July Cup is next on Glen Shiel’s agenda

Glen Shiel will head next for the July Cup at Newmarket after his gallant second in Royal Ascot’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

The seven-year-old ran admirably to finish a length behind Sir Michael Stoute’s big-race favourite Dream Of Dreams on Saturday.

Owners Hambleton Racing were thrilled with the Archie Watson-trained gelding, and now have a string of further Group One targets to look forward to this season.

Glen Shiel (left) finishing second in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes during day five of Royal Ascot
Glen Shiel (right) finishing second in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot (Steven Paston/PA)

“He’s just a complete legend of a horse – we were pretty confident he’d strip fitter for his first run at the Curragh, and he was right back to his best,” said the owners’ racing director Simon Turner.

“It was possibly even a marginal personal best, which is saying something at the age of seven – he ran his heart out.

“It was a super race – you’d have thought he won, with the ovation his owners gave him when he came back in.

“He’s just given his owners so much pleasure, and we can’t wait for the rest of the season.”

The July Cup will be next, with a trip to Deauville for the Prix Maurice de Gheest also under consideration before a bid to retain his Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes crown.

“He’ll go to the July Cup next,” said Turner.

“He’s got other Group One options in France, like the Prix Maurice de Gheest – then he’ll go to Haydock for the Haydock Sprint Cup and then the race he won last year at Ascot on Champions Day.

“Those would be the major races that would be at the front of our minds.”

Glen Shiel has been a model of consistency since specialising in sprint distances and has been unplaced just once when running over a six-furlong trip, in fourth on his first start of this season at the Curragh last month.

“If you look at him since he dropped to six furlongs and started sprinting, he’s never been far away,” added Turner.

“He really thrives on his racing, this horse. He deserved a break after last year, and I think Archie just felt he’d need that run (at the Curragh) just to get him right back to where he wanted him.

“He’s a super consistent horse and he’s just been a brilliant acquisition for us, to say we only paid £45,000 for him.

“He’s just been a super horse, and there’s nothing to say he won’t be just as good for the rest of the year, so we’ve loads to look forward to.”

Atomic Force overpowers Chantilly rivals

Atomic Force made every yard of the running to claim an impressive success in the Prix du Bois Longines at Chantilly.

Trained by Kevin Ryan for Hambleton Racing, the Cotai Glory gelding had finished second on his debut at Musselburgh in April before following up with victory at Hamilton last month.

Upped to Group Three company in France, Atomic Force was partnered by Stephane Pasquier – who had the British raider smartly away in the six-furlong heat.

Wesley Ward’s runner Napa Spirit sat on his heels, but Atomic Force was soon bowling along in front and he had his nine rivals in trouble from some way out, with Pasquier only having to keep him up to his work to prevail by five lengths.

Black Lives Matter finished best of the rest, with Best Sixteen a further length back in third.

“We were very hopeful, but we probably didn’t expect him to win quite as impressively,” said Simon Turner, Hambleton’s racing director.

“He looks a very good horse.

“He enjoys a little bit of ease underfoot, and we thought there was every chance he’d get it there (Chantilly) – it just looked a nice stepping stone.

“He’s progressing quickly and looks a quality two-year-old.

“The (Prix Robert) Papin could be an option for him. We’ll consider all the good Group sprint races that he’s eligible for, see how he comes out of it and be guided by Kevin really.”

Erasmo had earlier struck gold for Andre Fabre and Mickael Barzalona in the Prix Paul de Moussac.

The Oasis Dream colt had won twice as juvenile but could finish only second on his return in the Prix La Force, prompting Fabre to drop back to Listed company for his last two starts.

After winning at ParisLongchamp in May, he was switched back up to Group Three level for this mile heat – and while Erasmo had to work hard for the win, he kept on well in the final furlong to see off Best Lightning by a short neck.

Godolphin’s Lisa-Jane Graffard told “Erasmo is a very brave horse, who never runs a bad race, and this is a fantastic result for him.

“We will see how he comes out of the race, but he has been kept busy so far this season. We may give him a break before bringing him back for the autumn, possibly looking at one of the races on Arc weekend.”

Maxime Guyon took the other two Group races on the card, landing the Prix Bertrand du Breuil Longines with Ecrivain and the Prix du Lys Longines with Northern Ruler.