July 2017

When Redgrave won The Fly London Southend Airport To Perpignan Handicap Stakes at Newmarket all hell broke loose here at Highclere HQ as he became our five hundredth winner since Alcove kicked things off in The Clock Face Median Auction Maiden Stakes at Haydock in 1993. I can’t tell you how proud I felt to have reached this milestone but after a quick glass of champagne with the team it was business as usual as we turned the page to look forward to the next five hundred!  Archetype made it 501 followed by Bedouin and Mam'selle, so we are well on our way as the winners continue to flow.

Last week we enjoyed a fabulous morning at Highclere Stud for our inaugural National Hunt parade which turned out to be great fun with much banter from a near full…

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Last week we enjoyed a fabulous morning at Highclere Stud for our inaugural National Hunt parade which turned out to be great fun with much banter from a near full house of trainers!  As you will see from the photographs to follow in this edition it was a very happy affair and something that we will definitely repeat in the years ahead.

Harry Herbert, Chairman

On The Track

Our strong run has thankfully continued through the month of July with several new winners to report on, including a welcome win for Redgrave to record Highclere’s 500th winner on the flat! Redgrave was returning to the track after a three-month absence, when he was “just not quite right” according to his trainer Charlie Hills. The patience shown by Charlie and his team paid off and Redgrave arrived at Newmarket in great condition. James Doyle gave him a beautifully patient ride from the rear of the field and, although he got into a ding-dong battle up the hill with five-time course winner Trulee Scrumptious, he stayed on gamely to win by a head. He followed up that win with a good third in a competitive handicap over seven furlongs at Doncaster and so he could be worth watching when stepped back up to a mile with some ease in the ground. 

It is notoriously difficult to make all at Sandown, as Archetype found out the time before last when he was touched off by a short head, but he…

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It is notoriously difficult to make all at Sandown, as Archetype found out the time before last when he was touched off by a short head, but he returned to the track three weeks later and managed to win under Oisin Murphy with an exhilarating front running display. He is a horse that is always full of the joys of spring, strutting around as if to say “look at me” and his rivals at Sandown certainly had a good look at a clean pair of heels as he powered up the hill to win by three quarters of a length, beating the previously unbeaten and odds on favourite, Frontispiece. Archetype’s next engagement will be at Goodwood where he is due to run in a mile and a quarter handicap for three-year-olds only on the third day of the meeting. 

Archetype at full stretch when winning at Sandown under Oisin Murphy

Another horse that has been warming up for a tilt at the glorious meeting is Garcia, who made a really promising return to the track in the John Smith’s Cup at York. After 302 days off the track it was a tough task to line up against a group of seasoned handicappers and Garcia had it all to do coming from off the pace under Jack Garritty. This was also his first run over an extended mile and a quarter, but he stayed on the best to finish fifth, only beaten a length and a quarter. He now heads to the first race on the opening day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, which is a mile and a quarter handicap for four-year-olds and up. We will also have Raucous to look forward to on the final day of the meeting as he is set to line up in the cavalry charge that is the Stewards’ Cup, a race he finished a close third in last year off the same mark of 102.

Garcia (far left) is a fast finishing 5th in the John Smith's Cup at York on his seasonal return

Last week two of our lightly raced three-year-olds, Mam’selle and Intellect, posted their third win from just three career starts, leaving their owners with plenty to dream about for the future. Mam’selle kicked things off at Lingfield with a very impressive display under Pat Cosgrave. She was far more switched on than she had been on her handicap debut at Goodwood, jumping quickly from the stalls and taking up a position just in behind the leaders. She travelled so well that Pat actually had to take a pull at the top of the hill and once the field straightened for home she powered clear to win by four and a half lengths. 

Intellect takes his handicap debut at Newbury by nine lengths under Ryan Moore

Over the weekend at Newbury Intellect thought he would out do Mam’selle by doubling her winning distance to record a nine-length victory under Ryan Moore. He was given a mark of 80 following his maiden win at Nottingham and we were under no illusions that this 0-85 handicap would be a proper test. As it turned out the rain fell all afternoon at Newbury and he relished the conditions and extra distance to make every yard of the running. Unsurprisingly he has been raised 12lbs and so a race such as the Melrose Stakes at York will come under serious consideration for his next start. Of course, we will leave that decision to his master trainer Sir Michael!

