Tag Archive for: Nick Bradley

Marshman suffers season-ending pelvic injury

Marshman will miss the rest of the season having suffered a suspected pelvic injury while tuning up for an intended outing in the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

Trained by Karl Burke, Marshman has won three of his nine career outings, striking Group Three gold in France earlier this season, which gave hope the colt could take high-rank in the sprinting division this term.

Although not adding to his tally, he continued to perform with credit in defeat, with connections deciding after Royal Ascot to stick to the minimum distance with the speedy son of Harry Angel.

Following a below-par effort in Sandown’s Coral Charge in July, the three-year-old was being prepared for a crack at a stellar renewal of the Knavesmire Group One on Friday and a return to a track at which he has twice performed with real credit – including when second in the Gimcrack Stakes at the Ebor meeting last season.

However, Marshman suffered a setback during training, with the injury set to keep the speedster sidelined for the rest of the campaign.

“He went for a breeze early last week and came back sore,” explained Nick Bradley, managing director of Nick Bradley Racing.

“We sent him for a bone scan and it’s not conclusive, but it looks like a suspected pelvic injury. I think that will be him done for the year.

“We’ll bring him back next year. Three can be a hard age for sprinters, so we’ll try again at four.”

Sophia’s Starlight connections happy to see filly fulfilling her promise

Sophia’s Starlight could be set for bigger and better objectives having continued her upwards curve when landing the William Hill Great St Wilfrid on Saturday.

Grant Tuer’s progressive filly has always been held in lofty regard by connections, but it has been during this season she has proven it on track, racking up five victories in nine starts and rising over 20lb in the handicap since shedding her maiden status at Wolverhampton in May.

Still heading in the right direction following her triumph under Sam James in the prestigious Ripon handicap, the daughter of Hunter’s Light does have the option of a quick return to action at York later this week, where she holds an entry for Thursday’s British EBF 40th Anniversary Fillies’ Handicap.

However, Nick Bradley, managing director of the syndicate that carries his name, envisages Sophia’s Starlight skipping that he eyes a busy autumn that will see the three-year-old stepping up in class to black-type contests.

He said: “She could go to York later this week, but looking at the weather forecast I don’t think she will.

“But she will have Group and Listed targets between now and the end of the year and she’s going to have a busy September and October.

“I thought something like the Challenge Stakes (Newmarket, October 13) could be a long-term aim and the five-and-a-half (furlong) fillies’ only Listed race at Ayr (Arran Scottish Sprint EBF Fillies’ Stakes, Sept 22) could be a target for her as well – it’s a race we won the other year with Dandalla.”

It may have taken Sophia’s Starlight slightly longer than connections imagined to reach the level at which she now operates, but credit has to be given to the perseverance of Tuer and his team following a frightening incident in the stalls during the early stages of her career.

“She’s a very smart filly and I remember this time last year standing at the Ebor thinking this thing is a certainty in a novice at Carlisle and then she went under the stalls,” continued Bradley.

“She went under the stalls and then every time she went in the stalls after that she was freaking out and starting her races with an incredibly high heart rate.

“Grant had said before then she was probably the best horse he’d ever trained and he’s now been proved right.

“She went off and did a lot of stalls work and now we’ve got to the stage where we can load her with a hood and she’s much more relaxed about it.

“I think she’s ground dependent a little bit so we went to Ripon and it was just what we needed, we were delighted.”

Marshman camp planning late call on Royal Ascot target

Connections were left frustrated following Marshman’s appearance in York’s 1895 Duke of York Clipper Stakes last week and will now make a late decision on whether he will line up in the King’s Stand Stakes or Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

The Karl Burke-trained three-year-old had finished second in the Gimcrack on his previous visit to the Knavesmire and headed into the Group Two contest having won three of his five career outings following a comeback win at Chantilly in the Group Three Prix Sigy.

However, a tardy start meant Clifford Lee was unable to get the son of Harry Angel to challenge in the ideal spot from his draw of stall two and although travelling with some menace out wide on the flank, his pursuit of glory petered out in the closing stages to be beaten three lengths in fifth.

“Everything kind of went wrong,” said Nick Bradley, managing director of owners Nick Bradley Racing.

“I haven’t watched it many times because when you don’t enjoy what you see, you don’t tend to go back and watch it that much.

“He bunny hopped at the start and lost one or two lengths. Cliff wasn’t able to come down the centre of the track because he had horses on his right and ended up definitely challenging on the wrong side of the track.

“He came there and loomed up at the two pole, as did the winner and Highfield Princess, but he just didn’t see it out. I’m putting that down to him losing a few lengths at the start and having to challenge on the worst part of the track.

“I think if he was drawn 10 and bunny hopped the start, he’s definitely in the first three – where I don’t know. If he’s drawn 10 and doesn’t bunny hop the start, I think he could have been in the first two.”

Having travelled powerfully it is easy to envisage Marshman dropping back to the stiff five furlongs of the King’s Stand at the Royal meeting, but Bradley is keen to bide his time and see how the fields are shaping up before making a decision.

