George Boughey heading to Ascot with string in top order

There are two stone lions standing proudly as you enter the whitewashed gates at Saffron House Stakes on Newmarket’s Hamilton Road.

Roaring talent George Boughey, a relatively young cub to the training ranks at 30 years of age, has already snared a Classic and a pair of Royal Ascot winners in the past 18 months.

He will send a strong team to the five-day meeting, which starts on Tuesday, headed by a quartet of juveniles, yet he conceded he is feeling the pressure to deliver.

“If you are not under pressure at this time of year, you haven’t got the horses for the races,” he admitted.

“It is exciting. For me, it is the Olympics, it is the Cheltenham, it is the Ascot, it is where we want to be, so we are just very lucky to have some horses who go there with chances.

“Whether we can get one in the back of the net or not, we’ll see.

“But I couldn’t be happier with how they are coming.”

Soprano and Asadna are leading lights in the juvenile division, though Boughey is hopeful that Cadillac can roll to success in the Wolferton Stakes on Tuesday, and back up his success under Kevin Stott at Epsom on Oaks day.

Runner-up in the race last year when with Kevin Philippart De Foy, the five-year-old worked well under Megan Nicholls on the Rowley Mile watered gallop on Tuesday.

“Cadillac is in good shape. Ever since he switched to us, the plan has been to geld him and go back to the Wolferton,” said Boughey.

“He is a horse who has a high level of form. His career best was his last start. He will go there with a really good chance, I think.

“We took the blinkers off him and put the cheekpieces on him. I think I said after the race I was going to put the blinkers back on, but if it it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

“So he will wear the cheekpieces. At Epsom, he got a lovely ride from Kevin and I was cursing halfway round as they were crawling on the front end, but he showed a good turn of foot.

“He needs fast ground. He will run if there is ease in the ground, but he certainly won’t have the same chance as he would on fast ground.

“He breezed on his own over a mile today and he doesn’t need a huge amount of work. As a colt, he was very stuffy horse and we have got him fit. It is just a case of keeping him ticking over now.”

Naxos is, according to Boughey, “a dude” who has been laid out for the Golden Gates Handicap on the back of two wins from three starts. “He looks a likely improver for a step up to 10 furlongs,” the trainer said.

Baradar will head to the Britannia, hoping to make up for an unlucky effort in last year’s Victoria Cup “when well fancied and drawn on the wrong side”, while Spangled Mac heads to the Wokingham. He worked nicely alongside Al Dasim.

Of the latter, Boughey said: “He hasn’t run since Dubai and missed the Sandy Lane due to unsatisfactory ground at Haydock. He goes for the Commonwealth Cup and wants fast ground.”

However, there is growing confidence behind Koy Koy, who has not run since last October.

He was beaten just over five lengths in the Britannia last year and will make his seasonal bow in the Buckingham Palace Stakes.

“He ran well in the Britannia last year,” said Boughey. “He has been gelded through the winter. I thought he would run a big race in the Lincoln, but he wasn’t ready. We have waited for this – it is quite a long wait.

“He is a bit of a forgotten horse who had a bit too much daylight in the race last year and ran on well.

“Off a mark of 94, I don’t think he will get in the Hunt Cup, but if he gets in the Buckingham Palace, while it might be a little bit short for him, he will go there with a very good chance, I think.”

Boughey has come a long way in a short space of time since taking out a licence at the age of 27. He previously learned his craft in Australia, with spells for Gai Waterhouse in Sydney and Lloyd Williams in Melbourne, before spending six years as Hugo Palmer’s assistant.

From starting with just four horses, he now has room for 106, with three separate stables in Newmarket.

Though success has come quickly, he is wise enough to know that success is dependent on a numbers game.

“I feel more comfortable this year, but you have got to find the good horses. People now expect us to have Group One horses and they are incredibly hard to find.

“There is always a moment at the start of the year, we are forever buying horses at every single sale, trying to find where the next good horse is,” he admitted.

“Until you go and find a nice two-year-old, or one goes and wins the Dahlia by six (lengths) on the bridle, you are always chasing that next high. You never take the foot off the gas and I think if we do, we won’t be here next year.

“This was more in the 10-year plan than the four-year plan, but it’s great. I love training a lot of horses. I don’t have a runner today, I didn’t have one yesterday and I didn’t really know what to do in the afternoon. I like the buzz of watching horses run – at all levels.”

The level is no higher than at the Royal meeting and his string is in great heart ahead of the summer spectacular. The young lion is purring.

“There were a few times in the year when you hope they are absolutely flying. We noticed last night, when we trotted them all up to make sure they were all absolutely sound, that they were ready to go for this work – and they are really bouncing,” Boughey added.

“We are coming into the week in good shape. We have had seven winners in the last couple of weeks and we couldn’t be happier with them.”

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