STORM The STARS, ante-post favourite for the Ladbrokes St Leger, may possibly take in two races before the Doncaster Classic following his excellent effort in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.
The William Haggas-trained colt was clear second-best behind Jack Hobbs at the Curragh on Saturday to back up his third place in the Epsom Derby.
The Great Voltigeur Stakes at York’s Ebor meeting in August is the logical next stop for Storm The Stars, but there is a slight chance he could run before then as he is thriving with racing.
“We were over the moon, he ran a tremendous race. He looked so well before the race and he’s thriving,” said Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum.
“William says he’s a horse he has to keep on top of as he doesn’t do too much in his work.
“He needs his racing and William has picked the right races for him. He’s done very well and not let us down.
“The Voltigeur is an obvious race to go for.
“Whether William can wait that long with him I’m not sure, but that is the plan at the moment. Then there’s the Leger, of course, but that’s a long way off at the minute.
“Whether we can squeeze a race in before the Voltigeur, we’ll have to see. There are one or two races we could go for, but it’s undecided. The Gordon Stakes at Goodwood could be an obvious one, but we need to discuss it. This horse is certainly going the right way.”
The presence of Storm The Stars would certainly add further prestige to the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival where horses will race for a record £3.8m this year after the latest £140,000 increase in prize money.
It means 23 of the 25 races will have increased prize funds in August, although the biggest boost will be to the value of the meeting’s premier races for juveniles colts and fillies – the stars of the future.
As a result, the Group Two Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes will be worth £220,000 – up £20,000 on last year – and the richest race of its type for juvenile colts in Britain.
Furthermore, the Group Two Pinsent Masons Lowther Stakes will now offer £200,000. Up from £150,000 in 2014, it is also the richest Group Two race for juvenile fillies.
Meanwhile, the participation of Epsom Derby winner Golden Horn in the £850,000 Juddmonte International, the richest race ever to be staged on Knavesmire, will become clearer after John Gosden’s stable star lines up in this Saturday’s Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.
However, Golden Horn will only have to face a maximum of four rivals, including Kevin Ryan’s The Grey Gatsby, following the defection of French Derby winner New Bay in the wake of a disappointing workout yesterday morning under the ever watchful eye of training legend Andre Fabre.
Gosden has been delighted with the unbeaten son of Cape Cross since his Classic success, and the form was franked when aforementioned stablemate Jack Hobbs – runner-up at Epsom – won the Irish Derby on Saturday.
Gosden has also left in Western Hymn, a three-time winner over the course and distance.
The four-year-old was third in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot on his latest start and is set to renew rivalry with The Grey Gatsby, the 2014 Yorkshire horse of the year, who was an unlucky second to Free Eagle. T
The other possibles in this disappointing field for such a historic race are Andrew Balding’s admirable veteran Tullius and Aidan O’Brien’s Cougar Mountain.
The Yorkshire Post columnist Danny Tudhope faces another frustrating two weeks on the sidelines before having any idea when he might be able to return to the saddle.
David O’Meara’s stable jockey has been sidelined since he broke his thumb when unshipped from Bond Bombshell on the way to the start, where he finished well-beaten in a five-furlong maiden at Catterick on May 29.
“It’s a bit frustrating, but I’ve just got to grin and bear it and get on with it,” said Tudhope. “It’s my metacarpal bone in my thumb. I had an X-ray (yesterday) and it’s still not 100 per cent right so I have to keep it strapped up for another 10 days to two weeks. I can’t really get back until it’s properly healed.”