Beckett bags Salisbury treble ahead of big weekend in France
Ralph Beckett is looking forward to Westover’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe bid with growing confidence and underlined his string’s fine form with a juvenile treble in the first three races at Salisbury on Thursday.
The Kimpton handler annexed both divisions of the Byerley Stud British EBF Novice Stakes with Bluestocking, a daughter of Camelot, landing the first, before If Not Now, a son of Iffraaj, led home stablemate Rebel Red in the second division.
Just for good measure Remarquee showed a good turn of foot to take the first division of the seven-furlong Radcliffe & Co British EBF Novice Stakes.
You will probably see her in a trial in the spring. She is a big filly and a well- balanced filly.
Bluestocking (9-1), a filly with a decent pedigree, will head to one of the Classic trials in the spring after the Juddmonte-owned filly was given a hands and heels ride by Rob Hornby to score by a length and a quarter from Tony Montana.
Beckett said: “She is a nice filly. I thought she might be a bit raw for today. She is a big, angular filly. She goes well and I would say that will be it for the year now.
“You will probably see her in a trial in the spring. She is a big filly and a well-balanced filly. I thought she did very well today, as she was squeezed out and he had to switch. She did well to win.”
If Not Now (13-2) and Rebel Red both looked useful colts for the future, with Dougie Costello beating Hornby’s newcomer by three-quarters of a length.
“He was a little edgy to post and behind the gate,” Beckett said of the winner. “He will have learned plenty today. It might take a while to get over, so we will put him away. The horse was green but he is a nice horse.
“I thought the second would need it more. Both are nice colts. The second will run again, I think.”
Of the trio’s successes, Remarquee (5-1) was the most visually impressive, with the Kingman filly cruising past odds-on favourite Bresson to score by a length and a quarter to complete Hornby’s double.
Beckett added: “She started at seven because she was a little bit wide-eyed afterwards. She won’t run again.
“It was lovely to get off the mark. She will get a mile well next year and may get a bit further.”
Looking ahead to ParisLongchamp, he added: “It’s all systems go with Westover. We’re looking forward to it. His preparation has gone well.
“Winners breed confidence and it is lovely that they have all run like that today. We were sent a lovely bunch last autumn, so it is not a huge surprise we have some nice horses.”
The King was welcomed to the ups and downs of racing when his first runner, Educator, was forced to play second fiddle to Okeechobee (7-4) in the 10-furlong Radcliffe & Co Handicap Stakes.
It sparked a double for training partners Roger and Harry Charlton, and jockey Ryan Moore, who guided La Pulga (4-1) to success in the concluding mile-and-three-quarters handicap.
Roger Charlton joked: “Off with my head!
He added: “Okeechobee is a very nice horse. He is really classy, big, strong, good-moving horse, who had a few issues early on in life. We have had to be patient with him.
It is racing. It wasn't quite the fairytale ending everybody wanted at Salisbury, but I'm really hoping the King has lots of winners in the future – and hopefully some with us.
“When Ryan won on him at Kempton, he said he would be Group horse. He will be aimed at Group races next year.
“It is nice to have a horse by Time Test, whom we trained and I trained his mother, his sister and most of the family, so it is a double pleasure really.”
Of beating the King’s horse, he added: “It is racing. It wasn’t quite the fairytale start everybody wanted at Salisbury, but I’m really hoping the King has lots of winners in the future – and hopefully some with us.”
Secret Solace (3-1) had Marcus Tregoning dreaming of next season after she stayed on nicely to land the second division of the seven-furlong novice under Jim Crowley.
The daughter of Gleneagles, out of Secret Pursuit, looks to have a bright future after her neck success.
Tregoning said: “Hopefully she will progress. She is going to get further. Her mother only just got beaten in the Cheshire Oaks and this filly is of a similar quality.
“The one who ran in the previous race, Shaaden. She is a very nice filly, but not as forward as this one, whom I suspect we will put away. There isn’t a lot left to run her in.”
Bolt Action (11-8 favourite) got back to winning ways for Roger Varian in the six-furlong British EBF/PFK Francis Clark Conditions Stakes under David Egan.
A useful colt, he was in calmer waters after finishing a well-held runner-up over the minimum trip at Ayr.
Having unsaddled from the three-quarters of a length winner, Egan said: “He’s a very consistent horse. He’s more comfortable over that trip. It is nice to get his head back in front.”
Wowzers (6-1) stepped up on his creditable fifth in a Haydock handicap five days previously to score in the six-furlong Archie Ford 18th Birthday Celebration Handicap in the hands of John Fahy.
Winning trainer Clive Cox said: “He is still quite low-mileage. He has not been the most easy horse because he has been so keen.
“We gelded him in the spring and that has been beneficial without a shadow of a doubt.
“He was very lucky there because he got stopped in his run, so I was delighted he got a second chance and put it to bed.
“We did try him over seven, but he needs the pace of six-furlong races.”
The best videos delivered daily
Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox