It’s great to be able to report our solid spell of form has continued over the last seven days or so, kick-started by a thoroughly pleasing debut from Wolf Prince at Thirsk last Friday afternoon.
A son of 2011 Epsom Derby winner Pour Moi, this young horse had been pleasing us in his home work, so I was really pleased to see that translated into a cracking first effort out on the track.
Ridden confidently by Ben Curtis, he led from halfway until the final furlong and certainly gave the odds-on favourite something to think about, eventually going down by just two lengths.
I’ll be on the lookout for a mile maiden for him in the coming weeks, plus in the back of my mind is the idea of a juvenile hurdling campaign for him next year – plenty to look forward to!
Elsewhere, Goodwood was a happy hunting ground for us on Tuesday, with Esprit De Baileys making it two wins from three starts when scoring under Oisin Murphy in the 1m 3f handicap.
On reflection I think his last run at Chelmsford, when we stepped him up to two miles, just came a tad too quick arriving only 10 days after a big effort when winning at Yarmouth.
The three week gap between races this time seemed to be much more his cup of tea, plus it may be that racing on the turf just suits him better than the all-weather.
Whatever it is, his wins have come by a neck and a short head, meaning he’s definitely a horse who only ever does what he has to. The great thing is doing just enough which means hopefully he can stay on the right side of the handicapper – he doesn’t need to be flashy as long as he keeps doing his job!
Also at Goodwood, I was chuffed with the effort show by Happy Oddysey to be placed in a competitive looking Class 2 handicap.
The first time cheekpieces seemed to help her and she actually came there looking like she might win two furlongs out, only to be collared by the favourite, who it’s worth remembering she was conceding weight to.
David Egan got off and said plenty of positive things, and I’m certainly hopeful she can progress to be even better than she’s shown in five starts so far, not forgetting she’s never been out of the first two.
Another filly who has done much to recommend herself is Blessed To Empress, a daughter of dual Group 1 winner Holy Roman Emperor, who yet again won some prize money when coming home fourth in the final race on the card at Chelmsford on Thursday night.
Form figures of 14314 show just how much she enjoys her trips to the Essex venue, plus you may recall she got her head in front on the turf at Brighton in August.
The draw wasn’t kind to us on this occasion, setting us the challenge of finding racing room from a wide berth, which in fairness her rider Nicola Currie did beautifully, tacking across and getting a perfect position.
The downside is that such a manoeuvre uses up a good drop of petrol, and when the pace quickened the more favourably drawn horses were able to summon up a shade of extra acceleration, while her run flattened out.
That said, I couldn’t fault our effort and was proud of horse and rider. Blessed didn’t lack for support and was roared on by a raucous group of fans – aka her owners, the successful syndicate White Diamond Racing, who had seen their previous two runners win, and as a result were out in force to enjoy themselves.
The evening’s bar takings were certainly all the healthier for their presence, though admittedly the bubbly and cans of Special Brew didn’t get as far as yours truly, as luckily I had a horsebox to drive back to Newmarket!