Warnie doing his namesake proud on the racecourse in Ashes summer

Australian owner Nathan Bennett is eager to see if Warnie can honour the memory of Shane Warne when he attempts to continue spinning a web over his rivals in the juvenile ranks this summer.

It is 30 years since Warne shot to prominence when delivering the so-called ‘ball of the century’ to Mike Gatting in the 1993 Old Trafford Ashes test match, and as this year’s hotly-anticipated series heads to Manchester this week, Joseph O’Brien’s colt is attempting to keep the legacy of the Australian leg-spinning great burning brightly on the racecourse.

A 65,000 guineas buy earlier this year, he was immediately thrust into the spotlight when debuting in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot finishing three lengths adrift of the winner, Snellen, in ninth.

Although not disgraced in that first outing, he showed his true potential when his sights were lowered at Bellewstown recently, powering to a clear-cut victory by the best part of four lengths.

Connections are now eyeing a step up in grade for the son of Highland Reel who holds entries in both the Coolmore Stud Wootton Bassett Irish EBF Futurity Stakes (August 19) and Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (September 10) later in the season.

“He looks a nice colt in the making and we’re looking forward to seeing him run again,” said Bennett.

“I think he learnt a lot at Royal Ascot and ran a super race there. I know he was only ninth on paper, but it was a very good ninth having been hampered a little bit up the straight. He just couldn’t get any momentum and get a free run at a couple of stages so he could have pinched a length closer and that would have brought him into the placings.

“The other day, at Bellewstown, even though he got hampered for room a little bit, he put them away like a really good horse so he looks a pretty nice horse in the making.”

It is hoped Warnie will develop into a Classic contender in time, with Bennett also eyeing prizes back in Australia for the colt when his innings in Ireland comes to an end.

He also explained how the youngster came to be named after the late cricketing star, who had a passion for racing and was a winning team captain at the 2004 Shergar Cup.

Bennett continued: “In time we could possibly bring him to Australia which would be fantastic as there is great prize-money and there’s plenty of options for him. Once he has finished his three-year-old career overseas we can look at bringing him over.

“Hopefully Warnie is looking down on him and riding him home. He looks like he might be a really nice horse so hopefully he can do it for Warnie.

“I had to name him quickly because we bought him from the breeze-up sales and Joseph said you have got seven weeks to get it done.

“I just thought of a few names and thought seeing as Warnie did his best work in the UK in the summer, and with the Ashes being on, why not name him after the great man and see if he can do his best which he is starting to do.”

Bennett’s colours have also been spotted in the UK under the Bennett Racing moniker, with both Southern Hemisphere raider The Astrologist and Ardakan on display for the Australian operation at Royal Ascot.

Ardakan is in the care of Marco Botti and has been gelded following his below-par showing in the Hardwicke Stakes in anticipation of a tilt at the Sky Bet Ebor on August 26, something which connections hope could lead to a triumphant return to Australia and a crack at the Melbourne Cup.

“He kind of turned colty at Royal Ascot and kind of lost the plot a bit, so we’ve gelded him, Bennett explained.

“We thought that was the best option to make him a racehorse. If you watch the replay, the only filly in the field he just wanted to sit with and didn’t want to go past her, so it probably makes a bit of sense and Marco also said he was showing signs of being colty.

“We’ve gelded him and we’re going to head towards the Ebor with the aim of getting him in the Melbourne Cup.

“I think they are going to use a 3lb claimer and we’ll see how we go. He was running very well in some good races out in Dubai and they are all entitled to a bad run. Sometimes once you geld them it can turn things around and I’m hoping that will be the case.”

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