KINGSGATE NATIVE is ready to roll back the years in today’s renewal of the Betfred Beverley Bullet, the feature race of the year on the Westwood.
Now nine years of age and the oldest horse in this five furlong race, Robert Cowell’s sprinter will be looking to replicate the form that saw the gelding record Group One wins in the 2007 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York and the following season’s Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Age should not be a barrier for Cowell’s charge – Kingsgate Native’s perennial rival Borderlescott was 10 when he won a heartwarming 2012 renewal of the Beverley Bullet for Wetherby trainer Robin Bastiman.
Like Borderlescott who returned to competitive racing after a flirtation with retirement, the same also applied to Cheveley Park Stud’s Kingsgate Native who has accrued nearly £800,000 of prize money in a 42-race career that has yielded five victories.
He is winless since landing the Betfred Temple Stakes at Haydock in May 2013, but Newmarket-based Cowell is confident after his veteran chased home the David Griffiths-trained Take Cover at Glorious Goodwood four weeks ago.
“He’s been in great form since Goodwood,” said Cowell who has booked Malton’s Tony Hamilton for the riding duties today.
“I don’t think Goodwood is really his track as they go very quick there over five (furlongs) and as he’s an older horse, they just got him a bit out of his comfort zone.
“He’s been running well all year and if they go quickly at Beverley they should come back to him. I’m sure he’ll be coming on strong at the finish.”
The one to beat is David Barron’s Pearl Secret. He has not raced since finishing a disappointing 10th in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot to Sole Power who went on to win last week’s Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York’s Ebor festival.
Owned by Qatar Racing whose jockey Jamie Spencer, 34, is retiring at the end of the season to fulfil a management role, a bold show could see Pearl Secret come into contention for next Saturday’s Grade One Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock.
“He’s ready to run and he’s in good form at home. The whole idea is to try to get him back on target for the following week,” said Barron.
Another intriguing contender is Line Of Reason who has already won at the Curragh and York this year for Westow’s Paul Midgley, one of a clutch of former jump jockeys making their mark as Flat trainers in North Yorkshire.
“I think he’s worth a go at this level,” said Midgley. “Everything went wrong at York last time – we couldn’t get any cover, and that was a big problem – but he still ran well to finish second to Blaine and Amy Ryan.”
CATTERICK is set to formally apply for planning permission to stage all-weather racing from 2017 onwards.
The move comes as the National Trainers Federation steps up its opposition to convert the turf course at Newcastle into an all-weather surface.
Trainers like Sir Michael Stoute is among those to have signed a petition against the Newcastle plan, saying: “It’s a good turf course and we need to retain it.”
Next year’s fixture list is in limbo until the British Horseracing Authority decides whether to allocate a sufficient number of meetings to Newcastle to make its plans viable from a financial perspective.
However, trainers are said to be more minded to support the Catterick plan because of its proximity to the A1.
As well as staging 10 jumps meetings a year, it would increase the number of Flat fixtures from 20 at present to around 50.
Officials have been working closely with the British Horseracing Authority and other interested parties, including English Heritage, on a project that began two years ago.
John Sanderson, chief executive of International Racecourse Management which runs Catterick, said: “We’ve had to involve English Heritage as there are a lot of Roman remains at Catterick. We are now formulating our formal planning submission to the local authority.
“Jumping will continue at Catterick. It’s very difficult to put a timescale on it, but maybe 2017 something like that.”
TAGHROODA is on track for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe despite suffering a shock reverse in last week’s Darley Yorkshire Oaks to Aidan O’Brien’s revitalised Tapestry.
However, trainer John Gosden believes the Epsom Oaks and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes heroine was not totally at home on the quick ground.
“I’ll be quite honest, our filly didn’t quite let herself go on the ground but I was not going to stand making excuses afterwards,” he said. “I don’t believe in that, I don’t like anyone who whinges, but the ground was quick underneath and she was just holding back on it.
“It was the same for everyone and that’s why you don’t whinge, you just get on with it.”
A HOST of stables in Malton and the surrounding area will be open to the public tomorrow to raise funds for four charities – the Injured Jockeys Fund’s Jack Berry House, Malton Hospital, Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Racing Welfare. See www.maltonstablesopen day.co.uk for further details.