Tag Archive for: Shouldvebeenaring

Shouldvebeenaring expected to sparkle in Abernant

Shouldvebeenaring is in “the form of his life” ahead of his bid to land another decisive Newmarket blow in the Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes.

Richard Hannon’s four-year-old has been a real money-spinner for his owners Middleham Park Racing and claimed Listed honours on the Rowley Mile last spring in the King Charles II Stakes.

The most consistent of performers, the son of Havana Grey finished the season plying his trade in Group One company, beaten a neck in Haydock’s Sprint Cup before finishing off with a placed effort in the Prix de la Foret.

Having blown away the cobwebs on the all-weather at Wolverhampton last month, connections are now predicting an improved display over his optimum conditions, which they hope will tee-up further top-table outings later in the campaign.

Shouldvebeenaring (left) in winning action at Newmarket last year
Shouldvebeenaring (left) in winning action at Newmarket last year (David Davies/PA)

“Six furlongs on decent ground in group company is probably him playing at home,” said Middleham Park’s Tim Palin.

“He’s won on the Rowley Mile before and Richard reports him to be in the form of his life and this has been the target ever since the Lady Wulfruna. We deliberately got an early call into him so we could get him fit and fresh for Thursday’s mission and hopefully he will run another big race.

“We rolled a few big dice with him last year and he never quite got his head in front at Group One level. But on a couple of occasions he threatened to be a Group One winner and hopefully he can be at some point in the future.

“He has a habit of going really well in competitive big-field races and it does look really competitive. Sean Levey gets on well with him and Richard thinks he has improved since last season, so we go there very hopeful.”

Commanche Falls finished second in this 12 months ago before going on to strike three times later in the summer.

Commanche Falls has won on 12 occasions throughout his long career
Commanche Falls has won on 12 occasions throughout his long career (Brian Lawless/PA)

The form of his Ascot second to Annaf last autumn was franked on the international stage and although trainer Michael Dods is unsure whether the seven-year-old will be primed to perfection for this Group Three event, the Darlington handler is looking forward to getting another campaign up and running.

“He looks ready for a run and it has been very difficult to get him ready with the bad weather up north and you have got to start somewhere,” explained Dods.

“We just want to get him started and he’ll improve for the run and come on for it and there will be plenty more races later on in the season. He is ready for a run though, so hopefully he runs well.

“He sort of wakes up later in the season and he’s quite a lazy worker at home, so it’s hard to have him fully wound up and he takes a bit of getting ready. He has to go to the races, otherwise we’d never get him fit.”

Getting the better of Commanche Falls in last year’s race was Charlie Hills’ Garrus, who like in 2023, will be partnered by leading rider Ryan Moore.

“I rode him when he won this race last season and he went on to run some good races in defeat,” the jockey told Betfair.

“This is his grade, though he was placed in the Group One Prix Maurice de Gheest a couple of years ago, so he has a solid chance once again.”

Karl Burke is poised to saddle two in the race, with Spycatcher and Marshman both on the team sheet for the Middleham handler.

The former twice hit the frame at the highest level last term and will be attempting to pick up from where he left off, while Marshman failed to build on some top juvenile form in a 2023 curtailed by injury, but returned in rude health when just touched off in Doncaster’s Cammidge Trophy last month.

Marshman (left) ran with credit at Doncaster
Marshman (left) ran with credit at Doncaster (PA)

“Spycatcher wouldn’t want any firm in the description, otherwise he’ll be out, but both horses are in great form,” said Burke.

“Marshman ran a great race at Doncaster and will improve a lot fitness-wise for that run. He handled the heavy ground that day, but it wouldn’t be his preferred choice and good ground over six furlongs should be ideal.

“He goes out in the hood every day at home, he’s always had that. As you could see at Doncaster, he travels very strongly and I think he needs to relax early to get home over the stiffer six furlongs at Newmarket. Cliff (Lee, jockey) was keen to put the hood on, so we’ll see what happens.”

Hannon issues Wolverhampton warning for Shouldvebeenaring

Richard Hannon possesses a strong hand in Saturday’s BetMGM Lady Wulfruna Stakes at Wolverhampton – but stresses Group One performer Shouldvebeenaring will not be in optimum condition for his seasonal reappearance.

Owned by Middleham Park Racing, the four-year-old sets a clear standard on what he achieved last season, finishing the campaign by placing in top tier events both at Haydock and ParisLongchamp.

He drops to Listed level for his return to action, but with many big days and a long summer ahead of him, Hannon has warned the mount of Sean Levey will not be fully tuned up for his Dunstall Park appearance.

