The Racing Week That Was 21/6/20

15-6-20

Monday, we start at Fairyhouse. It was another winner for Tom McCourt who has his team in good form. De Mazzaro got it done this time for McCourt. At Roscommon, there was a double for Gary Carroll on board Indicative Vote and Tashman. At Goodwood, Bimble was an impressive winner of the maiden for Henry Candy. At Pontefract. Antonia De Vega took the feature race for Ralph Beckett. At Kempton, Jellystone made it an across the card double for Ralph Beckett. At Chepstow, Peggy Sue took the feature race for trainer Adam West.

16-6-20

Tuesday, we start at Royal Ascot. Few meetings are as difficult to get winners at than Royal Ascot given the level of competition – but there appeared to be no stopping Jim Crowley who took the riding plaudits with a first-day treble. The winners were Motakhayyel, Battash and Nazeef. The meeting had a very different feel with no spectators the racing was as always top class. There were a couple of outstanding performances.

Battaash laid his Royal Ascot hoodoo to rest in style as he made it third time lucky in the King’s Stand Stakes. The feature race on day one. It was well deserved for the Charlie Hills-trained speedster after finishing second to Blue Point in the previous two runnings of the Group One showpiece. The 5-6 favourite broke smartly and was always travelling smoothly in the hands of Jim Crowley, who was completing a double after his earlier victory on Motakhayyel. When Crowley pressed the button, Battaash put daylight between himself and his rivals to score as he liked. Equilateral grabbed second place on the line from Liberty Beach to give Hills the first two home.

Pyledriver sprang an 18-1 surprise for trainer William Muir and jockey Martin Dwyer in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot. Having had the benefit of a seasonal reappearance at Kempton two weeks ago, the Harbour Watch colt leapt into the Derby picture with a solid performance. Sound Of Cannons took the field along and was five lengths clear at one stage with the second Arthur’s Kingdom several lengths ahead of the rest of the field. Dwyer made his move at the top of the straight and was soon in front. He kept up the gallop to win by two lengths from Arthur’s Kingdom, trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Frankie Dettori. Mohican Heights was two lengths away in third place, with O’Brien’s 10-11 favourite Mogul only fourth. Mogul was well beaten here so it's back to the drawing board for Ballydoyle as regards Epsom.

Circus Maximus got the better of Terebellum in a pulsating climax to the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. Winner of the St James’s Palace Stakes 12 months ago, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Circus Maximus went on to suffer a narrow defeat at the hands of Too Darn Hot in the Sussex Stakes before landing the Prix du Moulin and finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The four-year-old was the 4-1 favourite to double his Royal Ascot tally, just ahead of John Gosden’s recent Newmarket-winning filly Terebellum and the big two fought out a thrilling finish. There was little to choose between the pair entering the final furlong and no quarter was given by either horse, with Ryan Moore aboard Circus Maximus and Frankie Dettori on Terebellum both in full flight. As the line loomed, Circus Maximus just began to get the better of the argument and was a - head in front where it mattered. Marie’s Diamond was three lengths away in third. This was a rough race and a few had hard luck stories in behind not getting a run when they needed it.

Nazeef completed a treble on the opening day of Royal Ascot for jockey Jim Crowley and owner-breeder Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum with a narrow victory in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes. Winner of her previous four starts for John Gosden, the daughter of Invincible Spirit was among the leading contenders and travelled kindly towards the rear of the field for much of the contest. Just for a moment it appeared big outsider Invitational may have cut loose, but she ultimately weakened fairly quickly and Nazeef charged home under her in-form rider — just getting the better of Agincourt by a head in a driving finish. Queen Power, the 3-1 joint-favourite along with the bitterly disappointing Jubiloso, was best of the rest in third.

Finally, our syndicate horse Trading Point got to try out the new surface at Dundalk. The surface was very good. Thank you to Dundalk for the opportunity for Trading Point to work on the newly laid track.

