RacehorseClub dreaming big with Create Belief and The Lir Jet

Create Belief spearheads what could be a dream weekend for the RacehorseClub ownership group when she lines up on Longines Irish Champions Weekend.

Not only does the Royal Ascot winner hold serious claims of gaining her first Group One win in the Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes at Leopardstown, but The Lir Jet, now trained in America, runs in a $600,000 race at Kentucky Downs.

Create Belief has been brought along superbly by Johnny Murtagh, who broke his Group One duck in the Matron 12 months ago with a similar type in Champers Elysees.

“We always liked her. She finished third on her only run at two when she was a bit backward, but she was always going to be better this year and won her maiden in April,” said Murtagh.

“Since then she has just improved out of all recognition, but she always had the size and scope to do that. I think she’s between 15-20 kilos heavier now than she was in April, which is a good sign as it shows they are improving and strengthening up all the time.”

For the RacehorseClub, which offers microshares to its members, it has been something of a dream start, with Balko Des Flos going agonisingly close in the Grand National and Create Belief already winning at Royal Ascot – and now she is now competing at the top level.

“When you look through the racecard on a Group One day not many syndicates have runners in them, let alone have a fancied runner in one of the biggest races on Irish Champions Weekend,” said Murtagh.

“It’s great for everybody to be involved in that kind of race and it happened last year for us with the Fitzwilliam syndicate who owned Champers Elysees at the time. She went and won it so let’s hope history can repeat itself.”

Ben Coen celebrates winning the Sandringham Stakes with Create Belief
Ben Coen celebrates winning the Sandringham Stakes with Create Belief (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Murtagh went on: “For the members of the RacehorseClub, if they can get to enjoy the feeling of winning a Group One it would be fantastic.

“We haven’t been able to have many of the members visit, or owners in general, though it is opening up now. There are 4,000 (spectators) allowed (at Leopardstown) this weekend and hopefully after that things can begin to open up. It will be great to see a few of the members this weekend and there’s a stable visit organised for later in the month.

“Hopefully we’ll have a good end to the season with this filly.

“All our best horses run this weekend and we’re pretty excited about it, but everybody else has their best horses running this weekend so it’s going to be tough.”

The Lir Jet won the Norfolk Stakes at Ascot last year, beating Wesley Ward’s Golden Pal, so plenty of Americans are aware of him already.

The Lir Jet (left) beating Golden Pal in the 2020 Norfolk Stakes
The Lir Jet (left) beating Golden Pal in the 2020 Norfolk Stakes (Julian Finney/PA)

He has left Michael Bell, been gelded and sent to Kentucky-based Brendan Walsh, who brought Extravagant Kid over to be third in the King’s Stand this year.

“The day he beat Golden Pal at Ascot it raised a few eyebrows over here. It bodes very well over here that he’s beaten a horse as good as that,” said Cork native Walsh of The Lir Jet.

“I’d obviously seen the horse before he came here, he’d had his excuses lately with the ground and whatnot and I think he’ll do really well as he looks to have the right credentials.

“The race he’s running in this weekend we won last season with Guildsman (ex Archie Watson) and on paper he’d be every bit as good as him.”

He went on: “We’re hopeful he’ll make the Breeders’ Cup later in the year, but we’ll see how things go this weekend. It would be good to have the option of stretching out to a mile, but this seems a nice distance on Sunday (six and a half furlongs) and this would be a stiffer track than most in the US.

“It helps that he’s been here before (seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf) and there’s plenty to build on.”

As for the RacehorseClub, the microshare idea is more established in the States and has enjoyed great success.

“There are an awful lot of partnerships here now, especially around the better horses. Even the bigger owners are doing it, spreading themselves over more horses,” said Walsh.

“This one is very interesting, it’s a bit like the MyRacehorse syndicate (who owned Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Authentic). It attracts people into the game which is what we all need, getting people involved for smaller amounts of money.

