Tag Archive for: Silver Shade

Harris keeping fingers crossed Silver Shade can sneak into Boodles field

Milton Harris is still hoping Silver Shade will sneak into the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham next week, as he believes him to be “very well handicapped” and “a player”.

The Warminster handler is concerned his recent Fontwell success may not see him rated highly enough to get into what will be a compressed handicap for the extended two-mile race commonly known as the Fred Winter.

“I love Silver Shade and I think he is very well handicapped,” said Harris.

“But I would say he won’t get in the Boodles. If he gets in, he is a player. But I don’t know – the weights are going to go up at the top.

“I suspect we will end up with 10st 8lb or 10st 9lb and we won’t get in. I would be delighted if he did. I think he’d be a player – I don’t see him being rated a 120 horse.”

Currently a 33-1 shot for the Boodles, should he not get in, Harris will redirect him for what he hopes will be a prep race for Aintree on Monday week.

Harris said: “I need to speak to the owner. There is a juvenile at Stratford on the Monday and that is often very competitive race, as the Irish sometimes bring one over.

“He will have an entry for that, but I might just go and try and win a novice with a penalty with the four-year-old allowance.

“Then I’m hoping he makes up into an Aintree juvenile, as once you get into the 130s, he might just be amongst that crowd.”

Harris confirmed that unbeaten hurdler Knight Salute will head to the Triumph Hurdle.

As one of Britain’s leading hopes in the market at 12-1 behind Vauban, Pied Piper and Fil Dor, Knight Salute won a Grade Two at Cheltenham in November and followed up by taking the Adonis Hurdle in great style at Kempton.

Knight Salute on course for the Triumph Hurdle
Knight Salute on course for the Triumph Hurdle (David Davies/PA)

“Knight salute is going to the Triumph, as definite as definite can be at this stage,” said Harris.

“The clear plan is to go for the Triumph, I don’t see there is any benefit in carrying top-weight in the Boodles.

“I would love to say he has sparkled. The Tuesday before he went to Kempton and won last time, he actually did work well, but he is not a good workhorse.

“He is unbeaten in five and won three Grade Twos and they all keep telling me he can’t win. We haven’t met any of the Irish horses yet and if they are as good as they say they are, then we could finish fourth and still run a blinder.

“He will do very little between now and next week. We will probably work him this Saturday.

“He won’t do a lot, he doesn’t need to, he is a very professional horse and we just need to stay sound and healthy.”

Meanwhile, Harris could bypass Cheltenham with Mullenbeg, who is one of the leading British hopes for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

The mare is unbeaten in two starts since arriving from Ireland in December, including a fine effort when landing a Listed Cheltenham mares’ bumper in January.

However, Harris, who has 43 winners his fourth season since returning to the training ranks, is pondering the possibility of running her in the Listed EBF Mares’ Bumper Final at Sandown on Saturday.

“Mullenbeg may go to Sandown on Saturday,” he added. “She is going to be favourite for the mares’ at Sandown and 14-1 or 16-1 against the boys at Cheltenham.

“My thought process, subject to owners’ approval, is to go to Sandown then go to Aintree with her. We will make a decision on Monday, once we have seen the entries and discussed it.

“She is lovely. She has a turn of foot, which you don’t often see with some three-mile Irish pointers.”

Rosy Redrum gets all the allowances in the Champion Bumper
Rosy Redrum gets all the allowances in the Champion Bumper (Simon Milham/PA)

Harris will likely rely on Rosy Redrum in the Champion Bumper.

She won convincingly at Wincanton before staying on nicely, having been given plenty to do, to grab second spot in a hot Newbury bumper last time.

“Rosy Redrum definitely runs,” said Harris. “She is a lovely big filly, but nothing went right for her last time.

“Rosy gets all the allowances – 17lb – which is why she will go to Cheltenham. I’ve always thought she is Listed class on the Flat, but whether she is good enough to beat the Irish horses, I don’t know. Those allowances will help her, though.

“In two weeks’ time, we’ll all be going, ‘Who’d have thought it?’ – but it will either all have gone well or all have gone badly! We’re looking forward to it.”

Harris seeking St Moritz highlight with Mordred

Trainer Milton Harris is enjoying a superb time at present and proved he is a man for all seasons, saddling his latest winner on the snow at St Moritz.

The Sutton Veny handler is set for a busy few weeks preparing his Cheltenham Festival hopefuls, yet there was still time to oversee Mordred’s overseas challenge with a bigger prize back in Switzerland in a few weeks in mind – the Grand Prix of St Moritz.