17-6-20

Wednesday, we start at Royal Ascot. Champion jockey Oisin Murphy opened his account for Royal Ascot 2020 with victory aboard Sir Busker in the Silver Royal Hunt Cup. One-time Classic hope Dark Vision won for the first time in nearly two years when claiming the Royal Hunt Cup for Mark JohnstonRussian Emperor finished with a rattle to claim a last-gasp success in a thrilling renewal of the Hampton Court Stakes for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan MooreTactical landed a gamble to give the Queen victory at Royal Ascot in the Windsor Castle Stakes. Having finished third on his debut, the Andrew Balding-trained colt was backed down to 7-2 favouritism and was always handily placed on the rail from his draw on the stands side.

The Feature Race saw Lord North produce a devastating turn of foot to run out a convincing winner of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Stepping up to Group One company for the first time, last year’s Cambridgeshire winner bridged the gap in some style. John Gosden’s charge had looked good when winning the Group Three Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Haydock earlier this month – but this was even better as he destroyed a quality field. Bangkok made the running with Addeybb and Japan close up, while James Doyle was happy to sit Lord North at the rear of the seven runners. At one point in the straight, all seven had a chance but Lord North put the race to bed with a taking burst of acceleration in the final furlong. Galloping on strongly, he had three and three-quarter lengths in hand over Addeybb. Barney Roy was third, with short-priced favourite Japan having to settle for fourth. We have had very few bets for our members so far at Royal Ascot a good one today though. Lord North 300 Ascot (1pt each way) advised at 8/1 (won).

18-6-20

Thursday, Molatham gave Jim Crowley a fifth winner at Royal Ascot this week when rallying to beat Monarch Of Egypt in the Jersey StakesKhaloosy ran out an emphatic winner of the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot to give the meeting’s leading jockey Jim Crowley his sixth winner of the week. Jockey Hayley Turner and trainer Charlie Fellowes sprang a 33-1 surprise in the Sandringham Stakes for the second year running when Onassis delivered the goods. Battleground stuck to his guns to take Listed honours in the Chesham Stakes for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore. Betting wise, A decent day for the members. We have been having very few bets in truth Regal Reality 150 Ascot (1pt each way) 11/2 placed Molatham 225 Ascot (1pt each way) 11/2 won 0.5pt each-way double placed.

Stradivarius produced a scintillating performance to make history by becoming just the third horse to win three successive Gold Cups at Royal Ascot. Frankie Dettori bided his time, on the rain-softened ground which was thought to be unsuitable for John Gosden’s remarkable staying superstar, before closing on the long-time leader and eventual runner-up Nayef Road and then streaking clear to win by 10 lengths. Doubts were sown about the hat-trick bid as the rain continued to pour up until almost race time – but Stradivarius, in the black and yellow colours he has made famous for owner Bjorn Nielsen, was having none of it. The six-year-old, sent off as the 4-5 favourite, made those odds look increasingly generous as he settled in midfield behind the pace set by Nayef Road and Withhold and then coasted into a winning position, with Dettori oozing confidence. It proved well-placed once the Italian crowd-pleaser said ‘go’ – and Dettori was able to salute the achievement on passing the post in isolation, before then serving up his trademark flying dismount on returning to the winner’s enclosure, despite the absence of crowds in this coronavirus-ridden year. Stradivarius has equalled the achievement of the race’s fellow Gold Cup hat-trick heroes Sagaro and Yeats – although the latter still stands alone, having won four in succession for Aidan O’Brien.

19-6-20

Friday, it was a big day for The Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate we sent two horses into battle. The Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate faced into a seismic 8 days. In those 8 days, we will run, Mokhalad (potentially twice), Lottieloveheart, Trading Point and Stanhope. It is incredibly exciting for all involved. All three of our trainers will be involved, with the action coming thick and fast. It is fitting that Mokhalad led the team out. Mokhalad started us off in Tipperary bidding to put a disappointing effort behind him in Gowran Park. We felt Mokhalad was in good form, he had been doing everything right. Mokhalad's race was over before it started as he fly jumped from the gate you cannot do that in a 5-furlong race. We got left for dead at the start. Mokhalad gave vain chase he kept trying but the bird had flown. Mokhalad finished twelfth of fifteen it was very deflating as he was never a factor. Jockey Gavin Ryan was positive after the race as was our racing manager Craig English. We had the backup plan of running Mokhalad at Naas on Saturday (24 hours later almost to the minute). Damian English and Craig English were keen to enter both races early in the week so as always we back up our racing people. We were about to discover that 24 hours is a long time in Horse Racing.

