‘Every chance’ Mogul might wait for Ascot after Dubai reappearance

Mogul could be given a break following his run in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan on Saturday.

The Aidan O’Brien colt was sent off favourite in what was a hot renewal of the mile-and-a-half feature, but finished seventh of the nine runners behind Mishriff.

It was a first outing for Mogul since his victory in the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin in December.

O’Brien said: “Mogul ran well. He hadn’t run since December and for him that is a long time. He’s a horse that progresses with his racing and we think he will progress a lot.

“I think he won’t mind coming back in distance either. He’ll have no problem coming back to a mile and a quarter and don’t rule him out going back to a mile. He’s a very strong traveller.

“There is not much for him until Ascot and we don’t want to run him on soft ground. There is the Tattersalls (Gold Cup), but the ground can be slow there and there is every chance that he won’t appear again until Ascot.

“Hopefully he will have a full season after that.”

Mishriff and Lord North thrill Gosden on day to remember

Mishriff and Lord North are to be freshened up for major engagements this summer after they headlined a super Saturday for John and Thady Gosden on their first weekend with a joint licence.

The father and son team not only scooped two of the top prizes at Meydan, but took the Lincoln at Doncaster with Haqeeqy and had a double at Kempton through Otyrar and Global Giant.

The two heads of Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket had the perfect lift-off on Friday when Regent, their first official runner together, won at Lingfield.

Gosden reflected on a remarkable Saturday.

Mishriff proved his class in the Dubai Sheema Classic
Mishriff proved his class in the Dubai Sheema Classic (Dubai Racing Club/Mathea Kelley)

“It was an extraordinary day. A tremendous amount of work and planning had gone into it with all our team here at Clarehaven Stables and sometimes it comes off,” he told Racing TV’s Luck On Sunday programme.

He was delighted with the two high-profile winners in Meydan, where Lord North took the Dubai Turf and Mishriff backed up his Saudi Cup triumph in the Dubai Sheema Classic.

“Lord North showed his class. In the Prince of Wales’s Stakes last year he scooted away from them. He’s a grand horse with a wonderful attitude,” said Gosden.

“I think he’ll go back for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes again (at Royal Ascot). We’ll freshen him up now for the summer.”

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Mishriff could be set for a busy summer campaign, after a well-deserved break.

Lord North was brilliant in the Dubai Turf
Lord North was brilliant in the Dubai Turf (Mathea Kelley/Dubai Racing Club)

“I will discuss it with Prince Faisal, but it was always the plan to see if he could be an Arc horse and I think he proved he gets the mile and a half,” said Gosden.

“They went quick to the bend, then they slowed it up and he finished well, so I think he’ll freshen for the summer.

“My feeling would be races like the Eclipse, the Juddmonte International, the Arc and the King George. Those are the races to be looking at and seeing where we are at the time.

“That’s a long way off. He deserves a pretty good holiday.”

However, Gosden is not keen on going for the Breeders’ Cup Classic on dirt in Del Mar as he feels the course would not suit Mishriff.

“Having had a lot of success at Del Mar over the years I do know that straight very well and I always feel they should pick up the finishing wire and move it another 100 yards down,” he said.

“It’s a very short straight and a different style of racing. You’ve got to have real tactical speed and you ping off the bend. This is a horse who enjoys the length of the straight. I don’t think it’s going to suit him.”

Young apprentice Benoit De La Sayette shone aboard Haqeeqy in the Lincoln
Young apprentice Benoit De La Sayette shone aboard Haqeeqy in the Lincoln (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Closer to home, a new star was born when 7lb-claiming apprentice Benoit De La Sayette, 18, partnered Haqeeqy to an emotional victory in the Unibet Lincoln at Doncaster in the colours of Hissa Hamdan Al Maktoum, daughter of Shekih Hamdan who died earlier in the week.

“Frankie Dettori is a friend of the De La Sayette family and it was he who asked if their son could join the Clarehaven team. It evolved through Frankie and his father being good friends,” said Gosden.