Members of the Royal Ascot Racing Club celebrate after Headway finishes second by a head in the Coventry Stakes (Gr 2) at Royal Ascot

Comprise won for the second time this season with a dominant display at Kempton under a brilliant front running ride from Jamie Spencer. His owners in the Royal Ascot Racing Club are looking forward to an exciting week ahead at Goodwood with Headway and Projection both running. Headway, a two-year-old colt by first season sire Havana Gold, finished second by a head in the Coventry at Royal Ascot and will run either in the Vintage Stakes (Gr 2) over seven furlongs on the Tuesday or the Richmond Stakes (Gr 2) over six furlongs on the Thursday. He has done very well since Ascot and his trainer William Haggas is looking forward to running him again on the big stage. Last year Projection ran in the Stewards’ Cup consolation race in which he finished fifth, but this year he will compete in the real thing and judging by his third in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, he will be one to watch along with Raucous in the twenty eight runner cavalry charge. 

National Hunt Parade

This month we hosted an inaugural parade of our National Hunt horses at Highclere Stud and it was a great success! The horses arrived at the stud that morning from their various summer holiday locations and the weather appeared a little threatening, but thankfully at 11o’clock on the dot the sun broke out and shone for the rest of the day. 

Guests were greeted with tea and coffee before the parade kicked off at 11.30am. Harry was joined on the microphone by each horse’s trainer as they paraded in front of…

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Dan Skelton with Cabaret Queen

Guests were greeted with tea and coffee before the parade kicked off at 11.30am. Harry was joined on the microphone by each horse’s trainer as they paraded in front of a crowd of a hundred. The first horse to parade was Cabaret Queen and her trainer Dan Skelton said, “thank goodness you told me which one she was because I would not have recognised her she’s done that well this summer”! Dan also trains the two-time winner Whatduhavtoget, who is a beautifully put together five-year-old mare by Presenting. She won two races for Highclere last year and is a very exciting prospect for the coming season. 

St Saviour with his regular jockey Tom Cheesman

The only horse to take one look at the beautifully mown green grass and dive down for a mouthful was the ever-cheeky St Saviour, who is referred to as Mr Bojangles by his lad Tom Cheesman. This is not very surprising because he is the only one to have remained in training through the summer months, whereas the others have had their fill of grass this summer. He was the winner of two juvenile hurdles in January 2016 and was back to winning ways recently at Stratford in April. St Saviour finished third at Stratford four days before the parade, but you wouldn’t have known he had just had a run because he looked fantastic and he now heads to Newton Abbot on 22nd August.

The horse that was greeted with “Ooooos” and “Aahhhhs” from the crowd as he emerged from his box was the striking grey Contented (video). This four-year-old son of Dalakhani was purchased for £70,000 from the Goffs Aintree Sale by Aiden Murphy for Philip Hobbs following his fast finishing third in a Thurles bumper in March. Unsurprisingly this attractive, athletic type has been very popular with owners and we have just one share remaining in this syndicate. 

Contented is stood up in front of the crowd

Paul Nicholls with Posh Trish

The final two horses paraded were recent purchases Peculiar Places (video) and Posh Trish (video) who are in training with Warren Greatrex and Paul Nicholls respectively. Warren is new to our roster of National Hunt trainers this season and his horse, Peculiar Places, is a very imposing five-year-old son of the leading National Hunt sire Presenting. He was just touched off in a Market Rasen bumper earlier this year and Warren thinks he will be capable of winning a bumper before going novice hurdling later in the season. Posh Trish was the impressive winner of a 4yo maiden Point-to-Point in Ireland in February before being sold at the Cheltenham Festival Sale for £135,000. She looks mature beyond her years and is a really exciting prospect for the coming season. There are still a few shares remaining in both Peculiar Places and Posh Trish, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if they are of interest.

For more pictures from the parade please visit the photo gallery - 'Out and about with the Highclere camera'.

Out and about with the Highclere camera

(Please click on the thumbnails to enlarge photos and see captions)

Syndicate In Focus

Sir Michael Stoute (left) and Richard Hannon Jnr. (right)

The syndicate in focus this month is the Goodwood Syndicate, which combines the Champion Trainers Richard Hannon and Sir Michael Stoute. Goodwood House, set in mature parkland against the backdrop of the Sussex Downs, is now home to the Earl and Countess of March and Kinrara and is known for its famous sporting events including the Festival of Speed, the Goodwood Revival and the Qatar Goodwood Festival, which begins next week. Richard Hannon and Sir Michael Stoute are no strangers to having winners at the festival and have both trained Group winners for Highclere at the meeting, including Prolific in the Richmond Stakes (Gr 2) and the great Harbinger in the Gordon Stakes (Gr 3). 

Goodwood House

Rolf's Ramblings

We’re all fascinated by names, Cardinal Sin, Dr De’ath, Mr Fatty (Head of Freedom from Hunger) are some of my favourites: racing is no different and the headline makers are immortalized. The roll of honour of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes for instance, is graced by some of the sport’s most famous names: between 1970 and 1972 we were spoiled by Nijinsky being followed by Mill Reef followed by Brigadier Gerard. And just three years later we were blessed with the somewhat overblown headline “Race of the Century” between Grundy and Bustino: Dahlia, trying to become the only three-time winner of this great clash of the generations, was only third. Between them Grundy and Bustino mustered just one more appearance.