The annual White Turf St Moritz event has been held on the frozen lake of the Graubünden in the exclusive Swiss Alps resort since 1907.

Mordred booked his ticket for a big race in a fortnight when making all under Sibylle Vogt to take the Grosser Preis Longines, beating three rivals on Sunday.

Harris said: “It is not cold enough. It needs to be colder as they shortened the races from a safety point of view.

“Mordred was bought specifically with this race in mind. I have been coming here for many years and I come with German trainer Christian von der Recke, and I’ve always tried to target the race.

“The key with this horse is that he is a decent Flat horse and he has no penalties. The penalties are based on the previous 12 months prize money, so he gets all the allowances and it makes a massive difference at this altitude.

“They shortened Sunday’s race to a four-and-half-furlong race, but he is clearly a mile-and-a-quarter or a mile-and-a-half horse.

“Anyway, we won the race, which is a trial, and we expect him to be very competitive in the big race in two weeks’ time.”

Harris has a busy few weeks ahead with Knight Salute expected to take up an engagement in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton at the end of the month.

Last seen maintaining his unbeaten record over hurdles in the Grade Two Summit Hurdle at Doncaster, the form of that race was given a huge boost by the runner-up Porticello, who subsequently won the Grade One Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow.

Harris also saddled impressive Kempton debutant scorer Silver Shade in the Finesse Hurdle at Cheltenham, but he was well beaten by the Gordon Elliott-trained Pied Piper.

“Knight Salute is in the Adonis, so will be back on Wednesday or Thursday,” said Harris.

“He has plenty of pace and (then) we saw Gordon’s horse (Pied Piper) at Cheltenham.

“I finished fifth and Silver Shade did not run his race. My horse is much better than that and we’ve done a few things with him since. Obviously Willie Mullins’ horse (Vauban) looks a nice horse and I suspect the Triumph Hurdle will be six Irish horses and me and Gary Moore (Porticello) trying to have a go.”

Harris expects to see a better Silver Shade next time
Harris expects to see a better Silver Shade next time (Steven Paston)

He went on: “Silver Shade was lethargic, he was a little bit distressed after the race. He had his wind tested and everything. That is not him. He will probably go to the Victor Ludorum at Haydock, although I do need to speak to the owner.

“I suspect he won’t go to the Triumph, he will probably go to the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle, but I’m not sure what will be top in there. The Irish could influence that. We haven’t got many horses in the 130s. The top one is rated 135.

“There is some logic into this being an average year, because unless they are paying 225,000 guineas, which Gordon paid (for Pied Piper), all the good three-year-olds are getting sold to Australia. That is the reality.

“Silver Shade beat Gordon’s horse on the Flat at Sandown (last year), so I think mine is a nice horse, I think you’ll see he’s better than he was last time.”

Mullenbeg landed a competitive Cheltenham bumper
Mullenbeg landed a competitive Cheltenham bumper (David Davies/PA)

Harris is pondering Festival options for two of his high-class mares.

Mullenbeg remains unbeaten after two starts having been an impressive winner of a competitive mares’ bumper at Cheltenham. Yet Harris is hopeful that another mare will show the ability which she has hinted at in her home work when she runs this week.

Harris added: “Mullenbeg won well at Cheltenham, but I have a filly at home, Rosy Redrum, that is better than her, but whether she is better just at home or not, we’ll see.

“She runs this week and she will either run at Huntingdon on Thursday or the Listed bumper at Newbury on Saturday.

“Mullenbeg’s obvious race is the mares’ hurdle at Aintree, but will Willie Mullins’ horses frighten everything else away in the bumper? Will it be a smaller than normal bumper with 10 or 12 runners? We just don’t know yet.”

Silver Shade enters Triumph Hurdle reckoning

Milton Harris had made no secret of the regard in which he holds Silver Shade ahead of his debut in the Play Coral “Racing-Super-Series”For Free Juvenile Hurdle at Kempton Park, and the four-year-old duly dotted up.

The former Mark Johnston-trained inmate saw off his five rivals with a bit to spare in the two-mile contest, the first on A card that had to survive three inspections because of heavy morning fog.

However, while his hurdling left something to work on – a blunder at the third-last seemed to wake him up – his overall performance ultimately lifted any gloom and he may now head to the Triumph Hurdle.

