PHIL DENNIS hopes the experience of competing at Flat racing’s major festivals will play to his strengths when sprinter Ornate lines up in the William Hill Beverley Bullet for five furlong speedsters.
Victorious at Epsom on Derby day, the Dennis-ridden Ornate then prevailed at Beverley before running with great credit at the major midsummer meetings at Ascot, Goodwood and York.
And just over a week after finishing seventh to the course-record setting Battaash in York’s Group One Nunthorpe Stakes, the 23-year-old is looking forward to today’s test where the Clive Cox-trained Tis Marvellous appears to be the main rival.
It comes as the Northallerton-born rider enjoys a breakthrough season thanks to horses like Ornate, and stablemate Duke Of Firenze, who are both trained at Bawtry in South Yorkshire by David and Sophie Griffiths.
The key with sprinters is keeping the lid on them, and keeping their right end up,Phil Dennis
“We don’t have a lot to find,” Dennis told The Yorkshire Post. “Ornate has also shown that he can win at Beverley. For some reason, perhaps the big lead up, he isn’t nearly as effective at York – but they said that about Battaash before and look what he did.
“On the back of Ornate’s run in the King George where we were third to Battaash, you have to say that he has a good chance and I certainly feel ready for races like the Bullet.
“To get to those big meetings that I’ve never been at before, it’s been a godsend and I’d like to think it is showing in my results. I’m up on winners (38 for 2019) but my prize money (£493,000) wouldn’t be what it is without Ornate and Duke.”
Dennis is also a jockey who recognises the role of of the team at the Griffiths stables. “Dave and Sophie do the hard work,” he added. “Ornate is pretty push button. I just have to sit tight and go at the right time.
“The key with sprinters is keeping the lid on them, and keeping their right end up, so they have something left for the end of their race. He’s naturally quick and it’s trying not to do too much with him early on.”
As for Griffiths, he is bidding to become the first trainer to win three successive renewals of the Beverley Bullet, a race with a burgeoning reputation, after winning the past two renewals with the now recovered Take Cover.
Like his jockey, Griffiths favours the chances of Ornate who runs in the colours of the Kings Road Racing Partnership.
“The Beverley Bullet seems to be growing in momentum every year and it would be lovely to win it again,” he said.
“We had some great days with Take Cover at Beverley and it would rank very highly in my career if Ornate could add a third victory.
“He’s been in flying form since the Nunthorpe, and it’s all systems go. My horses have just started to come back to themselves in the last two weeks, so that’s a good sign.
“We also know that he likes the track, so I’m pretty chuffed with him going into the race. The favourite (Tis Marvellous) is an obvious danger, but we’ll be arriving at Beverley with a good bit of confidence that he’ll run well.”
The same is also true of Fairy Falcon who will attempt to uphold family honour in the race – the four-year-old filly is a half-sister to Tangerine Trees and Alpha Delphini who won Beverley’s big sprint in 2011 and 2016 respectively.
Like her high-class siblings, Fairy Falcon is trained in North Yorkshire by Bryan Smart, who is chasing his fourth victory in the £65,000 Listed race. And, in pleasing symmetry, the daughter of Sepoy was bred near Beverley by Marie Matthews, who was also responsible for Tangerine Trees and Alpha Delphini.
Fairy Falcon runs for prominent owners Clipper Logistics, whose executive chairman, Yorkshire businessman Steve Parkin, is expecting a big run.
He said: “Because of her family, the Beverley Bullet has been a long-term plan ever since we bought her. She’s a big, strapping filly and is a lovely horse.”
Fairy Falcon is the least-exposed horse in the 10-runner field, having raced just seven times in her career.
She has not yet won this season, but Smart thought her good enough to compete in the Group Three Summer Stakes at York on her penultimate start.
Parkin said: “We’ve been very happy with her since her last run at Nottingham and I know Bryan likes her a lot. This has been the target all along so hopefully she can put her best foot forward.”