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Oscula headlines Boughey’s squad seeking Newmarket honours

Oscula will spearhead George Boughey’s strong team of fillies’ heading to Newmarket this week.

The Group Three winner will run in the Rockfel Stakes on Friday along with stablemate Cachet, while Oaks runner-up Mystery Angel will try to bounce back from a disappointing run in France last time out in the Princess Royal Stakes.

Boughey will also have two runners in the Group One Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes in the supplemented Corazon, third in the Flying Childers last time out, and Thunder Love, who was fifth in the same race.

“She was running on close home and she got a little bit lonely on the far side, she didn’t have much company from about the three pole,” said Boughey of Corazon.

“Will (Buick) brought her over to try to get her some company and she just failed, so I thought she ran a blinder. I think she’ll run a big race, I think she deserves a crack.

“Thunder Love will run as well, she was a little unlucky in the Flying Childers.

“She met a little bit of trouble and got stopped in her run. Rossa (Ryan) was gutted when he got back in as he said she would have run a really big race.

“We’ll have two runners and they are both in good shape and ready to step up to six furlongs.”

Oscula was a very impressive winner at Epsom in June
Oscula was a very impressive winner at Epsom in June (John Walton/PA)

Oscula won the Woodcote at the Derby meeting, finished third in the Albany and won the Prix Six Perfections at Deauville and while Cachet’s form appears to have levelled out, Boughey expects her to bounce back.

“Cachet and Oscula both worked nicely this morning so will both run in the Rockfel,” said Boughey.

“Cachet was unlucky in France, she was slow out of the gate, which she has been the last twice, she jumps out fine at home so hopefully we’ll tidy that up before this.

“I think you’ll see a different Cachet, it wasn’t run to suit her in France but she looks great now.

“Oscula just got caught late on last time, but she got bumped into by the Crisford horse (Fast Attack) and that lit her up and she ran keen, which she’s never done before.

“I think she’ll run a massive race. I think she’s up to this level. She’s got to handle Newmarket, she wouldn’t have done a huge amount of work on the track, unlike most of mine, so that’s a little bit new to her. Her style of racing should suit it.”

Mystery Angel has winning form at Newmarket
Mystery Angel has winning form at Newmarket (Mike Egerton/PA)

Mystery Angel has failed to reproduce her huge run in the Oaks behind Snowfall, but Boughey is hoping a quicker surface may help.

He said: “I think the last race came a bit too quick for her and I’ve always thought better ground will suit her better, and I imagine it will be better by the weekend.

“Her best performances seem to come on that track and she’ll be sold in the mares’ sale at the end of the year, so hopefully we’ll get to see her run a couple more times before then.”

Big day in store for Boughey in France

George Boughey is confident of prominent performances from both Oscula and Hellomydarlin in Deauville’s Prix Six Perfections – but cannot predict which of his two fillies will come out on top.

Boughey’s juveniles are owned by a division of Nick Bradley Racing – as is Mystery Angel, also part of the yard’s Tuesday team in France in a second Group Three on a classy card, the Prix de Psyche.

The Newmarket trainer expects all of them to cope in varying degrees with the forecast good to soft conditions, having proved adaptable on that score to date.

Oscula was significantly Hellomydarlin’s superior when they were respectively third and 12th in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot.

But there is only 2lb between them on official ratings, and Boughey corroborates that they have been each other’s equal on his gallops as they prepare to take on a field containing one other British challenger – Simon and Ed Crisford’s Daneh – and a home contingent headed by Andre Fabre’s unbeaten course-and-distance winner Zellie.

Oscula, winner of the Woodcote Stakes at Epsom in June, has followed her Royal Ascot effort with a very respectable fourth in the Group Two Duchess of Cambridge Stakes.

Boughey said: “The ground was too quick for her at Newmarket last time. It looks like there’s a bit of ease out there this time, which should suit her.

“She was third in the Albany on heavy, and then it was very soft ground on Oaks day when she won the Woodcote.

“She’s rated 100, goes there in good shape, so I think she has a good chance.”

Both fillies move up slightly in trip, having raced exclusively over six furlongs so far.

Boughey added: “Hellomydarlin steps up to seven, after her third in the Prix Robert Papin.

“Jockey reports and everything I’ve seen have always suggested she’d get seven.

“She’s a big, strong filly and goes there with a decent chance as well.

“The form of Hellomydarlin’s maiden actually got a massive boost the other day, with Ismael Mohammed’s (Zain Claudette) winning a Group Three.