Shouldvebeenaring could return at Wolverhampton
Shouldvebeenaring in action on the all-weather (Richard Sellers/PA)

Hannon said: “He’s going to need it badly, it is going to be quite a busy year for him and we’re just giving him a run to get him ready for some of the bigger races later in the year.

“He’ll enjoy having a run round there and he might still win, but I imagine he will improve massively on this whatever he does.”

Hannon has won this race twice in the last four years and is also represented by 2021 champion Mums Tipple, who although well held after meeting trouble in running at Lingfield recently, is expected to come on for the run in the hands of Hollie Doyle.

“Mums Tipple has had the advantage of having a run and he won’t be far away, he’s working great,” continued Hannon.

Mums Tipple is a proven operator at the level
Mums Tipple is a proven operator at the level (Nigel French/PA)

While both Shouldvebeenaring and Mums Tipple are proven performers, Geoff Oldroyd’s Doctor Khan Junior is very much taking a step into the unknown on his first try in Pattern company.

Proven in the West Midlands, the five-year-old is unbeaten in his last four outings – all on the all-weather – and his handler feels there is no better time than the present to test the waters at a higher level.

“He just keeps progressing and we’ve got to the stage now where he is rated 99 and it is probably going to be hard in handicaps,” explained Oldroyd.

“There aren’t that many races around for him at the moment, so we’re just going to pop him up into a Listed race and see how we get on.

“He likes Wolverhampton and comes alive around there, so while he’s healthy and in good nick, it’s probably a good time to find out if he is good enough to go up in that grade.”

Another attempting to make her mark at this level is Nine Tenths, who has always been a consistent performer for trainer William Haggas and owners St Albans Bloodstock and having gained black type when second to Dear My Friend at Lingfield last month, will now bid to go one better.

“She’s quite lightly raced for a four-year-old but she has been very consistent and I think she has only been out of the first four once in her career to date,” said the owners’ racing manager Richard Brown.

“She got her black type last time which is important and she looks to have a fair chance of getting some more. Whether that is winning black type though, I don’t know and we will find out.

“Richard Hannon’s horse will be hard to beat on the ratings, but she’s fit and well and ready to go and we’ve obviously got William (Buick) on board which is always a great help. We’re hoping for a big run and she goes there match fit, which we hope will give us some bit of advantage.”

Course-and-distance winners Misty Grey (David O’Meara) and Intervention (Mick Appleby) complete the sextet heading to post for this seven-furlong feature.

‘Precarious weather watch’ in prospect for connections of Shouldvebeenaring

Shouldvebeenaring’s owners were delighted after they saw their late entry for the Prix de la Foret pay off with a gallant run at ParisLongchamp, but they could now face a similar conundrum with regards to Qipco British Champions Day.

The Richard Hannon-trained grey was supplemented for the French Group One after the ground, which is usually soft in Paris in autumn, turned out to be rather quicker than expected.

Ridden by Sean Levey, the colt held his own at the level once again, finishing third behind Kelina and Kinross in a field of 14 to justify the decision to add him to the line-up.

“Vindicated and relief are the two words that spring to mind! Spending €25,000 to go in comes with a little bit of pressure, so to see him run so well, we were absolutely thrilled,” said Tim Palin of owners Middleham Park Racing.

“Every day as the week went on it was drying up and then they were breaking track records, we knew it would play into his hands because he is best on the top of the ground.

“It was a great ride from Sean and there was a thrilling moment there when you thought he was coming to win, but of course the two class acts were just a length or two in front of him.

“For all that we got there, we couldn’t quite go past but to even finish in the same postcode as Kinross is a real feather in our horse’s cap, a real testament to his tenacity and his durability.

“He’s danced pretty much every dance this year, there’s only one month that he’s not run in this year.

“I think one of the beauties of him is the way that he switches off in his races and the way that Sean rides, it just means that he only ever has to sprint for two furlongs in his races. He’s not a make-all, eyeballs-out horse who is on the speed and in the thick of it from start to finish.”

The gamble also paid off financially as his prize-money well exceeded his supplementary fee, and similar calculations could now justify another late entry – this time for the British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot.

Again the ground will prove pivotal with quick going preferred, meaning connections will keep a keen eye on the weather forecast as they weigh-up the Ascot race with the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket just over a week beforehand.

Palin said: “There’s a couple of options – he is in the Challenge Stakes, a week on Friday, the Group Two, that’s seven furlongs at Newmarket and he’d probably go there with a favourite’s chance. We’ll have to talk to Richard and Sean and give him a breeze next week to see if he’s over his exertions.

