Laurence (5/2) loved the ground at HQ on Saturday and ran out a nice winner for us in the maiden and now could be interesting to see what the handicapper does with the Dubawi colt. By The Boardwalk won by a street for us at Towcester on Monday readily going clear to beat Riddlestown by 28 lengths, the 2/1 we got in the morning must have been the bet of the year so far. The 7yo put in a very good round of jumping and is thriving at present and has plenty of scope, so he could have more to offer.
The first Al Shaqab Lockinge Day at Newbury on Saturday was a huge success, with Godolphin’s Night Of Thunder at 11/4 joint favourite (put-up in last weeks news letter) winning the £350,000 Group One feature, the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes.
Trainer Richard Hannon only started training in 2014 but has now won two Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, the first with Olympic Glory last year.
Night Of Thunder, ridden by James Doyle, held off the late challenge of Toormore, also trained by Hannon and with Richard Hughes up, in a thrilling finish.
He was Godolphin’s sixth Lockinge Stakes victory, a new record for an owner in the famous race.
A crowd of 13,343, up on the 12,916 attendance last year, came to the richest day in Newbury Racecourse’s 110-year history, with £750,000 of prize money on offer.
Ryan Moore, who finished fourth on Integral in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, won the other five of the first six races on the card. He did not have a ride in the last and his five-timer came to 1,961.6/1.
Racegoers enjoyed themselves on a lovely day and witnessed a great finish to Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes plus once again seeing what a genius Ryan Moore is in the saddle.
The eight-runner Olympic Glory Conditions Stakes looked a strong race, with some excellent two-year-olds lining up for the six-furlong event.
There were five previous winners among the runners and it was one of the two unbeaten colts, Birchwood, trained by Richard Fahey in Yorkshire, who came out on top at 11/1.
Fahey was surprised that the Dark Angel colt, who won his debut at Doncaster earlier this month, was such a big price when beating Beaverbrook (12/1) and Eltezam (8/1) by a length and a half, and a neck in 1m 13.36s on good going.
He said: “I was delighted with that performance as when I saw the opposition as it looked a warm race. It is nice to come down here and win.”
“Ryan (Moore – jockey) liked Birchwood and thought he wanted seven furlongs. I don’t think he will be going to Royal Ascot.”
“I don’t think he is a Coventry horse, more of a seven-furlong performer so I will be looking at the Acomb (York) or the Newmarket race. I will have to speak to David (Armstrong – owner).”
“I was surprised he was such a big price, not that I backed him or anything. I have 80 to 90 two-year-olds and he has been working well with all the winners.”
“Birchwood was the early two-year-old we really liked which is why we brought him here. We have had plenty of two-year-old winners but we are bit behind with some of them and there are still some nice ones to run. We are just struggling to get them ready – it has been a bit cold up north.”
Telescope, the 8/13 favourite owned by the Wavertree syndicate of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, trained by Sir Michael Stoute and ridden by Ryan Moore, celebrating a quick double on the day, was the easy winner.
Unlucky to be beaten on his seasonal debut, the five-year-old Galileo horse romped away with this valuable prize and now has some bigger targets, the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and the Group One King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot at the end of July.
Stoute said: “Telescope came out of Newmarket well and the problem there was that he was bit race-fresh. They kept slowing the pace down, he got keener and keener and then dissipated a little bit too much energy for the final rush up the hill.”
“Today’s performance was very smooth and very impressive – I am delighted with him. I think that he is Group One and a half at the moment but I suppose we will go Hardwicke and then plan the second half of the season. He is a great traveller and we have got many options.”
“Telescope is a very honest, consistent horse and a big, rangy fellow who has got a little bit stronger again from four to five. He had a greyhound look about him, even last year, and you would hope that we could progress a little bit but he doesn’t have to do too much more to win a really good pot.”
“I would have been disappointed if he couldn’t have beaten them today.”
Moore added: “”We have gone very slowly for the first seven furlongs and it’s not ideal for him because you are taking him back the whole time. He has got such a big, long stride and you would rather that horses were going on.”
“It wasn’t a very deep race and he is a lot better than them but he has destroyed them. He is a very good horse and hopefully he will progress again. It was a quick turnaround (from Newmarket) and I would say that he would go to Royal Ascot with a good chance.”
Telescope won by six lengths from the best horse in Qatar, Dubday, who is trained by Jasim Al Ghazali for Al Shaqab Racing, sponsors of the entire Newbury card today. The 8/11 favourite Forgotten Rules held of the challenge of Answered in the Vintage Stakes at Navan on Sunday and is now 5/2 market leader for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot next month. The speedy Sole Power (4/1 with Hills) will be very popular for the Betfred.Com Temple Stakes at Haydock on Saturday.
Yours in sport
Back Next Thursday.
Kevan Minter – The Colonel.