“It’s very easy to say that because of the way he ran, but there are legitimate excuses,” said Bradley of the prospect of running over five furlongs. “You are walking away from York frustrated because a big day hasn’t gone your way.

“We’re not going to make any quick decisions. We will watch the Sandy Lane this weekend and see how the races pan out and see nearer the time.

“I think I would rather run him over five than six at Ascot, but we will see how the races look like.”

Marshman ‘in great form’ ahead of top-class Duke of York

Marshman is primed for a competitive renewal of the 1895 Duke of York Clipper Stakes on the opening day of the Dante meeting.

The Karl Burke-trained three-year-old began his season in the Group Three Prix Sigy at Chantilly in mid April, a race he won by a length and a quarter after a 205-day break.

The success resumed Marshman’s career after a good juvenile campaign that saw him take two novice events before finishing second in the Gimcrack when beaten by Godolphin’s Noble Style.

He now returns to the Knavesmire to take on the same course and distance in an intriguing Group Two event over six furlongs, having been working with Gimcrack third and recent Ascot winner Cold Case.

“He’s in great form at home, he’s been working well with Cold Case,” said Nick Bradley of owners Nick Bradley Racing.

“I wouldn’t say he’s in front or behind, it’s hard to say as they do everything on the bridle.”

Of his Gimcrack run last season he added: “If you look at the horses behind him, Cold Case was four lengths behind him, Royal Scotsman was six lengths behind.

“I think that was a really, really good race.”

Bradley reports the horse to have fared well following his Chantilly success, a race that has set him up nicely for his seasonal debut on British turf.

He said: “I was delighted with that performance, what I was impressed about was the way he accelerated away from the field – he put the race to bed really quickly.

“We expected him to get tired and he did, but he’s come out of the race really well and it should put him spot on for this.”

As well as Marshman, the Duke of York features the crack John Quinn-trained mare Highfield Princess, Australian ace The Astrologist and the Charlie Appleby-trained Creative Force.

Highfield Princess and Jason Hart in last year's Duke of York
Highfield Princess and Jason Hart in last year’s Duke of York (Tim Goode/PA)

Quinn reports his charge to be doing well, although her Group One burden will present a challenge.

Winner of this race 12 months ago, she went on to win the Prix Maurice de Gheest, Nunthorpe and Flying Five before ending her season with a creditable fourth at the Breeders’ Cup.

Quinn said: “She had a break after America, but she’s been back in a while.

“We’re pleased how she’s training but all of her life she’s been getting the mares’ allowance and now, with her Group One penalty, obviously she’s giving weight to colts – which won’t be easy.

“But we’re happy with her and it’s a great place to start off her season.”

Marshman powers home in Prix Sigy return

Marshman made a smart start to his campaign with a front-running victory in the Prix Sigy at Chantilly.

Impressive in winning his first two starts at Ayr and Thirsk last summer, the Nick Bradley Racing-owned colt went on to fill the runner-up spot in the Gimcrack Stakes at York before rounding off his juvenile year by finishing fifth when favourite for the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Karl Burke’s charge was a warm order to make a successful reappearance at Group Three level in France and dominated from the outset in the hands of Clifford Lee.

Wodao, trained by Donnacha O’Brien did his best to bridge the gap in the latter stages of the five-and-a-half-furlong contest but Marshman was well on top at the line, prompting Paddy Power to trim his odds for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot to 9-1 from 16-1.

Bradley confirmed the son of Harry Angel is likely to have one more run before heading to the showpiece meeting in Berkshire.

He said: “The season starts here really for us, so it’s nice to get off to a good start.

Clifford Lee speaks to Nick Bradley at Beverley
Clifford Lee speaks to Nick Bradley at Beverley (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Karl has been pretty positive all spring. He’s put the odd average piece of work in, but other than that he couldn’t have been any better.

“I thought he was a certainty today and he won like one. He got a little bit lonely at the end and the only danger was if he got tired on the ground, but we got away with it.

“We’ll look at the Sandy Lane at Haydock or the Duke of York Stakes next and then we’ll head for the Commonwealth Cup.”

Bradley outlines sprint aspirations for Marshman

Marshman will be campaigned as a sprinter when he returns to the track to kick-off his three-year-old campaign – with a trip to France for Chantilly’s Prix Sigy highlighted as the speedster’s early-season target.

A relatively inexpensive £38,000 breeze-up buy, the Karl Burke-trained son of Harry Angel created a deep impression in his first two outings before going down by less than two lengths to the well-regarded Noble Style when sent off the 9-4 favourite for the Gimcrack at York.

That signalled a trip to Newmarket for a tilt at the Group One Middle Park Stakes and although popular with punters once again when sent off the 15-8 favourite, he proved far too keen before hanging under pressure as Aidan O’Brien’s Blackbeard recorded an impressive victory.

He plugged on for fifth but returned lame from his run on the Rowley Mile in what was to be his final outing of the campaign.

“He came out of the Newmarket race lame in front,” explained Nick Bradley, managing director of owner Nick Bradley Racing.