“That would be on the agenda, but that’s only about eight days before the Champions Sprint at Ascot. We’d need to look at the weather forecast to see whether we’d dare wait another week for the rain not to arrive or the heavens not to open.

“He’s not in there, realistically because at the time of entry you’re assuming it’s going to be soft or heavy ground. A bit like the Foret, he was never in that, we took the decision to wait and supplement and of course it paid off.

Shouldvebeenaring was a winner at Newmarket back in May
Shouldvebeenaring was a winner at Newmarket back in May (David Davies/PA)

“Being second at Haydock in the Sprint Cup meant that he earned £91,000, so that gave us a little bit of financial wiggle room to be able to play the supplementary game. It cost €25,000 to go in the other day and he earned €40,000, so there’s plenty of money in the kitty if we need to supplement for that.

“The weather gods might shine on us, literally, in that week coming up to it but we’ll have to make a decision before we truly know – declarations for the Challenge Stakes will be on the Wednesday and it’s another 10 days to the Champions Sprint.

“It’s going to be a precarious weather watch to see which way we go.”

Swift return to action being considered for Shouldvebeenaring

Haydock Sprint Cup runner-up Shouldvebeenaring could spring back into action for the Betfred Park Stakes at Doncaster on Saturday.

The Richard-Hannon trained colt was a 50-1 chance for the Group One at the Merseyside track – but took little notice of those odds when coming home just a neck behind the winner under Sean Levey.

The run was another gallant performance from the grey, who has a CV that includes two Listed wins and a good handful of Group-placed performances.

Notably he was second behind Coolmore’s Little Big Bear in the Sandy Lane earlier in the year and a return to the same track at Haydock backed up that run this weekend.

“We were absolutely thrilled with that performance, he was a 50-1 shot on the day but we didn’t have him down as a 50-1 chance in our minds,” said Tim Palin of owners Middleham Park Racing.

The QIPCO Guineas Festival – Newmarket Racecourse – Friday May 5th
Shouldvebeenaring and Sean Levy (left) on their way to winning the King Charles II Stakes (David Davies/PA)

“We probably thought he might finish in the first five or six and pick up some prize-money, but when you look back he’d already been second to Little Big Bear and split him and Bradsell in the Sandy Lane when he went off at 11-1.

“The collateral form was there and is there, we’re absolutely trilled to provide his owners with a runner in a Group One and a horse that just got touched off in a Group One, which he did – he was trading odds-on to win the race during the final half-furlong.

“He’s a dual Listed winner and you’d like to think he’s a Group winner in the making, if we could make that a Group One or Group Two then who knows – you might have a stallion master or two picking up the phone.

“He’s a superstar of a horse, he tries his heart out.”

Connections have left the colt in the Park Stakes at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting on Saturday and a decision will be made later in the week as to whether or not he takes up the entry.

“We have actually left him in the in the Group Two at Doncaster, just in case he comes out of it bouncing,” Palin said.

“I’m sure Sean Levey will give him a spin on Wednesday or Thursday and we’ll make a decision about that race, we’ll see what the ground is going to be like as he does like good ground or quicker.

“There’s not a deluge and they’re not planning to water at the minute, if it did quicken up then it could just be tempting if we can get that Group win by his name.

“The horse’s well-being will be of paramount importance, whether he’s over his exertions from the weekend and ready to rock and roll again, but he’ll stay in training as a four-year-old anyway.”

Thinking ahead to the winter and to Shouldvebeenaring’s four-year-old campaign, Palin mapped out some targets in a season that could include a step down in trip to five furlongs.

He said: “We’ll campaign him in Group One and Group Two sprints with the aim of picking up an elusive Group One, he’s clearly a Group One performer and we want to make him a Group One winner.

“Meydan, possibly the Al Quoz, he could have a prep run and go out there for that fantastic prize-money and there’s always decent ground out there.

“He’s a candidate for that and all your normals, your Duke of Yorks, July Cups, Haydock Sprints, we might even give him a whizz at five.

“We need to explore five with him as well as he travels lovely over six and he’s strong through the line. A Nunthorpe might happen a bit quick for him, but an Ascot five or a Haydock five could suit him down to the ground.”

Middleham Park keen for another crack at Little Big Bear with Shouldvebeenaring

Middleham Park Racing are not shying away from a sprint rematch at Royal Ascot between Shouldvebeenaring and Little Big Bear.

The two horses contested the Sandy Lane at Haydock when last seen, with Little Big Bear prevailing as the even-money favourite with Shouldvebeenaring giving him a run for his money a length and a quarter back in second.

