherbet Lemon from Archie Watson’s yard complete the line-up.

Ryan Moore, who rides Divinely, told Betfair: “There is some rain around on Saturday and that wouldn’t inconvenience her, as she won her Group Three at the Curragh on heavy ground before running slightly below that level upped in class in the Moyglare.

“She is a sister to Found, so you have to view the step up in trip positively, so she has definite prospects in an open race.”

Fox Vardy misses Chester Cup outing

Fox Vardy has been ruled out of the tote+ Chester Cup on the Roodee on Friday.

Trainer Martyn Meade has revealed the son of Frankel is not quite right and will therefore miss the valuable long-distance handicap.

“He’s not going to go, I’m afraid. He’s just not 100 per cent. It’s nothing serious,” said the Manton handler.

The five-year-old, owned by King Power Racing, was a 16-1 chance for the extended two-and-a-quarter-mile showpiece.

Meade is to drop Statement back down to seven furlongs after she failed to run up to expectations in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on Sunday.

The Lawman filly was sent off the 7-1 third favourite behind joint market leaders Alcohol Free and Santa Barbara, but she faded out of contention after making plenty of the running.

Meade feels the race may have come too soon after she was a close second in the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury two weeks earlier.

“It was obviously disappointing, but it came a bit soon for her really,” he said.

“She’s a horse that likes to have a good time between her races and that came too quick for her and she ran too free. Her chances completely evaporated then.

“We might drop her back to seven furlongs – that was the other thing, if she really stayed. I think it was a combination of both those things.

“We’ve nothing definite for her. It’s early days, but we won’t run her for a bit.”

High Definition heads 16 in Derby Trial contention

High Definition heads five entries from the Aidan O’Brien stable in a total of 16 for the Novibet Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield on Saturday.

The Galileo colt, unbeaten in two starts, is currently ante-post favourite for next month’s premier Classic at Epsom.

The Ballydoyle trainer’s other possibles for the Listed contest are Carlisle Bay, Hector De Maris, Kyprios and Sir Lucan. All five are entered in the Derby.

Charlie Appleby has put four in the Lingfield heat – Adayar, Hurricane Lane, Yibir and Wirko. The latter has been declared for the Chester Vase on Wednesday.

Others in the mix include Martyn Meade’s Lone Eagle, the Richard Hannon-trained Etonian and Recovery Run from Andrew Balding’s yard.

Meade also has Technique in the Novibet Oaks Fillies’ Trial Stakes, but neither are definite runners yet.

Both horses are set to work on Tuesday, after which Meade will decide on their participation.

“We’ve got them both in there and we’re looking at it at the moment. They will both work tomorrow and then we’ll decide from there what to do,” he said.

“They are not definitely going. It depends how they work.”

O’Brien is responsible for four of the 15 Oaks Trial entries in Divinely, High Heels Snowfall and Willow.

Mark Johnston’s Dubai Fountain has been declared for Wednesday’s Cheshire Oaks at Chester, but the Middleham handler still has Roseabad.

John and Thady Gosden’s pair of Loving Dream and Regent, the Hugo Palmer-trained Ocean Road and Nash Nasha from the Appleby stable are among other interesting entries.

Classic ‘conundrum’ for Meade with Newbury runner-up Statement

Martyn Meade will not rush into making a decision on whether Statement will contest the Qipco 1000 Guineas following her narrow defeat at Newbury on Sunday.

A winner on her final juvenile start at the Berkshire circuit in October, the Lawman filly returned to action in the Group Three Dubai Duty Free Stakes – better known as the Fred Darling.

And while she was sent off at 18-1, she came mighty close to causing an upset – going down by just a short head to hot favourite Alcohol Free in a thrilling finish.

Meade said: “We were in front just before the line and just after the line, so it is frustrating.

“She ran up to expectations, which is really good. We always thought she’d improve from her two-year-old career and luckily she did – it certainly wasn’t surprise to see her run so well.”