So after things going not as planned at Tipperary we composed ourselves for Gowran Park. Not a lucky track for ourselves. Lottieloveheart had her first start for us on the turf. Trainer Leanne Breen had jet-propelled our start to the season with Parkers Hill at Naas eleven days ago. It seems a long time ago now but that's how long ago it was. This was not a good day for us at Gowran yet again. Lottieloveheart jumped off smartly jockey Shane Foley tried to settle her. Lottieloveheart fought Shane for the first bit of the race. Lottieloveheart, in the end, ran a moderate race. Ourselves and Leanne Breen learned a lot on the night. Our relationship with Shane Foley again helped as we got top class feedback we can use. Leanne will change a few things around. We are not worried at all about Lottieloveheart, we just have to tweak a few things. We will get her where we want her. The plan is still to aim for Galway and we will get Lottieloveheart back on track in July. It was a testing day with Mokhalad and Lottieloveheart. As I said in last weeks blog it's simply not realistic to expect it to go well all the time. It just does not happen. There were still two days to go over the weekend!! It could still get worse potentially.

At Royal Ascot, Karl Burke’s Dandalla produced a dazzling display to turn the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot into a procession. The Lir Jet backed up his scintillating debut when collaring American raider Golden Pal in the final strides of the Norfolk Stakes. Fanny Logan came from last to first to claim a decisive victory in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot. John Gosden’s filly won a hat-trick of Listed races and a Group Three last season, before rounding off her campaign with a fourth-place finish at the Breeders’ Cup. Santiago produced an improved display to give Aidan O’Brien a seventh victory in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot. Record-breaking rider Hollie Doyle claimed her first Royal Ascot success with a last-gasp triumph aboard Scarlet Dragon in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes. Only three bets today for us at Royal Ascot Defoe 300 Ascot (1pt each way) 13/2 placed Santiago 410 Ascot (1pt each way) 4/1 won 0.5pt each-way double placed. Golden Horde was an emphatic winner of the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. Clive Cox’s colt, a Group Two-winning juvenile marked his seasonal return at the top level with a length-and-a-half triumph in the feature race on day four.

20-6-20

Saturday, we start at Naas. Mokhalad turned out for the second time in 24 hours. This time over six furlongs at his beloved Naas. We had hoped a return to Naas would see a better performance. Mokhalad had a brilliant record at Naas before Saturday. In four races at Naas Mokhalad has a record of 1143, three of those races over six furlongs. The size of the field wouldn't be a problem. Mokhalad's work from the stalls has become a little unpredictable following the incident at Naas in March. The hope was, he jumps out well and could run a good race.  Damian English and Craig English believed the two runs in 24 hours would not be a problem. Mokhalad is as tough as nails, he loves to compete. Last season Mokhalad ran twice in four days finishing second and first. What followed was a day of high emotion for The Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate. We took a view that we had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

On the second day, Mokhalad rose again. Well, what a day it turned out to be. Our hearts are once again bursting with pride thanks to our wonderful racehorse Mokhalad who produced a spine-tingling performance to win at Naas. Words can't do justice as to what Mokhalad means to us. Mokhalad had been showing us a bit at home as we have been saying. That said he has been having problems at the start ever since bumping his head in Naas during March. Mokhalad did not make a great start again. He looked to be in a very unpromising position three furlongs out. Mokhalad started to pass horses engaging overdrive up his favourite hill at Naas. One by one he saw them off into a really strong headwind.  Mokhalad powered home to win by a length going away at the line. Mokhalad was just sensational in the last two furlongs. Mokhalad takes a bit of knowledge, Gavin Ryan has been learning on the job. Gavin put everything he had learned about Mokhalad into practice here. Damian English will always be the first trainer we ever hired. We have made so many memories together this was another fantastic day for us all. Damian has now trained ten winners for us. It was great for Damian and all the team at Grougha. It was a tremendous feat of dare and do to run Mokhalad twice in 24 hours. To the whole team our sincere thanks. Our Racing Manager Craig English, Peter Casey who has ridden Mokhalad a lot in his recent work. Of Course not forgetting Jimmy Delaney and Daryl Clarke who both are a big part of Mokhalad's daily life.

