Monday, 12 August 2019

Sir Mark Prescott Elated As Pivotal Wins Nunthorpe Stakes For Cheveley Park Stud

Foaled on January 19, 1993, Pivotal was a lightly-raced, but nonetheless high-class, sprinter, sired by Polar Falcon, a top-level colt over distances between 6 furlongs and a mile and winner of the Ladbroke Sprint Cup in 1991. Bred and owned by Cheveley Park Stud and trained by Sir Mark Prescott at Heath House Stables in Newmarket, Suffolk, unusually for such an early colt, Pivotal did not make his racecourse debut until October, 1995, late in his second year. 

On that occasion, ridden by Colin Nutter, second jockey to Prescott, he was sent off at 16/1 for a maiden stakes races, over 6 furlongs at Newbury; he missed the break and was never really involved, eventually finishing ninth of 20, beaten 6 lengths, behind Fly Tip, trained by Barry Hills. Eleven days later, when ridden by stable jockey George Duffield, he won a similar race at Newcastle and, six days after that, won a minor conditions stakes race, over 5 furlongs, at Folkestone in taking fashion. 

After a 228-day break, he reappeared in the King’s Stand Stakes, over 5 furlongs, at Royal Ascot – at the time, demoted to a Group Two contest – for his first attempt at earning some ‘black type’. He was successful, catching Temple Stakes winner Mind Games, who had attempted to make all, in the shadow of the post to win by a half a length, with the two of them separated by the width of the course. 

On the strength of his first Group win at the first attempt, Pivotal was sent off 9/4 favourite for the July Cup, over 6 furlongs, despite tackling Group One company for the first time. Ridden with more restraint over the extra furlong, he made headway at halfway and held every chance with two furlongs to run, but could only keep on at one pace to finish sixth of ten, beaten 5¼ lengths, behind French raider Anabaa. 

The following month, Pivotal met his old rival Mind Games over 5 furlongs again, but this time on 4lb worse terms compared with Royal Ascot and in the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York, worth over £72,000 to the winner. Mind Games was sent off favourite at 7/4, with Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp winner Hever Golf Rose second favourite at 11/4 and Pivotal marginally third favourite at 100/30. Despite being pushed along in the early stages, Pivotal once again made headway at halfway and, under maximum pressure, led in the last stride to beat Eveningperformance, trained by Henry Candy, by a head.

All told, between October, 1995, and August, 1996, Pivotal ran in just half a dozen races, but won four of them, including two which were, and still are, prime targets for specialist 5-furlong sprinters. In his brief racing career, he may have been awarded a Timeform Annual Rating of ‘just’ 124, more than 10lb behind the best winners of the Nunthorpe Stakes, but could only beat what was out in front of him and, in so doing, established himself as one of the leading sprinters in Europe. Interestingly, from a Nunthorpe Stakes perspective, Pivotal was the sire of Kyllachy, who won the race, ironically, for Henry Candy in 2002 and the grandsire of Sole Power, who won the race twice for Edward Lynam, in 2010 and 2014.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

3:35 York (23rd August) 5f Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (2yo+)

Alpha Delphini wins 2018 Nunthorpe Stakes for Bryan Smart
Are you ready for the Nunthorpe Stakes? A race where the horse goes so fast you can hold your breath without fear of turning blue. 

That's got to be the definition of a sprinter's dream. 

York is the venue for this thrilling five-furlong sprint (5f). We've seen some remarkable horses colts and fillies race to the line. Favourites and outsiders alike.Horse trainers big and small. But here's a question:

Which horse will win the 2019 Nunthorpe Stakes?

If you are reading this page, then chances are you have an opinion. a fancy, a dead cert. I certainly hope so because I love to hear readers' opinions. I'll be having a word with our very own Sprint King Eric Winner, who many of you may know is one of the best sprint analysts in the country. What makes him so different from the crowd. He has a secret: The Official Median times are FLAWED. 

Believe it or not but he lets all the other folk use this inaccurate data while he has formulated his own rating system. I have never known a tipster to pick so many double-figure odds winners. In fact, he even tipped a 100/1 winner, that was amazing backed to 12/1. I guess they were using Eric's speed figures, too. 

