I have been fortunate to have runners (and winners!) at the big National Hunt Festivals this year, but Private Story running at Royal Ascot provided me with an opportunity to see how the flat boys do it!
It was my first visit to the Royal Meeting and we couldn’t have picked a better day for Private Story to run, with 2,000 Guineas sensation Frankel lining up in the St James’s Palace, and the battle of the oustanding milers Goldikova and Canford Cliffs in the opener – a slightly more mouthwatering prospect than the opening 0-95 at Newton Abbot.
Though I have not followed every hoofprint in Frankel’s career to date, I was very surprised to see his jockey Tom Queally kick for home around six furlongs out and it did seem to rather negate the use of the pacemaker!
Not many got into the Ascot Stakes, as they went a fierce gallop from the outset and as a result the field were strung out by the length of the straight, as very few seemed to actually stay the marathon trip. Private Story gave his owners a very enjoyable day out and hopefully will be better suited by a return to novice hurdling next time!
As many of you will know I have been very busy at the sales in the past couple of months, including several form horses from Irish point-to-points, and I was delighted to see Jive Master cruise home by 17 lengths on his first start for us in the concluding bumper at Newton Abbot (photo courtesy of racecourse photographer Fiona Crawford). A winner of his only start in a point-to-point in Ireland, he had done everything right at home prior to this exciting debut and he looks to have a very bright future for his owner Monica O’Sullivan.
A busy time of it in the yard this morning, with Aidan Coleman (who left early for a ride in the first at Worcester!) and Richie Killoran both in to ride a couple of lots. Photographed left is Green Du Ciel (Evan David) leading Khorun (Lauren O’Connor), and below is Grand Art (Adele Smith) in his final piece of work before his engagement in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday.