May 2018

The Classic races are already upon us and with Headway lining up for the Royal Ascot Racing Club in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas it promises to be a really thrilling day of action on Saturday. When William Haggas began enthusing about Headway’s ability before he ran last year  we had hoped for an above average colt who just might be a Royal Ascot two year old for the Club to cheer on so when he very nearly won the Coventry, only going down by a neck to Rajasinghe, we quickly realised that Headway was a horse to be reckoned with!

Annoyingly after that he never got his ground so William decided to draw stumps for the season. The change in this horse physically through the winter months though was quite…

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Annoyingly after that he never got his ground so William decided to draw stumps for the season. The change in this horse physically through the winter months though was quite remarkable in that although he didn’t grow much he really filled out into a much stronger horse. His breathtaking win at Lingfield in The 32Red Spring Cup Stakes (Listed) showed that he had improved a lot too and that’s when William decided that we should definitely consider the Guineas as a realistic target. Watching him work this week I am hopeful that he will give the 200 members of the Royal Ascot Racing Club a proper shout on Saturday!

Luminate winning the G3 Prix Penelope at Saint-Cloud on 1st May

Luminate showed this week that she just could be the best three old filly in training in France when winning the Prix Penelope at Saint Cloud. Unbeaten in three starts, two of them being group three races she is probably the best filly we have had at Highclere since Petrushka and with her principal target being the Prix de Diane (the French Oaks) maybe she can emulate Petrushka and become Highclere’s second Classic winner!

With warmer weather now with us and the ground at last drying out many of our horses are about to be given the green light by their trainers to make their 2018 debuts so hopefully many of you will be cheering on your horses to victory very soon!

Harry Herbert, Chairman

On The Track

There has been plenty of action since our last newsletter, but the most recent runner was the most exciting. Luminate, unbeaten on her only two starts as a two year old and denied the opportunity of Group 1 victory by French strikers (what?!) at St Cloud last October, lined up for another group race at the same track on Tuesday. Partnered by Olivier Peslier (her regular jockey having broken his arm in a fall on the gallops), Luminate maintained her unbeaten sequence by bravely battling back to win the Prix Penelope with something in hand. Freddy Head was naturally delighted as were a large number of her adoring owners! Her principal target is the Prix de Diane (Gr 1) in June but it's possible she will have another run before this, so there will be plenty of excitement (not to say jangled nerves) between now and then!!

Our National Hunt season is not quite ending on the note it started, not helped by the atrocious ground conditions, which curtailed the number of runners, but Style de Garde…

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Crievehill soars over the last on the way to victory at Sandown

Our National Hunt season is not quite ending on the note it started, not helped by the atrocious ground conditions, which curtailed the number of runners, but Style de Garde ran a huge race to finish second in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival. Whatduhavduget came back from a lengthy lay off to finish a very creditable 3rd up at the Ayr festival. She will have another run over fences once the new season has started. Posh Trish, a  winner of two races earlier in the season, struggled in the conditions at Aintree, but remains an exciting prospect for next season, particularly when she moves on to hurdles. Crievehill ended his season on a high, with a resounding victory at Sandown before finishing a very close second under top weight at Haydock. He has improved all year and his jumping will always give him an edge. Whatswrongwithyou continued his impressive run of form when finishing third in the Imperial Cup at Sandown carrying the silks of 5 Hertford Street.

Snazzy becomes our earliest two year old winner (and runner!) on record, and bags £20,000 in the process!

Back on the flat Definition has shown enough in his three runs to suggest he is more than capable of winning races in the future. Consultant has clearly trained on and went down by the narrowest of margins at Thirsk. Contrast ran a big race in the Rosebery at Kempton before struggling at Epsom. Pak Choi got off the mark at Kempton in good style and Archetype showed that he will be a force to be reckoned with this season when finishing second at Chantilly.  Snazzy, trained by Charlie Fellows, got off to a flyer when winning on her debut at Newcastle, despite encountering traffic problems, giving Highclere their earliest two year old winner since we started in 1992!!  Adamant made his seasonal debut at Newbury, where he was narrowly beaten in a very hot handicap.  He heads to Newmarket on Sunday on 1,000 Guineas Day to compete in a £50,000 event - this time over a more suitable trip of a mile and a half.

