Tag Archive for: Sam Hoskins

Draw concerns for Balmoral hotpot Sunray Major

A high draw is a concern for connections after ante-post favourite Sunray Major just made the cut for the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot on Saturday.

The lightly-raced four-year-old – a half-brother to the brilliant Kingman – crept in at the bottom of the 20-runner maximum field, but looks to be positioned on the wrong side of the course in stall 21.

Even so, Sunray Major is a warm order for the one-mile cavalry charge after comfortably winning a seven-furlong handicap on this course two weeks ago. Frankie Dettori will again do the steering.

“He just managed to sneak in at the bottom there which is very fortunate. He needed that penalty to get in so it was a good job he won,” said Thady Gosden, who trains the son of Dubawi jointly with his father, John.

“He’s very well bred and we’ve always liked him, but we haven’t had the smoothest of times with him over the last two years.

“He’s in good form at the moment, but the draw can be important in a race like this. You normally want to be low, so I’m not sure how stall 21 will play out, stuck in the middle of the track. Hopefully, he can overcome that.”

The team at Clarehaven have two other strings to their bow, in King Leonidas and Magical Morning.

“King Leonidas has had his issues as well and is still lightly raced. He’s been improving and he should handle the ground fine,” Gosden added.

“Magical Morning has been running in the big handicaps through the year, winning one and finishing second in another. He’s a bit in and out, but he’s run two very good races this year.”

Aldaary (top left) bids to repeat this success over the course in the Balmoral Handicap
Aldaary (top left) bids to repeat this success over the course in the Balmoral Handicap (John Walton/PA)

William Haggas is triple handed with Aldaary, Montatham and Johan – but describes Sunray Major as “a certainty” after getting a run.

“I’d been desperately trying to knock John’s (Gosden) horse out, who I think is a certainty,” Haggas told Sky Sports Racing.

“Montatham and Johan have not got anything in hand weight-wise and Aldaary has got a 6lb penalty and he went up 5lb for a facile success at Ascot. He’s a lovely horse, but he’ll probably have too much weight. I think John’s horse is a good thing.”

Sir Busker, fourth in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes 12 months ago, drops into handicap company for the first time time this season.

The William Knight-trained five-year-old relishes the straight mile at Ascot and was third to Palace Pier in the Queen Anne Stakes at the Royal meeting this summer.

It is not surprising he has to give weight to all his rivals, but connections still expect him to put up a good show.

“We’re really looking forward to it. He’s obviously got a lot of weight to carry, but he’s a big horse and should be able to carry the weight,” Sam Hoskins, racing manager for owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds.

“He loves the straight course at Ascot. The ground is perfect and he’ll love the quick pace.

“Although it will be a stiff task trying to give a lot of weight to unexposed horses, this race will suit him better than some of the small runner-tactical races he’s been in. And obviously we’ve got Oisin (Murphy), who knows him so well.

“We did talk about the QEII again but it is a very strong race this year, so we’re going to try to win this race. He is a Group One horse in a handicap, but he has got a lot of weight.”

First Pattern-race success would be well deserved for Sir Busker

Group One-placed Sir Busker goes all out for a first Pattern-race triumph in the D & N Construction Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury on Thursday.

The five-year-old, trained by William Knight, may not have graced the winner’s enclosure since landing a handicap at Royal Ascot 14 months ago but he has run creditably several times in the interim.

His most notable performance was when he finished third to Palace Pier in the Queen Anne Stakes at this year’s Royal meeting.

“It looks a good race for him. It is very competitive, but we think the track should really suit him and there should be plenty of pace in the race,” said Sam Hoskins, racing manager for owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds.

“We feel he’s versatile in terms of ground these days. The ground at Royal Ascot was rattling quick and he was third to Palace Pier so we’re not concerned about that. We’re really looking forward to it.

“He’s a hard horse to win with because he needs things to go right. But I think this race will be much more suitable for him than the Summer Mile last time.

“It’s a really interesting race. You’d probably have John Gosden’s horse (Megallan) as the favourite, but there are some legendary older horses in it as well.

“It would be so special to win. He hasn’t won a race for over a yearm but obviously being placed in Group Ones you feel like a winner. He deserves a win. It would be really great.”

Oh This Is Us (far side) is one of two runners for trainer Richard Hannon
Oh This Is Us (far side) is one of two runners for trainer Richard Hannon (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Richard Hannon saddles two stable favourites in Oh This Is Us and Mums Tipple.

“Two good old campaigners,” he said.