The trainer admits it is not ideal that his filly had such a hard race just a fortnight before a potential bid for Classic glory on the Rowley Mile – and insists he will only let her take her chance if he is confident she is in peak condition.

“It’s never great coming second as they just tend to have a bit harder race than you would like,” he added.

“If the other horse hadn’t been there, she would have won easily and that would have been great – but as it transpired, she had to work hard to finish second.

“It’s obviously only two weeks until the 1000 Guineas and that’s the big conundrum. We’re just going to take it day by day and see how she comes out of it.

“She’s a really top-class horse and we really think a lot of her. I appreciate there is only one Guineas, but you can’t go into it lightly and I’d hate to run her back too quickly and end up struggling for the rest of the season.

“We’ll just see how she is. If she’s bucking and kicking then we’ll probably have a go, but if not, you’ve got the French Guineas the following week and races like the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.”

Commonwealth Cup long-term goal for Method

The Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot will be the chief objective next season for Martyn Meade’s high-class colt Method.

The son of Mehmas appeared every inch a top-class juvenile in the making in winning his first two starts – comfortably dispatching of Fev Rover at Doncaster before landing a Listed prize at Newbury.

His tilt at Group One glory in last month’s Middle Park was a non-event after Frankie Dettori’s saddle slipped and he was well fancied to get back on the winning trail on his return to the Rowley Mile for Friday’s Cornwallis Stakes.

Method ran a creditable race over an inadequate five furlongs to finish second to Winter Power and connections are looking forward to seeing what he can achieve in 2021.

Reflecting on his latest performance, Freddie Meade, assistant to his father, said: “We achieved what we wanted as what happened in the Middle Park was so frustrating.

“Having had no sort of race in the Middle Park, we were desperate to give him another race and let him enjoy himself. The ground conditions were not ideal and we didn’t know how he would handle them and the trip was a bit on the sharp side.

“The speedier horses maybe got away from him, but he finished like a train. He will go back up to six furlongs next year, so we will aim for the Commonwealth Cup and work back from there.

“We were happy to get a nice race into him and we can put him away for the winter now and start again, when maybe we will see some people back on track cheering him on.”

Lone Eagle forges to Zetland Stakes success

Lone Eagle fuelled Derby dreams for the Martyn Meade team with victory in the Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes at Newmarket.

The Galileo colt demonstrated the best of his battling abilities in the Group Three contest, making his first attempt over a mile and a quarter a winning one.

Racing in the front pair throughout, the 16-5 shot showed stamina is very much his forte when forging clear late on to defeat his Sandown conqueror Recovery Run by a length and three-quarters, completing a hat-trick of wins for the season.

Assistant trainer Freddie Meade: “He showed a great attitude to knuckle down and get the job done. With the ground the way it is you don’t want to be too far away.

“He has been headed in the past over shorter trips and battled back so I was always positive he would have enough to get on top in the end. We spoke back at Goodwood and we thought this might be a target so I’m glad it has come off.

“I think we have to dream of a Derby campaign first and see where we go on the way to that. Whether we look at a Derby trial and then we can always rethink if things change.

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“I think that will be him for the year as he has progressed nicely and will have a well-deserved break.”

Winning jockey Silvestre de Sousa – who enjoyed a Group-race treble at the track on Friday – believes Lone Eagle could develop into a contender for the Derby, for which he was introduced at 50-1 by Betfair.

He said: “It was a nice performance as it is not easy for a two-year-old on that kind of ground. He is really tough, he’s not very big but he gallops with his heart out. I’m just pleased he has won three.

“Next year you could look at a Derby trial and then possibly the Derby if he keeps improving through the winter.”

Henry Candy’s Jouska ended a lengthy drought stretching back more than a year when opening her account for the campaign with a hard fought victory in the Dubai British EBF Boadicea Stakes.

Without a win to her name since Sandown last July, the daughter of Cable Bay set the record straight in the Listed prize when getting up late on to defeat Sunday Star by half a length.

Candy said: “It was very like the Cornwallis last year when Shane Foley rode her.

