Tullyhill stakes Supreme claim with easy Listed verdict

By Sports Desk February 18, 2024

Tullyhill could be bound for Cheltenham after making light work of the Madigan Group Irish EBF Sheila Bourke Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.

The six-year-old finished second in the Champion Bumper at the Festival last season, a result that followed a prior bumper success and a point to point win.

He was beaten by a significant margin on his hurdling debut in November but his jumping was much improved on his next start when he took a Naas maiden by seven lengths in January.

He started as the 6-5 favourite under Paul Townend at Listed level at Punchestown and made all the of the running, cruising to a nine-length victory having barely seen another rival.

Following the run, Tullyhill is as low as 5-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle with Paddy Power, but Mullins will consult with owners Cheveley Park Stud before deciding on a Cheltenham bid.

He said: “He has a fair engine and we just needed to give him confidence jumping. David Casey was deputised with that job and has done a right job.

“He’s entitled to go anywhere after a performance like that.

“I thought he’d be an out-an-out stayer but he has plenty of speed, a great cruising speed, and now his jumping is starting to match his cruising speed.

“He’s in the Supreme and I’ll have a word with connections and see what they would like to do.”

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    Endless Victory struck the front in the nick of time to book his ticket to a Classic trial by winning the bet365 EBF ‘Confined’ Novice Stakes at Newmarket.

    Trained by Charlie Appleby, the son of Teofilo was well-backed prior to the 10-furlong event and was sent off the even-money favourite in the hands of Godolphin number one William Buick.

    A taking winner on his debut at Wolverhampton in the winter, he confirmed that promise by pulling out all the stops to run down Jane Chapple-Hyam’s Salamanca, with the winning distance only a short head.

    The colt – a full-brother to Appleby’s Melbourne Cup hero Cross Counter – holds an entry in the Dante, but the Moulton Paddocks handler suggested it could be the Lingfield Derby Trial on May 11 that proves his next port of call as he shuffles his swelling Classic hand.

    Appleby said: “They’re all in the same boat, he had obviously just won around Wolverhampton (previously) and has come here for his first start on turf.

    “It looked a sensible race on paper and they are probably a nice field of horses going forward and for our fellow to do what he’s done, I’m very pleased.

    “I think he is a horse that will progress as we go up in trip. Everyone will be asking is he a Derby horse? Well, he’s still got a bit to do yet and we’ll see how much he improves for this run and whether we look at one of the trials.

    “Arabian Crown will probably go to Sandown and maybe this horse can go to Lingfield or something like that, a race we like to support if we can.”

    Chapple-Hyam may have missed out on a double with the narrow defeat of Salamanca, but can take comfort that her Rolica booked her ticket to the Qipco 1000 Guineas when Hollie Doyle got the better of husband Tom Marquand.

    A 9-2 chance for the Rossdales Maiden Fillies’ Stakes, the daughter of Lope De Vega was a beaten favourite on debut at Nottingham last autumn, but was a sharper model on her three-year-old bow, showing a good attitude to wear down the Marquand-ridden 9-4 joint-favourite Vicario.

    “We got confidence from her galloping companion Mallavelly who was second yesterday in the mile maiden and thankfully she has done the job,” said Chapple-Hyam.

    “I think Mallavelly has shown she wants further, so if Mr Harris (Peter, owner) is happy I would like this filly to take her chance – she’s a Guineas filly.

    “She was third at Nottingham on a very heavy track, but she’s wintered well and done everything right and I’m just thrilled to have this Lope De Vega.”

    Although unsuccessful aboard Vicario, Marquand did find the scoresheet with Woodhay Wonder as Tom Ward’s star filly sprinted to a third straight win in the opening bet365 Handicap.

    A real money-spinner for connections last term, she proved could still be a forced to be reckoned with at three as she led from start to finish in the six-furlong event.

    “She’s been great and a lot of fun and they’ve done a fantastic job with her to get her ready to go ‘bang’ on her first start of the year,” said Marquand.

    “She paid her way just fine last year and after a year like that there is always the question of if they will train on and do the same, but she’s started on the right path and hopefully she will keep on improving.”

    The concluding Consign With The National Stud Handicap went the way of Karl Burke’s Poet Master (100-30 favourite) who was registering his fourth win in five starts off a mark of 100.

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    “I would say he will go to the Listed race at Haydock (Pertemps Network Spring Trophy Stakes) in a few weeks’ time. That would be a lovely track for him, a real front-runners’ track and he’s a horse to just let him do his own thing. A nice, level track like Haydock will be perfect for him.”