Having started at 11-1 for Richard Hannon and Sean Levey, the runner-up ran a mighty race and continued what is proving to be an incredibly fruitful season for him.

Though his Haydock performance was something of a pleasant surprise for the grey’s owners, Hannon was less shocked as the colt had impressed him in his work beforehand.

“It did catch us a little bit by surprise but we felt he warranted his place in the race, he deserved his shot at the big time,” said Tim Palin of Middleham Park.

Shouldvebeenaring (left) at Newmarket
Shouldvebeenaring (left) at Newmarket (David Davies/PA)

“He’d been crashing around in Listed races and doing that particularly well and we just thought we’d pop his head above the parapet and see where he ended up.

“He did it in spades, didn’t he? He stepped up to the plate in spades.

“I was pleasantly surprised, to get so close to the champion two-year-old is an immense achievement for a £40,000 yearling that we bought from Goffs UK.

“Richard had said to me on the Tuesday after his final piece of work, ‘Tim, this horse is better than ever. He’s never done what he’s just done there in front of me’.

“It probably wasn’t as much as a surprise to Richard that he was able to step up because he’s seen it in front of his very eyes.”

Shouldvebeenaring is now pencilled in for the Commonwealth Cup, a Group One sprint where he will likely cross paths with Aidan O’Brien’s Little Big Bear again.

Palin said: “It’s great to be mixing it in these lofty places, where do we go now? There’s some talk about the Jersey, but Sean (Levey) did say that he wouldn’t mind another go at the winner when he got off.

“That’s what we may well do, if he’s (Little Big Bear) the 13-8 favourite and we’re just a couple of lengths off him then he would probably deserve a place in the Commonwealth Cup.

“He’d have to mix it with even more blue-blooded types and time will tell but he does deserve it, a stiff six furlongs is probably Shouldvebeenaring playing at home.

“With a nice patient ride we’ll see where we end up and if we could nick a place, that’d be great. If he did happen to turn it around with the winner then it’s a stallion-making opportunity.”

A £40,000 purchase, Shouldvebeenaring has earned over £250,000 in prize money already and is quickly becoming a popular horse as his ability is matched by his consistency.

“He wears his heart on his sleeve, he has the heart of a lion and puts so much effort into all of his races, even the days he’s been beaten,” said Palin.

“He still has that enthusiasm and he’s still improving, he’s not the biggest, he’s a bit of a pony.

“His diminutive stature is certainly belied by his heart and tenacity, he’d run through a brick wall for you, he’s a superstar.”

Shouldvebeenaring an early wedding gift for Levey

Shouldvebeenaring proved his versatility by handling the step up to seven furlongs with aplomb in the King Charles II Stakes at Newmarket.

A money-spinner for his Middleham Park connections last season when he won a valuable sales race at York and a Listed race at Ripon, he had been spotted running on strongly in his last two races over six furlongs.

Stepped up to seven furlongs, having finished a close fifth in the Spring Cup at Newbury over the distance, the Richard Hannon-trained three-year-old appeared to relish it.

Dropped out as the field were taking along at a strong pace set by Arabian Storm and Benacre, there were almost five in a line heading into the dip.

Sean Levey delivered his challenge furthest away from the stands, but he quickened up smartly to win by three-quarters of a length. Benacre stuck on gamely for second, with Arabian Storm third.

The winner was an apt one for Levey, who gets married on Monday to long-term partner Toni Vaughan.

Hannon said: “It’s Sean’s wedding on Monday and I’ve got one or two (rings) I can lend him!

“He’s not a big horse, but he’s one of the bravest – he’s got the heart of a lion. I thought he’d get seven furlongs and he did get it very well.

“He’s barely ever run a bad race. He’s been on the go a bit, but he thrives on that. I’m delighted for the horse because he didn’t cost a lot of money (£40,000) and he’s a little gem.

“We’ll look at something like the Jersey (at Royal Ascot) and there’s a nice race at Epsom before that (Surrey Stakes). He’ll handle anything and can go anywhere, but Ascot is where these guys want to be.”

Levey said: “It’s a big day (on Monday) and that has helped pay for some of it, but not enough! I’m excited about it though and looking forward to it.

“He always turns up no matter what and he’s just so straightforward.

“They’ve gone a good gallop today and that’s why I’ve always been convinced he wants six furlongs because he gets that gallop then. Over seven, if they go a bit steadier, it doesn’t suit him.

“They’ve gone a true gallop there today and he keeps finding that little bit more. Now that he’s shown he can run against these better type of horses and beat them, there’s more opportunities for him.