Dahlia went on until she was six, racing in America. Five other fillies and mares have won this championship event whose genealogy only stretches as far back as 1951 when…

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Dahlia went on until she was six, racing in America. Five other fillies and mares have won this championship event whose genealogy only stretches as far back as 1951 when the inaugural race, won by Vera Lilley’s Supreme Court, was the suffixed “Festival of Britain”. Winning women owners have been in a minority since: in the last twenty renewals there has only been one – Lady Rothschild with Nathaniel - and he is sire, from his first crop, of this year’s favourite, Juddmonte’s three-year-old filly Enable. 

Nathaniel wins the 2011 King George

Enable’s victories in the Investec Oaks at Epsom and the Darley Irish Oaks would have placed her at the forefront of betting for this year’s King George anyway. But Ascot and Enable’s partner Frankie Dettori are synonymous – one of the bigger headlines of this year’s Royal Meeting was that he wasn’t there, due to shoulder injury. Not all of the handpicked rides since his return have been the steering job of the Irish Oaks. Frankie has put on weight too and with her sex allowance and weight for age concession Enable has just 8-7 to carry – a considerable portion of which will be the “fish and water” of Frankie’s diet, which will enable (sic) him to do his minimum weight.

Frankie doing his flying dismount from Enable after her victory in the Darley Irish Oaks

You can see the headlines now if the filly fails to justify favouritism - “Fish out of water”: perhaps. Others in the race will make headline writing simple should they overturn Enable:  “Ulysses sails home” or even (in the ‘quality’ papers) “Ulysses literally genius”.  Enable has made headlines in her short career without ‘capturing’ them or even a large following, as yet. Saturday may be her time. Ulysses’ Coral-Eclipse was the race of the season so far, where he nosed out Barney Roy in a pixel defined ‘duel’. Ulysses has been beaten more times than he has won; twice by one of his nine Saturday rivals, Highland Reel. The latter has been twice round the world and he has not been shielded from multiple defeats either. But that doesn’t mean this King George is sub-standard: the aforementioned are all arriving in the form of their lives – as was Harbinger (‘Harbinger good news’) when he smashed the Ascot track record seven years ago.

Ulysses edges out Barney Roy in this year's Coral Eclipse

Jack Hobbs isn’t ‘batting’ in the form of his life and the nearest he’s been to victory in three visits to Ascot is third. But there is another big race in him. Idaho chased Harzand’s tail in last year’s Classics and with that one out the way, went off odds on for the St Leger – and fell. He won this year’s Coronation Cup after flight difficulties from Ireland and since Coolmore have maintained their Group One strike rate with surprise packets this season neither Idaho nor his brother Highland Reel would fall into that category.

Idaho winning the Hardwicke Stakes (Gr 2) at Royal Ascot

Besides Jack Hobbs Godolphin field Benbatl who finished ahead of Coolmore’s Irish Derby winner Capri at Epsom without threatening the principals. Benbatl went on to win at Royal Ascot – a tough task for a Derby also-ran and he can still be regarded as a bit of a dark horse.

‘Duel on the Downs’ is the kind of alliteration that excites sports editors and the QIPCO Sussex Stakes, Group One highlight of Glorious Goodwood does often resolve itself into a two-horse race. Next Wednesday’s clash is billed as between the best older miler Ribchester and this year’s Guineas winner Churchill and, it goes almost without saying, between Godolphin and Coolmore. It will be the highlight of the meeting – that is, for those not involved in Garcia and Royal Ascot Racing Club’s Headway in the first two races of the five day Festival next Tuesday.

Ribchester storms to victory in the Queen Anne Stakes (Gr 1)

This year’s Classic colts are a humdrum lot and Churchill will need to raise his game. He’s a gift to headline writers: Ribchester hasn’t the same ring. So might I suggest the headline I’ve seen to trump (not that Trump) all came from remembrance of the old pre-computer print days when there was a precisely defined space for titles - and woe betide anyone who failed to use that space adequately. So the story about the difficulties of newspaper production was topped by, Why do the best headlines never fi

Taittinger Moment

This month’s Taittinger Moment has been awarded to Jossemar Rodrigues, who has looked after Bedouin since the day he arrived at Bedford House Stables. Jossemar is Brazilian and has worked for Luca Cumani since 2003. He is very much part of the team and has been a key player in Bedouin’s development over the past year and a half. He was thrilled to see the horse lose his maiden tag at Nottingham and is very thankful for this bottle of Taittinger, which he will share with his colleagues.

Jossemar riding Bedouin on a wet morning in Newmarket

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