Tag Archive for: Swingalong

Swingalong back at York to lead Burke attack on sprint prize

Karl Burke unleashes a four-strong assault on the 1895 Duke of York Clipper Stakes, with course winner Swingalong and the Group One-placed Spycatcher leading the Spigot Lodge attack.

The former is the mount of stable jockey Clifford Lee and has enjoyed some of her finest hours on the Knavesmire, while she has also acquitted herself well at the highest level when set some stern assignments.

Meanwhile, the soft-ground loving Spycatcher came within a short head of Group One glory at Deauville last summer and is another proven in top company, this time partnered by Ryan Moore.

Burke is struggling to split his quartet, and in particular this pair, and said: “Swingalong has been working really nicely, she’s been on the go a long time and has been ready to go for a while.

“She loves York and we hope she will run a big race – she has never run a bad race at York.

“Spycatcher will need every drop of rain and if the ground is deemed to be firm then there would be a doubt about him going.

“We’ve got four nice horses and it is a shame they all have to run against each other. Swingalong seems to be at the head of them, although on soft ground I would be leaning with Spycatcher.”

The Middleham trainer’s hand is strengthened by last year’s fifth Marshman, who like Swingalong, has smart course form.

Stablemate Cold Case was a place behind Marshman in the Gimcrack at York as a juvenile and progressed to compete in group one company last term, finishing fourth in the Prix Maurice de Gheest.

Marshman (left) and Cold Case (right) running at York as two-year-olds
Marshman (left) and Cold Case (right) running at York as two-year-olds (PA)

“Marshman has always run well at York and he goes there in good form,” continued Burke.

“He ran disappointingly at Newmarket, but he always runs disappointingly there so we’re putting that down to the track and he seems in good form.

“Cold Case is coming back off a bit of an injury last year and he’s worked nicely. He will definitely need the run and come on for it, but if I don’t run him here there’s nothing for him until Ascot, so it is a case of having to go really.”

Another with a couple of cards up his sleeve for this race is proud Yorkshireman William Haggas, who last won this race in 2017 with Tasleet.

The Newmarket-based handler returns to his native county with the hat-trick seeking course winner Montassib and consistent performer Tiber Flow, who is the preference of the trainer.

Tiber Flow (right) gets William Haggas' vote
Tiber Flow (right) gets William Haggas’ vote (Tim Goode/PA)

“It’s a strong race. I would prefer Tiber Flow tomorrow, but the market doesn’t, so we will see,” said Haggas about his chances.

“Montassib likes it soft and I don’t know how slow or quick it is going to be. He was really effective on soft ground at Doncaster and it probably isn’t going to be that on Wednesday.

“I think Tiber Flow is a pretty useful horse. He didn’t like Newmarket (when fifth in the Abernant), but he had a good blow and he has come forward.”

Michael Dods saddled Azure Blue to lower the colours of Highfield Princess in this 12 months ago, with his stable stalwart Commanche Falls also in the line-up again having claimed a bronze medal last year.

Azure Blue was seen only once more last season, finishing down the field in the July Cup, and after a prolonged battle with injury setbacks is ready to regain some of the momentum she was building.

Azure Blue (left) is the defending champion
Azure Blue (left) is the defending champion (Mike Egerton/PA)

Meanwhile, Kevin Ryan’s Washington Heights will seek to continue on his upward curve having caused a shock on his seasonal return in the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket.

“Every task he has been set he has stepped up to the mark and he was very progressive last year and perhaps unfortunate to bump into a couple of well-handicapped horses in some of those big-field handicaps,” said Adam Ryan, assistant to his father.

“He rounded his season off with a good win at Listed level and obviously you are never quite sure how much emphasis you can put on that form, but he took his step up to Group level very well last time and he’s got a great attitude on him.

“York is one of the best tracks in the country and for us Yorkshire trainers it’s a very important track and this a very important meeting. It’s great to go there with runners in these big races and I wouldn’t swap him for anything else in the race, put it that way.”

Four of the first five from that Newmarket Group Three lock horns once again and Jane Chapple-Hyam hopes Newmarket runner-up Mill Stream can benefit for York’s flat and fair sprint straight with William Buick in the plate.

She said: “It’s maybe not the best draw (stall five), but we’ve got a good jockey who knows him and the horse has improved from the Abernant, so we’ll try to be in the shake-up.

“I feel being back on a flat track will make a big difference rather than that first run into the dip at Newmarket. The change back on to a flat track is definitely a plus.

“He’s raced there, so he knows the track and he’s a very good traveller. That (Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes) is the plan, but we’ll be guided by how he performs on Wednesday.

“When they are three, they are not as mature as older sprinters that are more conditioned to taking on these high-class sprint races.”

Art Power was well held in his return in this in 2023 before finishing the year a Group One winner in the British Champions Sprint.

