BRIAN ELLISON has set his sights on Breeders’ Cup glory with The Mackem Bullet.
He confirmed a trip to America next month is very much on the cards after the two-year-old filly’s fine second to Aidan O’Brien’s Fairlyand in the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes.
The result confirmed the form of York’s Lowther Stakes at the Ebor festival when Fairyland was just too good for Ellison’s contender, who was subsequently purchased by Japanese owner Katsumi Yoshida.
“She’s fine. I’m delighted. She’s probably the best two-year-old I’ve trained,” the Malton trainer told The Yorkshire Post. “Also one of the best horses I’ve ever had, right up there with Top Notch Tonto and others.
“If everything is alright we will be going to America. She’s come out of the race great.
“Oisin Murphy gave her a super ride. He’s a great rider and, unless there’s any change of plan, we’ll use him at the Breeders’ Cup.
“That is three good runs she has put together now and I couldn’t see her being out of the places at Newmarket as I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the Lowther form. She has improved with every run. Oisin said she is crying out for a mile.”
Jokingly describing The Mackem Bullet as “probably his first and last runner” at the iconic Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby and this year’s Breeders’ Cup venue, Ellison realises that the horse’s Japanese owner may wish to campaign their acquisition in the Far East.
However, he hopes to persuade them of the merits of racing in Britain – the horse has already accrued over £120,000 from six starts – because she’s a “definite” contender for next year’s 1000 Guineas.
If The Mackem Bullet goes to America, Ellison will miss Wetherby’s flagship Charlie Hall Chase meeting on the first weekend of November because of one of the more unlikely fixture clashes in his training career.
This is where his highly-regarded National Hunt campaigner Definitly Red is due to make his seasonal reappearance.
Ellison is undecided between the main chase or West Yorkshire Hurdle.
However, he says the horse will be campaigned with the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and also the Grand National, in mind.
Pulled up in the 2017 National after jockey Danny Cook’s saddle slipped, the horse encountered unsuitably heavy going in this year’s Gold Cup, but the trainer believes the chaser might be deserving of a second chance in the blue riband race.
“He’s not a big horse and the fences just got bigger on that ground,” added Ellison.
A small field looks set to contest Saturday’s Prix du Cadran at ParisLongchamp with Thomas Hobson and Max Dynamite among only eight left in at the latest forfeit stage.
The Willie Mullins-trained duo finished first and second respectively in the Doncaster Cup last time out.
Andrew Balding’s Montaly is another possible along with Mille Et Mille, second last year to the sidelined Vazirabad.
Opening the card is the Group Two Prix Chaudenay in which Middleham’s Mark Johnston has left Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee.
John Gosden reports Too Darn Hot to be on course to step up to Group One level in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on October 13.
The colt has been one of the stars in the two-year-old division, taking Sandown’s Solario Stakes and Doncaster’s Champagne Stakes in impressive fashion and quick succession.