“It didn’t work out for her at Ascot. We wanted her to come stands side, and she never got over to get in the race, and the ground was way too soft for her.

“I think you can put a complete line through that.”

She has twice run with credit since, notably in the Group Two Robert Papin at Chantilly last time.

“Her form at Pontefract was pretty good, and then she backed it up when she went to France the other day,” said Boughey.

“So personally, I couldn’t split them. They worked together the other day, and they worked as well as each other.

“Obviously one will beat the other – but where they finish, I’m not sure.”

Joint-trainer Ed Crisford admits Daneh – a beautifully-bred daughter of dual Group One-winning mare Rizeena – faces a testing assignment after just her impressive all-weather debut success over this trip in June.

He said: “She won very well at Kempton, and we thought she deserved a chance in a stakes race.

“She’s obviously very well-bred as well, a homebred of Sheikh Rashid’s (Dalmook Al Maktoum).

“We were going to run her in a Listed race at Sandown the other day. But it was very firm ground, and she wouldn’t want that.

“So the ground looks suitable. It still looks a very punchy affair out there – but she’s in good form, and I think she’s come on again from her first run, so we’re expecting a good run from her.

“I think she deserves to be going in a stakes race, so we’ll see how she gets on and where we stand.”

Boughey, meanwhile, hopes his highly-consistent Oaks runner-up Mystery Angel can gain deserved Group Three success later on the card.

“She’s flown the flag this year for us,” he said.

Mystery Angel has been a star for her connections this season
Mystery Angel has been a star for her connections this season (Mike Egerton/PA)

“She won the Pretty Polly well (at Newmarket in May) on decent ground. She’s not actually run again on it, and she’d never run before on it, and I’ve always been of the view that she will be better on better ground.

“If it was only good to soft, that would be fine.

“It seems everywhere she goes the rain follows her. She’s in very good form – she’s been busy, but she takes her racing incredibly well.”

Mystery Angel drops to 10 furlongs, having sat out a possible Group Two alternative up at one mile six on Saturday at Goodwood.

“She’s not bred to get a mile and a quarter, a mile and a half – but I think because she’s so relaxed she’s able to,” said Boughey.

“She was in the Lillie Langtry, but I didn’t see any reason to take on David Menuisier’s horse (Wonderful Tonight) on soft ground.

“I think she’s pretty versatile trip-wise. We’ll probably look to make plenty of use of her and get on the front. James Doyle will know that she stays a mile and a half well, and (can) be pretty positive on her.

“It felt like she deserved a Listed win, and she got that, so if we can go one step better that’d be great.”

Among her seven opponents are Irish challenger The Blue Brilliant, who moves up in class in search of her hat-trick for Jessica Harrington.

Boughey hoping Mystery Angel has the answers at Haydock

Mystery Angel will bid for glory in the bet365 Lancashire Oaks on Saturday after her tremendous performance at Epsom last month.

The George Boughey-trained filly was the runner-up at 50-1 when last seen in the Cazoo Oaks, a race in which she finished behind only Aidan O’Brien’s runaway winner Snowfall.

This weekend’s Group Two affair is run over the same mile-and-a-half trip – a distance the three-year-old has now proved herself to be competitive over after previously producing winning and placed performances from seven to 10 furlongs.

“She’s been in good form since the Oaks, we were very happy with her,” Boughey said.

“She stayed the mile and a half well last time and a big galloping track should suit her well.

Mystery Angel (left) finishing behind Snowfall in the Musidora Stakes at York
Mystery Angel (left) finishing behind Snowfall in the Musidora Stakes at York (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“She’s been in pretty good shape and I can’t complain really, she goes there with a good chance.”

Prior to the Oaks run, where she was beaten 16 lengths, Mystery Angel crossed paths with Snowfall in the Musidora Stakes at York and on that occasion finished only four and half lengths behind the Ballydoyle filly.

“There was no shame in being beaten by her (Snowfall),” Boughey added.

“But it would be interesting to see the race (the Oaks) on better ground because I don’t think we can take the form completely literally as we were only a few lengths behind her the time before.”

Sir Mark Prescott’s Alpinista currently heads the market for the Merseyside feature after triumphing on her seasonal debut in the Listed Daisy Warwick Fillies’ Stakes at Goodwood in April.

Sir Mark Prescott's Alpinista
Sir Mark Prescott’s Alpinista (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Dubai Fountain will represent Mark Johnston’s Middleham stable, having improved from a below-par performance in the Oaks run to finish fifth in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, said: “He said: “She disappointed in the Oaks, but took a step back in the right direction at Ascot last time.