“Frankie asked if he could come to us and he’s a pleasure to work with. He’s work riding and he’s been with us some time riding during school holidays. He’s exceptionally talented.

“I don’t like to see apprentices rushed. We’ll try to manage it very carefully and do what’s right and prudent for a young jockey who’s hopefully got a long career ahead of him, but he certainly won’t be riding left, right and centre every day and burning himself out by August.

“His parents have been so much part of this They have taken him to England, France, pony racing. They taught him everything. He’s just a natural.”

Thady Gosden was on duty for the team in Dubai and is jetting to Florida with a view to adding to the stable.

Thady Gosden is a key part of the training operation with his father
Thady Gosden is a key part of the training operation with his father (Julian Finney/PA)

“He’s going to Florida for the two-year-olds in training sales,” said Gosden senior.

“He’s going to look at some horses at the sales here there. He says he’s got a client. Who knows, he’ll be taking over soon.

“You couldn’t have choreographed it. It was meant to be January 1, but with the modules that got put behind by Covid so it’s happened by the beginning of the turf season which is great.

“We didn’t quite plan this. It came to fruition, but if we had won of those races we’d have been overjoyed. They are very hard to win.”

Burke sets sights on Newbury with Dandalla

Dandalla is all set to reappear in the Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Newbury on April 17.

Karl Burke’s filly was a Royal Ascot winner last season, in the Albany Stakes, and followed up in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket.

While she disappointed when only fifth in the Cheveley Park Stakes on her final outing, Burke has high hopes she will resume winning ways on her reappearance.

“She heads for the Fred Darling at Newbury, or what was,” said the Leyburn handler.

Dandalla demolished her rivals at Royal Ascot
Dandalla demolished her rivals at Royal Ascot (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“That has been the plan for a long time and at the moment she’s bang on course for that.

“She’s wintered really well, done everything we’ve asked and I’m very happy with her.”

Another top-class filly in the yard is sprinter Lady In France, who was last seen finishing a close fourth in the Prix de l’Abbaye behind Wooded.

“Lady In France, we felt, was a bit unlucky to miss out in the Abbaye really,” said

“If you run that race 10 times she would probably win it six or seven times, it was just a bit of bad luck.

“She likes a bit of soft ground, but we are hopefully taking her to Bath for a Listed race (Whitsbury Manor Stud/British EBF Lansdown Stakes) as a prep run for a race in France, there are a couple of Group Threes we can choose from.

“We’ll go to France with her, but she’s very much ground dependant. While she has won on good ground she’s better with a bit of cut. She doesn’t need it heavy, though.”

Prize-money increase for Royal Ascot from last year

A total of £6million in prize-money will be up for grabs at this year’s Royal Ascot, up from the £3.61m offered in 2020.

The funds for the fixture, which runs from June 15 to 19, represent a 66 per cent increase on last year, when purses were reduced due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year’s meeting took place behind closed doors and this year’s seven-race cards will take place with a limited crowd at best, as restrictions are not due to be fully lifted before June 21 at the earliest under the Government’s road map.

Ascot chief executive Guy Henderson said: “In 2020 we had hoped to offer record prize-money of more than £8million at the Royal meeting. In the event the pandemic made that impossible and we have now spent nearly a year racing behind closed doors with trading income down 80 per cent.

“This year’s prize-money of £6m represents 75 per cent of what we had originally planned for 2020.

“With restricted attendances in 2021 and pandemic insurance cover no longer available, the business will need to absorb a significant loss this year in order to deliver our wish to support the industry with the most prize money that we can prudently afford.

“Whilst Covid-19 has knocked back our long-term financial trajectory by several years, our aim is to make the largest steps we can towards getting prize-money levels back on track as soon as possible.

“Without owners we would have no racing. We are very grateful for their commitment and thank them for their support. We look forward to being able to increase prize-money further as soon as it is possible for us to do so.

“We are also very grateful to our official partners, Qipco and Longines, as well as our official suppliers, sponsors, broadcast partners and betting media partners. All of their support is deeply appreciated.

