ON TO VICTORY GALLANT IN DEFEAT AT NEWBURY – HAS SANDOWN SPRING TARGET
On To Victory encountered the best opposition in his career over National Hunt rules in the Betfair Hurdle (formally known as the Schweppes) at Newbury on February 21st.
He was given a very positive ride by Tom Bellamy and put in a virtually faultless display of jumping in this most competitive handicap hurdle race. He finished 10th of the 23 runners, just behind his Newbury conqueror last year Mister Coffey and in front of the well backed favourite Cadzan.
We will not be tempted for On To Victory to go for any of the races at the Cheltenham Festival in March, but hopefully during that month he will run in a qualifying heat on 14th March at either Bangor or Warwick to qualify for the Champion Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final, which will be his target on Saturday 24th April at Sandown. He is proving to be a very versatile dual-purpose horse and there are really good prizes for him on the Flat during the course of the season where his optimum trip is going to be a mile and six furlongs, so a race like the Ebor could well be on the shortlist at the York Festival in August. He also has good form over a mile and a half so a handicap at Royal Ascot could also be on the agenda and other competitive races as well.
SCARLET DRAGON MIGHT REVERT TO HURDLES
Scarlet Dragon proved once again that he cannot pick up on the All-Weather surface at Lingfield as he does in well run turf races and before returning to the Flat he may well contest a decent handicap hurdle before season’s end and will get some practice on Alan King’s Barbury Castle schooling grounds.
He is a dual winner over hurdles for Alan King, beating some useful opponents, but very heavy ground is not his forte and some decent spring ground could present him with one or two opportunities.
Who Dares Wins showed that he is in as good a form as ever, despite his 9 years, when being narrowly beaten by Nate The Great at Wolverhampton recently. He has been placed fourth, third and second in three consecutive Chester Cups (the race was not run last year due to Covid) and the return to the Roodeye is very much on the cards this year. The Chester Cup is due to be held on Friday May 7th and hopefully spectators and owners will be able to back on course for this historic meeting.
Our lovely 2 year old by Havana Gold, King Of The Dance, is pleasing Eve Johnson Houghton and moving well on the gallops – click on link to view – he is on the far side
Who Dares Wins ridden by Tom Marquand rounded off an incredible Royal Ascot week for us with a narrow victory in the Queen Alexandra Stakes. Timeform’s comment sums up this wonderful horse:
“Who Dares Wins has been a wonderful servant, without needing to even run to his best in a thin renewal, added a Royal Ascot success to a role of honour that includes a Northumberland Plate, the Gerry Fielden Hurdle and Pendil Chase, a level of versatility that is rarely seen; never far away, shaken up three out, led under pressure approaching final one furlong, driven out”.
Scarlet Dragon, reunited with Hollie Doyle, skipped through the field to an exciting victory in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes on Friday 19th June. Hollie knows this horse well, having won his biggest ever victory in the Heritage Handicap at Newmarket as a 3 year old and also being Group placed at Goodwood, beaten under 2 lengths behind Poet’s Word . Held up in rear, they made steady headway over 2f out weaving through the field and finishing strongly to win by half a length. A great ride by Hollie and well deserved victory for Scarlet Dragon.
HMS President, trained by Eve Johnson Houghton, came very close beaten just over 2 lengths in the Golden Gates on Thursday and this horse is one on the block for the future. He is rated quite a bit higher at this stage of his career than Who Dares Wins and Scarlet Dragon were, so lots to look forward to.
“I cannot thank all our HP Racing owners enough for the support they have given us over the years and without them none of these events could ever take place. We must also raise our glasses to Alan King, Eve Johnson Houghton and their staff, who have been so instrumental in planning these horses’ careers” Henry Ponsonby