In his latest column focusing on the two-year-olds, Ross Millar nominates a winner in waiting, his star performer from the last week and gets the inside line on some exciting juveniles from Helen Jones of Ballyhimikin Stud.
Helen Jones manages Ballyhimikin Stud in County Tipperary alongside her husband Frisk. Owned by James Hanly, the stud was birthplace to rapid Group One winner Society Rock and oversaw the extraordinary stud career of Cassandra Go, dam of Classic winner Halfway To Heaven.
Helen has given us two that she thinks looked a cut above average:
Omniking (Kingman x Fate)
We sold as a yearling from Book One for 210,000gns, and he has since been breezed and sold successfully for £300,000 to Amo Racing and will be in the care of Richard Hannon. He took his work very well when with us and looked to be a speedy type. We’d love to have one to cheer for at Royal Ascot this year.
Victoria Road (Saxon Warrior x Tickled Pink)
While we no longer have Cassandra Go, we are fortunate that her legacy lives on here at Ballyhimikin courtesy of her daughter Tickled Pink. She’s yet to hit the heights her mother did as a dam but there is plenty of time yet. Team Coolmore bought Victoria Road at Tattersalls Autumn Sale for 115,000gns. The reports have been good, so much so that Tickled Pink has revisited Saxon Warrior this year. He was beaten at Roscommon on debut but he was always very light and athletic in his movement as a yearling so I’m sure the soft ground he faced there would not have been ideal.
Once again it’s a tough week to find just one candidate.
At Newbury on Saturday Persian Force proved that his bloodless win in the Brocklesby Stakes was no flash in the pan as he once again looked mightily impressive in beating Holguin by a widening two lengths. He’ll look to emulate last year's Brocklesby winner Chipotle by going on to Royal Ascot glory.
On Sunday, Meditate maintained her unbeaten run when bagging Group Three honours at Naas. She’s aptly named given that it was her superior ability to relax that most struck me; she races in a thoroughly professional manner and this attribute will stand her in good stead as the season progresses.
However, it was a newcomer that most impressed me this week. Mawj was the least fancied of three Godolphin runners when lining up for a fillies' novice at Newmarket on Saturday yet proved herself to be much the best.
She settled nicely in a field where many were jostling and bumping for position and was comfortably able to track the pace just behind the leaders. As a gap appeared on the near-side rail, Ray Dawson asked her to quicken and the response was immediate as she very quickly took lengths out of the field. She drifted right in the last half-furlong but was still a near five-length winner.
Saeed bin Suroor is undoubtedly now the second trainer at Godolphin but he certainly remains more than capable when provided with the ammunition. I’ve taken the view that the form of this race will work out well; runner-up Believing is trained by the shrewd George Boughey who had enlisted Harry Davies to remove a 7lbs, while the third is juvenile for feared partnership Richard Hannon and Amo Racing. Wherever she appears next I’ll be keen to support her.
Drafted (James Horton)
His trainer has made a fine start to his career but, given he was latterly assistant to Sir Michael Stoute, I can’t imagine first-time out two-year-old winners are going to be a regular occurrence.
That certainly looked to be the case with Drafted as he showed plenty of immaturity and inexperience on his racecourse debut at York, finding himself hard driven at half way. He knuckled down well in the closing stages under an educational ride to finish to good effect.
His dam was twice a winner over a mile so in time he’ll surely get further, but with this experience behind him I would expect a much improved showing next time - preferably over a stiff six furlongs.
Indian Renegade (Sioux Nation x Jewel In The Sand)
I mentioned in the first piece of this year that a change in policy within Amo Racing had seen many of their two-year olds remain with pre-trainer Robson Aguiar for an extended period of time and that it appeared to be paying dividends. The passing of time has only hardened this opinion.
Sioux Nation has made a fine start to his stud career, proving that he’s passing on his blistering speed to many of his offspring. Jewel In The Sand won on her debut as a two-year old before going on to win the Albany at Royal Ascot. Indian Renegade holds entries at Goodwood on Friday and at York this weekend and merits close attention wherever he heads.
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