Tag Archive for: Tashkhan

Stradivarius tuning up for another big season

Two-time champion Stradivarius is on familiar territory as he heads the select group of five going to post for the Paddy Power Yorkshire Cup at York.

John Gosden’s star stayer has a hundred per cent record at the Knavesmire having won all five times he has appeared at the Yorkshire venue – and this is stage one of the eight-year-old’s quest for a fourth Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

The three-time winner of the premier staying prize could only finish fourth behind Subjectivist at the Royal meeting in 2021 and having seen Trueshan announce himself as a real contender for his long-distance crown in the latter half of last season, will be keen to show there is still plenty of life in his eight-year-old legs.

His handler has outlined a three-race programme for him in what could be his final season, beginning on Friday, before moving onto Ascot, then Goodwood, and revealed how everything done at home by the Clarehaven team is to ensure their stable favourite hits the track in top form.

“It’s a very different thing training an eight-year-old full horse as to training an eight-year-old gelding. He’s an eight-year-old stallion if you like – and to that extent I try and do everything right by the horse,” explained Gosden.

“He still enjoys his training but he knows it all backwards now. Rather like an old prize fighter coming back into the ring, it’s the getting fit and up for the fight – it’s not as easy as it used to be when he was younger. So, I would expect him to be benefitting from the race.

“I’m certainly not giving him hard, hard works at home – he’s too old for that. To that extent I don’t want everyone there thinking he’s going to necessarily go and win another Yorkshire Cup. I’d just like to see him run a race that acts as a platform going forward and chose this race because it’s closer to Royal Ascot rather than going to the Sagaro, which we did last year.”

Brian Ellison is confident Tashkhan will have improved for his outing in the Sagaro Stakes and is another using this race as a platform for the Gold Cup.

He said: “He has improved since then (Ascot), he needed the run. Obviously one-mile-six on good ground might be sharp enough for him, but it’s a stepping stone for the Ascot Gold Cup – it’s his one race before then.”

Max Vega was somewhat unlucky to only finish fifth over track and trip in the Ebor last year, but Ralph Beckett is hoping he can set the record straight having decided to run his game five-year-old in this Group Two contest rather than the Aston Park Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

He landed the John Porter at Newbury on his seasonal bow and his handler is hoping for another positive showing.

“It’s a track he likes and you can make a case for him being unlucky in the Ebor last year. He’s in good form, I would prefer a bit more rain, but it’s a good pot and he would have a penalty to carry in the Aston Park, so we’ve decided to come here instead,” said Beckett.

“He’s going to be up against it with the opposition, but he will pick up a cheque and is syndicate owned. He’s a fun horse and there to run.”

Thunderous makes a quick return to the track having made a bold bid from the front in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester last week. Mark and Charlie Johnston’s former Dante winner was beaten less than a length by Hamish and is given another chance to excel over an extended trip.

Harry Herbert, managing director for owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, said: “At Chester he completely turned around the Newbury effort, which is very typical of him as he can be very sluggish in his first race of the year, the same thing happened last year before he got injured.

“Charlie and Mark have reported that he has bounced out of that well, so looking at this race, we are very keen to go a mile and six with him and when you look at the race, it is one where if he takes a step up on all fronts, he could run into a place and there’s plenty of prize-money on offer.

York Race – July 9th
Thunderous after winning the Dante at York in 2020 (Dan Abraham/PA)

“There’s question marks about all of them, obviously if John Gosden’s horse comes back on form he’d be the very likely winner, but it’s another year on and fitness counts for a lot, especially over this trip, and it smells like the right spot for Thunderous.

“He loves that track, he’s won a Dante there, the poor horse has just been plagued by one or two serious injuries which he has made a fantastic recovery from. We’re really hoping that this season we get a clear run with him and this run will tell us a lot more about the trip as well, I would be surprised if it doesn’t suit him. He’s got quite a few northern owners, so it will be great to have a runner at York in such a prestigious race.”

The field is completed by Irish raider Search For A Song, with the dual Irish St Leger heroine looking to better her second in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Naas last month.

Ellison eyeing top staying prizes for Ascot second Tashkhan

Brian Ellison’s Tashkhan will aim to continue his rise to the top of the staying division after his valiant performance when runner up in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Saturday.