Out and about with the Highclere camera

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

glow&dry Introduction

The latest business launch sweeping the racing scene is glow&dry, a luxury mobile styling concierge, who have a team of unisex industry experts within the Hair & Make Up Styling, Beauty, Aesthetics, Male Grooming, Personal Shopping & Styling Industry.
Their little black book of experts, are available on request, to the location of your choice globally and every stylist is handpicked, providing years of experience. With glow&dry you are given the exclusive power, to select a specific artist based on your individual requirements, at rate suitable for you.  glow&dry exclusive editorial & backstage stylists are available direct to the comfort of your home. With fashion show styling for brands such as Ralph & Russo, it’s no wonder they are voted Tatler Magazine Best All In One Service.

We are delighted to announce that the glow&dry team have offered Highclere members an exclusive 10% styling discount, simple Quote “Highclere” on your booking.  glow&dry will be offering luxury mobile styling for all big racing meetings this year including: The 1000 & 2000 Guineas, The Derby, Royal Ascot, Goodwood & Ebor Festivals. Please contact their team directly for further details by emailing or on 0203 8970 773

Alex's Insights

La Grange aux Loups

I have been searching for another restaurant for our trips to Chantilly and asked Freddy Head for some advice. He told me that a restaurant in Apremont called La Grange aux Loups was the flavour of the month, so I took a group of owners there on a recent stable visit. Bingo! We have found somewhere which complements the friendly brasserie Le Goutillan in Chantilly. This light and airy renovated old building was very welcoming and I felt at immediately at ease when shown to the table.
There were a number of dishes on the menu I wanted to choose (always a good sign) and I went for the sweetbreads (not everyone’s favourite!) which were beautifully cooked. A very well chosen wine list made life easier and puddings were exemplary. I would heartily recommend this place if you are in the area. It is smart without being over the top and food is clearly the priority. We shall certainly be re-visiting soon!!

Rolf's Ramblings

Not for one hundred years has a horse named for a painter won the Qipco Two Thousand Guineas. Gainsborough was Triple Crown Champion in 1918 and his celebrated name became even more celebrated when he sired the immortal Hyperion.  Those who insist ‘Gainsborough’ was named not for the esteemed eighteenth century British portrait and landscape artist Thomas Gainsborough but for a Lincolnshire town whose main attraction is Retford Garden Centre, are souls devoid of romance.

Coolmore reserves distinguished names years in advance of horses, not yet born, attaching them when they judge a particular colt or filly warrants it: Two Thousand Guineas’ heroes George Washington…

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Coolmore reserves distinguished names years in advance of horses, not yet born, attaching them when they judge a particular colt or filly warrants it: Two Thousand Guineas’ heroes George Washington and Churchill certainly justified their appendages. This year’s Coolmore Guineas’ favourite is Gustav Klimt, an erratic beast who ‘explored’ much of the Newmarket July course in the process of landing the Superlative Stakes. Klimt (1862-1918), an idiosyncratic artist, famously said: “There is always hope as long as the canvases are empty”. Even Coolmore must start this season on a clean page after a record twenty eight Group One’s last year when Churchill was their first. By this Saturday evening they could have re-written history when Mendelssohn, whose contribution to that fabulous Group One total was the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, returns to America to attempt what no horse from this side of the Atlantic has achieved in the 144 years – land the Kentucky Derby. There haven’t been that many authentic challengers - Clive Brittain’s Bold Arrangement came closest, running second to Ferdinand in 1986 after a debilitating journey 

