Andrew Balding stable tour: The 2YOs and 3YOs
In the first of a three-part series, the Betway ambassador reveals all you need to know about his two- and three-year-olds for the 2021 Flat racing season.
We’ve got a lovely bunch of two-year-olds this season. It’s still very hard to gauge what you have as it’s still so early in their progression, both physically and mentally, but I’m very excited as the early signs are very positive.
We’ve also got some wonderful new owners here at Park House Stables that we’re all very proud to welcome.
It’s a huge privilege to be training for Mrs [Patricia] Thompson and Cheveley Park Stud. Rendition, who is by Ulysses, is currently in training and is a lovely mover. He’ll be one to keep an eye on later in the year.
It’s also a great honour to have been sent eight horses by Sheikh [Mohammed] Obaid. They seem a really nice group and plenty are showing us the right signs.
Dubai Jewel is probably the most forward of them at this stage. She’s a Showcasing filly, who looks a proper two-year-old. Another two to mention are Crucial Choice, who is by Siyouni, and Groundbreaker, an Oasis Dream colt. These will be more middle-distance types and it’ll probably be a few months before we see them out on a racecourse.
As ever, it’s real joy to train for Her Majesty The Queen. We enjoyed success with Tactical last season and I have his half-brother Tack, who I’ve been delighted with so far. He’s not as strong physically at this stage of his development, but he’s been pleasing me nonetheless.
Her Majesty has also very kindly sent me a gorgeous filly named Imminient. She’s a fabulous looker and will be one for later in the season.
Of the earlier types to look out for, Antiphon is a typical Kodiac colt. He’s fast, racy and looks ready to go soon as his work has been good of late. Nymphadora is a No Nay Never filly who has also come to hand slightly earlier than some of our others. She seems full of speed at this stage and won’t mind quick ground, too.
She ran a smashing race to finish second at Newmarket on her second start, but she bombed out at Newbury on her next and final start of the season. There were valid reasons – the ground was atrocious and she was just over the top by that stage. She’ll be winning races this term.
She’s the leading hope among our three-year-old fillies this season and, from the level of ability she’s shown in her early work, I’d like to think that she’s trained on from two to three. You never really know that until you get them out on a racecourse, but the early signs are good. She’s still wearing her ‘winter collection,’ so will need to come in her coat, but that’s natural as time progresses.
Ideally, I’d like to start off her in the Fred Winter at Newbury as a prep race in April before a crack at the 1000 Guineas, as a first run is often vital to take that freshness out of them before their big target.
I was pleased with his first run of the season at Kempton, where he was a good second. He’s now got a mark of 80 and I think he’ll be capable of getting higher than that, especially over 1m 4f.
He’s another nice horse who, sadly, picked up a small injury at Chester last season, but he’s back in fast work now. He was gelded over the winter and more than capable of winning races over 7f this season.
His debut was a baptism of fire after we dropped him in the deep end in the Woodcote Stakes at Epsom on Derby Day. He’s always shown enough at home and, if he’d have won, we’d have been able to fast track him to better races.
He won at Chester on his fourth start and then ran well in France in a big Sales race on his final run of the campaign. The handicapper does look to have him about right, but he’s a good horse and we’re hopeful he can progress.
I was really pleased with his debut in March. It was a good contest, but he was very promising and gave us cause for optimism by finishing third. He missed so much of last year, so we’re delighted to have been able to get him out early this season. He’ll stick to 7f for the time being and we’ll take our time with him.
He’s as exciting a horse as we’ve got in the yard. I was devastated that he got beat in the Mill Reef last year, but he was beaten by a good horse. He ran OK in a strong Dewhurst, although I’m confident he wasn’t at his best that day. He went in his coat shortly before the day of the race.
He had a little setback which I honestly think it was the best thing for him. He’s had minor surgery so we’ve had our hand forced into bypassing the Guineas, which would have been tempting for a horse of his ability. We’ll now train him for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. He’s got a very exciting future.
She’s still a maiden after three runs last season, but she has grown and seemingly improved over the winter. We’re just waiting for some sun so she can come in her coat. I think she’s on a decent mark and we’ll look for races from 1m to 1m 2f.
