Tom Peacock was at Newbury to see Natalie's Joy bounce back to form and rounds up the key takeways on a busy Friday.
Natalie’s moves to top of the Johnston class:
Natalie’s Joy wowed clock-watchers with her debut at Goodwood and her progress seems to have even caught her trainer Mark Johnston by surprise.
Whilst she looked very sharp in landing the Listed Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Rose Bowl Stakes - following in the hoof prints of the likes of Limato and Rodrigo De Triano - the daughter of Lope De Vega had initially looked as if she would be more of a three-year-old type.
“We put all the juveniles in groups according to when we think they’ll be ready,” Johnston explained. “You have those who will be running in March to April, then May to June, then July to August, then September onwards. She was actually in group three, July to August, but she just kept beating everything we worked her with and she got earlier and earlier.
“I think she was actually the top rated two-year-old, not just two-year-old filly, after she won at Goodwood. Hopefully she’s got plenty of scope too.”
Just about everyone you bumped into around Newbury seemed convinced that the opening West Berkshire Brewery EBF Novice Stakes was a red-hot contest and this was confirmed by Roger Charlton, trainer of the eventual winner Momkin.
The event was taken last year by Mildenberger, who has proved himself a reliable Group performer, and Charlton’s Bated Breath colt had taken a step forward from his debut at Salisbury.
It is clearly worth noting second-placed Richard Hannon newcomer Beat Le Bon, who has plenty of scope about him, whilst John Gosden’s hot favourite Sheriffmuir was not given too hard a time in third when the race had got away from him and can do much better in time.
“John Gosden’s was meant to be the next Frankel, which clearly it isn’t, but I was pleased,” said Charlton. “Andrea (Atzeni) said he was very professional, he won nicely, and should progress. I think the second was fancied, or so I’m told. We’ll see, there are no plans. He won’t be going to Goodwood, anyway.”
Tuite has an angel:
Lambourn trainer Joseph Tuite has proved himself highly capable but his runners are often overlooked in the betting, as advertised by Litigant claiming the Ebor at 33-1 a few years back.
It sounded as if a few of the staff had earned some pocket money on his 20-1 winner of the bet365 Fillies’ Novice Stakes at Newbury with Tuite’s well-regarded filly Angel Mead building on her Windsor introduction.
Indeed, it would have been due reward.
“It’s all down to my head lad Chris Martin,” Tuite said. “He found her, and he found her an owner. We went and picked her up in a field in Wiltshire, and didn’t pay a lot for her.”
Tuite is eyeing the Dick Poole Stakes at Salisbury, a race he took two years ago with Madame Dancealot at 10-1, for his new star.
“I haven’t run a lot of two-year-olds but they are the best bunch I’ve had by a long way,” he warned. “Hopefully there are a lot to come.”
Morley, Bentley and Williams a red-hot combination:
Tom Morley is one of the shrewder owners around, earning another big payday with the sale of Royal Ascot runner-up Pocket Dynamo to Phoenix Thoroughbred Limited.
The low-profile, Suffolk-based Morley splits his string between local trainers Robert Cowell and Stuart Williams and the victory of Don Armado in the Bet Atracinguk.com Jockey Club Grassroots Series Nursery at Nottingham was his fourth win in the space of a week - not bad when he has only been represented by a baker’s dozen of horses all told this season.
Someone must have known about Don Armado, who had bits and pieces of form but went off a 7-4 favourite and sped clear in such style that he is clearly going to be a lot better than this mark of 76.
Williams trained all those winners whilst this was the first leg of a rapid Colwick Park treble for Harry Bentley, who has the ride on Projection for Roger Charlton in Saturday’s bet365 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury.
The sight of parched grass has been such a frequent one at racecourses in recent weeks that many viewers might have been rubbing their eyes when they noticed horses running through the gloom half-way through the afternoon at Haydock.
It had a rapid effect on the ground, which started off as officially good to firm, good in places, and ended up being good to soft all over.
Runners at Saturday’s evening meeting in Lancashire might experience very different ground to what connections might have been expecting at declaration time and the same could happen at Newbury and various other corners of the country, with precipitation expected throughout the evening.