“We at Ascot much look forward to being able to welcome back our racegoers in June and delivering a special week of racing, both for those who are able to be with us on site and the many millions who will be with us in spirit through our broadcast and digital channels.”

Ascot also confirmed the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes, which takes place in July, will be run for £875,000, more than doubling last year’s £400,000.

Minzaal to make late start after leg injury

Commonwealth Cup contender Minzaal will miss the first part of the season after having surgery on a leg injury.

The Gimcrack Stakes winner sustained the damage in his box and is currently recuperating at his owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s Shadwell Stud.

Trainer Owen Burrows is optimistic Minzaal will be back in action this season – but it could be a race against time to get him ready for his Group One objective over six furlongs at Royal Ascot.

“Unfortunately Minzaal injured himself in his box before Christmas,” said the Lambourn handler.

“He’s had to have surgery and he’s back at Shadwell at the moment recuperating.

“Whether or not he’ll make Ascot will be just determined on how he progresses now. It’s a shame.

“He must have banged a hind leg and has had a couple of chips removed off his hocks.

“Obviously the Commonwealth Cup was the plan. There’s still a small chance. God willing, we’ll have him back at some stage this year.”

Minzaal was third in the Group One Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on his final start last term.

Burrows is looking forward to Hukum’s four-year-old campaign, after the colt gave him a first Royal Ascot winner when landing the King George V Handicap on just his third start last summer.

Hukum is being readied for a four-year-old campaign
Hukum is being readied for a four-year-old campaign (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Hukum went on to prove himself in Pattern company, winning the Group Three Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury and finishing a creditable fifth in the St Leger at Doncaster on his latest outing.

“He’s back with me and looks to have done well over the winter. He’s an exciting horse for us all,” he said.

“I have plans in my head, but nothing concrete as such yet.”

Moore makes his mark with Lingfield four-timer

Ryan Moore is a fairly rare visitor to Lingfield at this time of year – but he once again advertised his class in the saddle when winning on four of his five rides at the Surrey venue.

Moore – who next weekend hopes to be in Saudi Arabia – was booked for five rides for five different trainers, and only Richard Hannon’s odds-on Mummy Bear in the Ladbrokes Watch Racing Online For Free Fillies’ Novice Stakes let him down, finishing third.

The day began for Moore with a victory on Ed Dunlop’s Ahdab (even-money favourite) in the Bombardier “March To Your Own Drum” Novice Stakes.

Ahdab streaks clear under Ryan Moore
Ahdab streaks clear under Ryan Moore (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Dunlop’s travelling head lad Robin Trevor-Jones felt the addition of a new Wexford round gallop at La Grange stables played a part in his first win.

Trevor-Jones said: “It’s an excellent soft sand facility and this is the first horse to come off it and win for us.

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“The boss is friendly with Jamie Osborne, who said that he uses one and that he has many more sounder horses because of it. This horse is a lovely, big Shamardal and Ryan said the surface was deep and he liked it.”

The Roger Teal-trained Gurkha Girl (4-6 favourite) was next in the Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side On Football Fillies’ Novice Stakes and she eventually came home two and three-quarter lengths in front of 50-1 shot Waltzing Queen.

Gurkha Girl (left) got going late to win for Roger Teal
Gurkha Girl (left) got going late to win for Roger Teal (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Martyn Meade’s Crackling (10-11) was another to justify odds-on favouritism, in the Bombardier British-Hopped Amber Beer Handicap.

It was hard work, though, as Crackling, having just his fourth run at the age of five, still showed signs of inexperience in beating Apex King a neck.

“Ryan is a great asset to have on a horse like this who is still a bit green and improving with racing,” said assistant trainer Freddie Meade.

“He’s lightly-raced and looked like the progressive one in the contest.

“We’ve taken our time with him and he’s come back happily to show us that he’s in good spirits.”

It was hard work but Crackling got there in the end
It was hard work but Crackling got there in the end (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Meade also had news on stable star Method, who will be aimed at Royal Ascot.