“It’s her third race in four weeks, but races for fillies at this kind of level aren’t plentiful so we’re happy to take our chance.

“They’ve all got a little bit to find with Alpinista on official ratings, but her best form would see her right there.”

Henry Candy’s La Lune looks to complete a hat-trick of victories, having won both the Listed Nottinghamshire Oaks and the Group Three Pinnacle Stakes already this season.

Candy said: “She’s in very happy form and working nicely. It’s a big step up in grade for her, but hopefully she’ll be able to get herself in the first four and I’m happy with the way she is.

“She takes everything in her stride and she’s very easy going, and to have David Probert back in the saddle is an important part of the equation I think, so hopefully she runs well again.”

La Lune renews rivalry with Roger Varian’s Pinnacle runner-up Cabaletta, while Andrew Balding’s Tribal Craft comes into the race off the back of Group Three success in the Bronte Cup Fillies’ Stakes at York – beating David O’Meara’s Lancashire Oaks hope Makawee into third.

Peter Chapple-Hyam’s Rothesay Stakes winner Bharani Star and the Varian-trained Lady Hayes complete the competitive field of nine.

Mystery Angel ‘likely’ to take up Lancashire Oaks date

Cazoo Oaks runner-up Mystery Angel could bid to go one better in the bet365 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock on Saturday.

George Boughey’s three-year-old was a widely unconsidered 50-1 shot for the fillies’ Classic at Epsom earlier in the month, but gave members of the Nick Bradley Racing syndicate that own her a thrill in beating all bar Aidan O’Brien’s runaway winner Snowfall.

Mystery Angel is reported to have taken those exertions well and is set to return to action for this weekend’s Group Two feature on Merseyside.

“She’s a likely runner at Haydock on Saturday,” said Bradley.

“She’s in serious form at home – George couldn’t be happier with her. I think if you were to put a gun to his head, he’d say she’s better now than she was before Epsom.

“The Oaks form looks strong. The horse that was 13th (Zeyaadah) won that Group Three the other day and Aidan O’Brien’s filly (Santa Barbara, fifth at Epsom) was just touched off in that Group One in Ireland on Sunday.”

Ben Curtis has been on board Mystery Angel on her last three starts, but could miss out on Saturday after dislocating his shoulder when riding at Newcastle on Friday.

Alpinista could take on Mystery Angel
Alpinista could take on Mystery Angel (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Bradley added: “I don’t know if Ben will be able to ride or not. I think he’s seeing a specialist this week. If Ben doesn’t ride, I suspect Mark Crehan might take the ride.”

Mystery Angel is one of 11 entries for the Lancashire Oaks, with the standard set by Sir Mark Prescott’s Alpinista.

The daughter of Frankel is rated 113 after chasing home the brilliant Love in the Yorkshire Oaks last summer and could make her first appearance since winning a Listed prize at Goodwood in April, having missed two engagements since.

Henry Candy’s La Lune could bid to follow up her course-and-distance victory in the Pinnacle Stakes, while the Joseph O’Brien-trained Traisha is a potential challenger from Ireland.

Mystery Angel camp ponder next move

Mystery Angel is expected back in action next month as connections mull options for her next race after she vindicated the decision to supplement for the Cazoo Oaks by finishing second to the brilliant Snowfall.

Owners Nick Bradley Racing 27 and partner stumped up £22,500 to add her to the Classic at the confirmation stage, and were rewarded with a near £85,000 pay packet.

The George Boughey-trained filly will not run at Royal Ascot but should return next month instead.

“It was a great run. We knew she was in great form going into the race,” said Nick Bradley.

“We had a plan – Ben (Curtis) executed it perfectly and everything went well. The best horse won and the second-best horse was second.

“I was delighted with her. She won’t go to Royal Ascot. Beyond that, there isn’t an obvious race for her.

“I’d like to run her back at Newmarket. I think there’s a Group Three for three-year-olds over a mile and a quarter.

“Nothing is concrete at the moment, but she’ll run somewhere early next month.”

Oscula has options at Royal Ascot and Chantilly following her victory at Epsom
Oscula has options at Royal Ascot and Chantilly following her victory at Epsom (John Walton/PA)

It was a fabulous Friday at Epsom for the Boughey and Bradley team, as Oscula kicked the meeting off with a clear-cut victory in the Woodcote Stakes.

The daughter of Galileo Gold earned quotes as low at 6-1 for the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot.