“It’s hard to say where his limits are.”

Shouldvebeenaring bidding to add further lustre to money-spinning CV

Shouldvebeenaring goes in search of a fifth career success in the talkSPORT All-Weather 3 Year Old Championships Conditions Stakes, as enterprising owners Middleham Park Racing attempt to land a telling blow on All-Weather Championships Finals Day.

The Havana Grey colt found the scoresheet on three occasions as a juvenile and having picked up a £122,950 pay cheque when striking in a valuable sales race at York, soon scooped Listed honours at Ripon.

Respectable efforts in the Mill Reef and then back on the Knavesmire over seven furlongs followed before attentions turned to securing qualification for this £150,000 contest at Newcastle – something he achieved when winning at Southwell in January.

Shouldvebeenaring after winning at Ripon
Shouldvebeenaring after winning at Ripon (PA)

“Shouldvebeenaring looks like going off favourite and it looks like a race that is tailor-made for him on a track which suits being held up,” said Tom Palin of Middleham Park.

“I can see him running a similar race as to when he won the Goffs sales race, weaving through. I think he’s nearly top-rated and he looks to have a good chance, it’s been his target all winter.”

Julie Camacho’s Shaquille heads to Gosforth Park having won three of his four career starts and his only disappointment coming in the Acomb Stakes last summer.

Connections have kept the son of Charm Spirit fresh for a crack at this valuable six-furlong contest and are confident he can make his presence felt.

“We’ve been pleased with him,” said Steve Brown, assistant trainer and husband of Camacho.

“He quite purposely had a break after Wolverhampton which was always the intention. He’s trained well over the winter and has progressed again physically – he’s a nice, big, strong colt.

“He went to Newcastle last week to stretch his legs and have a lie of the land and have a breeze up the track.

“We’re looking forward to it, he’s a few pounds wrong with a few of the horses at the weights, but we still feel he is progressive and we’re interested to see if he can improve further.

“It will tell us which direction we should be going in and we still have an interest in going up in trip at some point – it’s on the agenda. But the stiff six is a good starting point, so we will see how it goes and go from there.

George Boughey is double-handed with recent Listed winner Perdika and Kempton scorer Danger Alert, while Kevin Ryan’s Hello Queen has won both starts so far this term, tasting success over course and distance last month.

Another recent winner in the line-up is Andrew Balding’s Desert Cop, who made huge strides when runner-up on his second start before thriving when dropped back to six furlongs, getting off the mark at the third attempt.

The speedily-bred son of Oasis Dream showed plenty of pace to put the race to bed on that occasion and David Bowe, racing manager for the Oasis Dream gelding’s owner Jeff Smith believes his blistering turn of foot could prove crucial once again.

He said: “He has progressed and I would say the six furlongs would suit him down to the ground, especially on his pedigree.

“His last run was impressive in the way he finished out his race and he looks to have plenty of speed. We’ve been really encouraged by him at home and his home work has been excellent.

“He’s a lovely horse with a very speedy pedigree and we’re hoping the six will be ideal for him.”

New Definition disappointed over a mile at Chelmsford last weekend, but trainer James Tate is prepared to put a line through that effort as he drops the otherwise consistent son of Invincible Spirit back down to six furlongs.

He said: “He seemed to improve for running a sharp seven at Lingfield twice, but the mile at Chelmsford was a disaster because he just got stuck wide all the way round.

“We’re backing him up quickly I know, but this is a stiff six at Newcastle and if Chelmsford hasn’t taken anything out of him hopefully he will be on the premises.

“He’s a very tough type and seems to take his racing well.”

Meanwhile Group One-winning jockey Robert Havlin is looking forward to partnering The X O for the first time.

Jockey Robert Havlin will partner John Ryan's The X O in the talkSPORT All-Weather 3 Year Old Championships Conditions Stakes
Jockey Robert Havlin will partner John Ryan’s The X O in the talkSPORT All-Weather 3 Year Old Championships Conditions Stakes (Mike Egerton/PA)

Although the outsider of the field, John Ryan’s colt has racked up plenty of experience in the early part of 2023, winning two of his five starts since the turn of the year.

“I rode work on The X O on Tuesday and he gave me a nice feel,” said Havlin.

“I watched some of his races back and, although last time was messy, his performances at Southwell were quite impressive.

“I think the straight track at Newcastle will play to his strengths and, even though he has a bit to find on ratings, connections are hoping for a big run.”

The field is complete by Mick Appleby’s Michaela’s Boy, who was disappointing in France last month but brings course form to the table, and Grant Tuer’s versatile Glorious Angel.