“We’ll look at the Commonwealth Cup and work back on a plan from there,” said Meade.

Moore was perhaps seen to best effect on Hugo Palmer’s Convertible (100-30), who came flying down the outside to win the Betway Casino Handicap by a length and three-quarters.

Moore said: “Convertible had good form on grass and has done the job well. He was very straightforward and entitled to win.

“Crackling is just a baby still who is learning all the time and I was very pleased with the way he did it.”

Regarding his plans for the coming weeks, Moore admitted they were still far from certain, for obvious reasons.

“I hope to be able to go to Saudi, which is the plan, although everything is very complicated at the moment with the situation changing all the time,” he said.

Passionova puts down early Royal Ascot marker

While the temperature may have been hovering around freezing at Lingfield, trainer George Baker was already dreaming of Royal Ascot following the impressive victory of Passionova.

Mummy Bear was expected to give Ryan Moore another winner in the Ladbrokes Watch Racing Online For Free Fillies’ Novice Stakes – but Richard Hannon’s odds-on shot had no answer to Passionova, who was having just her second run.

Sent off a 15-2 chance, the three-year-old looked a different proposition to when finishing sixth on debut.

Passionova (left) has big-race ambitions later in the year
Passionova (left) has big-race ambitions later in the year (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Ahead of her that day was Mahale and it was that rival who chased her home on this occasion, but this time Passionova was five and a half lengths to the good.

Baker said: “I’ve always liked her and she was a lovely filly to pick up at the breeze-up sale.

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“I’ve given her plenty of time and she’s really stepped up today and she’ll go further.

“Shane (Kelly) was very impressed to the extent that he mentioned the Sandringham, which is very exciting, and I think we’ll put her away and wait for the turf.”

Galahad Threepwood could be a decent prospect for Mick Channon given the way he followed up a recent win in the Betway Apprentice Handicap.

He scored on his handicap debut at the track last month, but was 6lb higher in a better race on this occasion.

Galahad Threepwood and George Bass lead the field
Galahad Threepwood and George Bass lead the field (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

George Bass offset that with his 5lb claim and the way he beat the well-bred John Gosden runner Moohareeba by four lengths suggested he probably would have won without that.

Assistant trainer Jack Channon said of the 4-6 favourite: “He really has turned a corner between three and four and is very progressive.

“He clearly loves this track. We’re very happy with the way he did it and my first inclination would be that he will have a short break before we look at other options, including on turf.”

Bass said: “It’s nice that I’m getting quite a few rides for outside stables, but even nicer that that was one for the boss and he’s a real progressive individual as you saw.”

Cieren Fallon (left) drives Twilight Heir to victory
Cieren Fallon (left) drives Twilight Heir to victory (Alan Crowhirst/PA)

Cieren Fallon was on the board for Qatar Racing as Twilight Heir (3-1) won the Get Your Ladbrokes Daily Odds Boost Handicap.

His sole success last year came at Catterick and while he only had two to beat, he was the outsider of the three for Michael Bell.

“Mr Bell has done a really good job with this horse. I’ve sat on him a few times at home and he’s an easy ride,” said Fallon, who flies out to Saudi Arabia next week for the mount on Oxted on the Saudi Cup undercard.

“He jumped a bit awkward and I rode it like a piece of work. I didn’t want to get done for a turn of foot so I kept him rolling down the hill. He’s done really well through the winter this horse.”

Knicks Go clash with Charlatan would be ‘great match up’

Brad Cox’s dominant Pegasus World Cup winner Knicks Go remains in the mix for a mouthwatering clash with the Bob Baffert-trained Charlatan in the Saudi Cup.

Knicks Go earned an automatic berth with an all-the-way success at Gulfstream Park, proving he can stay further than a mile into the bargain.

“He’s done extremely well, he bounced out of the race fine and flew back to New Orleans on Sunday morning,” Cox told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast.

“It looked like Joel (Rosario) didn’t get to the bottom of him, so hopefully we can head towards the Saudi Cup.

