Tag Archive for: Martyn Meade

Meade likely to bide his time with Classic hope Zechariah

Martyn Meade is likely to put his impressive Newbury winner Zechariah away for the winter and look for a suitable Derby trial next season.

Beaten on his first two outings, Zechariah had won well at Sandown before seemingly improving again for the step up to a mile in the Haynes, Hanson & Clark Conditions Stakes.

The son of Nathaniel put a fair distance between himself and the well-regarded Westover, with another five and a half lengths back to Charlie Appleby’s King Of Conquest.

“He was really good – I thought he acquitted himself very well,” said Meade.

“I was a little concerned about the ground, but it worked out pretty well. It looked a fairly impressive win.

“On paper they looked a nice bunch. It was probably closer to a Listed race in terms of quality, but the question is what happens next.”

The answer to that appears to be a winter break.

Meade added: “I think I’m leaning towards putting him away and bringing him back as a three-year-old, because he’s still a bit on the raw side.

“Wherever we’d have to go now, it would mean putting him under great pressure, and I just think I’d like him to mature over the winter and then come back in top company at three.

“He’s had four runs already, so he has got experience and he’s shown me all I need to know.

“I just think he’d benefit more from maturing before going up in class. That is my thinking at the moment, but of course it can change. He’s a nice prospect for next year.

“I think I’ll be looking towards a Derby trial – he’s by Nathaniel, so will certainly get 10 furlongs.”

Zechariah dominates Newbury rivals

Zechariah led from pillar to post in the 41st Running Of The Haynes, Hanson & Clark Conditions Stakes at Newbury.

The one-mile contest has an illustrious history, with some greats of the Turf on its roll of honour – including Shergar, Rainbow Quest, King’s Theatre and Nayef.

This year’s renewal looked another warm one on paper, with five of the six runners having already visited the winner’s enclosure and three protecting unbeaten records.

Down the field on his first couple of starts at Yarmouth and Newmarket, the Martyn Meade-trained Zechariah opened his account at the third attempt with a smooth success at Sandown in July – and was a 9-1 shot on his first start since under Tom Marquand.

Sent straight to the lead by Marquand, the son of Nathaniel kicked a couple of lengths clear inside the final two furlongs and never looked in any real danger of being caught from there on in.

Westover was two and a quarter lengths away in second, with 5-4 favourite King Of Conquest a further five and a half lengths back in third.

Freddie Meade, assistant trainer to his father, said: “I was really pleased with that – we’ve always thought a bit of him.

“We probably got him a bit wrong early season, because we thought he could be a Jersey Stakes horse and we maybe squeezed him a little bit early, and then he wasn’t himself at Newmarket.

“Since then he’s done nothing wrong. He was really impressive at Sandown and he was impressive again today.”

Freddie Meade (right) at Doncaster
Freddie Meade (right) at Doncaster (Dan Abraham/PA)

Zechariah holds multiple big-race entries, including the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster on October 23, but is not certain to run again this season.

“We were a bit worried about the ground today because it was soft at Newmarket, but I don’t think that was the reason there, he just wasn’t himself. He coped with it today, and Tom was really impressed,” Meade added.

“He’s in the Doncaster race, but we’ll just see how he comes out of this. He’s a horse that needs to develop over the winter, and I think he’ll then benefit from that next year.

“I think that might be it for the season, but we’ll talk to everybody and work back from next year. We’ll see what that race looks like.

“He’s by Nathaniel, so we’ll be looking at some nice middle-distance races next year.”

Lone Eagle ruled out for the rest of the season

Lone Eagle’s career is in doubt after the classy colt suffered an injury which has ruled him out for the rest of the season.

The three-year-old, trained by Martyn Meade, has been sidelined since he finished a disappointing last of five in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

He was fancied to run a big race in Ascot’s midsummer showpiece, after only being caught close home when beaten a neck by Hurricane Lane in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.

Lone Eagle missed the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York this month, but was third-favourite for the Cazoo St Leger at a best-priced 8-1. He also held an entry in the Melbourne Cup.

“I’m afraid he suffered an injury after his run in the King George. He’s out for the season,” Meade told the PA news agency.