“She was stone last coming out the Dip and I thought it was going to be seriously embarrassing – thinking she was going to be 100 yards last – but she wanted another 50 yards to win as she finished a close third.

“She just loves coming up that hill and it’s a question of getting to the bottom of it first.

“She is very gutsy and she will make the owner a lovely broodmare eventually as she is a lovely, big filly with a lovely temperament. We will take her home and give her two or three months in the paddock and hopefully she will be bigger and better next year.”

Fozzy Stack got more than he bargained for after Lady Wannabe gained a breakthrough first Pattern-race victory in the Darley Stakes.

The daughter of Camelot built on her Listed win at Listowel last time out when prevailing by a length and three-quarters in the Group Three contest under Jamie Spencer.

Stack said of the 28-1 winner: “She had won two Listed races at home and we came over hoping to get a little bit of Group form on her page and we ended up getting a big bit of Group form.

“She is not very big but she is very tough. It is great for Jamie as we go back a long way and he has had a tough year.

“I’ll talk to Tom (Gaffney, joint owner) about whether she will run again there is probably not much left for her to be honest.”

Method aiming to bow out for season on a high

All eyes will be on Method as the talented youngster goes on a recovery mission in the Newmarket Academy Godolphin Breeding Project Cornwallis Stakes at Headquarters on Friday.

The Martyn Meade-trained colt is on a recovery mission following a luckless run in the Middle Park Stakes, when his saddle slipped – giving Frankie Dettori no chance to ride a race.

Method trailed home last of the eight after being eased down and allowed him to come home in his own time.

He was sent off the 100-30 second-favourite after winning his first two races in impressive fashion.

Happy connections with Method following victory at Newbury
Happy connections with Method following victory at Newbury (Francesca Altoft/PA)

Meade admits dropping down to the minimum trip for the first time is not perfect – but hopes that will be tempered by the stiff track at Newmarket.

“Obviously it’s not ideal coming back to five furlongs – he is a six-furlong horse. Having said that, he does have plenty of speed and I have got to run him somewhere before the end of the season,” said Meade.

“He didn’t take anything out of himself in the Middle Park. He seems in good form and we’re hoping he can show his superiority over a distance that is a little bit shorter than ideal.

“It is a stiff five furlongs at Newmarket and the ground isn’t going to be lightning fast. From what I’ve seen of him working on soft ground at home, I don’t think it will be a huge inconvenience.

“Hopefully he can finish his season on a decent note.”

Clive Cox does not expect First Edition to be inconvenienced by five furlongs
Clive Cox does not expect First Edition to be inconvenienced by five furlongs (Edward Whitaker/PA)

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Clive Cox sees going back to five furlongs as a plus for First Edition, after the son of Invincible Spirit found the six a shade too far when fourth to Alkumait in the Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.

“He ran very well when he was fourth in the Mill Reef and is a horse we like a lot,” said Cox.

“The drop back to five furlongs seems to be a positive move, I just hope the ground isn’t too soft for him.”

Cox expects Snazzy Jazzy to relish the rain-softened going in the Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes.

“He’ll love conditions and mainly his performances are very consistent,” said the Lambourn handler.

“He took a little step back on his last run, we’re not quite sure why, but he’s trained well.

“It’s his first run on the track and any rain will be appreciated by him.”

Glorious Journey is expected to be a major player at Newmarket
Glorious Journey is expected to be a major player at Newmarket (Tim Goode/PA)

Godolphin have two contenders in Zakouski and Glorious Journey, trained by Charlie Appleby.

“We have been pleased with Zakouski’s preparation and are happy to drop him back to seven furlongs in testing conditions,” the Newmarket trainer told

“He is a horse with a nice profile and doesn’t have to carry a Group Two penalty for his win earlier in the year. We are looking forward to seeing him back running on British soil ahead of another Dubai campaign.

“Glorious Journey has shown that he is capable of winning at this level and conditions will be there to suit. He came out of his run at Newbury well and his confidence is up on the back of that win. We are hopeful that he can put up another decent performance.”

