David Griffiths targets Beverley hat-trick
Victorious in both 20167 and 2018 with the now retired Take Cover, Bawtry-based Griffiths is set to saddle the progressive Ornate on Saturday.
The winner of the five furlong Epsom Dash on Derby day in June, Ornate then won at Beverley a fortnight later after striking up an excellent rapport with regular rider Phil Dennis – one of the rising stars of the North. And the horse, owned by Kings Road Racing Partnership, was far from disgraced when seventh to Battaash who set a course record when landing the Group One Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York’s Ebor festival last Friday.
Other Nunthorpe runners who feature among 18 initial entries for Beverley’s feature race of the year include Great Habton trainer Tim Easterby’s Copper Knight, who was fifth in the big race, and El Astronaute who was eighth for Malton’s John Quinn.
Other Yorkshire entries include Bryan Smart’s Fairy Falcon; the Julie Camacho-trained Judicial and Tarboosh for Paul Midgley, another Yorkshire trainer who, like Griffiths, excels with sprinters.
Meanwhile Mabs Cross is likely to head straight for the Qatar Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp in October after finishing fourth to Battaash.
Though the mare, now five, won the Abbaye last year, trainer Michael Dods believes she was unsuited by York’s lightning quick ground on the Knavesmire.
“It was a bit firm for her on Friday. She’s come home, eaten up and been out in the field. She’s fine,” said the Darlington trainer.
“The Abbaye is the plan. We might take a race in on the way, but we’ll probably wait for the Abbaye. We’re hoping for a bit of juice in the ground.”
Upper Helmsley trainer David O’Meara has spoken of his delight after stable stalwart Suedois returned to winning ways in Goodwood’s Supreme Stakes under Danny Tudhope.
It is the best part of two years since Suedois last tasted success when securing the most notable of his eight career wins to date in the Grade One Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland in October, 2017.
Six of his wins have come in France and the other was in the 2017 Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown.
He has run countless fine races in defeat since that latest triumph, most recently placing in the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood for the second year in succession.
Dropping down to Group Three level, the eight-year-old had enough in hand to see off the late run of Momkin and O’Meara said: “I’m delighted for the horse. He’s run a lot of good races since he last won and earned a lot of prize-money, including finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
“I think he’ll probably go back to Ireland next for the Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown (September 14), which he also won a couple of years ago.
“He could go back to America for the Shadwell Mile again after that.”
Mark Johnston is considering the possibility of Elarqam being supplemented for the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
After landing the York Stakes on his penultimate start, the son of Frankel was added to the field for last week’s £1m Juddmonte International.
Johnston’s charge proved his top-level capabilities with a tremendous effort to finish a close-up third behind Japan and Crystal Ocean after encountering trouble in running.
The Champion Stakes at Ascot in October remains a big aim, but Elarqam could first take in the Irish equivalent on September 14.
Middleham-based Johnston said: “We had him in the Irish Champion and took him out earlier in the year, but Sheikh Hamdan (Al Maktoum, owner) said at the time that if necessary we could always put him back in.
“The Champion Stakes is the obvious long-term target. But we feel he’s benefited this year from keeping him on the go, so it would be quite nice to give him a race each month until the end of the season.”
ITV Racing says its average dialy viewing figure at last week’s Ebor festival was 524,000 – a three per cent increase on 2018.
However its approach was criticised by champion trainer John Gosden who was angered by comments made by betting expert Matt Chapman, and questons posed by post-race interviewer Oli Bell, in the wake of high-profile wins by his stable stars Enable and Stradivarius.