Anyway, I'm hoping Eric Winner can do us a favour (I don't mind tempting him with gold bullion) to write a post specifically for the Nunthorpe Stakes 2019.  We want to have the best chance possible of picking the winner of the Nunthorpe Stakes and I'm going to do my very best to help you find it. 

Sprinterstogo is very much dedicated to past winners of the Nunthorpe Stakes. All the great and good. We all have our favourite winners. 

For me, it has to be Robin Bastiman with Borderlescott. To win back-to-back races in 2008 - 09 is a remarkable achievement. 

I think there have been a few other horses to win in consecutive years:

Right Boy (1958-59)
Mecca's Angel (2015,16)

Do you remember which horse won three races on the trot?

Jeremy Tree's Sharpo (1980,81 & 82)

Probably the most prestigious winner of all is Major Dick Hern's Dayjur (1990)

At present, there are 27 horses entered to race, with a maximum of 22 runners on the day. 

At the time of writing (23rd July) we have joint-favourites with high-class performers Battaash, trained by Charlie Hills, and Ten Sovereigns, racing in the familiar silks of  Smith, Magnier & Tabor for Aidan O'Brien. 

It's intriguing to see we have a few two-year-old entrants with Royal Ascot Norfolk Stakes (Group 2) winner A'Ali, trained by Simon Crisford. 

The last two-year-old winner of the Nunthorpe Stakes was back in 2007 when Kingsgate Native proved victorious for John Best, ridden by Jimmy Quinn. 

One other two-year-old is entered to run in this greatest sprint race of them all. Andrew Balding's Symbolize who is priced 33/1. 

Last year saw Alpha Delphini win for trainer Bryan Smart. The seven-year-old flashed home, just holding the late challenge of Mabs Cross. 

We will have a post for this race on the day - so keep coming back for more updates.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Mozart Wins Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1)

Embed from Getty Images Foaled in Ireland on February 13, 1998, Mozart was sired Ladbroke Sprint Cup winner Danehill out of Victoria Cross, an unraced half-sister to Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero. Owned by Mrs. Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor and trained by Aidan O’Brien at Ballydoyle Racing Stable in Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, Mozart made his racecourse debut in a minor maiden race, over 7 furlongs, at the Curragh in July, 2000. Sent off at prohibitive odds, of 2/9, he was pushed clear by Seamie Heffernan in the final quarter of a mile and stayed on strongly to win, easily, by 8 lengths. 

Following an 86-day break, Mozart was stepped up in class in the £400000 Tattersalls Houghton Sales Stakes, again over 7 furlongs, on the Rowley Mile Course at Newmarket in September. Despite facing 25 rivals, he again started favourite, at 11/10, and, although his task was made easier by the second favourite, Eminence, refusing to race, Mozart took the overall lead inside the final furlong and held on well, under Mick Kinane, to win by a length. The following month, Mozart was stepped up in class again in the Dewhurst Stakes over the same course and distance but, having held every chance with two furlongs to run, weakened in the final hundred yards to finish fourth, beaten 2 lengths, behind comfortable winner Tobougg. 

Mozart reappeared in the 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes, over a mile, at Leopardstown in April, 2001, but finished only third of five, beaten 3¼ lengths, at odds of 1/4. He was again beaten, albeit narrowly, at odds-on in the Tetrarch Stakes, back over 7 furlongs, at the Curragh the following month, before taking his chance in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, over a mile, at the Co. Kildare track three weeks later. Despite carrying the third colours of owner Michael Tabor, Mozart belied odds of 20/1 by finishing second, although he was easily brushed aside by his equally unfancied stable companion, Black Minnaloushe, in the closing stages. 

Consequently, Mozart started favourite, at 7/4, for the Jersey Stakes, back over 7 furlongs, at Royal Ascot. Reunited with Mick Kinane, he made most of the running and, despite being hard ridden, held on well close home to beat the strong-finishing Alderbaran by a neck and record his first success at Pattern level. 

However, it was on his next start, when tried over 6 furlongs for the first time, and pitted against specialist sprinters at the highest level, in the July Cup at Newmarket that Mozart proved something of a revelation. Sent off favourite again, at 4/1, he made all on the stands’ side and was ridden clear in the final furlong to beat King’s Stand Stakes winner Cassandra Go decisively, by 3½ lengths, with Sprint Stakes winner Misraah a further length behind in third place. On-course going officially described as ‘good’, the winning time, of 69.86 seconds, was only three-tenths of a second slower than the record set by Stravinsky, also trained by O’Brien and ridden by Kinane, two years earlier. 