She could go for the Group Three, or possibly to Chantilly for the Prix du Bois on June 20.

“She’s a quality filly and she won it very easily,” said Bradley.

“Mark (Crehan) gave her a great ride, and it was his biggest day. I was delighted for him. I enjoy working with him – he’s having plenty of success now.

“She may go to Ascot for the Albany, (or) she may go to France for a Group Three on Chantilly on Prix de Diane day – the Prix du Bois.”

Boughey eyes sustained progress after flying start to campaign

George Boughey has enjoyed a memorable year so far and is intent on sustaining his progress throughout the summer.

The trainer’s Newmarket base at Saffron House Stables is currently operating at a 26 per cent strike – with last year’s total of 26 winners already comfortably surpassed.

Mystery Angel provided Boughey, previously assistant to Hugo Palmer, with his first Stakes success this month when taking the Listed Pretty Polly at Newmarket’s Guineas meeting.

The filly is set for Wednesday’s Group Three Musidora Stakes at York, in which Roger Varian’s Teona is expected to head the market.

Mystery Angel, ridden by Ben Curtis, wins the Betfair Pretty Polly Stakes during 1000 Guineas Day
Mystery Angel, ridden by Ben Curtis, wins the Betfair Pretty Polly Stakes (Mike Egerton/PA)

Boughey said: “She was impressive at Newmarket, and I don’t see why she shouldn’t have a very good chance on Wednesday.

“Obviously Roger Varian’s horse will go in as favourite and will probably be hard to beat, but she’s a filly who is progressing and she can make a very good account of herself.

“She was placed at Newmarket as a two-year-old over 10 furlongs (in the Group Three Zetland Stakes), and I’m sure she’s up to this class.”

Also flying the flag for the stable is the promising juvenile Navello, who completed his hat-trick when winning the Lily Agnes Stakes at Chester by six lengths last week.

The colt’s next target is the Listed National Stakes at Sandown.

“He’ll head to the National Stakes,” said Boughey.

Navello, ridden by Nicola Currie, on his way to winning the ICM Stellar Sports Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes during City Day of the Boodles May Festival 2021 at Chester Racecourse
Navello won the ICM Stellar Sports Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes at Chester (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He’s bounced out of his run and he’s improving pretty quickly at the moment.

“He’s a versatile horse ground-wise, so I wouldn’t really be worried about what the ground is – we’ll just crack on.

“He’s a two-year-old who takes his racing incredibly well. I could run him again this week if I wanted to, and he just bounces out of each run – he is a joy to train really.”

The successes of both Mystery Angel and Navello have helped Boughey to 30 winners this term, with both of his pre-season goals already accomplished.

“We’ve had 30 winners already, and my target was to have more winners than we had last year – so we’re well through that already,” he said.

“We’ve had a Stakes winner, which was my only other target, so we’ve just got to keep trying to get the best out of the horses we’ve got.

“We’ve been well supported over the winter. We had plenty of winners last year, but they weren’t superstars, so it’s really nice to have some horses that are winning on ITV and in the bigger types of races.”

Boughey is also keen to see those supporters able to return to the racecourse as coronavirus restrictions begin to ease.

“That’s the next step – we need to get the owners back,” he said.

“They are back, but only in a certain form. We see them over the rail – but they are putting a lot of money into this sport, and we need to see them rewarded for that.”

Fev Rover camp eye choice of Group One targets

Fev Rover has either the Irish 1,000 Guineas or the Prix Saint-Alary on her agenda after her big run at Newmarket.

Richard Fahey’s filly outran odds of 22-1 to be beaten only a length and a quarter into third by Mother Earth in Sunday’s 1000 Guineas.

Taking a keen hold from the stalls, Fev Rover disputed the lead for the first five furlongs before crossing the line a neck behind runner-up Saffron Beach.

Nick Bradley’s racing partnership owns the horse, and he was in attendance alongside a clutch of fellow shareholders.

“Fev Rover ran a great race,” he said.

“We decided we wanted to be handy, because there didn’t look to be much pace in the race.

“She was a little keen early doors, but we had her where we wanted her.

“She looked like she was going to drop away, but then she picked up out of the dip and ran really well.”

The daughter of Gutaifan had previously enjoyed both Group and Listed successes, having gained black type form in Sandown’s Star Stakes last season before taking the Prix du Calvados at Deauville.

Bradley has another tilt at Group One glory pencilled in this month, with both the Irish Classic at the Curragh and ParisLongchamp’s Prix Saint-Alary under consideration.

