There has been some fine action at both Galway and Goodwood during the last five or six days and I must admit I found the former more interesting. Leading owner Rich Ricci enjoyed a successful week at Galway with Riven Light, Low Sun and, most notably, Sharjah capturing valuable handicaps. The last named defied top weight to win the Galway Hurdle on Thursday under Patrick Mullins. A high-class novice hurdler last winter, the former French trained gelding prevailed by three lengths off a mark of 146. In the same event, the Dr Richard Newland trained Leoncavallo warrants a special mention having finished third. Owned by ValueRacingClub.co.uk, the six year old was purchased out of Ben Pauling's yard for £21,000 in January and he bolted up at Ludlow in May off a mark of 133 on his first run for his new connections. Raised seven pounds, the heavy rain at Galway wasn't in his favour but he still ran a cracker only three and a half lengths behind Willie Mullins' winner. By all accounts, his owners had a fantastic time in Ireland. The Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham in November could be next.
Ahead On The Flat had its fair share of disappointments at Goodwood but it was good to see Pilaster make it three out of three this season in the Group 2 Lillie Langtry Stakes on Thursday. A six lengths winner of a novice event at Kempton last time, the daughter of Nathaniel had no problem stepping up in trip and class under the promising David Egan. Roger Varian's filly just edged out Maid Up on ground which would have been quick enough for her. I spoke to Roger about the filly after he win at Kempton and is adamant she is a much better filly on easy ground which bodes well for the Autumn. The Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster - unless she is supplemented for the St Leger - may be next but her main target between now and the end of the season is likely to be the Filly & Mares over twelve furlongs at Ascot on Champions day in October. She is a high quality filly who has a lot more to offer.
Stablemate Willie John was an expensive purchase out of William Haggas' yard during the winter but unfortunately the well bred son of Dansili suffered an injury in the spring and didn't make his seasonal reappearance until Saturday. Contesting a ten furlongs novice event at Doncaster, he was fresh during the early stages but proved far superior to his nine rivals scoring by upwards of five lengths. There is no doubt he is a colt of considerable potential and it will be interesting to see where he heads next. Entered in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York later this month, that is likely to come too soon in his career and it is hoped he is given more time and work his way up through the grades.
I was impressed with Top 40 Prospects entry History Writer's (15/2) victory at Sandown on Wednesday evening. David Menuisier's son of Canford Cliffs appreciated the slight ease underfoot at the Esher track and he ran out a ready winner of the eight furlongs handicap under Fran Berry. A two and a half lengths scorer off a mark of 85, he looks capable of winning more races, provided he doesn't race on ground too quick too often. He looks a decent prospect for his astute handler.
Technology is great when it works but, having had problems with my computer a few weeks, the end of this week has been infuriatating with landline not functioning due to a fault. Apologies therefore to anyone who has been trying to ring the office during the last four days. An engineer is due to come tomorrow morning so hopefully the problem will be resolved - it has driven me mad because I have been unable to conduct anymore interviews for One Jump Ahead. To add insult to injury, two masts have been down in the Kirkby Lonsdale area which means I haven't had any mobile reception either. I have not been a happy bunny this weekend.
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