Art Power winning at Ascot on British Champions day
Art Power winning at Ascot on British Champions day (John Walton/PA)

He opened the pipes in Saudi Arabia in the early part of the year and forms one half of a two-man King Power Racing-owned team alongside Andrew Balding’s All-Weather Championship Finals Day scorer Fivethousandtoone.

“Art Power is probably more forward than he was this time last year when he really needed the race and it looks like there has been a little bit of rain for him,” said Alastair Donald, racing manager to the owners.

“He obviously has a Group One penalty now, but I think he should run really well and then he will go to the Curragh in two weeks which is his favourite place and this will be a good stepping stone.”

On Fivethousandtoone, he added: “I think there is a fine line between a 105 and 115 rated horse in sprints and we think will be a nice track for him. As long as it doesn’t rain too much, he could run quite a big race.”

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Swingalong team have every reason to aim high this year

Swingalong will have Group One ambitions this season, with connections hopeful their high-class speedster has found the required improvement to make her mark at the highest level.

Trained by Karl Burke, the Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum-owned daughter of Showcasing has been the most consistent of performers throughout her two seasons in training.

A winner of York’s Lowther as a two-year-old, she was successful once again on the Knavesmire in Group Three company at three.

However, it was her encouraging runs at the top table throughout 2023 that were most impressive, beaten only two lengths in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and finishing the campaign on the premises in both Haydock’s Sprint Cup and the British Champions Sprint at Ascot.

A return to her beloved York for the Group Two 1895 Duke of York Clipper Stakes on May 15 has been described as a probable starting point for the Spigot Lodge sprinter, with an ambitious campaign in store for the fast-moving four-year-old.

“I went to see her a couple of weeks ago and I thought she looked magnificent,” said Philip Robinson, assistant racing manager for the owner.

Swingalong is trained by Karl Burke
Swingalong is trained by Karl Burke (Dan Abraham/PA)

“I thought she just has to improve a little and if she can find a length and a half she will have a great chance of picking up one of those Group Ones.

“Physically she has bulked up and looks a proper sprinter now. I’m hoping I’m right in that she looks to have improved physically more than the length and a half I thought she needed to improve to win one of those big sprints.

“I’m going into the season very hopeful with her. We’ve got nothing to lose aiming at the good ones (races) and anything she does is a bonus because she’s already proven herself, she’s very genuine and very fast.”

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Ascot aim for Sprint Cup fourth Swingalong

Karl Burke is targeting Qipco Champions Day with Swingalong following her fine effort in the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock.

Third behind Shaquille in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, Swingalong subsequently plundered a Group Three prize at York to earn herself a return to Group One level on Merseyside.

The daughter of Showcasing was beaten just a length and a half into fourth place by Regional but that does not tell the whole story, with Burke’s filly ploughing a lone furrow against the stands rail while much of the action was taking place on the far side of the track.

The Spigot Lodge handler feels Swingalong would have finished even closer had she had something to race with and is now hoping to see her return to Berkshire next month, provided conditions are suitable.

Burke said: “It was a shame. I walked the track pretty comprehensively because of Spycatcher (withdrawn due to unsuitable ground) and there was a track of ground there that Swingalong ran on that was as quick as anywhere on the track.

“I couldn’t believe that nothing came with us. As usual they all followed the main bunch and it was unfortunate because while she’s a good front-running filly, she will extend when a horse comes to her.

“If she had something chasing her or coming to challenge her, I’m sure she could have found another length or so, which would have put us absolutely bang there.”

He added: “She ran an absolute cracker and she’s got every chance of winning a Group One somewhere along the line. I think the plan at the moment is to leave her in training next year, which is great.

“The plan is to go to Champions Day. Hopefully the ground doesn’t come up too soft, but she loves Ascot and if she turns up there in the same form on good ground, she’ll run her usual big race.”

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Swingalong lands Summer Stakes in the rain

Swingalong showed plenty of guts as she made every yard to claim the William Hill Summer Stakes at York.

The winner of the Lowther Stakes over course and distance as a two-year-old, Karl Burke’s daughter of Showcasing was sent off the 5-4 favourite to add to her tally on the Knavesmire following some fine efforts in hot contests since.

She was a gallant third behind Shaquille and Little Big Bear in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and dropping back to Group Three level here, proved her class in the hands of Clifford Lee.

Lee always had the filly on the front end dictating terms, but faced a strong challenge in the closing stages as both James Tate’s course winner Royal Aclaim – also in the colours of owner Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum – and last year’s third Gale Force Maya made eyecatching progress to get on Swingalong’s girths.

However, the Spigot Lodge runner pulled out extra when it mattered to return a neck verdict over Royal Aclaim and lead home a one-two for the duo’s owner, with Gale Force Maya a further three-quarters of a length back in third.

“She showed her class and had to do it the hard way I think,” said Philip Robinson, assistant racing manager for the owner.

“That suits her and that is her style of running, but with the ground going as it did it made it very hard towards the end and I think she was just coming to the end of her tether. I think had it been fast ground I think she would have won very easily, so I was very impressed with her.

