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Ocean Wind seeking to further Gold Cup ambitions at Sandown

Ocean Wind is out to cement his Gold Cup claims with victory in the Coral Henry II Stakes at Sandown.

The five-year-old has filled the runner-up spot on each of his three starts so far this year, most recently pushing triple Gold Cup hero Stradivarius close in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot last month.

Trainer Roger Teal hopes his star stayer can get back on the winning trail in Thursday’s two-mile Grade Three – before returning to Ascot for another crack at Stradivarius at next month’s Royal meeting.

“You can’t take anything for granted, because there’s some high quality-animals up against him, but he ran very well at Ascot and hopefully he can build on that,” said the Lambourn trainer.

“Hopefully the ground dries up a bit, although he’s not ground dependent to be fair – he races on most things, God bless him.

“We’ll see what happens. Hopefully he can do himself justice, and then we’ll go on to Ascot.”

Ocean Wind’s biggest threat appears to be the Mark Johnston-trained Nayef Road, who aims to bounce back from a rare disappointing display in the Yorkshire Cup a fortnight ago.

Nayef Road winning last year's Sagaro Stakes at Newcastle
Nayef Road winning last year’s Sagaro Stakes at Newcastle (Tony Knapton/PA)

Rainbow Dreamer (Alan King), Ranch Hand (Andrew Balding) and Irish raider Lismore (Henry de Bromhead) complete the line-up.

Eight previous winners contest the Listed Coral ‘Beaten By A Length’ National Stakes.

Bryan Smart’s Bond Chairman, the Eve Johnson Houghton-trained Chipotle and Choux from David Evans’ yard all put their unbeaten records on the line, while George Boughey’s Navello bids for a fourth victory from five starts.

Boughey said: “He’s been training really well and has got a good draw in stall four.

“I couldn’t really fault him, to be fair. This looked the natural place to go from winning the Lily Agnes at Chester, when the ground was pretty soft. I wouldn’t be worried with any ground, to be fair.

“He should go there with a favourite’s chance and hopefully he’ll take all the beating.

“Hopefully this is a stepping-stone before Royal Ascot.”

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.”

Navello continues rapid progression at Chester

Navello proved himself to be a versatile juvenile when justifying 5-4 favouritism in the ICM Stellar Sports Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes at Chester.

George Boughey’s son of Ivawood was having his fourth race of the season already and his trainer plans another before a probable trip to Royal Ascot.

Nicola Currie took up the running over a furlong out and impressively pulled six lengths clear of a previous winner in Devious Angel.

“That was great. It wasn’t surprising he did that, as his dam was Group-placed on soft ground, but now he’s won on quick and soft ground. He’s on an upward curve,” said Boughey.

“He was very green when he first ran at Bath, but he keeps taking a step forward. He’s a horse I think we’ll go to the National Stakes with next, at Sandown – it seems the obvious place to go.

“The owner/breeders are here today, they’ve had a great day and hopefully we can get some black type.”

Currie will be hoping Navello could help force her back on to some nice horses after a quiet couple of seasons.

“He certainly made life a lot easier today than he has done,” she said.

“The ground was the question mark, but he jumped and travelled and I was laughing within the first furlong. It was just a case of whether he would gallop out on this ground, and he has done.

“You could get away with five or six (furlongs) at the moment. We thought he was crying out for six, but the way he jumped and travelled today you could get away with five (at Ascot).”

She added: “I had an injury and it kind of went downhill from there and the momentum went. It’s hard to get going again in this game as there’s always someone chasing your tail.”

Showalong (13-8 favourite) landed some hefty bets in the tote+ At tote.co.uk Handicap for Tim Easterby and David Allan.

Highly thought of last year, following a promising seasonal debut he resumed winning ways in cosy fashion, beating First Company by three-quarters of a length.

“He was probably well backed because he showed some good form last year, ran a strong race first time out and appreciates soft ground,” said Allan.

“He’s a horse we think will progress well this year, especially with cut in the ground. He likes to do things his own way, but he wasn’t doing a lot when he hit the front.”

Assistant trainer William Easterby said: “One of his owners is an official at York so the big three-year-old handicap there is on the agenda. But the race we won at Royal Ascot last year with Art Power (Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap) could suit him first, over a stiff five.”

Paws For Thought (left) wins at Chester
Paws For Thought (left) wins at Chester (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Tom Dascombe loves saddling winners at Chester and was on the mark once more, with 5-1 shot Paws For Thought striking gold in the tote+ Pays You More At tote.co.uk Handicap under Richard Kingscote.

Dascombe said: “It’s great to have a winner here – obviously it’s our big meeting.

“Richard is excellent at getting them out of the stalls and you could see with three furlongs to go the horse had won.

“It was brilliant placing by the owner because I wanted to run him tomorrow in the seven-furlong race, but he said ‘no, drop him back to six’, so I can’t take much of the credit.”

Alfaadhel was a clear-cut winner
Alfaadhel was a clear-cut winner (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Roger Varian and Jim Crowley teamed up to land the Boodles Maiden Stakes with the promising Alfaadhel.

Third on his Newbury debut last month, the 4-1 chance went two places better with a determined display.

Crowley said: “We went a solid pace, and he turned for home going well, but he probably just struggled a little on the ground. It was just a bit soft for him, and he made hard work of it up the straight.

“He’s a fine, big horse – that Newbury run looked good, and he has come forward from it. He did well today to say he didn’t like the ground, and he’s a big horse to be going round here.”

The concluding Deepbridge Estate Planning Service Handicap went to 25-1 shot Broken Spear, trained by Tony Coyle and ridden by 5lb claimer Kieran Schofield.