Coltrane has owners dreaming of Lonsdale Cup glory

Owners Mick and Janice Mariscotti are hoping it will be third time lucky for them in Friday’s £250,000 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup.

Last year’s runner-up Coltrane will carry the distinctive green and white hoops, navy sleeves and cap which were also sported by fourth-placed Dashing Willoughby in 2020.

The Mariscottis have enjoyed more than 80 winners since Celtic Spur got them off the mark in a Chelmsford maiden in 2008, the vast majority of them with Andrew Balding and a significant number of them at some of the year’s biggest meetings.

They include winners at Royal Ascot, where Dashing Willoughby and Coltrane both won, and a previous win at this week’s Ebor Festival, where Coltrane won the Melrose Handicap as a three-year-old, not to mention others on Derby Day, at Sandown’s Coral-Eclipse meeting and at Doncaster’s St Leger week.

According to former Coral financial director Mick Mariscotti, the couple have never had more than a dozen or so horses at a time, often significantly fewer, and so it is a measure of how well those horses are sourced and handled that Coltrane will hopefully be joined at York this week by Aragon Castle, Glenfinnan and Masekela.

Coltrane is the main flagbearer at present and Mariscotti said: “He’s been a star. He’s very consistent, and at a high level too. He had only one more race as a three-year-old after winning the Melrose, and then missed most of the following year, but since he came back his wins include an Ascot Stakes, a Coral Marathon, a Doncaster Cup and a Sagaro Stakes.

“He’s also been second to Trueshan in the Long Distance Cup on Qipco British Champions Day, having beaten him at Doncaster, and to Courage Mon Ami in this year’s Gold Cup, where frustratingly he was caught near the finish.”

Looking ahead to the York feature, where Coltrane is likely to meet Courage Mon Ami once again, as well as last year’s runaway winner Quickthorn, Mariscotti said: “Quickthorn beat us at York last year, and he did it again last time in the Goodwood Cup.

“He’s a very good horse and his owners, the Blyths, are good friends of ours, but I’m hoping our jockey has a game plan that can help us turn the tables this time.”

He added: “The Cup races are very competitive at the moment and with Stradivarius retired and Kyprios out of action, there are a number of different horses who are all capable of winning them on their day. Coltrane is one of them, and although he might not win as often as we’d like, he’s always going to be there or thereabouts.

“He appears to enjoy his racing enormously and his recovery rate between races is very good, so we’ll carry on with him as long as he’s competitive and keen.”

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