“Mums Tipple didn’t run very well there last time. He’s had a break and we feel the mile will do him good and we think he has a chance.

“Oh This Is Us has a chance in any race he runs in. He’s been the best.”

Royal Ascot winner Perotto will try to add this Group Three prize to his Britannia Handicap spoils.

“He’s in very good form. Hopefully he’ll run very well. We’re very happy with him and the ground is drying up nicely,” said trainer Marcus Tregoning.

“It looks a very open race, but we’re hoping for the best.”

Eve Johnson Houghton’s 2018 Queen Anne victor Accidental Agent and Duke Of Hazzard, trained by Paul and Oliver Cole, are among other popular performers in the line-up.

Busker camp eye Sovereign Stakes

Sir Busker is to seek a first Group success in the Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury next month, after connections decided not to supplement the five-year-old for the Qatar Sussex Stakes.

The William Knight-trained gelding put up a career-best display when third in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot behind Palace Pier.

When that horse was taken out of this week’s Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, the temptation was there to add Sir Busker at the confirmation stage – but owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds decided the fee was too high.

Sir Busker will instead head for Salisbury’s Group Three on August 12, with the Group Two City Of York on the Knavesmire on August 21 another possible target.

Sam Hoskins, Kennet Valley’s racing manager, said: “He’s really well. We’d love to run him in the Sussex – with Palace Pier out – but the supplement was too expensive, so we didn’t

“He’s going for the Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury.

“He’s in at York in the City Of York, so he could run in both races. The long-term target is the QEII at Ascot in October.”

Sir Busker team mull ParisLongchamp prep for Ascot

Sir Busker may take in a trip to France as he prepares to bid for Group One glory in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Connections of the William Knight-trained five-year-old will consider the Prix de Montretout, a Listed race over a mile, at ParisLongchamp on May 24 as a stepping stone to next month’s showpiece meeting.

Sir Busker shaped well on his seasonal debut when taking third place in the Paradise Stakes at Ascot last week. He has a good record at the Berkshire track, having won the Silver Royal Hunt Cup last summer and then finished fourth in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in October.

“We were really pleased with his run,” said Sam Hoskins, racing manager for owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds.

“They probably didn’t quite go quick enough for him, and he probably needed it more than anticipated.

“The plan is to go to the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot. He might run once in between. There is a Listed race over a mile on May 24 at Longchamp.”

That assignment may prove a handy reconnaissance mission for future overseas targets too.

“He could go there if it’s possible to get there with the paperwork,” added Hoskins.

“It could be a nice stepping stone time wise, and travelling might be on the agenda with him. It would be quite an interesting idea to see how he travels.

“He runs well at Ascot. It’s hard to see him winning the Queen Anne, but you could see him being in the top six, so for that reason we’re keen to have a go.”

Sir Busker camp aiming high for 2021

Sir Busker’s connections have ambitious plans for him next year after his terrific run in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on British Champions Day at Ascot.

William Knight’s four-year-old belied his odds of 66-1 to finish fourth in the one-mile showpiece won by French raider The Revenant last week.

It has his syndicate owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds dreaming of Group One glory in 2021 when the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May and the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot could well figure in his programme.

However, there is a chance he may first have a spell in Australia – which would depend on several factors, including whether racegoers will be permitted back on the course.

“I’m not sure where we’ll go. We were thinking of the Lockinge and the Queen Anne next year,” said Kennet Valley racing manager Sam Hoskins.

“We’re looking into the option of to Australia as well. He could go a bit global – our spring, their autumn, March and April. There are races for him.

“Whether racegoers are allowed back on track will have a bearing. We have to think about our syndicate members. If they were allowed back, going to Australia would be at the expense of the Lockinge.

“If they can’t attend, then it doesn’t matter if he runs at Randwick or Newbury. It affects our campaigning a bit.

“He’s just been an amazing horse, and William Knight has done a great job with him.”

Hoskins reflected on Sir Busker’s career-best run in the QEII – in which he hung badly left towards the stands side.

“Obviously he’d won at Royal Ascot, so we thought he’d handle the track,” he said.

“He was unlucky not to be third really, given the way he drifted across the track.

“It’s just a shame they didn’t race close to the stands side – then the rail would have stopped him – but we’re really happy, and it’s so exciting for the future.

“It was handy him going off camera and coming up the stands rails, because the handicapper has left him on the same mark (of 111). It was very good of him, because it gives us options.

“He could run in the Queen Anne and then one of those big mile handicaps as well. Ascot suits the way he races.”