Gustav Klimt, this year's 2,000 Guineas favourite

I don’t know the process by which the name Mendelssohn was selected for this son of Scat Daddy but it was percipient. “We have all of us the strength to endure the misfortune of others” is attributed to him: the namesake of composer of the Wedding March was helped to his Breeders’ Cup victory by interference to others, notably Godolphin’s Masar. Mendelssohn suffered his own travel glitches on the road to Kentucky but has Ryan Moore’s assistance on Saturday to overcome all obstacles, the world’s best jockey denying himself the chance of a repeat Guineas double.  In recent years Quantify (Oaks 50-1), Wings of Eagles (Derby 40-1) and Winter in last year’s One Thousand guineas delivered Classic success to Coolmore without Moore’s presence – Colm O’Donoghue in the first instance, Padraig Beggy the second, Wayne Lordan on Winter. The Newmarket ‘sub’ on Gustav Klimt is the estimable Seamie Heffernan who has never won an English Classic but has ridden three Irish Derby winners. And since Coolmore ‘second strings’ are capable of what we lesser mortals call ‘surprises’ Saxon Warrior cannot be ignored.

Expert Eye respresents Khalid Abdullah

The Royal Ascot Racing Club’s Headway is an outsider. When he has run on fast ground he has been beaten a neck by the subsequent UAE Guineas winner; a neck in the Coventry: and when he murdered his Lingfield field on sand this year the third returned to go down narrowly on All-Weather Champions day. That may not be quite Guineas-winning form but it would have been a brave pundit who put a line through the name Headway had the ground been genuine fast.  Nor do I see Expert Eye, runner-up to James Garfield in the Greenham, as a bit player. He was favourite for the Guineas prior to two defeats though he wasn’t ready to do himself justice in the Greenham and ran too bad to be true in the Dewhurst. James Garfield is named for the 20th American President who was notable for the shortest tenure in the office - terminated after six months by assassination. One or two famous jockeys have borne the nickname “the Assassin” – not pin-up Frankie Dettori who partners James Garfield.

Happily beating the boys in the Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere

“To be or not to be”, begins the most famous soliloquy in literature. While it is a cliché that a badly-named horse is unlikely to be a champion, it is an unresolved dispute as to whether Shakespeare was or not the sire of the most famous name in racing, Eclipse. The stallion credited with the feat was Marske and the debate persists.  Godolphin’s Soliloquy is a name with the right ‘ring’ about it, as well as the right form for the Qipco One Thousand Guineas on Sunday. “My horse my horse my kingdom for a horse” - Sheikh Mohammed might not surrender Dubai even for that first, frustratingly elusive, Derby winner but neither would Godolphin’s boss have faced the heated debate you and me might have had to go through with our bank manager before coughing up the £30,000 supplementary late entry fee to ensure Soliloquy’s participation.  All along, Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby’s intention was to field dual Group One winner Wild Illusion for his Dubaian boss in the One Thousand. William Buick has had the dickens of a decision to make between the two, between Soliloquy’s Nell Gwynn and Wild Illusion’s Newmarket work. The authority with which Soliloquy took the Nell Gwynn marked her out as something more than a filly brought off the bench: Wild Illusion topped last year’s juvenile fillies with victory in the Prix Marcel Boussac. Happily has been ‘processed’ like her immediate Coolmore predecessors for their third successive fillies’ Guineas victory. She beat Godolphin’s colt Masar into third in the Prix Lagardere and we will have Masar’s performance in Saturday’s race by which to rate Happily’s chance the next day. This year Masar appeared a different horse when wiping out his Craven Stakes field.  Happily, and Masar. could conceivably contradict anybody (me included) who sees Gustav Klimt and Soliloquy as the names on the Guineas’ trophies.

Taittinger Moment

This month's Taittinger Moment goes to owner Judith Evans who, on a very busy Monday afternoon for all at team Highclere, was our sole representative at Thirsk for Consultant's seasonal debut. Thank you very much from all of us for representing the team and reporting back all the news from the track!

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