Having burned off the long-time leader Dirham Emirati, the 9-2 chance jumped the last clear and repelled the late thrust of Cuban Cigar to score by a cosy length and three-quarters.

Harris said: “I have made no secret that I like him. He is a bit different to Knight Salute in that he is a different type – a big, strong horse. He has always done everything right.

“His jumping can be improved upon. The ground for these young horses could be quite tiring. I know the Moores liked their horse (Dirham Emirati), but I was quite surprised to see Richard Hannon’s (Cuban Cigar) being so close up, but he was OK on the Flat. This is a nice horse.”

He added: “He came here last week for a gallop and he has jumped OK at home, if a little too carefully.

“He is a nice horse, who has plenty of size and scope. He might just go to Cheltenham for the Triumph Hurdle trial on 29th, but we are running out of time. I wanted to run him a while ago and he just didn’t come to us in time.

“Knight Salute will likely come to Kempton for the Adonis. We might just be in a year where we have the best horses in not the best year.

“This horse was £18,000 and Knight Salute was £14,000.

“You have to dream. He could be a Triumph Hurdle horse. I would be more aggressive with him now. He knows how to race, but his jumping is a bit careful. He has jumped 60 to 80 hurdles at home, but that will sharpen him up.”

Milton Harris raises possibility of Flat prep for Knight Salute

Knight Salute could run on the Flat in preparation for a tilt at the Triumph Hurdle, trainer Milton Harris has suggested.

The exciting juvenile took his unbeaten run to four over timber when landing the Grade Two Summit Hurdle at Doncaster on Saturday.

Currently third-favourite for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, his Warminster handler still believes the son of Sir Percy, owned by the Four Candles Partnership, is a “good juvenile in an average year”.

“He has a mark of 75 on the Flat and he’ll win off that,” said Harris.

“I think a run around Kempton in February, three weeks before the Triumph, won’t do him any harm, and that will give him a bit of work.

“The alternative is to go to the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton at the end of February, but the Adonis has been a graveyard for Triumph Hurdle horses.”

He added: “Everyone knocks him a bit, but I think Knight Salute might be a good juvenile in an average year.

“Every so often, you’ll get some Triumph Hurdle winners who would never be placed in the next four Triumph Hurdles. With the greatest respect to Alan King and Katchit, was Katchit a good Champion Hurdle horse?

“But you can’t argue, as he won the Triumph Hurdle (in 2007) and the Champion Hurdle (2008).

“I see a little bit of Katchit in Knight Salute. Katchit wasn’t rated that high on the Flat, but he turned out to be a very good hurdler.”

Harris also revealed he was a little economical with the truth to jockey Paddy Brennan at Doncaster.

“When we got Knight Salute, he was always doing things in a little bit too much of a rush, hence the hood, and underneath that, the earplugs.

“Paddy wanted me to take the earplugs out after he won at Cheltenham, because he thought he just paused when he came to the last. I told him on Saturday that I had taken them out – but I hadn’t.

Jockey Paddy Brennan "needs to believe", according to Milton Harris
Jockey Paddy Brennan “needs to believe”, according to Milton Harris (Nigel French/PA)

“That’s because Paddy needs to believe. I have to tell him, ‘This will win, Paddy!’ – you want him to go there thinking he is invincible, because that is what he needs. I have known him since he was a young boy and he lives on the edge, even at the age of 40.

“And we’ll probably take the earplugs out come the Festival, should we get there. That’s the plan.”

Knight Salute may not be the only runner from the Sutton Veny yard at the Festival meeting if all goes to plan.

Harris said: “I have one at home who might be better than Knight Salute who has not run yet.

“Silver Shade was with Mark Johnston. He just looks a proper horse. He might go to Kempton on December 27 in an introductory hurdle. That is a sort of a plan.

“The difference is Knight Salute has done it on the track and we know he handles Cheltenham.”

Stimulating Song was a Cheltenham winner last season
Stimulating Song was a Cheltenham winner last season (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

However, Harris revealed he has had to concede defeat with Stimulating Song, who has been sidelined since landing an intermediate hurdle at Cheltenham 13 months ago.

“Our best horse, Stimulating Song, is out for the season,” admitted Harris.

“We were hoping to get him back, as he might have been an Arkle horse – he is still with us, which is the main thing.

“He struck into himself at Cheltenham, so we gave him loads of time, but it is just not worth the risk, so we decided that he will come back next season. He is only six, so has time on his side.”