“As a trainer, you try to stay positive but always look at things that could go wrong. Obviously it was our first start without Lasix, he had yet to win at a mile and an eighth and as he’d been so dominant at Keeneland (Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile) – we had to transfer that form to South Florida and he was able to do so.”

The Saudi Cup sees the field only take one turn and Cox is in two minds whether or not that will be in Knicks Go’s favour.

“It’s hard for me to say if a one-turn mile and an eighth will suit him,” said Cox.

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“He went really quick the other day, there was a horse on his outside – I thought 46 (seconds) for the half-mile was quick enough, but he was able to stay on.

“He’s able to get into that one big cruising speed where he’s comfortable and I think he’s able to put horses away between the half (mile) to three-eighths pole. I think he’ll adapt to the one-turn.

“He doesn’t have to lead, he’s just naturally gifted and is quick from the gate. You’d like to think he doesn’t have to lead, but he’s performing well with the style he has right now.

“Charlatan is a very good horse, obviously lightly-raced, but he’s got crazy good numbers. He’s a freak talent, but he does lack some experience. If we decide to go to Saudi, it would be a great match up, it really would.”

Joel Rosario returns on Knicks Go following his Pegasus win
Joel Rosario returns on Knicks Go following his Pegasus win (Marta Lavandier/AP)

Another star in Cox’s barn is dual Breeders’ Cup Distaff heroine Monomoy Girl, who could take on the boys at some stage this year having stayed with Cox following her sale for $9.5million.

“There were definitely different views from the people who had interest in her, but I feel very fortunate that Spendthrift were able to purchase her,” said Cox.

“Their plan was to continue to race her all year and try to get her back at the Breeders’ Cup, which I think is probably the right thing for her.

“It’s been mentioned we might take on the males. We’ve picked out a few races like the Bayakoa and Apple Blossom as short-term goals, then (we’ll) reassess as the year goes on.

“I’d prefer an opportunity before then (Breeders’ Cup) and that would then give us the opportunity to go in the Classic or remain with the girls in the Distaff. It would be great for racing, I do believe.”

Excitingly for British fans, Cox’s Aunt Pearl, who beat Mother Earth and Miss Amulet in the Juvenile Fillies’ Turf at the Breeders’ Cup, is still being considered for Royal Ascot.

“Royal Ascot is still on the cards. She’s back training. We’ve just given her an opportunity to catch her breath while there wasn’t much going on for three-year-old fillies in the States,” said Cox.

“The Coronation Stakes would be what we are looking at. I’ve only seen videos, but she looks like she’s filled out and she looks amazing.”

Cox also has three contenders for the Kentucky Derby at this stage.

He said: “We’ve Essential Quality, but we’ve got some other colts. Caddo River has a lot of speed, Mandaloun will wear blinkers on his next start – he has a lot of talent but needs to put it all together mentally.”

Ward has Royal Ascot ambitions for Campanelle and Golden Pal

Wesley Ward is lining up a high-profile assault on two of the sprint features at Royal Ascot, with the sights of both Campanelle and Golden Pal set on the headline meeting in June.

Campanelle is being aimed at the Commonwealth Cup following a fruitful juvenile campaign that saw her win the Queen Mary Stakes at the Royal meeting, before going on to lift the Group One Prix Morny in France later in the summer.

She had to settle for fourth on her final start of 2020 upped to a mile at the Breeders’ Cup meeting, and Ward expects her main target to be the Commonwealth Cup back over six furlongs rather than either the English or Irish 1000 Guineas, for which she holds an entry.

Frankie Dettori celebrates after Campanelle's win last year
Frankie Dettori celebrates after Campanelle’s win last year (Edward Whitaker/PA)

He said: “Barbara (Banke, owner of Stonestreet Stables) is really keen on Ascot and I think six furlongs – and that’s a stiff six at Ascot for the Commonwealth – with a little weight break for being a filly, that will be our main target.

“I’m kind of working from that race backwards – the Guineas really don’t come into play right now unless when she’s at the farm, the team gets together and decides to go in another direction.