After such a devastating demonstration of speed, O’Brien had no qualms about letting Mozart take his chance in the Nunthorpe Stakes, over 5 furlongs, at York the following month. In fact, shortly after the July Cup he simply said, ‘If we run in that [the Nunthorpe Stakes] we would have to let him go a bit earlier, that’s all.’ It appears that the betting public took the Master of Ballydoyle at his work because, on the Knavesmire, Mozart started 4/9 favourite and never gave his supporters an anxious moment, taking the lead just after halfway and running on strongly to beat subsequent Haydock Sprint Cup winner Nuclear Debate by 2 lengths. 

Sent to Belmont Park in Elmont, New York for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, back over 6 furlongs, in October, Mozart missed the break and was never involved, eventually finishing eleventh of 14, beaten 10 lengths, behind Squirtle Squirt. Nevertheless, his two domestic Group One victories resulted in Mozart being named Cartier Champion Sprinter of 2001.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

La Cucaracha Wins Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1)

Embed from Getty Images Foaled on March 26, 2001, La Cucaracha – Spanish for ‘Cockroach’ – was a daughter of high-class sprinter Piccolo, who finished second, beaten 1½ lengths, behind Blue Siren in the Nunthorpe Stakes in 1994, but was awarded the race in the stewards’ room. La Cucaracha would win the Nunthorpe Stakes, too, as a four-year-old, in 2005, but the fact that she was still in training at that stage of her career, never mind winning a Group One race, owed much to the skill of her trainer, Barry Hills. 

Bred and owned by the late Guy Reed, in whose recognisable colours –gold and black check, pink sleeves and cap – she raced, La Cucaracha was, like many of the progeny of Piccolo, a fast, precocious juvenile. She made her racecourse debut in a lowly median auction maiden stakes race, over 5 furlongs, at Leicester in April, 2003, which she won, easily, by 5 lengths, from the odds-on favourite Fine Silver. Stepped up in class in a fillies’ conditions stakes race at Newbury, also over the minimum trip, the following month she comfortably landed odds of 1/2. 

Thereafter, though, her career was plagued by injury and she wasn’t seen again until 347 days later in April, 2004. Indeed, her entire three-year-old campaign consisted of just three starts in Listed company in April and May – on all of which she ran well, without winning – before she was off the course again, for a further 313 days, until April, 2005. 

However, despite being restricted to three starts in the better part of two calendar years, she made a winning reappearance in the Cammidge Trophy, over 6 furlongs, at Doncaster. The following month, La Cucaracha was stepped up to Group company for the first time in the Duke of York Stakes, again over 6 furlongs, at York. On her one and only outing on soft going, she weakened well over a furlong out, eventually finishing ninth of 11, beaten 5 lengths, behind The Kiddykid, whom she’d beaten half a length, on 2lb better terms, in the Cammidge Trophy. 

Nevertheless, La Cucaracha won her first Group race, the Ballyogan Stakes at the Curragh, on her very next start and, although subsequently only second in the Summer Stakes at York, she also won the Sky Bet Dash, over the same 6 furlongs on the Knavesmire, off top weight of 9st 10lb. Now rated 110, having officially improved by 12lb since the start of the season, she faced her toughest task so far, the Nunthorpe Stakes, over the fast, flat 5-furlong course at York. 

Despite tackling Group One opposition for the first time and her three wins that season having come over 6 furlongs, she was sent off 7/1 fourth-favourite behind Chineur, who had won the King’s Stand Stakes – run over the same course and distance as the Nunthorpe Stakes that year, during the redevelopment of Ascot Racecourse – on his most recent outing in June. Drawn in stall eight of 16, La Cucaracha was held up in midfield before quickening to lead inside the final and holding on for a narrow victory. At the line, just a neck separated her from The Tatling, whose task was made no easier by a slipping saddle, with Majestic Missile, who was hampered close home, a further length away in third. Her victory, albeit narrow, was the first at Group One level for prolific owner-breeder Guy Reed, after nearly 40 years’ involvement in British horse racing.