Ellison, a dual-purpose trainer, had intentions of ultimately going hurdling with Tashkhan, but a handful of runs in handicap company on the Flat saw him improve markedly and begin to pick up valuable races.

His handicapping form reached a peak when he took home over £50,000 when winning at Haydock in July, and by early October he was making his Group-race debut in the Prix Chaudenay at ParisLongchamp.

Fifth that day, the gelding was far from out of his depth having started at 35-1 under Ben Robinson.

Ascot’s Long Distance Cup was another foray into Group Two company and this time Tashkhan was sent off at 50-1, odds he completely defied when chasing home evens favourite Trueshan to finish second – beating the great Stradivarius into third in the process.

“He ran really well,” Ellison said.

“He’s done nothing but continue to improve with every run he’s had – this year he’s improved massively.

“He won off 57 at the start of the year with Emmet Mullins then we bought him after that.

“We bought him to go hurdling but he never stopped improving, I don’t think he’ll be going hurdling now!

“He was fantastic, absolutely brilliant.

“The owner is over the moon, he was there with all his family yesterday. I must say that the jockey gave him a great ride as well, Ben is underrated.”

The son of Born To Sea will now be given a break over the winter with the key staying races, such as the Gold Cup at Ascot, on his agenda next term.

Ellison added: “He’s going to have a holiday, he’s turned up in every race he’s run in and he’s run some great races this year.

“He’s picked up £180,000 (this season), Saturday was probably his best run, next year we’ll plan for the Gold Cup and races like that.

“He’s a lovely horse to have and nice horse to train, he causes us no problems. He’s as tough as boots and he’s come out of the race very well this morning.”

Tashkhan claims valuable handicap prize at Haydock

Brian Ellison was delighted see Tashkhan claim a second win at Haydock this season with a decisive display in the £100,000 bet365 Handicap.

Bought privately from Irish trainer Emmet Mullins after winning at Navan in the spring, the three-year-old has already proved a shrewd purchase for his new connections.

A winner on Merseyside in May, the son of Born To Sea could only finish ninth in the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, but looked far more comfortable back on rain-softened ground.

Ridden by 5lb claimer Harry Russell, the 16-5 chance moved moved pulled a length and a half clear of Summer’s Knight to leave his trainer considering an appearance at next month’s Ebor Festival at York.

Ellison said: “He loves that ground. We went to Ascot and we didn’t really want to run him, but decided to let him take his chance.

“He’s a proper horse. He won for Emmet Mullins off a mark in the 50s and we asked him if he was for sale and he said he was.

“I can see why he sold him because he shows absolutely nothing at home, but I love those type of horses that do it on the track.

“He’s in the John Smith’s Cup, but we’ll probably wait and look at the Melrose.

“I don’t think he’ll go anywhere unless there’s juice in the ground, though.”

Young Fire notched his third course and distance success in the Each Way Extra At bet365 Handicap.

The six-year-old had previously won back-to-back renewals of the same September handicap for trainer David O’Meara and returned with sound claims following successive placed efforts.

With morning rain turning conditions in his favour, 15-2 chance Young Fire finished with a flourish under a well-timed ride from Danny Tudhope to get up and beat Gifted Ruler by three-quarters of a length.

“That (soft) ground is a big plus for him – these are his conditions,” said the jockey.

“He ran off 96 today, which is his last winning mark. He’s a fair horse on his day and has been running well this year without winning.

“He’s a tricky horse who needs things to fall right. He needs them to go quick, likes to come through horses and not get there too soon – I’m glad he’s gone and done it today.”

Cashew in the Haydock winner's enclosure
Cashew in the Haydock winner’s enclosure (Ashley Iveson/PA)

Cashew (100-30) provided trainer George Boughey with his 19th two-year-old winner of the season in the bet365 Nursery.

Successful at Windsor in May before finishing second on her latest outing at Salisbury, the daughter of Bated Breath got back on the winning trail under Mark Crehan.

Boughey said: “She’s a very tough filly who likes that ground – when she won at Windsor it was almost unraceable.

“Hopefully she can win a few more.”

Four non-runners meant just three sprinters went to post for the bet365 Conditions Stakes – and it was Mick Appleby’s admirable veteran Danzeno (15-8) who claimed top honours with a neck verdict over 11-10 favourite Lampang.