16 May 2022

Jersey date in prospect for Checkandchallenge

16 May 2022

William Knight is leaning towards dropping back to seven furlongs for a Jersey Stakes bid with Checkandchallenge.

Having scored at Wolverhampton on debut, the son of Fast Company followed up by scooping Listed honours on his second start, taking the Burradon Stakes at Newcastle on All-Weather Finals Day.

That paved the way for a run in the first Classic of the summer and Checkandchallenge was sent off 33-1 for the 2000 Guineas. But nothing went right for the colt on the Rowley Mile and he came home 10 lengths adrift of winner Coroebus in 14th place.

Having initially given his lightly-raced charge plenty of time to recover from his Newmarket exertions, Knight is pleased with how he is progressing ahead of his next outing at Royal Ascot, with the team favouring the Group Three on the final day of the meeting.

“The Guineas took a bit out of him so we have just freshened him up,” said Knight.

“From backing off him a little after the Guineas, physically he has done well and put on a lot of weight. It is always a bit of a rush to the Guineas and although he won very well at Newcastle, I just think the race at Newmarket and the occasion just took a bit out of him, so I just want to make sure we get him back to his usual self.

“By going straight to Ascot it just gives us that time.

“There are a couple of options – he’s in the St James’s Palace, but that is quite a big ask on the back of his last run in the Guineas, so there is also the Jersey Stakes, which is definitely an option, and a slightly left-field one is the Buckingham Palace Stakes – he would be off 108 and gets weight for age.

“But I would say most likely it would be the Jersey Stakes and that is favourite at the moment.”

I would say most likely it would be the Jersey Stakes and that is favourite at the moment

The Rathmoy Stables handler is also looking forward to returning the evergreen Sir Busker to his beloved Ascot following his run in the Lockinge at the weekend.

The six-year-old has only twice finished outside of the first four at the Berkshire track and is set to take on the unbeaten Lockinge winner Baaeed once again in the Queen Anne Stakes, a race in which Sir Busker picked up a bronze medal 12 months ago.

“He probably got a bit further back than ideal on Saturday, they split into two groups and we were quite a long way out of our ground which wasn’t the intention. But he’s still run a very solid race and the plan is to go for the Queen Anne and then have a think,” explained the trainer.

Sir Busker, here ridden by Oisin Murphy (white cap) when winning the Silver Royal Hunt Cup, will run in the Queen Anne at this year’s Royal Ascot (Megan Ridgwell/PA) (PA Archive)

“He loves Ascot and you know what, I knew the Lockinge looked strong and it’s a kind of fast mile at Newbury and the stiffer mile at Ascot suits him better, but we were only going to gallop at home on Saturday, so we thought he may as well go to Newbury and pick up some prize money along the way.

“I think he’s won almost £150,000 in place money alone this year, so it can’t be sniffed at.

“We might be tempted into then trying a mile and a quarter, in which case there is a Group Two race at York that could be an option, just to see if he can get the trip. He obviously got a mile and one out in Dubai and he likes York, so we might try that, and if he stays 10 furlongs it could open up a few opportunities for us.”

Another member of Knight’s string that could have Ascot on the agenda is Gatecrasher Girl. The three-year-old filly has proven a revelation so far this summer, shedding her maiden tag in imperious fashion at Nottingham, before following up at Wolverhampton.

Connections are now pondering a tilt at the Sandringham Stakes and are hoping she can sneak into what is typically a competitive handicap off a feather weight.

Knight continued: “The owner is keen to have a shot at the Listed handicap at Ascot and it is sometimes the case the bottom weights run well in it. But the handicapper has left us off 80, so I’m not sure if we will get in off that, so we may have to run again somewhere beforehand.

“She’s a homebred of Chasemore Farm, but if it all looks like it might be too much of a rush and we’ve got to get a run into her, then we might bypass that idea and just progress her through the ranks, but we’ll see and that’s just an idea that has been suggested.”

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