Quickthorn refuses to give way in Grand Cup victory

By Sports Desk June 17, 2023

Quickthorn has proved a real money-spinner for owner Lady Blyth in the past few seasons and he took his earnings over the half-million mark when landing the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Grand Cup Stakes at York.

In typically gritty fashion, the Hughie Morrison-trained six-year-old led after three furlongs of the mile-and-three-quarter Listed contest under Jason Hart.

Despite looking like a sitting duck throughout the last half-mile, he had plenty in reserve to fend off market leader Israr and score by a length and a half.

Morrison was cautious about running the crack stayer on quicker ground, but having his hand reluctantly forced, admitted the 7-4 second-favourite coped with the surface at a track on which he was so brilliant in last year’s Lonsdale Cup.

“I think what York do is produce level ground,” said the East Ilsley handler. “You didn’t see any dust kicking up today.

“A lot of horses, jointy horses, you can get away with level ground. They can get jarred up, but you don’t injure them.

“When it is rough fast ground, that is when you can get problems with these horses.

“He likes a bit of cut in the ground and you want to do right by the horse.

“At least he’s won a stakes race this year. He drilled them really. He outstayed the second, I think. He went away in the last 20 yards.”

Quickthorn is set to follow a similar path to last season after recording the eighth success of his 21-race career.

“I would imagine we will look at the (Group Two) Prix Maurice de Nieuil, a race which he won last year at Longchamp, then I think back to York. Then he deserves a rest, I think.

“I’d love the handicapper to drop him 3lb and then we’d go to the Ebor. I suspect that won’t happen, though!

“I thought Jason gave him a really good ride today. He let the horse find his rhythm, not force him.

“Over a mile and six, given that two miles is his trip really, he found the right rhythm.

“I thought he was good and I thought he was going to get swallowed up several times, but he just kept going.”

Quinault (15-2) made it a five-timer for Stuart Williams, taking the Oakmere Homes Supporting Macmillan Sprint Handicap.

Connor Planas’ mount had a head to spare over Washington Heights as he continued his upward curve.

His winning spree started in a lowly Class 6 handicap at Chelmsford in April, and after wins at Brighton and two more at Newmarket, he overcame his biggest test thus far with flying colours.

Though entered in the Palace of Holyrood House Stakes at Royal Ascot next week, he is unlikely to make a quick return.

Explaining his improvement, Williams said: “He was in the Horses In Training Sale after Godolphin bought him from the breeze-ups for quite a lot of money.

“He was very difficult to settle and basically ran away in his only race for them.

“He was being awkward at home. I think they gelded him and tried to start with him again, but he was still being awkward, so they put him in the sales – rightly, in my opinion. They have so many good horses, they don’t want one who is being a pain in the backside.

“We quite liked him, so we decided to take a punt on him. We spent two months on the treadmill with him and took baby steps, trying to settle him.

“It was the same in his first two races for us, tearing away. He was keen early and not relaxing at all, but we have just taken things very quietly and now it is paying off. He is repaying us handsomely.

“He is getting better and it was a big day for him today, with a big crowd, walking across the middle of the track and it was a big field.

“His run at Newmarket helped him, but it wasn’t like the hustle and bustle of York.”

Options are no open for the son of Oasis Dream, although a trip to the Royal meeting looks doubtful.

“It is very unlikely he will run next week. It was just to tick a box in case we didn’t manage to get to the races,” Williams added. “He is in the Bunbury Cup and he’ll definitely get seven furlongs, no problem. Seven furlongs on the July course might suit him.

“But I might try to find another three-year-old race for him before we step him up to older company.”

Saeed bin Suroor advertised the good form of his yard ahead of Royal Ascot when Wild Lion (8-1) took the seven-furlong Sky Bet Handicap by half a length under Kieran O’Neill.

“It was a good performance,” said the trainer. “I think the cheekpieces may have helped him today.”

Related items

  • Supreme Ventures Racing urges review of racing rule after Caymanas Park abandonments Supreme Ventures Racing urges review of racing rule after Caymanas Park abandonments

    Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), operators of Caymanas Park, have called for a review of Rule 44 (iii) enforced by the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) following the cancellation of two races during the April 27 race meet at Caymanas Park.

    In a press conference on Monday addressing the abandoned races, SVREL Executive Chairman Solomon Sharpe expressed frustration with the rule, highlighting its potential impact on the racing industry.

    "This rule, unique to Jamaica, imposes a strict five-minute limit after the published post time for races at Caymanas Park," Sharpe stated. "It fails to account for various factors that can delay race starts and penalizes all stakeholders when races are abandoned, affecting punters, jockeys, grooms, trainers, owners, promoters, and the government."