“I haven’t spoken to Richard (Fahey) this morning,” he said.

“But we’ll probably go for the Irish Guineas or the Alary next.”

Should the latter race be targeted, Bradley’s filly is likely to cross paths with another who did his silks proud at Newmarket on Sunday.

Mystery Angel gave rookie trainer George Boughey his highest-profile winner to date when taking the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes under Ben Curtis.

The length-and-three-quarters victory signified a change in fortunes for the daughter of Kodi Bear, who has been narrowly beaten three times in Listed contests.

Her efforts in the Silver Tankard Stakes at Pontefract, the Montrose Stakes at Newmarket and the Prix Rose de Mai all fell just short of the mark, with her subsequent run in the Prix Francois Mathet at Saint-Cloud ending in a fifth-placed finish.

“She’s been really unlucky,” said Bradley.

“From when Frankie (Dettori) rode her at Newmarket onwards, she probably should have won all those races.

Mystery Angel ridden by Ben Curtis wins the Betfair Pretty Polly Stakes during 1000 Guineas Day, part of the QIPCO Guineas Festival at Newmarket Racecourse
Mystery Angel and Ben Curtis won the Betfair Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Things didn’t quite go our way in each circumstance for different reasons, but yesterday she showed everybody how good she was.

“We knew she was that good, but the last one kind of knocked our confidence a little bit.

“She’s obviously a very good filly, and Ben (Curtis) gave her a great ride – the tactics were to take to the front and make it a stamina test.”

Next week’s Musidora Stakes at York is a possibility, but Bradley is more inclined to target the Prix Saint-Alary and a possible clash with Fev Rover.

“She (Mystery Angel) ran a great race and she will probably go for the Alary next,” he said.

“We’ll look at the Musidora, but it’ll probably be the Group One Alary in France.”

Mystery Angel has the answers in Pretty Polly

Mystery Angel made her race fitness count as she took the Listed spoils in the Betfair Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket.

The daughter of Kodi Bear, having her fourth race of the year, defeated several highly-regarded rivals to enhance her own reputation.

Owned by the Nick Bradley Racing syndicate – who afforded her the loudest cheer of the weekend – she also put her rookie trainer George Boughey in the spotlight, giving the Newmarket-based handler the biggest success of his career to date.

Ridden by Ben Curtis, who was completing a double after winning the previous race with Zabeel Champion, Mystery Angel was always in the front rank.

Forever Grateful led in the early stages until Mystery Angel (13-2) set sail for home some way out.

Sea Karats was the only threat, but she was always playing second fiddle and went down by a length and three quarters.

The first two pulled three and a quarter lengths clear of Taslima in third, while A’Shaari, the 6-4 favourite, was the disappointing horse in the race, finishing fifth.

Bradley said: “I’m a bit lost for words, to be honest.

“When she ran here at the backend of last year she did that (won well) and then we kind of got it wrong.

“Today was on better ground and it was great to see her do that in front of all the owners here on such a big day as we’ve always felt she was a top-class filly.

“You’re only allowed six owners here, but there’s 20-odd owners in this horse.

Mystery Angel has some big-race options now
Mystery Angel has some big-race options now (Mike Egerton/PA)

“I bought her at the breeze-ups here for 22,000 guineas and drove the horsebox home with her in it. By the time I got home, I only owned four per cent of her!

“She’ll probably go for the Group One Prix Saint-Alary, or perhaps the Musidora at York. We’ll have a think.

“She isn’t in the Oaks. We thought 10 furlongs would be her maximum trip as she’s by a sprinter, but we might be wrong.”

Boughey said: “It was a shame not to win in France six weeks ago, but she’s a very tough filly who obviously loves it here at Newmarket.

“I actually worked her on the Summer Gallop about a week ago on what was very fast ground and she worked very well.

“She’s an improving filly who handled the soft and heavy ground last year, but her work had suggested she was actually going to be better on faster ground.

Ben Curtis gave Mystery Angel a fine front-running ride
Ben Curtis gave Mystery Angel a fine front-running ride (David Davies/Jockey Club)

“She’s a filly with a pretty upward profile now. She’s in the Prix Saint-Alary, which she could go for, but the Musidora is another option.

“She’s not in the Oaks, but she’s putting a bit of prize-money in the pot now and it might be something we consider (supplementing). There’s a few nice decisions to make.

“She’s not bred to stay a mile, let alone a mile and a quarter. But the way she won there – galloping through the line – I certainly wouldn’t be against trying her over a mile and a half.”