The focus of the racing world turned to Glorious Goodwood for the first week of August where unfortunately the weather was anything but glorious. Torrential rain meant that the ground was very soft and as a result there were some big priced winners and a number of leading stars were forced to withdraw. There were however, some fantastic performances none more so than Expert Eye who was an incredibly impressive winner of the Vintage Stakes for trainer Sir Michael Stoute and jockey Andrea Atzeni. He was leg two of a great four-timer for Atzeni on the opening day of the meeting and this Acclamation colt looks the outstanding juvenile of the season so far.
August has been a successful one for the Tom Clover team and it started well when Hunni netted the £40,000 fillies’ nursery at Newmarket on August 5. We were concerned when the ground went soft but she handled it fine and won gamely under Kieran O’Neil. It was our first winner at our local track and our first winner shown on ITV. We were thrilled and needless to say plenty of champagne was consumed that night.
Just a couple of days later we were celebrating again when Maestro Mac won in the rain at Yarmouth. We had purchased this horse just a couple of weeks before at Tattersalls for 8,000gns and he provided his owners Steve Nugent and Brian Keane with a first winner in their colours.
Royal Ascot aside, York’s Ebor Meeting is arguably the best flat meeting in the UK. Their prizemoney is second to none with every race worth a minimum of £70,000 and their facilities for owners, staff and horses put other tracks to shame. This year’s meeting had extra anticipation with the three Group 1s all producing stellar fields. On day one Jim Crowley rode a race worthy of any champion jockey past or present aboard Ulysses in the Juddmonte International. Crowley sat motionless in behind as market leaders Churchill and Barney Roy did battle up the straight. He then pounced as the other two were tiring and went on to score easily. Ulysses, a typical Sir Michael Stoute 4yo improver, is now set for a break but will be hard to beat when he heads to the US for the Breeders’ Cup Turf in November. The following day saw this year’s star 3yo Enable turn the Yorkshire Oaks into a procession. Frankie Dettori made all aboard this wonderful filly and she is now a warm order for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly on October 1. The Nunthorpe Stakes was billed as a clash of the speed machines between US star Lady Aurelia and this year’s emerging star Battaash. Sadly the latter failed to fire and Lady Aurelia was beaten on the line by the Sir Mark Prescott-trained Marsha. It was gutting for all the Lady Aurelia team but fantastic for the Elite Racing Club who own Marsha and are a great advert for attracting people into racing ownership.
We had our first runner at York when Declarationoflove tacked the Roses Stakes. Unfortunately he didn’t show his best as he was unsuited by the drying ground which rode very holding. He has returned in good heart and we have yet to decide a programme for him for the remainder of the season.
It was great to have another winner when Monsieur Glory won in fine style at Bath on the last day of August and there looks more to come from him up in trip. He has now won twice for us this season and is a real yard favourite.
We were also delighted to pick up a lovely yearling colt by Coach House at Doncaster’s Silver Yearling sale for £22,000. The trade was unbelievably strong but we felt we found a lovely colt who looks an early two-year-old type with scope to go on. This was our first yearling sale of the season but they come thick and fast now with trips to Ascot, Tattersalls Ireland, Goffs and of course Tattersalls on the horizon.
We are also busy on the runners front with Maestro Mac, Archie, Circulate and Gold Club all pencilled in and hopefully there will be a winner or two among them.