It's hard to find a lead horse for Bradsell, says Watson

Wed 3 Aug 2022
 Bradsell powers ahead in the Coventry (
Bradsell powers ahead in the Coventry (

Archie Watson’s unbeaten juvenile Bradsell will head to the Curragh at the weekend for a Group One test under Hollie Doyle in the Phoenix Stakes.

The two-year-old won a York maiden by nine lengths in May and headed straight for Group company when lining up for the Coventry Stakes at the Royal meeting.

An 8-1 chance at Ascot, the Tasleet colt was impressive when beating Brocklesby winner Persian Force by a length and a half to come home the winner.

Richard Hannon’s horse then went on to land Newmarket’s July Stakes, another Group Two event, boosting the Ascot form, before Royal Scotsman, third in the Coventry, did the same thing by winning the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood.

Bradsell has not been seen since Ascot, but will return to action on Saturday when he takes aim at the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes, a race for which is currently second-favourite behind Aidan O’Brien’s Little Big Bear.

Speaking on Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast, Watson said: “He was obviously very impressive at Ascot and the form has worked out well.


“Richard’s horse (Persian Force) won the July Stakes and I’m sure he took a step forward, the fact that the form has worked out so well and we were clear of them – you’d have to see them improving to beat us, I hope.”

Watson is no stranger to top-level sprint successes as he trains the Group One winner Glen Shiel and only lost the Commonwealth Cup in the stewards’ room when first past the post with Dragon Symbol last season.

Tabdeed, narrowly beaten in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood on Saturday, is another quality sprinter from Watson’s yard, but the trainer says none of those horses are able to keep pace with Bradsell on the gallops at home.

Hollie Doyle gave an update on Bradsell on Wednesday

“He’s very, very talented. I do try to keep things understated and let the horses do the talking, but his home work is very good,” he said.

“The best of anything I’ve trained in terms of what he’s done on the gallops. We’ve been very happy with him, it’s very hard to find him a lead horse because he’ll just gallop all over Glen Shiel, a Group One winner, and Tabdeed, second in the Stewards’ Cup the other day.

“They’d struggle to lead him very far at all, he’s very talented.”

Another valuable attribute Bradsell possesses is his temperament, something Watson saw also in his sire when working for William Haggas during the latter horse’s racing career.

“He’s got a phenomenal temperament. Of all the good horses I’ve trained, sprinters particularly have had the best temperaments,” he said.

“They’re the most laid-back, Soldier’s Call, Glen Shiel, Dragon Symbol and this lad, they’re just very straightforward at home.

“They take it all in their stride at the races and then when they go in the stalls, they turn it on and this lad is particularly so.

“He’s straightforward and good in his mind. It might be something to do with the stallion as well because when I was at William Haggas’ we had Tasleet and he was a dude of a horse. This lad is the same.”

Bradsell was a £47,000 purchase from the breeze-up sales, a modest purchase price for a Group performer who has already earnt significantly in prize-money in just two starts.

Watson said: “We can’t be buying at the fancy level, this is about as much as we’d spend on one, £47,000.

“We’re trying to find horses at our budget that tick all the boxes and he more than ticks the boxes on the racecourse.

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