Mokhalad is such an important horse for The Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate. Every race he runs matters to us as it does with all our horses. From the day I and John Maher met Mokhalad at Hilltop stables September 2017 he has never let us down once. Mokhalad is a credit to the group who own him. He means the world to everyone involved. Mokhalad has kicked down every door we have walked through in racing. He is a hero an icon as well a leader for us. Mokhalad has now won six times. Younger horses have come on board our team in the last couple of years to make the case to be our number one. Every time this happens Mokhalad produces a performance that reminds everyone why he is known as " The King" he will remain that in our eyes forever. Mokhalad marches to the beat of his own drum. He loves being a racehorse, a real zest for it. Mokhalad likes living outside, he never wants to be curtailed in a box for long periods. This race may have been his finest hour to date. Coming on the back of Friday's disappointments as well as his own shocking run at Gowran. We have received hundreds of messages since Mokhald won, he is incredibly popular. We thank you all who took the time to contact us. 

Mokhalad will now drive on to Bellewstown to defend the race he won last season, it's then Galway.  The hope is by Bellewstown we will be back in his corner at the races. Mokhalad will make his way back to Naas for the Autumn. Naas has been an incredibly lucky track for us it is now our fourth win at Naas as a syndicate. We love going racing at Naas in any event and the hope would be that we pick up some more silverware when allowed to return to the racecourse as owners. This day, however, will live long into the future warming the hearts of us all when many years have passed. In a bizarre quirk of fate Parkers Hill won on my birthday 8-6-20 from stall 16 over six furlongs at Naas. Mokhalad managed the same achievement over six furlongs at Naas from stall 16 on fellow syndicate member my brother Dave's Birthday 20-6-20.

The report from Irish Racing is below

Mokhalad is now a three-time winner over six furlongs at Naas, taking the Thank You To The HSE & Frontline Workers Handicap after finishing twelfth at Tipperary yesterday. In the Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate silks, Gavin Ryan came from off the pace on the nicely supported 13/2 shot Mokhalad, to beat well-backed favourite Master Matt (6s into 4s) by a length.

“Five furlongs probably wasn’t his ideal trip in Tipperary but he’s a horse that needs to run regularly. He doesn’t get a whole pile of work at home and needs to run regularly,” said Ryan on the Damian English-trained Mokhalad. Ryan added: “He loves coming to Naas and his best form is probably here. The strong headwind today made it a real tough test and that’s the way he relishes it.“He’s a horse that races behind the bridle a bit early on and does his best work at the finish.”

At Royal Ascot, The story of the day for us all was Sceptical going for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. The remarkable story of the meteoric rise of Sceptical has been a joy to watch. It has also been interesting for myself as I know the Hilltop lads well.  James McCauley and his family as covered last week have been very good to us since we got involved. In fact, James McCauley was present when we bought Mokhalad. The race itself was a brilliant race with Hello Youmzain setting a strong gallop. Sands Of Mali was prominent as he ploughed a lone furrow on the far side, with Hello Youmzain heading the group in the middle before tacking over to the stands rail after around three furlongs. The race duly unfolded on that side, with Frankie Dettori – seeking a fourth win on the day – launching his challenge on 2-1 favourite Sceptical and taking the lead with around a furlong to run.  I thought a hundred yards out Sceptical would win. However, Hello Youmzain dug deep and edged back in front, repelling the challenge of the fast-finishing Dream Of Dreams in the process. Sceptical finished third carried out on his shield beaten by a head and a neck into third.

