Hall-of-Famers and Returning Heroes

NEWMARKET, UK–With a line-up that included Hurricane Lane (Ire), Global Storm (Ire) and West Wind Blows (Ire), the G2 Jockey Club S. was ushered in, appropriately, with a deep rumble of thunder and crack of lightning. The threatened storm didn’t amount to much, and by the time Hurricane Lane had blasted away from his rivals to cinch an important comeback victory by six lengths, the sky was brightening as much as the mood of Charlie Appleby.

The trainer was visibly relieved to have his 2021 dual Classic winner back in the top spot, perhaps even more so after his stable-mate  Native Trail (GB) hadn’t quite sparkled earlier on in the G2 Bet365 Mile. 

“When you have a horse that has given us, and the team, what he has given us, of course you feel for them,” said Appleby. “You want them to do it and you want them to carry on. We will see if he is a Hardwicke horse in the summer, if the ground comes right. I always said I wanted to work back from an Arc. That might be a bit bold, but we will see.”

Appleby had already struck early in the opening race of the QIPCO Guineas Festival. Hopefully, the King and Queen Consort will have been so wrapped up in preparations for the coronation that they may not have noticed that the one horse to beat their highly promising colt Circle Of Fire (GB) was co-bred by their racing manager John Warren’s Highclere Stud.

In fact, the Listed Newmarket S., provided a one-two for the Haras d’Etreham stallion Almanzor (Fr) when Godolphin’s Castle Way (GB) led home the royal runner. The winner is a half-brother to the champion miler Palace Pier (GB) (Kingman {GB}), who is now ensconced at Darley’s Dalham Hall Stud.

Ever the professional, Warren first addressed the matter of the staying-on run from the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Circle Of Fire in his post-race debrief, with a hint that he may head to Royal Ascot for the G2 King Edward VII S.

“He looks as of he will go up another gear if he goes over another couple of furlongs,” Warren said. “Ryan [Moore] thought that they went steady early on and probably thought that if they’d gone a bit quicker earlier on it would have suited him even better.

“It’s annoying that [the abandonment of] Sandown has knocked us out timing-wise, so we’ll have to get our heads around that, but without even talking to Michael yet he looks to me like he’ll be a lovely horse for Ascot, and the owners will be able to attend, which will be nice.”

He added, “The most important thing is that he’s with a trainer who will be able to get a proper handle on where we are going to pitch, but Ryan was impressed with him and there were some pretty nice horses in that race as a benchmark. He’s out of a Galileo mare so it won’t be a surprise if he will want a few furlongs more.”

Turning to Castle Way, the sixth foal of the Nayef mare Beach Frolic (GB) who was sold for 2.2 million gns in the year her current three-year-old colt was foaled, Warren was understandably similarly impressed. Castle Way himself, who was bred by Highclere in partnership with Floors Stud, was a 425,000gns Tattersalls October Book 1 yearling in the year that his illustrious half-sibling stormed to success in the G1 St James’s Palace S. and G1 Prix Jacques Le Marois.

He said, “That was tremendous. We were excited about that. He was a beautiful yearling and made a good price as a yearling. She’s been a wonderful mare and the family has done us proud. I am pleased that Coolmore have the mother now, which is great.”

Warren also added that Highclere Stud is now home to three foals from the first crop of Palace Pier.

“I have to say we are really impressed,” he noted. “Of course it’s too early to say that, you can’t judge it by just a few, but the first three that we’ve seen we’ve been mightily impressed with. Palace Pier was such a a tremendous horse and his brother looks a proper horse, too. It’s very exciting.”

The Highclere team was celebrating again later in the day when the George Boughey-trained Soprano (Ire) was tuned to perfection to post a pretty sparkling win on debut in the juvenile fillies’ maiden.

Shouldvebeenaring (GB) became the third Stakes winner for Havana Grey (GB) this year, and as his owners in the Middleham Park Racing syndicate collected their trophy, the colt’s breeder Ed Harper watched on. It could be a big weekend for the Whitsbury Manor Stud team as not only did they breed Chaldean (GB) (Frankel {GB}), current third-favourite for the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas, but Havana Grey will be represented by his first Classic runner in Sunday’s 1,000 Guineas when the G3 Nell Gwyn S. winner Mammas Girl (GB) returns to Newmarket. 

Harper admitted that Havana Grey had been inundated with applications with breeders this season.

“We’ve tried to keep him to around 160 mares,” he said. “I must say that [head of bloodstock] Joe Callan has done a really good job managing the horse.”

Harper also confirmed that Chaldean’s dam, the multiple stakes producer Suelita (GB) (Dutch Art {GB}), has recently been covered again by Frankel.

On Friday evening in at the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket, Sir Michael Stoute and Sea The Stars (Ire) were officially inducted into the QIPCO British Horseracing Hall of Fame. Their worthiness for such an honour could be in no doubt, but it was emphatically underlined when Stoute took the Nyetimber Fillies’ Maiden with the eye-catching Infinite Cosmos (Ire), a daughter of Sea The Stars bred by the late Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, and whose Classic lines are as obvious in her elegant physique as on her page.



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