“He was suffering with sore shins throughout his two-year-old campaign, which is just something that can happen with two-year-olds, particularly ones which come from the breeze-ups.

“So when he went downhill in the Middle Park I expected him to hang, but he hung more than I thought he would. He was keen at the beginning of the race as well and everything went wrong – but we still managed to finish fourth in a Group One.”

Trainer Karl Burke could have a smart sprinter on his hands in Marshman
Trainer Karl Burke could have a smart sprinter on his hands in Marshman (Mike Egerton/PA)

Now connections have resisted the temptation to take in a 2000 Guineas trial in the early stages of the campaign and have set their sights on all of the major sprinting prizes throughout the season – starting with the Chantilly Group Three on April 17.

“He’s been back in since December time,” Bradley continued. “Karl was raving about the horses in general and Marshman was kind of top of the pile. He has not done any serious work as yet though.

“We’re not going to be drawn into stepping him up in trip for the Guineas or anything like that, we very much see him as a sprinter. I find a lot of those breeze-up horses run over a shorter distance than their pedigrees suggest due to the way they have been trained early in their careers.

“He is probably going to start over in France in the Sigy. It’s a Group Three over five and a half furlongs and that will be his target at the moment.

“Our aim last year was to make him a stallion and he was second in the Gimcrack when he looked to have it won. That itself would have been enough.

“But hopefully we are going to win the Group Three in France then we can look at races like the Sandy Lane (Haydock), Commonwealth Cup (Royal Ascot) and the July Cup (Newmarket). Those sorts of races will be his targets and the aim is to win as many Group races as we can.”

Coltor carrying hopes of Cheltenham success for Nick Bradley Racing

Nick Bradley and Roger Fell are mostly associated with winners on the Flat, but they are planning an audacious raid on the Cheltenham Festival with ex-Dermot Weld inmate Coltor.

Fifth in the Boodles Fred Winter at Prestbury Park when trained by Weld in 2021, the dual-purpose six-year-old won four times for the legendary Irish handler while housed at Rosewell House, before switching the Curragh for North Yorkshire at a cost of 25,000 guineas last autumn.

A fact-finding mission on the Flat identified the son of Free Eagle requires further than the minimum two miles these days and the plan was hatched to target either the Coral Cup or Pertemps Final at the Festival next month.

Having qualified for the longer of the two races by finishing a close-up second at Musselburgh recently – with Rendlesham winner Wakool back in fourth – Bradley suggests the Pertemps could be the perfect spot for his rare jumps runner unless conditions dictate dropping back in distance.

“We took him for a spin at Kempton on the all-weather to learn a little bit and Tom Marquand rode him. He said there is no way in the world he is a two-mile hurdler,” explained the managing director of Nick Bradley Racing.

“If you look in Ireland they were using various types of headgear, which I’m not a fan of. So we took it all off, went back to basics over two miles on the Flat to get him from 85 per cent fit to 100 per cent fit, so we could go to Musselburgh for the Pertemps qualifier.

“My assistant is called Lewis Poskitt and he needs all the credit as he spotted the race. We were thinking Musselburgh or the Haydock race and obviously we qualified by finishing second anyway so didn’t need to run at Haydock.”

He went on: “That was a great run and he’s come out of the race fine and now he is being put away for a run in either the Pertemps or the Coral Cup. He will probably go for the Pertemps, but if it comes up soft or heavy then it would be Coral Cup.

“The horse who finished behind us at Musselburgh won the Rendlesham and I think we go there with a massive chance.”

It would not be the first time Bradley has enjoyed success at the Festival as he was the man responsible for purchasing Junior on behalf of Middleham Park Racing for £35,000 before he went on to strike at both Royal Ascot and then by a whopping 24-lengths in the Kim Muir while trained by David Pipe.

Nick Bradley speaks to a jockey at Beverley
Nick Bradley speaks to a jockey at Beverley (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Years ago I bought a horse called Junior who won at Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival,” continued Bradley.

“He had the widest winning margin at the Festival until Tiger Roll beat him the other year. He is one I’ve enjoyed success with before.”

Meanwhile, with the start of the Flat turf season just over a month away, Bradley and Fell are targeting Doncaster’s SBK Lincoln with another of their new recruits, Toshizou.

Formerly trained by Joseph O’Brien, he is a best price of 33-1 for the prestigious season-opening handicap and Bradley believes his odds offer real value judged on his best form in Ireland.

He added: “If you watch his two runs last year – the run at the start of the season was really good, he was just too far back. Then he was sent off favourite next time and I thought he ran fine that day but came back lame.

“We got him going early January and we’re on target for the Lincoln. At the moment he might need a little help to get in, but it’s a race that will cut up plenty.

“He will go and have his first away day in about 10 days and we don’t know levels of ability or anything like that at present, but based on the form of his first run in 2022, he was a very well-handicapped horse then and I told all the owners to back him at 40-1 for the Lincoln a few weeks ago. I don’t know what price he is now, but he was definitely the wrong price at 40-1.

“The horse has done everything right so far, but March will be the month we find out more.”