A remarkable run from a remarkable horse so early in his career. My first reaction was Frankie Dettori had committed to soon. I see Frankie said that himself since. Sceptical still has the sprinting world at his feet and he will win plenty of other races. There is no reason to believe he won't be back at Royal Ascot next season. Whichever way the Hilltop team go next they have lovely options as well as decisions to make. They will do right by Sceptical.  They should be very proud of this day as it was a brilliant achievement in its own right.

Jessica Harrington and Frankie Dettori formed an unlikely alliance to win the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot with Alpine Star. Nando Parrado at 150-1 left punters shell-shocked in the Coventry Stakes as he ran out the biggest-priced winner in modern times at Royal Ascot. The Clive Cox-trained youngster was only fifth on his racecourse debut at Newmarket earlier this month, but that did not stop connections from trying the son of Kodiac in the Group Two heat over six furlongs.  Palace Pier made a seamless transition to Group One level to deny Pinatubo in a thrilling renewal of the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. John Gosden’s charge arrived unbeaten in three starts – with the trainer having opted to bypass the 2000 Guineas earlier this month in favour of a low-key return in a Newcastle handicap, which Palace Pier had duly won in style. Palace Pier 300 Ascot was advised (1pt each way) 4/1.

Hey Jonesy completed a big sprint double for jockey Kevin Stott and trainer Kevin Ryan in hanging on for victory in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot. After claiming the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Hello Youmzain just 35 minutes earlier, Stott and Ryan teamed up to take the feature six-furlong handicap of the week. Jockey Tom Marquand emulated his partner Hollie Doyle by having his first-ever winner at Royal Ascot as Who Dares Wins scored in the Queen Alexandra Stakes. Doyle opened her account on the Alan King-trained Scarlet Dragon in the Duke of Edinburgh on Friday – and Marquand only had to wait 24 hours to equal that feat with victory for the same trainer and owner, Henry Ponsonby. There were plenty of changes at Royal Ascot this year – but Frankie Dettori ensured it finished with a sense of normality after riding a 150-1 treble to end the meeting as leading rider once again. Despite this year’s event taking place behind closed doors, it failed to stop the man who thrives in front a crowd from performing heroics on the track in front of near-empty stands to secure six winners and lift the title on countback from Jim Crowley. After riding just one winner in the opening two days, it looked as though he faced a tall order in defending the crown he secured last year earlier for the first time since 2004. But writing off Dettori at the Royal meeting is a dangerous thing to do, and so it proved.

21-6-20

Sunday, so, after all, that Saturday brought we went into Sunday on a high. The Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate had Trading Point out to do his stuff. Trading Point is our top-rated horse at 92. The race itself was a high-class race. Patrick Sarsfield has a huge reputation we knew we were up against it. A hectic weekend for The Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate ended with Trading Point running a very respectable race in a very decent contest at Leopardstown finishing seventh. The winner Patrick Sarsfield enormous reputation was justified he thrashed the field. Trading Point got a bang early in the race.  G.M. Ryan, rider of Trading Point (FR) trained by Damian Joseph English, reported to the Clerk of Scales that his mount ran short of room about one furlong after the start. Gavin Ryan gave Trading Point time to recover and get back on the bridle Trading Point moved into it nicely in the home straight. The winner is a serious horse and we have something to build on. There were 2.44 Lengths between second and seventh. Trading Point will now head to Navan on July 3rd. It was a helter-skelter weekend. There has been much learned and we have plenty to take forward with all the horses. There is no time for looking back as we face into a premier handicap next week with Stanhope at The Curragh in the Rockingham. It will also be John McConnell's debut as a trainer for ourselves, so another exciting development in our evolution.

Yesterday's Coronation Stakes heroine Jessica Harrington was on the mark in the featured Group 3 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Blue Wind Stakes at Leopardstown today with One Voice as she combined for a double on the day with stable jockey Shane FoleyOne Voice 515 Leopardstown was advised (2pts win) 16/5 to our members. Jockey Conor Maxwell returned to the scene of his biggest win in the Leopardstown Chase last February when crediting trainer David Geary with a first winner, Getawiggleon (20/1) in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF (Fillies) Maiden, at the Dublin track today.