“It’s an injury that will take careful management – he’s certainly out for the rest of this season, and the rest of his career is under doubt.

“He’s obviously going to have the best recuperation. Unfortunately that’s why he was a bit disappointing in the King George.

Lone Eagle had an epic battle with Hurricane Lane at the Curragh
Lone Eagle had an epic battle with Hurricane Lane at the Curragh (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

“He was found afterwards to have sustained an injury. Hence, the reason he’s not run since.

“Hopefully, he might come back next season – but he’s got to make a full recovery. Certainly this season is out of question, and we’ll have to keep monitoring him whether we can bring him back.”

Great Voltigeur among options for Lone Eagle

The Great Voltigeur Stakes at York is among the options under consideration for Martyn Meade’s star colt Lone Eagle.

Narrowly beaten by Hurricane Lane in the Irish Derby on his penultimate start, the son of Galileo was then last of five runners behind Epsom hero Adayar in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Lone Eagle, who is owned in partnership by Ballylinch Stud and Australian-based Aquis Farm, last week received a surprise entry in the Melbourne Cup, but Meade considers a trip Down Under a “long shot” at this stage.

“He’s just having a bit of a quiet time at the moment, so we’ve got no plans right now,” said the Manton-based trainer.

“It (Melbourne Cup) is a bit of a long shot, I would say. The part-owners are from Australia and obviously he’s got every right to be considered for that, but it’s fair to say it’s a long shot.”

Lone Eagle also has plenty of big-race engagements in Britain, with the Great Voltigeur on August 18 the most imminent.

Meade added: “We’re certainly looking at that (Great Voltigeur), for sure.”

Technique out to regain winning thread in Upavon heat

Martyn Meade gives Technique the opportunity to record a “confidence building” victory in the British Stallion Studs EBF Upavon Fillies’ Stakes at Salisbury on Wednesday.

Narrowly beaten in the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom on her three-year-old debut, the daughter of Mastercraftsman has been set some stiff tasks since without managing to get her head in front.

While she was unable to land a telling blow in the Oaks in early June, she was only narrowly denied by Zeyaadah in the Group Three Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle, before finishing a creditable fourth in the Group One Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

Technique has far less on her plate in Listed company on Wednesday and Meade hopes she can make the most of the opportunity.

He said: “This is a confidence building exercise really.

“She’s had a hard sort of season in some difficult races without conditions necessarily being ideal for her.

“I think a track like Salisbury will suit her. There are no easy races, but hopefully she can build on what she’s done.”

Technique might not have things all her own way at the Wiltshire venue, with the Roger Varian-trained Lady Hayes also bringing strong form to the table.

The Kodiac filly was last seen filling the runner-up spot in the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock behind Sir Mark Prescott’s Alpinista, who struck Group One gold in Germany over the weekend.

“She’s an improving filly who is versatile between 10 and 12 furlongs and a stiff 10 furlongs at Salisbury should suit her,” said Varian.

“It’s a competitive Listed race, but she comes into it off the back of a very good run at Haydock. The winner won the Group One in Germany on Sunday, so there is nothing wrong with that form.

“We’d hope she’ll run a good race. She likes to get her toe in, so we’d be quite happy if the ground didn’t dry out too much.”

John and Thady Gosden’s Gloria Mundi is another dropping in class after finishing seventh in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, while Invite has her first run for Andrew Balding after switching from Marco Botti’s stable.

Lone Eagle all set for King George

Martyn Meade is ready to find out just how good Lone Eagle is when his stable star runs in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

The Galileo colt missed out agonisingly in the Irish Derby to Hurricane Lane, having made a bold bid under Frankie Dettori – who is keen to retain the partnership.

On Saturday he faces another Godolphin Derby winner in last month’s Epsom hero Adayar, while Aidan O’Brien’s Love also looks a formidable opponent.

“I was thrilled with his run at the Curragh – everything he did in the race was right, apart from the result I suppose,” said Meade.

“He’s come out of it very well. He’s a horse that is very straightforward and he’s just flourishing, I think.

“Saturday is a big task, but I’m confident he’ll produce a really good showing there.”