“There were half plans in the pipeline to go up to six and a half at Deauville, but I don’t think that will be the case now. It would be easier coming back than going further and I think six is her limit.

“I think we will have to sit down and have a think and Karl says there are plenty of races for her, so we’ll have a chat with the owner and see where we would all like to go next.

“The main thing is she won today and she’s a really nice filly.”

Robinson was also thrilled with the performance of Royal Aclaim in second as last year’s City Walls Stakes winner tried six furlongs for the first time.

He added: “I was pleased with the second, I think she ran really well.

“That proved today that six furlongs is not a problem and she ran a big race.

“I think both these fillies will be better on better ground, the rain has come down here and it’s not just getting in, it seems very loose.”

Symbology looks a name to note having made an impressive debut in the William Hill Keep Your Raceday Positive Irish EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes.

The £230,000 purchase has always been held in high regard by Clive Cox, and this promising start comes fresh off the back of the trainer’s Group Two victory in the July Stakes with Jasour at Newmarket on Thursday.

“We were really pleased with that,” said Cox.

“She’s always been a Grade A student and we’ve loved her from the first minute we’ve had her. It was really pleasing for Sheikh Isa to see her take that first step on the track in such a good manner.

“She was clearly a little green early with just having horses on one side of her, but when she straightened up she went pretty true and straight. It was very much her first day at school and she hasn’t been away to gallop or anything so I do expect her to take a lot of advantages from her debut.”

The daughter of Havana Grey was sent off the 2-1 second-favourite for the six-furlong contest and having pleased the Beechdown Stables handler with her temperament, is now in line for a return to York for the Group Two Lowther Stakes on August 24.

Cox added: “The entry shows we held her high enough in regard before today and we will see how she comes back from this.

“She’s behaved impeccably, so we’re delighted with that debut.”

Tim Easterby’s evergreen Copper Knight (11-1) once again holds the record for winning the most races at York with a seventh success after holding on in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Handicap.

He previously jointly held the record with Stradivarius.

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Swingalong has Summer success in her sights

Royal Ascot third Swingalong looks to be the ace in Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum’s pack as the owner has assembled a strong hand for the William Hill Summer Stakes at York on Friday.

Karl Burke’s three-year-old won the Lowther Stakes over course and distance as a juvenile and since then has acquitted herself well in a plethora of high-class contests.

She relished the drop back to six furlongs when making the podium in the Commonwealth Cup at the Royal meeting and that Group One performance behind Shaquille and Little Big Bear marks her out as the one to beat here.

“Right from Ascot this has been the target, Karl said straight away the Summer Stakes would be perfect,” said Philip Robinson, assistant racing manager for the owner.

“Hopefully this is her race. Six furlongs seems to be where she is at her best and we hope she will have a really strong hand in the race.”

Joining Swingalong in the owners’ colours is last year’s City Walls Stakes winner Royal Aclaim and William Haggas’ Pink Crystal, who has some smart course form to her name in handicap company.

“It’s a nice, easy six at York and should suit,” continued Robinson on James Tate’s Royal Aclaim, who steps up to the distance for the first time here.

“If she came back to her best, she is a very, very talented filly. She was a little disappointing last time, but they all have off days.

“She was entered up for the July Cup and hasn’t doesn’t a lot wrong. Last year I really thought she would be top, sprinting wise, she just hasn’t gone on from that. But back in this class she has to be somewhere close.”

Robinson added on Pink Crystal: “She was third last time at York and has experience on the track.

“She is going to have a little bit to find, but you never know and William surprised us all at Sandown the other day winning a Listed race with a 78-rated filly.

“His horses seem to be in great form and she will be trying to do the same thing and sneak into a place somewhere and get a bit of black type. You never know, she might excel.”

Michael Dods’ course-and-distance scorer Gale Force Maya was third in this last year, but has a point to prove after two lacklustre displays so far this term, while fellow track-and-trip winner Secret Angel and Richard Fahey’s Ayr Listed runner-up Marine Wave are others bidding to land a winning blow for the north.

Nell Gwyn winner Mammas Girl drops back in both trip and class after finishing well held in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, while Ralph Beckett’s Juliet Sierra was a top two-year-old and is also sent sprinting having started her three-year-old campaign in a hot contest here during the Dante meeting.

“We’re starting back on the road with her and I thought she ran a good race over a mile back in the spring,” said Barry Mahon, European racing manager for owners Juddmonte.

“She didn’t stay the mile but she was only beaten a touch over five lengths, giving weight to some nice horses.

“Six might be a little short and her optimum is probably seven. We’ll start her back here now and hopefully the second half of the season we can have a good run with her, she’s a nice filly.”

David Evans’ Radio Goo Goo saw her four-race winning run come to an end when fourth in the Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes at Ascot last month and she will be aiming to get back to winning ways and also confirm form over Steph Hollinshead’s Al Simmo, who was just a nose behind when they clashed over track and trip not too long ago.

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