He’s a smart horse who has good opportunities waiting for him. We chose to bypass a small field in the Burradon Stakes as it could have been a crawl and then turned into a sprint, which wouldn’t have suited him. We’ll wait for the right turf race for him now and he’ll probably start off around 1m 2f.
After doing plenty wrong in the first half of his debut, he did nothing wrong in the second half and stayed on well to finish second. He’s a nice horse and we’ll probably go to the same maiden at Newbury that his brother Fox Chairman won on debut.
She hasn’t run yet, but I think she’s got a good bit of speed and I like her. She’s another who is just so backwards in her coat. She’ll be winning races this season.
He was disappointing on his first start this season, but it was his first time in a visor and he may have taken some time to adjust to it. He’ll improve for that run and we’ll give him another go in a maiden or a novice contest soon.
Juan De Montalban
He’s a grand horse – I really think a lot of him. He was a good winner at Goodwood on his final start last season and will probably start this term off at the Craven meeting at Newmarket. He’s got a nice future.
It was very disappointing he was beaten at Newcastle in April, make no mistake. Although he was a short price, he was beaten by a good horse of Sir Mark Todd. He’s going to have a little holiday now as he gets gelded, but I really do believe in him.
His work last summer was of very high quality, which is why we ran in him in the Betway Solario Stakes at Sandown Park. He’ll be back.
He’s a nice unraced horse who was a very expensive yearling. He’s one of those lovely Kingman and Galileo crosses. He’ll keep progressing.
He’s got a Guineas entry and, although we know he’s got lots of ability, it was like flicking a switch in his work a couple of weeks ago. He started to really impress us. He’s looking and working better and is really finding his stride.
He could start in the Free Handicap at the Craven Meeting. We’ll see where we are after that as there will be plenty of options for him.
She did nothing wrong last season. It’s so important to try and get black type with fillies. We don’t know where to start but, quite often, the Nell Gwyn will cut up as you also have the Fred Winter that week. There is such a small pool of fillies who are of that ability and want that test at that stage of their development. The options are open, and she’ll tell us where to go.
Oo De Lally
He didn’t quite stay the mile trip last time out, but we did think that he might be better over 7f. He’ll be in the Greenham as a precautionary entry, but we’ll make a call nearer the time. He’s a good horse and will win races over 7f this season.
He’s a really smashing horse who is as tough as teak. I’ve been pleased with him over the winter and we could start him off in something like the Classic Trial at Sandown. He handles any ground and will probably get an entry in the Italian Guineas, too. My big question for him is how far will he stay? He’s not guaranteed to truly get 1m 4f, but we will give him the opportunities.
He’s in good form and seems to have done well physically. We don’t want to start him on ground that’s too quick first time out. There’s a nice race at Redcar that could suit him well. He’s a nice type.
I thought he was alright early on last year and, although he’s still a maiden, his mark of 66 looks very workable. His work has been good so far and I think he’ll be competitive wherever he goes in the early stages of the season.
Another nice horse who stays well. He’s in the Derby, so we may let him take his chance in the Derby Trial at Epsom, but he could turn out to be a nice type for the Queen’s Vase. We’ll step up his work soon and he’ll tell us more.
He was terrific last year, especially in the first part of the campaign, where we won the Windsor Castle and July Stakes. He was highly tried after that and ran very well in defeat. I’ve been happy with him over the winter.
The fact he’s owned by Her Majesty and has won there as a two-year-old means we’ll probably make Royal Ascot the main early-season target for him. He could take in the Pavilion Stakes en route to something like the Commonwealth Cup or Jersey Stakes.
He’s another we’ve got entered in the Derby but, saying that, he’s entered in everything at this stage. There are mixed messages in his pedigree. You think he’d stay a mile and a half, being by Camelot, but there is so much speed on his dam’s side that he may be better off over 1m or 1m 2f. He may start off in the Craven at Newmarket and we’ll make a plan from there, but he’s a high-class horse, that’s for sure.
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