    Last year, Caymanas Park contributed over $260 million in combined taxes to the government's coffers. Sharpe urged the JRC to engage SVREL in discussions on Rule 44, emphasizing the need for constructive dialogue to address the rule's impact.

    "We were not consulted during the initial discussions on this rule, and now, with two races abandoned in a single race day, our concerns have materialized," Sharpe explained. "SVREL is open to collaborating with the JRC to review and refine this amended rule."

    Representatives from the Grooms Association, Jockeys Association, and the United Racehorse Trainers Association echoed SVREL's concerns and supported the call for a review of Rule 44.

    Sharpe concluded by appealing to regulators, stakeholders, and the public to support the growth of the horseracing industry in Jamaica. "Horseracing has immense potential in Jamaica and can become a significant foreign exchange earner. Realizing this potential requires collaboration among all stakeholders."

    SVREL has been operating Caymanas Park since March 2017 after the government divested the property. With investments exceeding J$4 billion in product enhancements and innovations like the Mouttet Mile, which boasts the largest purse in the English-speaking Caribbean, SVREL remains committed to advancing the horseracing experience in Jamaica.

  • Supreme Ventures Racing regrets abandonment of two races at Caymanas Park on Saturday Supreme Ventures Racing regrets abandonment of two races at Caymanas Park on Saturday

    Supreme Ventures Racing & Entertainment Limited (SVREL) has expressed regret and disappointment following the abandonment of two races during the Saturday, April 27 race day at Caymanas Park in St Catherine, Jamaica.

    The decision to abandon these races, SVREL said, was made in compliance with regulations set forth by the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), leading to the refund of all related pools according to SVREL's Pari-mutuel rules.

    According to the statement released by SVREL late Saturday, the abandonment of races number one and six, respectively, was declared by the stewards of the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) due to delays that exceeded the permitted time frame as stipulated by Rule 44(iii).

    Specifically, in race number one, scheduled to commence at 12:00 pm, a saddling issue with horse number five and a mandatory veterinary check for horse number eight, which reared and fell after exiting the saddling barn, resulted in delays beyond the allowable limit.

    Similarly, race number six, slated for 3:10 pm, was delayed due to a horse running loose, ultimately leading to its abandonment by the stewards of the JRC.

    SVREL explained that the recent amendments to Rule 44(iii), which came into effect from April 1, 2024, mandate strict adherence to race start times with a maximum allowance of five minutes after the published post time. SVREL noted that Jamaica is unique in enforcing such a rule without prior consultation with the sole promoter of horseracing in Jamaica.

    The enforcement of this rule has led to financial losses for industry stakeholders, including owners, trainers, jockeys, grooms, punters, and the promoter and as such the disruption caused by the abandonment of these races understandably resulted in unrest among stakeholder groups.

    Despite the challenges faced, the race meet resumed with race number seven at approximately 4:00 pm, SVREL noted.

    SVREL has now issued a sincere apology to valued customers and stakeholders for the inconvenience caused by the abandonment of races one and six by the JRC. SVREL also emphasized its readiness for open dialogue with the JRC and all impacted stakeholders to ensure the continued success and integrity of the horseracing industry.

    As the sole promoter of horseracing in Jamaica, SVREL said it remains committed to addressing challenges collaboratively and upholding the highest standards of professionalism and service within the industry.


  • Light seeking to shine again at Sandown Light seeking to shine again at Sandown

    Kitty’s Light is taking aim at his usual season finisher in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.

    The gelding has been a star for trainer Christian Williams, winning big handicap events like the Eider Chase and the Scottish Grand National and going close in the Charlie Hall and the Coral Trophy.

    He has particularly good record in the bet365 Gold Cup on the final day of the season, missing out only due to interference when second in 2021 and coming home third in 2022.

    Last year he was completed the set of podium finishes when winning by two and a half lengths under usual jockey Jack Tudor.

    The two are well acquainted and teamed up for Kitty’s Light’s Grand National bid at Aintree earlier in the month, where he ran a valiant race to finish fifth behind four Grade-One winning Irish chasers.

    Williams was incredibly proud of his stable star and is now hoping the gelding can shine again in the Sandown contest he has found to be lucrative in the past.

    “It was wonderful, we trained him to win the race and we thought he could, but you couldn’t be disappointed with what he did,” Williams said of the National performance.

    “We were thrilled, the horse tried his best and we were very, very proud of horse and jockey.

    “He’s come out of it very well, if the race was run today even then he’d be running, he’s in good form.

    “He loves it at Sandown with the big fences, his jumping has come on now but even as a five-year-old he nearly won the race.

    “He was third the year after that, it really seems to suit him.

    “I think he likes going right-handed, he hangs a little bit right at home and he seems to really enjoy it there.

    “We’re taking our chance anyway, he seems well and we’ll hope for the best.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.