Tag Archive for: Stay Alert

Classy performance from Stay Alert at Newbury

Stay Alert continued her progression with a cosy success in the Greatwood British EBF Stakes at Newbury.

Hughie Morrison’s filly had chased home Oaks third Nashwa last time out and she looked to have improved for that experience with a commanding display.

Ridden confidently by Josephine Gordon, the daughter of Fastnet Rock, who was unraced at two, quickened impressively to steal the march on favourite Golden Lyra.

When a gap appeared on the rails at the two-furlong marker Stay Alert shot three lengths clear and while Tom Marquand tried to follow on Golden Lyra, her change of gear, on just her second start, was not as immediate.

Without Gordon needing to get too serious in the saddle the 11-4 chance was always holding the promising runner-up and crossed the line a length clear, although in truth she was value for more.

Morrison was tied up at British Horseracing Authority headquarters all afternoon, but did manage to catch the race.

“I thought she was impressive and won with a bit in hand,” he said.

“She showed a bit more speed than she had in the past today – I probably should have run her in the Oaks! Though I’m not sure Epsom would be her track.

“That was seen as a very good race today. I’d like to think we’d beat the one who beat us last time (Nashwa) if they were to meet over a mile and a half, though I understand she’s dropping in trip next time.

“I think we’ll have a look at Haydock if she’s in good form and it’s proper ground at Haydock ahead of the Lancashire Oaks.

“If that goes well then you might have a look at the Yorkshire Oaks and maybe even the St Leger – why not? I trained her sister (Star Rock) who stayed well but was hard to keep sound.”

Josephine Gordon relished being back on a good horse
Josephine Gordon relished being back on a good horse (Mike Egerton/PA)

Gordon told Racing TV: “I always thought she was going to be a nice filly, especially after her last run and her win at Wolverhampton and I said that to Mr Morrison – I didn’t realise she was going to be that nice!

“She’ll definitely stay further, but at the moment a mile and a quarter seems to be working as she can still run a little bit with the gas out. She’s quite awkward at home so her lad at home has done a good job.

“I did worry slightly as normally she only gallops, but she did quicken today and I was lucky to get a run up the rail. At one point I was thinking it could be a hard luck story but she sprinted home.

“She’s beaten some very nice horses and I definitely think she’s Group material, she’s eased down today and being fussy that’s not her ground, she’ll be better with more juice but she’s done nothing wrong.”

It was a welcome winner in the spotlight for Gordon, who added: “People say one horse can make or break things, a few years ago I was riding at this level but unfortunately a few things went down hill.

“It’s an honour to keep on her, a big opportunity and hopefully it will open a few more doors.”

Stay Alert in intriguing clash with Golden Lyra at Newbury

Hughie Morrison feels that Stay Alert may have to pull out all the stops to win the Greatwood British EBF Stakes at Newbury on Thursday.

Registered as the Abingdon Stakes, this renewal of the Listed 10-furlong race for three-year-old fillies comprises some potential Group-class fillies – and Morrison is full of respect for once-raced rival Golden Lyra.

Stay Alert has had three runs this term, winning a mile-and-a-half Wolverhampton novice before chasing home subsequent Oaks third Nashwa over the same course at distance she will encounter this time.

Yet the East Ilsley handler fears the in-form William Haggas-trained rival, whose sole outing over seven furlongs at Newmarket in October saw the daughter of Lope De Vega score by five lengths, with Nashwa, who was also making her debut, back in third.

Morrison said: “We hope Stay Alert will come on again from her last run at Newbury.

“She has, for a filly, had a busy enough year (three runs), but we hope she will come forward.

“I think, if you analyse the form, the Haggas horse beats us 10 lengths or something. The horse which she beat easily (Nashwa), was the horse we finished behind at Newbury.

“It is her first race of the season and a different trip, but she is bred to stay, so it is not as obvious as it looks on first impressions.

“It could turn out that if the Haggas filly repeats the form of last year, she’s the best mile-and-a-half filly in the country.”

Six go to post for the race formerly known as the Ballymacoll with York’s respective Musidora third Ching Shih (David Simcock) and sixth Luna Dorada (Ralph Beckett) dropping back in class.

The field is completed by the John and Thady Gosden-trained pair Elegant Verse and Yummylicious.

The former is a daughter of Galileo, who stepped up on a narrow debut defeat at Newmarket to get off the mark last time over the same trip as she encounters this time.

Yummylicious takes a step up in class after winning at Nottingham
Yummylicious takes a step up in class after winning at Nottingham (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Yummylicious is the most experienced in the line-up with six career runs and has an official mark of 80, following success in a fillies’ handicap at Nottingham.

Thady Gosden said: “It looks a very competitive race this year. Elegant Verse obviously ran very well on her first start and then notched up a win on her last start.

“It was a nice performance at Redcar and she is a filly who we expect to improve. Obviously, this is a serious jump in class, but she deserves to take her chance.

“Yummylicious is obviously stepping up in class considerably as well. On ratings, she has plenty to find.”

Stay Alert staying at Listed level for now

Hughie Morrison will resist stepping promising filly Stay Alert up in class for the time being after she chased home Oaks contender Nashwa at Newbury.

The three-year-old daughter of Fastnet Rock showed plenty of spark when making her debut on the all-weather over a mile at Lingfield in January and underlined that favourable impression when switching to a mile and a half to score in a novice at Wolverhampton after a three-month break.

Morrison set her sights higher in the Listed Haras De Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial and she improved again to finish a length and three-quarters behind well-supported Epsom Classic hope Nashwa.

However, Morrison is keen not to over-face her and is eyeing a return to the Berkshire track for her next outing.

“Stay Alert is a nice filly. She looks it, doesn’t she?,” said Morrison. “She looks strong and we expected a big run. We were pretty nervous about the faster ground but she coped with it.

“There is another Listed race, the Abingdon Stakes, over 10 furlongs for fillies in about three weeks. If we are happy with her, that is what we will go for, all being well.”