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I rode him when he was second to a fair sort at Kempton last autumn and he probably did what he was entitled to when winning at that track last time. He is related to some good horses of Aidan’s, most notably Racing Post runner-up Aloft, who I won a Queen’s Vase on, and I think a mark of 86 is fair enough for his handicap debut. The step up to a mile shouldn’t be a problem.
A winner of his sole start, he clearly shaped liked a very a good horse when winning on his return at Haydock and finishing a close second to Thunderous in the Dante, a race he maybe could have won on another day. We didn’t see him out again until October when he clearly didn’t show his true form, but I don’t think the conditions were to blame there, for all the ground was bad and he was slow out of the stalls. He just didn’t fire. He has been pleasing us this spring and hopefully you will see the horse we were looking at early last summer. If we do, then he should be on the premises, but it’s a decent and competitive Group 3, for all it’s a relatively small field. You really can make a case for six of these, but I think he will go well.
He obviously took a huge step forward from his debut run when fourth to High Definition in the Beresford Stakes next time and he went on to win his maiden, too. He may have only won that narrowly but the runner-up won a Group 3 afterwards and finished second to Bolshoi Ballet in the Ballysax on his return. The quicker ground is an unknown but Aidan is very happy with him, he has been going nicely, and he already has run to a level that would see him competitive here. And the extra 2f should suit this brother to Sir Dragonet. But he is clearly meeting plenty of other unexposed 3yos who will have plenty of improvement in them, so this could be pretty tough. In fact, it is one of the best Classic trials we have seen at Sandown for a while.
He was below-par when we last saw him at Southwell back in January, but you can forgive any horse a lacklustre show around there. No, he is better judged on his Nottingham handicap win, and he didn’t run that badly when upped to Group company in the Zetland afterwards, especially as the soft ground may have been against him there. He is a brother to the very smart 1m2f performer Monarchs Glen, so hopefully a mark of 91 is workable, and the stable are hitting form, too.
St Mark’s Basilica: "St Mark’s Basilica is a horse with a lot of speed and he had some tough tasks, he had to go straight into a Group 1 on his second start and it was a messy sort of year for everyone but when you are trying to get 2 year olds into G1 races quickly, obviously it’s not easy, the build-up wasn’t ideal and he got better with every race and he’s a Dewhurst winner and he’s a very, very good colt who seems to be in a good place and hopefully he has a big year ahead of him.
"Everything points to him being a better 3 year old."
Wembley: "He’s a Galileo, you’d be pretty sure he’ll get better as he gets older and going up to a mile won’t be any problem for him at all. He only won the one race but as we’ve said already it was difficult for 2 year olds last year.
"He has a very high level of form and ability."
Battleground: "He’s a beautiful horse, as you said he is a big boy. He’s a very strong horse and I think he’s a very talented horse, very similar to his Dam (Found) great attitude and very high class, he’s been lovely all through the spring and I think he’ll have a good year, no doubt."
When asked about a possible Guineas bid: "I haven’t hear that he’s not going to the Guineas, I think he’s definitely still in the mix."
High Definition: "When he won the Beresford, it never looked likely until the last 100 yards and then he won well at the line. He looks like a very obvious Derby horse and I think the plan is to have a run in one of the major trials and then go straight to Epsom. So all being well the Derby is the dream for him."
Bolshoi Ballet: ‘’He is a good moving colt, lovely mind, does everything right. It might not have been the deepest race on the day but he done what he was asked to do and I think there is more to come from his and I think you’ll see him popping up in the major 3yo staying races this year’’
Van Gogh: "Being by American Pharoah he’s very exciting. He had a lot of racing and has plenty of experience but he thrived on it. I think he’s a really classy colt."
On what would likely be his best trip: "I wouldn’t pigeon hole him... I think he’ll be effective anywhere between a mile and possible a mile and a half."
Santa Barbara: "She obviously has an awful lot to prove on the track... Let’s hope that she’s as good as we think she is. I had a sit on her and I’m very happy with her. She seems very straight forward in the mornings, hopefully she has a big year ahead of her and we want her right until the end. She’ll have to start in the deep end but hopefully she’ll prove herself up to it."
Sacred and her win in the Nell Gwyn: "I think the ground is very important to her she travelled very well and has a serious change of pace. She rides like a little motor bike, she travels and she quickens I think it was a fair enough race... I liked her, she was a pleasure to ride, good fun riding her."
Mother Earth: "I’m a big fan of her, she’s a real tough filly with a good turn of foot. I think she needs decent ground as well. She could be a very interesting filly in the fillies' only races, the Nassau, Falmouth, Sun Chariot. I think she’ll do well."
Love: "Top-class filly, did nothing wrong all last year. Disappointing we couldn’t get to test her against the colts or the older horses... At home they are very happy with her and we’ll get to find out how good she is this year. She’s a long striding filly, once she gets into gear she’s fairly relentless. I wouldn’t compare her to many other fillies really. She certainly one of the best I’ve rode."
Lope Y Fernandez: "He was very impressive at Leopardstown. You’ve got to remember, we thought he’d win the Chesham but he bumped into Pinatubo and you’ve got to remember Pinatubo was a very, very good colt at 2. We were messing around with his trip a little last year. He ran a good race in the Guineas then we dropped him back and he ran some very good races in France….I thought he was very smooth in Leopardstown….The Queen Anne and I suppose the Lockinge before then."
Santiago: "I don’t know if he’s definitely a Gold Cup horse. I know he won a Queens Vase but he’s an Irish Derby winner…..He’s entered at Navan on Sunday over 1m6f that’s a good starting point for him…….He’s a nice little colt."