Dettori made a bold move three furlongs out at the Curragh, and Meade thought at the furlong marker that it would be a race-winning decision.

He told Nick Luck’s Daily podcast: “The way the race panned out meant we were left in front – I thought the pace maker would take us further into the race, but Frankie had no option to go on when he did.

“Two furlongs out I was thinking it wasn’t ideal to go on at this stage – but a furlong out I thought ‘good Lord, there’s a chance we’ll win this’. I could see the blue colours quickening, but I didn’t think he was going to get there.

“Because our horse had nothing to aim at when the other horse came, there was no time to get momentum again and have a fight with the other horse, so it was a beautifully timed run as far as (William) Buick was concerned.

“I’d love to see what would happen if we ran the race again and at the two furlong marker if the winner was upsides – that would have been interesting, but of course we’ll never know.

“Frankie was very enthusiastic about the horse, while obviously being upset about the result. He said he just kept on giving and giving and couldn’t ask for any more. He said he was a delight to ride and was keen to ride again on Saturday.

“We still don’t know how good he can be. Maybe the Curragh was the pinnacle, maybe not – we’ll find out on Saturday.”

Buick is on Adayar this weekend, having overlooked him at Epsom in favour of Hurricane Lane – who finished third.

“The King George is always a fascinating race – and this year it has attracted all the best three-year-olds, older horses and fillies,” he said.

“I think this year’s three-year-olds are a good bunch. You can’t take away from what Adayar did at Epsom – he was a very good Derby winner, and looking back it didn’t come as a complete surprise.

“Although he didn’t win his two trials, he ran well in both – and he’s bred to be very good.

“He had Hurricane Lane back in third. Hurricane Lane took the Derby very well, and you’d have to say he has taken a step forward for sure.

“We’ll find out how good Adayar is on Saturday. The two are being kept apart for now, but I suspect somewhere down the line they will meet again.

“He gets an attractive weight pull in the King George – as a Derby winner, he must have an obvious chance in the race.”

Hurricane boost as Meade plans King George challenge with Lone Eagle

Lone Eagle is on course for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes after his Irish Derby form was thoroughly franked by Hurricane Lane’s Grand Prix de Paris victory.

The two colts crossed paths at the Curragh in the 12-furlong Classic in June, with Godolphin’s Hurricane Lane prevailing narrowly just a neck ahead of Lone Eagle and Ballydoyle’s Wordsworth a further seven lengths back in third.

Lone Eagle has not run since, but both Hurricane Lane and Wordsworth were in action in Wednesday’s Group One feature at ParisLongchamp – where they finished first and second respectively.

Martyn Meade, Lone Eagle’s trainer, was already considering the King George as a next engagement for his colt – and this month’s Ascot Group One looks even more likely after his form was emphatically rubber-stamped at the top level in Paris.

“It’s a good form boost, and he’s in good form himself,” said Meade.

“That franked the form nicely, and also the second-placed horse was third to us at the Curragh.

“It’s a big ask, a week on Saturday at Ascot, but I think that’s where we’ll go.

“That’s the plan at the moment, to run in the King George.”

Lone Eagle was not able to take up his entry in the Derby following an unsatisfactory scope, but Meade reports him in fine shape after his Curragh exploits.

“Touch wood, nothing goes wrong like it did before the Derby,” he said.

“He wasn’t quite 100 per cent. But he’s fine now – he’s in great form.”

Bond Chairman seeks Listed breakthrough at Newbury

Bryan Smart’s Bond Chairman bids to make it third time lucky at Listed level in the Ire Incentive, It Pays To Buy Irish Rose Bowl Stakes at Newbury.

Bond Chairman was fourth of 27 in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot last month – a performance which persuaded Smart a move up to this trip of six furlongs may be in order.

The Kodiac colt, a winning debutant at Musselburgh in April, had to settle for a near five-length fifth in Sandown’s National Stakes on his second career start.

But his North Yorkshire trainer saw enough when he significantly outran odds of 66-1 at Ascot to have high hopes of a big run on Friday.

“He looks in good form, we’re very happy with him,” said Smart.

“After his Ascot run, we thought it looked like he should get six (furlongs), so I’m hoping he’ll run a big race for us tomorrow.