“The start this club have had is amazing and it gives people great insight as to what is involved – it can only be good.”

Bell targets Royal Ascot repeat with The Lir Jet

Michael Bell will choose between the Commonwealth Cup and Jersey Stakes as The Lir Jet bids to win at Royal Ascot for the second successive year.

The three-year-old was not at his best when last seen finishing 10th of 10 in the Group Two Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock last month.

That run followed his third on seasonal comeback at Newbury in April, in the Greenham Stakes.

Bell could find no obvious reason for the colt’s below-par Haydock performance, and has reached the conclusion that the heavy ground interfered with his stride when jockey Oisin Murphy made a challenge at the furlong pole.

“Haydock was an absolute mystery – because we scoped him, blood-tested him and had him checked over by the vet afterwards, and we couldn’t find anything wrong,” said the Newmarket trainer.

“For me, he just lost his action in that very deep ground.

“He travelled well – and as soon as Oisin asked him to quicken, his back end seemed to go. Since the race, he’s been great and training really well.”

The Lir Jet’s highest-profile victory to date was at the Royal meeting last summer, when he won the Group Two Norfolk Stakes by a neck.

Bell is weighing up this year’s options, over six furlongs in the Commonwealth Cup and seven in the Jersey.

“He’s certainly got form over seven furlongs in the Greenham, which was a very solid run,” he said.

“He ran very well over a mile in the Breeders’ Cup, so I think he could get a mile around a bend again. His trip is between six and seven furlongs, but I don’t want to be completely tied to it.

“There’s been many horses who have repeat good form at the track. It’s a strange surface, especially the straight track – there’s a membrane under the grass, and certain horses seem to really take to it.

“You get many horses that back up year in year out, so I’m hoping he can be one of them.”

The Lir Jet ready for lift-off in Juvenile Turf

Connections of The Lir Jet are confident he will not be inconvenienced by a step up to a mile in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Michael Bell’s charge narrowly outpointed Wesley Ward’s Juvenile Turf Sprint favourite Golden Pal in the five-furlong Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, before being touched off by Richard Hannon’s Ventura Tormenta in the Prix Robert Papin at Chantilly over six furlongs.

The Lir Jet finished second again on his next start in the Phoenix Stakes, before placing fifth in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

The Qatar Racing-owned colt will be going two furlongs further than he has been before at Keeneland, but is reported to have arrived in Kentucky at the top of his game.

David Redvers, racing manager for owners Qatar Racing, said: “Both the trainer and jockey (Oisin Murphy) believe the trip won’t be an issue for him.

“He’s in very good form. He did a nice piece of work before he went out and they say he’s travelled out extremely well and is taking everything in his stride, which is half the battle.”

The Lir Jet is a general 33-1 shot for his Breeders’ Cup assignment, with Aidan O’Brien’s Battleground the 9-2 favourite.

The strong European challenge is completed by Ralph Beckett’s pair of New Mandate and Devilwala together with the Jessica Harrington-trained Cadillac, plus the French duo of Sealiway and Go Athletico.

The Lir Jet set for Newmarket lift-off in Middle Park

Saturday’s Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket is next on the agenda for The Lir Jet after connections opted to sidestep an engagement at Doncaster.

A narrow winner of the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, Michael Bell’s star juvenile has since finished second in both the Prix Robert Papin at Chantilly and the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.

The Qatar Racing-owned colt was due to revert to five furlongs for the Group Two Flying Childers Stakes on Town Moor, but was declared a non-runner on the morning of the race and he will now bid for Group One honours on the Rowley Mile.

Bell said: “We just felt five furlongs on drying ground wouldn’t necessarily be his thing. We had the Middle Park as an alternative and, all being well, we’ll head to Newmarket.

“I’m sure it will be a very good race, but the horse is in very good form and good order, so we’re looking forward to it.

“Hopefully Newmarket will produce a nice, safe surface for everybody, which I’m sure they will.”