Andrew Balding stable tour: The older horses
In the third of a three-part series, the Betway ambassador reveals all you need to know about his older horses for the 2021 Flat racing season.
He was a bit hit-and-miss last season. His second in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot was very but he didn’t seem to run to that level again. The way the season played out meant he had a prep run in the Coronation Cup before going to Ascot, which suited him very well.
He’s now rated 108 and is a little bit between a rock and hard place. We might have to start him off in a handicap to give him that prep run before his early-season target of Royal Ascot. We’re undecided which race would be for him, but perhaps the Duke of Edinburgh could come into the equation. He’s been gelded during the winter and it seems to have had a positive effect on him.
I was so pleased with the way he won the Betway Easter Classic. He seems to have come out of it really well and, although he’s had a busy start to the campaign, he seems to be thriving on it. He’s a real hardy horse who takes it all in. We’re going to look towards the Huxley Stakes at Chester for him next.
He’s a handy horse who seems to love Newmarket, so we’ll have to plan to get him back there at some stage. Like so many horses, he’s in no man’s lands off his current mark of 103. You’ve either got to carry plenty of weight in good handicaps or run in Group races.
If he went to Royal Ascot in June, I think he’d be aimed towards the Wolferton rather than the Hunt Cup. He’s a talented horse and may end up back in the Cambridgeshire at the end of the season.
She’s a half-sister to the ill-fated Beat The Bank. She seemed to lose her way slightly after her Ascot success but, as with many horses, it did rather feel like we were trying to put round pegs in square holes last season with the way the campaign concertinaed. She was impressive that day at Ascot and I’m sure we’ll get her back to that.
He was back to winning ways last time at Kempton under a good ride from Josh Bryan. He’s a grand old servant who, at eight, isn’t getting any younger. There’s a nice programme for him which could include the Chester Cup and perhaps the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Ascot, which he won in 2019.
He was very disappointing in the Betway Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh. He does have his own ideas about things but, on his day, we know that he’s good. He has good course form at Chester, so we’re going to train him for the Chester Cup. He ran well behind Spanish Mission at the track last season and, off his new mark, he could be a player in that type of race.
He’s had a slight setback so will be starting a little later in the season and we probably won’t see him until June. We all know he’s a very able horse as he has shown on a number of occasions. There are some nice races for him in the autumn, so I expect him to busy at the back end of the season.
While he’s high on ability, he’s also very high on temperament. He seems to have his own ideas on things, but he’s got plenty of ability. He’s been gelded and we’re having to play around with his training regime to get his mind on the game. We’re in no rush with him at this stage. He’ll tell us when he’s ready and, looking forward, I wouldn’t mind going to Royal Ascot first time up with him.
I’ve been pleased with him. He was placed in a Cambridgeshire as a three-year-old and that’s not an easy thing to do. Last year just didn’t work out for him and that happens. He went from one race to another, running on different tracks and different surfaces and we couldn’t get him into a good rhythm. As a result, he’s now dropped to a mark of 86 and I’d like to think he’s a bit better than that on his day.
He won the Challenge Stakes last season and, in doing so, picked up a Group 2 penalty, which won’t make life any easier. Although I think he’s very good over 7f, I wouldn’t mind running him over 6f or 1m. He’ll probably run in the Lockinge and the Queen Anne in the early part of the season and his performances will tell us where to go for the rest of it.
He’s had a busy winter and is now rated 107 on the all-weather. While I’m generally not too keen on split marks, I have to say that this time it’s in our favour, as his turf mark is still 98. He could be the type for a fast-run 1m 2f handicap, so the John Smith’s Cup at York comes to mind.
He’s in the form of his life. I’ve said before in my previous columns that I could run faster than him at home. He’s often like a teenager who doesn’t want to get out of bed but, thankfully, he often shows more on a racecourse.
He’s come back in with so much enthusiasm and, although he’s still a little backwards in his coat, he’s ahead of his usual training schedule. We’ll look at races like the John Porter and the Ormonde Stakes. He’s a real pleasure to train.
Nate The Great
He ran a pleasing race in the Betway Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh last time, though perhaps it just wasn’t a stiff enough test for him. He’ll probably go to the Chester Cup next, but he doesn’t want soft ground, which you can often get at that meeting.
We know him better now than we did this time last year. He could have the option of either the Ascot Stakes or the Queen Alexandra, which he ran well in last season.
He’s another who could be aimed at the John Smith’s Cup, which he won in 2019. He still seems to have plenty of his old ability, so you’d have to think he could be nicely handicapped off a mark of 96, but he’s not getting any younger, so we’ll mind him.
He was a good winner of the Betway Marathon race at Lingfield on All-Weather Finals Day. I was thrilled with him and it was such a lovely prize to win. He seems to be improving and really enjoying it at the moment. He’s unbeasten on the all-weather. We’ll probably look towards the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot with him now.
Shine So Bright
He ran well last time, although it was rather frustrating that he didn’t manage to win. He’s very good on his day. He’s won the Free Handicap, ran a blinder in a Guineas and has also beaten Laurens at York. He may start off in the Richard II at Leicester and then we can work out where we go with him. The Buckingham Palace or the Wokingham could be two ideal options for the Royal meeting.
Although I was disappointed that he didn’t finish closer, he ran well enough in Dubai at the end of March. He hit a flat spot at a crucial time in the race before staying on well, but there will be other days for him.
He’ll be in all the top staying races. His next run could be in the Yorkshire Cup and then perhaps on to the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
Stone of Destiny
He’s been a great horse and I was delighted when he won the Portland last year. He’s a real handy horse to have around the place. He’s a typical sprinting handicapper – he’s going to have good and bad days, but, as he did in the Portland, he’ll pop up and win one as he has plenty of dash.
She had an OK season last year. She won a couple and ran plenty of good races in defeat. There is a good programme for these types of fillies and, although she won’t be out until around mid-May onwards, we’re going to be chasing black type with her.
Good old Zwayyan. He’s a total pleasure to have around the yard. He’s eight now and isn’t getting any younger, but he’s a real gent of a horse who is a lovely ride. King Power have very kindly dedicated him to be ridden by our apprentice riders. He’ll give some of the young riders some great experience on some of the better tracks.
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