“You don’t know until you run them, do you? You think they’ll get it but they don’t always, but that’s the thing – if you don’t run them you won’t know.

“We’ll have to do it at some stage of the season, so we’re going to go tomorrow and see how we go.”

Clive Cox’s Caturra will also line up, in a field of nine, having last been seen at the Royal meeting – over this trip when seventh in the Group Two Coventry Stakes.

“He ran very respectably in the Coventry,” said Cox.

“He’s a really nice colt, and this looks like a positive way forward at this moment in time.

“He’s a colt we’ve always liked, and I feel he’s progressing and becoming more confident.”

Martyn Meade’s Detail has just one previous run under his belt, a winning debut at Newmarket in late June.

The gelding was slowly away but led late on to prevail by a neck.

Manton trainer Meade said: “I was really pleased with the way he won at Newmarket – he missed the break and was pretty green on his first time out, but he managed to weave his way through the entire field and won quite well.

“I thought we might as well double-jump him (in grade) and put him in at the deep end to see how good he is.

“Obviously it’s a huge step up – but on that run it’s difficult to assess just how good he is, because he had such a disadvantage to start with.

“If that was as bad as I thought, then he’s got to have a good chance tomorrow.”

Richard Hannon is represented by Goldilocks, a course-and-distance winner last time in a fillies’ novice.

Andrew Balding’s Frankella seeks her second career success after showing some of the ability of her stately parentage when victorious in a Newmarket maiden last week.

Ian Williams’ Oneforthegutter and Charlie Hills’ Orazio both put the credentials of their winning debuts on the line – while Robert Cowell’s Little Earl bids for a second victory in six starts.

Lone Eagle enters King George reckoning

Lone Eagle is set to take on the cream of all-aged top middle-distance performers in this month’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes, after connections ruled out a trip to France.

Trainer Martyn Meade has decided to wait for Ascot’s mile-and-a-half showpiece and not take his Irish Derby runner-up to France for the Grand Prix de Paris at ParisLongchamp on Wednesday.

“He’s going for the King George. Everything’s been perfect since the Irish Derby,” said Meade.

“Obviously it’s a huge ask going there. It was a toss-up of going there or to France, and we decided we’d stay on home territory and take on the big guns at Ascot.”

Meade is making plans too for his unbeaten juvenile Detail, having bypassed the July Stakes at Newmarket.

The Wiltshire trainer felt that Group Two came too soon – but he rates the son of Dabirsim quite highly following his eye-catching debut win at Newmarket win last month.

Detail overcame a slow start and greenness to get the better of Maybury by a neck, and Meade is considering a Listed contest over six furlongs next.

“I was thinking of running him in the July Stakes on Thursday but I didn’t because I thought maybe it was a step too far for him at this stage,” said the Manton handler.

“We’ll try to find a Listed race for him somewhere and run him back quite quickly. It didn’t take a lot out of him.

“He was quite impressive on the basis he fell out of the stalls, and you would have written him off. He’s still quite green, so I think that will bring him on, and he’s a nice prospect.”

‘I thought we had it’ – Classic glory was so close, but so far for Meade

Martyn Meade admitted he thought Lone Eagle was about to provide him with a first Classic win before he was caught close home by Hurricane Lane in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

Frankie Dettori sent Lone Eagle clear early in the straight on Saturday, and had everything else in trouble with a furlong to run.

To Hurricane Lane’s credit, though, he picked up well to win by a neck in a thrilling finish.

“It was such a shame – I thought we had it until those dying last few strides,” said Meade.

“I was thrilled with his run – I thought he ran an absolute blinder. I don’t want to make excuses, but maybe if it was softer ground it might have slowed the others up and made it harder to make ground up.

“I did think a furlong out we were on, but then of course it started to change. He ran a fantastic race, though. I was really pleased with him.

“What he proved was he is a Group One colt, which I’ve believed all along, but nobody else seemed to. Hopefully we can win a Group One before the end of the year.

“The Grand Prix de Paris (July 14) would look the obvious race, but my one worry about that is it does come a little quick.

