John Quinn and Jason Hart set to continue profitable alliance
The Malton trainer was among the winners before the coronavirus shutdown brought the sport to a halt in mid-March.
Liberty Beach was a fine fourth in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot last year before winning at Sandown and Glorious Goodwood and rounding off her year with a runner-up finish in the Lowther at York.
A return to the Royal meeting is on the agenda after an outing at either Newcastle or Haydock over the first few days of action.
“I’m very pleased with her, she had six runs and ran really well every time” said Quinn.
“She’s fit and well and she may run a week on Thursday or there’s a race at Haydock on June 7. That aside, she’ll be entered for both the Commonwealth Cup and King’s Stand at Royal Ascot.
“It’s a little bit of a double-edged sword – probably the right race to run her in is against the three-year-olds (Commonwealth Cup), but it’s a very stiff six at Ascot and she’s not devoid of speed.
“We’ll keep our options open and hope we get there, but I’m very happy with her.”
Safe Voyage could be a contender for the Group One Queen Anne Stakes won in 2012 by Frankel and, more recently, by Richard Fahey’s Ribchester.
The horse ended 2019 with top-notch efforts when fourth in the Prix de la Foret and third in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day.
Quinn said: “There’s a suitable race for him at Haydock and also at Newmarket, so if ground conditions were right – he just needs good ground, he doesn’t want it too quick – we’ll also consider Royal Ascot.
“He worked on Saturday morning and worked really well. He doesn’t mind travelling, so we’ll keep our eyes on everything.”
El Astronaute runs in the same Ross Harmon colours as Safe Voyage and was also seen to great effect on Arc weekend at ParisLongchamp, running a big race to be third in the Prix de l’Abbaye.
Quinn said: “He’s training really, we were hoping to take him, Liberty Beach and Safe Voyage to France for their debuts this year, but that obviously didn’t happen.
“He’s been a great horse to train and for his owner Ross Harmon. He’s improved every year and we had a wonderful weekend in France last year, we didn’t have a winner but he was placed in the Abbaye and Safe Voyage finished fourth in a Group Two, so they are two great horses to have.”
Quinn is also confident his team will adapt to these unprecedented and uncertain circumstances.
“The staff have been fine, which is great. Obviously if anyone had a cold or symptoms we isolated them, which we feel was right,” he added.
“The horses are in good form and more importantly the staff are all fine. It’s going to be different – a lot of things are going to be different – but if we get going and the pandemic keeps going down as it is going, all of a sudden the wheels of industry, which includes us, everything will start going again and we’re heading back towards normality.
“We’re all very much looking forward to resuming racing and we’ll all do our bit and get the show going.”
Meanwhile, Alpha Delphini is on the comeback trail after recovering from a ligament injury.
The nine-year-old, ridden by Graham Lee, famously beat Mabs Cross by a nose in a thrilling finish to the 2018 Nunthorpe Stakes, creating a 40-1 shock on the Knavesmire.
Bryan Smart’s runner reappeared in the Temple Stakes at Haydock last May and was beaten just two-and-a-half lengths by leading sprinter Battaash.
However, Alpha Delphini’s season was then derailed by a setback and while he is back in work, Smart is in no rush to commit to a plan. “He’s in work, but there’s no races I would be going for with him yet,” said the Hambleton trainer. “He’s in good form and we’re looking forward to kicking off his season.”
Editor’s note: First and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.
Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.
And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.
Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected]. Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.
If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.
Sincerely. Thank you. James Mitchinson, Editor