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Hitting The Woodwork

Posted 10/7/2020

Gift List on the left just fails to get up on debut at Ripon - Photo by Racing PostGift List on the left just fails to get up on debut at Ripon - Photo by Racing Post            My football team Leeds United hit the woodwork three times last night and fortunately twice the ball went in for a goal in a 5-0 demolition of Stoke whereas James Ortega Bloodstock has had three runners it has bred in the last two days and all three came close without succeeding narrowly missing out on some nice Plus 10/GBB bonuses. I don't mind too much until Leeds seal promotion and then I don't mind if the horses come in and the ball goes out for a couple of weeks. Is it a deal?

            An interesting couple of days started with 2yo filly Gift List running an excellent race at Ripon on Wednesday coming second on her debut. Trained by Karl Burke and ridden by Ben Curtis, the daughter of Bated Breath and our Group 3 winning Machiavellian mare Birthstone did not have the swiftest of starts and she took the first few furlongs of the 6f race to get used to her new career. However, once she had sorted out what she had to do and despite being somewhat left alone in the middle of the track, Gift List knuckled down to the task in hand and came home very well only to be beaten a head. She is the first offspring of Birthstone to even run at two years old and clearly still has some growing to do so with any luck she could develop into a useful performer and, who knows, become the fourth winner from four we have bred of racing age by Bated Breath. 

            Later on the same day saw the debut of Twilight Calls, who is by Twilight Son and out of Invincible Spirit mare Zawiyah. He is trained by Henry Candy, who also trained his sire, and was ridden by David Probert in the 6f Newbury contest. After a reasonable start he was taken towards the rails and held up behind another couple of runners. Travelling very well, he was then pulled out from behind those rivals with about 2f to go and was going so well that he traded at 1.12 to win on Betfair! Unfortunately when sitting quietly came to push Twilight Calls could not get the job done and he faded to come in 5th beaten just under 4 lengths. I had mixed emotions after the race as, on the one hand, he clearly has ability and a high cruising speed, but on the other hand could not see out the final furlong. It was Henry's first two year old runner of the year and he is a trainer who gives his charges the opportunity to develop so I am pretty sure that Twilight Calls would not have been given a hard time getting ready for this race and indeed David Probert gave him a sympathetic ride leaving the whip well alone. Clearly he has been showing a lot at home and that was signalled by early money for him when he opened at 14/1 the night before and was soon trading around 5/1 finally setting off at 4/1 which cannot have happened to many Henry Candy debutant two year olds! Perhaps they have an eye on the Goffs Sales race over 6f at York on August 20th for which Twilight Calls holds an entry and this opener was part of the preparation in which case we may see him out again towards the end of July. Alternatively, after this race they may give him more time to strengthen up or drop back to 5f and give the York race a miss, but it was certainly an exciting first appearance for this very good looking horse.Twilight Calls as a foal. He showed exciting potential at Newbury on debutTwilight Calls as a foal. He showed exciting potential at Newbury on debut

            Finally, Thursday saw 3yo Zephron have his second race this year at Navan in a 5.5f maiden acquitting himself very well to come a close up 3rd after a fairly awkward start. Trained by Dennis Cullen and ridden by Mark Gallagher, Zephron is by Ivawood out of Rip Van Winkle mare Amarylis and is a first foal. He has shown ability in all four of his races to date and usually shows plenty of speed before not quite getting home. certainly this half furlong less than his previous races seemed to suit and it would not surprise me to see him out over the minimum trip next time out. Hopefully he runs out a winner fairly soon and continues on an upward curve.Zephron as a yearling. Ran another fine race at Navan coming a close up 3rdZephron as a yearling. Ran another fine race at Navan coming a close up 3rd

            So three good runs from our stock and, whilst it's frustrating that at least one of them didn't get over the line first, it is very encouraging for the future as, like all racehorse breeders, we want to breed good, healthy horses who demonstrate ability on the racetrack. Still, the football team keeps winning and as they say, "You can't have it all"