“Our main goal would be the Commonwealth. Barbara and her whole team are really looking forward to getting back (to Royal Ascot). She worked last week for the first time at Barbara’s farm at Ocala and she looked like she’s ready to go, so we’re all excited.”

Lady Aurelia won the King's Stand for Ward in 2016
Lady Aurelia won the King’s Stand for Ward in 2016 (David Davies/PA)

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Campanelle is one of the three top-rated fillies in Europe last year, with Ward’s star being given a mark of 113 along with Fillies’ Mile winner Pretty Gorgeous and Shale, who was victorious in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.

Ward was previously responsible for a top-rated filly in Lady Aurelia, who also won the Queen Mary and Morny before returning to Ascot to lift the King’s Stand Stakes the following year.

While Ward compares the two favourably, he believes Campanelle will shine over further than five furlongs.

Speaking via Zoom at the British Horseracing Authority’s two-year-old classifications press conference, he added: “They’re similar in their accomplishments, but I still believe Campanelle will stretch out a little bit – she’s a bigger, scopier filly and she will go a little further, that’s why we tried her at a mile at the Breeders’ Cup.

“I think it was a case of it was the end of the year, she had a long season whereas Lady Aurelia was beaten in the Cheveley Park over six and we found out she was better at five. This filly was going a mile and I just think it was just a long, long season.”

The Lir Jet (left) was a shade too good for Golden Pal last year
The Lir Jet (left) was a shade too good for Golden Pal last year (Julian Finney/PA)

Golden Pal also ran at the Royal fixture, being edged out by neck by The Lir Jet in the Norfolk Stakes, and he is also on course to return.

The Uncle Mo colt went on to win the Juvenile Turf Sprint at the Breeders’ Cup meeting and Ward has high hopes he can emulate Lady Aurelia.

He said: “We’re really excited about this guy. He will come back opening day at Keeneland, which is April 1. Every year they have a straight, three-year-old, $100-$150,000 stakes race over five and a half furlongs and that will crack off the season for him.

“He’s doing fantastic – he came out of the Breeders’ Cup in great shape and we’re going to try the same route we did with Lady Aurelia and go to the King’s Stand with him. I think the five should see him right between the ears there.

“He’s grown in height and he’s broadening out – he’s a really beautiful colt right now. I think he’s going to be a tremendous sprinter this year.”

Battaash and Golden Pal are on course to clash at Royal Ascot
Battaash and Golden Pal are on course to clash at Royal Ascot (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Reigning champion Battaash is due to kick off his campaign with a King’s Stand defence – and Ward would relish a clash between the two speedsters.

He said: “I’m a big fan of that horse. We’re excited to come back over, it’s always tough to come to the home court where he has the advantage.

“The Nunthorpe has eluded me and that will almost be the main goal for this guy. We’re going back to the King’s Stand (first), but as the summer progresses the three-year-olds catch up to the four-year-olds and I’m really looking forward to that race at York.

“This guy (Golden Pal) has proven he can go on all types of ground – he’s a very exciting sprinter, one of the best I’ve ever trained and hopefully could be the best with the accomplishments we’ve set out for him this spring, summer and hopefully culminating in the fall.

“He’s a really, really exciting horse to train, so we’re looking forward to it. Battaash is a very worthy opponent. The years are hopefully behind him, but I’m a big fan of his and when you get these good sprinters matched together, it just brings excitement to everyone involved in racing.”

Wesley Ward is hoping to make it to Ascot this year
Wesley Ward is hoping to make it to Ascot this year (Julian Herbert/PA)

While Ward had runners at Ascot last year, the Covid-19 pandemic meant travel for all but essential staff was not possible and the meeting was run behind closed doors.

However, he is hoping the situation will improve this year, allowing his family to make the journey to Ascot.

He added: “It’s not only for me, but my kids really look forward to coming there each and every year, they’ve been coming for over a decade now, so that’s a big mark in the calendar they look forward to.

“My oldest son has been coming since he was nine and he has a lot of friends over in Europe and England, so we’re looking forward to it hopefully opening up this year.”