“He’s a laid-back horse, and sometimes they can fool you into thinking they are over their races, and then you end up wishing you hadn’t done it. It is a possibility, though.

“There’s the Juddmonte International at York, and I’ve always thought he was a St Leger horse, but whether he wants to go out in trip I’m not sure – we might bring him back a bit.

“Hurricane Lane could go for the Leger as well, and I’m not sure we’d want to meet him again.

“Doncaster and soft ground is appealing, and it does give us plenty of time. He did seem to show a bit of speed, though.

“Those are his options anyway, so we’ll see where he ends up.”

Meade could look to Irish Derby with Lone Eagle after colt forced to miss Epsom

Lone Eagle could head for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby after being ruled out of the English version due to a dirty scope.

The Galileo colt was found not to be 100 per cent when given a routine test after a workout on Thursday morning.

It was a bitter blow to trainer Martyn Meade and his team, as Lone Eagle looked to be in top form after easily winning the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood two weeks ago under a 5lb penalty.

“We were all ready – we gave him his last bit of prep this morning for a blow-out and as a matter of course we scoped him and unfortunately there was a bit of mucus,” said the Manton handler.

“The trouble is the horse has been in great form – he was eating everything, working so well and his coat was looking great, but you can’t get away from the fact that for that race you need to be 100 per cent, not 90 per cent.

“I was devastated. It’s very disappointing.”

Meade feels Royal Ascot, where Lone Eagle holds an entry in the King Edward VII Stakes, is likely to come too soon – but the Irish Derby at the Curragh on June 26 could be on the agenda.

“It’s going to be a rush to get to Ascot, so I don’t think we’ll be going there,” he said.

“We’ll look at the Irish Derby which might suit him a bit better. I think that’s where we might go. We could still go for a Derby, but it’s not the English one.”

Method on course for Commonwealth Cup

Martyn Meade is excited about running Method in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot following the colt’s belated, but pleasing, seasonal reappearance.

The son of Mehmas ran well for a long way in the Group Two Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock, until the lack of a recent outing told in the closing stages.

Even so, he was beaten only two and a quarter lengths into fifth place behind Rohaan on heavy ground, having been off the track for 225 days.

“I loved that. It will have put him spot on for the Commonwealth,” said Meade.

“It was terrible ground. It was just that he didn’t operate on that.

“He was going to win his race, but in the last furlong or so he was climbing and couldn’t really deal with that. But I was really pleased. He was only beaten a couple of lengths.

“I think if you ran it again it would be a different story.”

Meade is confident too that Method will have an ideal short break before his Group One assignment.

“There is a nice bit of time now to Royal Ascot,” he said.

“He runs well fresh and I think the timing is right, so it’s fingers crossed.”

Meade eyes Derby tilt for Lone Eagle

Lone Eagle is likely to take his chance in next week’s Cazoo Derby after bouncing back to winning form at Goodwood.

The Galileo colt swept to victory by four lengths from Yibir in the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes this month, carrying a 5lb penalty for a Group Three success at Newmarket last autumn.

Lone Eagle’s latest performance showed his near five-length defeat in Sandown’s Classic Trial on his seasonal debut in April was not a true reflection of his ability.

Trainer Martyn Meade was delighted with the improvement, and at this stage is leaning towards running the colt at Epsom.

“We haven’t made a final decision yet, but it’s still on the cards we’ll run him,” said the Manton handler.

“He won at Goodwood with a 5lb penalty and 59 knot headwind. He did it well – so I think we have to ignore Sandown, where he ran flat. He bounced back well, and Goodwood should put him spot on to go to Epsom.

“Obviously, he’s a big price – but I think there’s no reason why he shouldn’t take his chance. He’ll cope with the ground and the track.

“We’ll see how he is over the next couple of days and make a final decision.”

Meade has run out of time, however, to get Gloucestershire ready for the colts’ Classic.

The son of Flintshire made a winning debut over a mile and three furlongs at Kempton in December, but his reappearance has been delayed after he got a bad infection in his off hind in March which took a long time to clear.

“I don’t think we’re going to get him there,” said Meade.

“He really needs to have a run before – I think it would be wrong to run him straight there. It could be asking too much.

