Triumph at York is target for Grey Gatsby

The Grey Gatsby, ridden by Ryan Moore, is pictured triumphing in Ireland ahead of Australia (Picture: Niall Carson/PA).The Grey Gatsby, ridden by Ryan Moore, is pictured triumphing in Ireland ahead of Australia (Picture: Niall Carson/PA).
The Grey Gatsby, ridden by Ryan Moore, is pictured triumphing in Ireland ahead of Australia (Picture: Niall Carson/PA).
CONNECTIONS of The Grey Gatsby were left to rue their luck after the former French Derby winner could only finish second in the Princess of Wales's Arqana Racing Club Stakes, the day one highlight of Newmarket's July festival.

Kevin Ryan’s stable star, stepped up in trip to a mile and a half, could not reel in the defending champion Big Orange, who made all under New Zealand-born jockey James McDonald before quickening decisively with half a mile to go.

That said, Hambleton-based Ryan was delighted with how The Grey Gatsby ran under Jamie Spencer and has some lofty targets for the Frank Gillespie-owned five-year-old, whose last win came in the 2014 Irish Champion Stakes when defeating dual Derby winner Australia in an epic race.

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He hopes The Grey Gatsby can make history next month and become the first Yorkshire-trained winner of the Juddmonte International, the day one highlight of York’s Ebor festival.

It would offer connections belated consolation for the horse’s narrow defeat to the aforementioned Australia in the 2014 Juddmonte before turning the tables in Ireland.

With the grey horse being retired to stud at the end of the season, Ryan is hopeful that conditions continue to dry out – soft ground simply does not suit this son of Mastercraftsman who has won more than £2.6m in prize money during an illustrious career that has been emblematic of Flat racing’s resurgence in North Yorkshire.

“Jamie was delighted with him, you can’t say he didn’t get the trip,” he said.

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“It was a stop-start race and they didn’t really go a gallop; I think the sectional times will prove that.

“Obviously he needs an end-to-end gallop, whether that’s over 10 or 12 furlongs.

“The winner is a good, battled-hardened horse and he was never going to stop.

“Jamie was in a funny predicament turning in. He had to sit and suffer and hope that someone went on, but no one did.

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“I’m delighted as it’s the first time in 12 months he’s had his ground. I know I keep bleating on about it, but he needs it fast.

“He could go for the Juddmonte now, and we hope they get a decent-sized field.

“I’m not privileged enough to put a pacemaker in, but there are others that can.

“The Arc is at Chantilly this year and if the ground is right he could go there, too.”

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As for the winner, Big Orange could attempt to defend the Goodwood Cup, which he won last year before heading to Australia for the Melbourne Cup in early November.

Fifth in Australia last year, winning trainer Michael Bell was delighted with the victory.

“I couldn’t believe they left him alone in front, especially racing in Indian file as they have much more ground to make up from behind,” he said.

“He’ll just keep going. We know he gets two miles, he wasn’t going to stop.

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“He’s the most charming horse to train, he’s a joy to have around. He was bred up the road by Bill Gredley (owner) and I’m pleased for James McDonald as he’s a lovely guy.”

As for McDonald, it was his second big race win after he partnered Antiquarium to victory in Newcastle’s Northumberland Plate for his main employers Godolphin.

“He was pretty happy out there and he gave me a beautiful ride. He’s an absolute gentleman and a pleasure to ride,” said the Antipodean jockey who usually plys his trade in Australia.

“He wasn’t the best to begin in the stalls as he’s so big, but he was a gentleman on the course and that’s where it matters.”

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Meanwhile Housesofparliament galloped into Ladbrokes St Leger contention when winning the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket in eyecatching style.

Viewed as a St Leger trial, the winner was given quotes ranging from 10-1 to 14-1 for the final Classic of the season.

Last seen finishing fourth at Royal Ascot in the King Edward VII Stakes behind Across The Stars, the Galileo colt was well on top at the finish under Ryan Moore, who said the drying ground was a decisive factor.

However, Kevin Buckley, representing the horse’s winning owners John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, said no immediate decision will be made on the St Leger.

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“We were quite pleased with that. I suppose it’s the best ground he’s encountered all year and it’s obviously to his liking,” he said.

“He saw out the extra furlong well. He settled well in the race, they went slow early on.

“Ryan said he went sooner than he wanted, but the horse responded well.

“Aidan will get him home and we’ll see where we go. The trip is not a problem, it’s a matter of finding that ground.”

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Henry Candy’s talented pair Twilight Son and Limato feature in a field of 18 declared for tomorrow’s Darley July Cup at Newmarket.

Twilight Son will try to add to his victory in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot while Limato drops back to six furlongs for the first time since finishing second to last year’s July Cup hero Muhaarar in the Commonwealth Cup at the 2015 Royal meeting.

A strong Yorkshire contingent is headed by Quiet Reflection from the Leyburn yard of Karl Burke. This is the filly that fired the imagination of the racing public when winning last month’s Commonwealth Cup, not least because her likeable jockey Dougie Costello used to ply his trade over jumps before switching codes last year.

Malton-based Richard Fahey is doubly-represented by Don’t Touch and Eastern Impact while the David O’Meara-trained Suedois also carries White Rose hopes.