A fascinating Group Two contest features a German raider, the Dominik Moser-trained Namos, fresh from his victory in a Group Three at Baden-Baden a month ago.

Roger Varian supplies the only two three-year-olds in the line-up.

Daahyeh makes her long-awaited return to action at Newmarket
Daahyeh makes her long-awaited return to action at Newmarket (Mike Egerton/PA)

Daahyeh makes a belated seasonal debut after being off the track since finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita 11 months ago.

Khaloosy turns up after being withdrawn from the Guisborough Stakes at Redcar last weekend due to issues surrounding contaminated feed.

Joseph O’Brien is looking to pick up some more black type for Thinking Of You in the Godolphin Lifetime Care Group Three Oh So Sharp Stakes.

The American Pharoah filly was third in the Weld Park Stakes at the Curragh at this level after making a winning debut in a Limerick maiden.

“We’re hoping for some black type,” said O’Brien.

“She ran a very good race at the Curragh last time in what was a messy enough race. I’m quite hopeful of a good run from her.”

Opposition includes the Varian-trained Nazuna, who was second to Isabella Giles in the Rockfel Stakes, and Jane Chapple-Hyam’s Saffron Beach. The New Bay filly made a big impression when making a winning debut over this course and distance two weeks ago.

Magic Lily returns from a 115-day break in the Darley Pride Stakes since Royal Ascot.

She was also busy at Meydan during the winter where she lifted the Group Two Balanchine and was second to stablemate Barney Roy in the Group One Jebel Hatta.

Appleby has slight concerns about the ground, but reports the five-year-old to be in good shape.

“Magic Lily was on the go for a while during the first half of the year and we gave her a nice break over the summer,” he said.

“This looked like a nice opportunity for her, particularly as she won’t have to carry a penalty for her victories in Dubai. There is a question mark about how she will handle the ground but she goes into this race fresh and well.”

Meade looks to Cornwallis outing for Method after Newmarket disappointment

Method could run in the Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes on October 9, having lost all chance in the Middle Park last weekend when his saddle slipped.

Unbeaten in the first two runs of his career, Method was strongly fancied to figure prominently in the Juddmonte-sponsored Group One on the Rowley Mile.

However, his race was over almost as soon as the stalls opened when Frankie Dettori’s saddle slipped forwards meaning he had very little control from on top.

“What can you say?” said Meade.

“Frankie wanted to take him down early and then get him in the stalls early with the aim of them dropping him in, but he jumped sharply and the saddle slipped. There’s not much more we can say about it. I was extremely disappointed.

“We’d thought of taking him to France, but it would mean using a different jockey so we might go to the Cornwallis over five furlongs.

“Obviously that’s not what he’s been running over, but I’ll look at his sectionals – not from the Middle Park, obviously!

“It was a bad day all round. We’d missed everything else purposefully for the Middle Park and then that happens.

“I don’t think five is his ideal trip, but he wouldn’t have a penalty and he needs to run somewhere.”

Method firmly on course for Middle Park mission

Martyn Meade reports his exciting juvenile Method to be in fine form ahead of the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

The Group One contest over six furlongs has been the plan since the two-year-old son of Mehmas took his 100 per cent record to two with victory in the Listed Rose Bowl Stakes at Newbury in July.

Meade’s charge had comfortably seen off another high-class youngster in the filly Fev Rover when making an impressive racecourse debut at Doncaster in June, before taking a step up in class in his stride last time out.

Fev Rover has boosted the form significantly since and was a Group Two winner at Deauville recently.

“He’s doing his final bits of prep for that and, at the moment, it’s all systems go for Saturday,” said Meade, whose top-class stayer Technician was retired in June after picking up a tendon injury in the Gold Cup.

“Everything is going to plan. He’s definitely on course for that. He’s fine and we’re hoping for a big run from him.

“It’s very exciting and we’d love to win that to make a miserable season a bit better.”