“I haven’t got a plan at the moment, but he’s progressing well.”

Meade may be represented in the Cazoo Oaks by Technique, who was beaten just a head by Wirko in the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom in April but then ran below expectations when seventh of eight in Lingfield’s Oaks Trial.

“I’ll possibly run Technique in the Oaks,” he said.

“She was a bit disappointing at Lingfield – but she’s going great at home, so we might have a tilt with her.

“She ran a good race (at Epsom), so we know she acts on the track. The only consideration is whether she will get the trip – but I think she will.”

Lone Eagle makes all for clear-cut Cocked Hat triumph

Lone Eagle produced a dominant front-running display in the British Stallion Studs EBF Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood.

Martyn Meade’s Galileo colt ended last season on a high, winning his final three outings, but his Cazoo Derby aspirations took a knock when he could finish only fourth in the Sandown Classic Trial.

Reunited with Silvestre de Sousa, he reverted to attempting to make all the running, despite carrying a 5lb penalty.

In the testing conditions his rivals dropped away one by one, but William Buick still looked to be sitting pretty on Yibir with two furlongs to run.

When stamina became an issue, though, Lone Eagle (3-1) came into his element and went on to pull four lengths clear.

Coral cut his Derby odds to 25-1 from 40s, while he is 20-1 for the St Leger.

Meade said: “Obviously we were a little bit disappointed at Sandown and after that we came here with a little bit of trepidation – especially with the strong wind up the straight.

“He’s a horse that only just does enough at home and you can’t put him under pressure, so today we decided to try to make it a gallop because he is relentless and he has a big heart, so that when they come to him he finds more.

“He’s in the Derby and the Irish Derby and the end game could be something like the St Leger, but we need to revisit.

“I would love to go for the big prizes, but I’m inclined to take small steps as it is a long season.”

Meade does have another colt still engaged at Epsom, the once-raced Gloucestershire, but his participation is far from certain, also.

He said: “Gloucestershire had an infection early on this year and took a long time to get over it and we don’t really want to mess up the whole season by trying to run before we can walk, so whether he’ll go for the Derby I honestly don’t know.”

Dulas hits the front to gain a deserved victory
Dulas hits the front to gain a deserved victory (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

De Sousa also won on the Charlie Hills-trained Dulas (13-8 favourite), who got his head in front at the third time of asking this season in the Thank You NHS From The Angus Family Handicap having finished second at both Haydock and Chester.

Hills said: “That was much deserved because he’d run two great races this year, running very well without winning and I think he will go forward from that.

“He’s a horse we’ve always liked, with plenty of talent. Let’s see what the handicapper does to him on Tuesday and we may then look at the Buckingham Palace at Royal Ascot.”

The opening British European Breeders Fund EBF Novice Stakes was won in good style by Andrew Balding’s newcomer Masekela (9-2) under champion jockey Oisin Murphy, who said: “He ticks every box with his temperament and action and he’s a lovely type.

Masekela (noseband) made a pleasing debut
Masekela (noseband) made a pleasing debut (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“His work had been really nice going into this race. His dam stayed very well, while he covers a lot of ground, and to be honest I was thrilled to be able to ride him today in what was a super performance.

“In the conditions we went very steady for the first two to three furlongs, but I didn’t want William (Buick, on Fall Of Rome) to get away from me. The conditions are not ideal, but it is raceable.

“If there was one race I wanted to be run today, it was this one.”

David Simcock and Jamie Spencer landed the Height Of Fashion Stakes with Ad Infinitum and then doubled up when Luckiness (17-2) won the Vesta Handicap – but it may be his last success on British shores.

Luckiness could be heading to Hong Kong
Luckiness could be heading to Hong Kong (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Simcock said: “He’s a lovely horse who had come forward quite a lot from his run at Doncaster.

“But, unfortunately he might now be off to Hong Kong, it’s up to his owner and there’s not much I can do about it.”

Spencer said: “I was gutted he was beaten at Doncaster, but he was tubby and needed the run. He has a good, willing attitude and a nice turn of foot and is a joy to be around – although I’m not sure how long that will be.”

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.

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.”