Last week we seemed to have contracted second-itus and had 4 in a row!
Starting with Little Black Book who was having his first ever run on the polytrack; He was beaten by a very progressive horse of John Gosdens’ and there was a further 2 ¼ lengths back to the third. It was a brilliant run from him and we were pleased to see him act on the poly track as well as he does on the turf as it will open a few more doors for him in the future. He came out of the race very fresh and well which is usual for him and will head back to Kempton on Saturday to run in a similar race over the lesser distance of 7f under Sean Levey.
A few days later Quiz Mistress was tried for the first time over 2 miles. She looked like the winner the whole way through the race but just ran out of steam in the final 50 yards and was nabbed close home by an odds on favourite of Sir Mark Prescott’s. We are glad that she seems to have turned a corner in her career and has put a few below par runs behind her. We will look to drop her back to the 1m6f distance now and hope she keeps heading in the right direction.
The next two 2nds came from across the Atlantic. Pachattack had made the long haul journey from Arlinton Park to Saratoga where she was due to run in the Personal Ensign, a Grade 1 race for fillies to be run on the dirt. Unfortunately, hurricane Irene brushed by on the evening prior to the race and the meeting was postponed due to the weather. Still, every cloud has a silver lining because it gave Pachattack an extra week to get a feel of the dirt track and Claire an extra week with the other 3 horses at Arlington Park!
Pachattack seemed to be training well on the dirt surface but in a similar way to Southwell, you will never know for sure if they will act on the surface until they run so there was a big question mark over her head with regards to this. Of course, in such a prestigious race we were desperately hoping that she would act on the surface on the first time of asking and as on so many other occasions, Pachattack obliged and ran an incredible race to finish 2nd behind a proven Group 1 filly. Her jockey, Rajiv Maragh had clearly been doing his homework and gave her a very positive ride from the stalls which is where the outcome of her races are ultimately decided. She will now head to Keenland for the Grade 1 Spinster stakes next month.
An hour later back at Arlington, Maristar and Burj Alzain were both lining up in the Grade 3 Washington Stakes on the poly track. Burj has clearly learnt the American style of leaving the stalls and was quick to sit second behind the leader. Maristar was in her usual position and being held up. Burj Alzain was travelling really well and was poised to strike when asked yet he just started to tire when the pressure came on. Meanwhile, Maristar was fast approaching behind them and coming home with a remarkably strong run. We looked set to win the race and were getting ready to enjoy a glass of Champaign when just at a crucial stage and strides before the line, the gap closed on her and she was stopped in her tracks. It was a devastating moment for all concerned as the race clearly would have been hers to take. She finished 3rd but after a stewards enquiry was promoted to 2nd. Her jockey, E.T Baird was adamant he would have won the race. Burj Alzain stayed on to finish 4th and was only beaten 2 lengths. This was a phenomenal run from him as he has been laid off since June and needed the run. He will head now to Woodbine and Maristar will head to Belmont on the 2nd of October for the Beldame Stakes, a Grade 1 fillies race on the dirt.
We were so unbelievably proud of all 3 runners in the states and the American dream is still very much alive.
Behlul ran today up at Carlisle and managed to finish third. It was his first run for just over a month so he may have got a bit tired on the soft ground. He will certainly come on for it.
Full Bloom is going back on the turf on Thursday where she will head off to Epsom over her preferred trip of just over a mile and will be ridden by 3lb claimer Martin Harley.
Fresh from his marathon run in the Town Plate, Red Anthem will be back to business on Friday at Doncaster over the much lesser trip of 1m2f. We still have a lot to learn about this horse but he has been very pleasing in his work at home so we will see how he gets on before we decide where we go from there.