  • Golden Ace in imperious form on return to Cheltenham Golden Ace in imperious form on return to Cheltenham

    Jeremy Scott’s Golden Ace continued to impress as she cruised to victory on her return to Cheltenham.

    The six-year-old is a daughter of Golden Horn and has enjoyed a superb campaign, living up to the promise shown when she was second in the Grade Two mares’ bumper at Aintree the season prior.

    The winner of two Taunton novice hurdles earlier in the year, the mare then went to the Cheltenham Festival to contest the Ryanair Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle under usual rider Lorcan Williams.

    While she did not face her Aintree conqueror Dysart Enos, she still crossed paths with some highly-regarded mares in Gordon Elliott’s Brighterdaysahead and Willie Mullins’ Jade De Grugy.

    Neither could outperform Golden Ace, however, and she triumphed by a length and three-quarters on a day to remember for Scott and the team at Holworthy Farm.

    She was then aimed at the Grade One Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree’s Grand National meeting, but that plan was scuppered when she suffered a bruised foot and was therefore withdrawn.

    The Listed Changing Young Lives At Jamie’s Farm Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham was the alternative outing and her prior successes saw her line up the 4-9 favourite, on what was a step up to two and half miles.

    In a field of nine she was an effortless winner, striding up the hill to cross the line eight and a half lengths ahead of Ben Clarke’s Ooh Betty.

    The form from her Festival win now looks rock solid, with Brighterdaysahead and Jade De Grugy both taking Grade One events since – the same level Golden Ace will be aimed at next year.

    “She was very good, there were a couple of sketchy jumps but she always had everything covered,” said Scott.

    “Once the Aintree plan fell through this is what we were thinking of for her.

    “Lorcan said that if anything she’d probably be happier on slightly softer ground, so we’ve learnt that, but she came up the hill very well.

    “We’ll aim at the two-and-a-half-mile race (Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle) here next year if we’re lucky enough to be in that position.”

    Of the subsequent performance of the Elliott and Mullins mares, Scott added: “They’ve looked very, very impressive and it was just so frustrating not being able to go to Aintree, but that’s just horses I’m afraid!

    “It’s been a very, very good season for her. She’s been great.”

    There was some minor movement in the trainers’ championship table, as Dan Skelton collected small amounts of placed prize-money across the afternoon.

    Notnowlinda finished fourth in the Catesby Estates Mares’ Challenger Series Final Handicap Hurdle and Sacre Coeur was runner-up in the NAF Mares’ Handicap Chase, reducing the gap between Skelton and table-leader Mullins by just over £9,000.

  • Haatem boosts Hannon hopes for 2000 Guineas bid Haatem boosts Hannon hopes for 2000 Guineas bid

    Haatem could join esteemed stablemate Rosallion in next month’s Qipco 2000 Guineas after throwing his hat into the ring with a dominant victory in the bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket.

    Rosallion, who won three of his four juvenile starts including the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc weekend at ParisLongchamp, is very much Richard Hannon’s first string for the season’s first Classic on May 4, with only the unbeaten and much-vaunted City Of Troy ahead of him in ante-post lists.

    Haatem himself kept good company during a busy two-year-old campaign, most notably winning the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood as well as finishing second and fifth behind City Of Troy in the Superlative and Dewhurst Stakes respectively, but looked more exposed than most ahead of his three-year-old debut.

    Making his reappearance and 10th career start in one of the key Guineas trials, Haatem was sent off at 17-2 in the hands of Sean Levey and quickened up smartly racing out of the dip to pull three and a half lengths clear of Dewhurst third Eben Shaddad.

    “The way he did it has surprised me, but you can’t say that was a fluke. He’s obviously improved a lot physically – he’s a big, strong, impressive horse,” said Hannon.

    “He’s a good horse and he’s just won a Craven by three and a half lengths. He won a Vintage Stakes with the subsequent Champagne Stakes winner behind him and he was fifth in a Dewhurst.

    “Funnily enough, I said to Sean after the last race I thought he’d get the trip well and it seems the horses who have been making the running all week have been winning and have been hard to peg back. I know he didn’t make the running, but I don’t think you can say that is an average performance, he was pretty good there.”

    Coral cut Haatem to 25-1 from 66-1 for the 2000 Guineas, with Aidan O’Brien’s City Of Troy their 4-6 favourite and Rosallion rated his biggest threat at 5-1. Betfair and Paddy Power make Haatem a 20-1 chance.

    Hannon is ready to let both of his pair line up at Newmarket next month, but did mention a couple of potential alternatives for Haatem.

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    “Rosallion is a good horse and it gives you a bit of confidence to see this lad win the way he did. I hope I’m right (when I say) that he (Rosallion) is exceptional.”

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