Arrest expected to make his mark as a four-year-old

By Sports Desk April 19, 2024

Kieran Shoemark is relishing stepping into the boots of Frankie Dettori aboard Arrest, as the St Leger runner-up makes his return in the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes at Newbury.

Arrest played a key role in Dettori’s UK swansong last season and was a beaten favourite for the Italian’s final Derby ride at Epsom, before just failing to send the 53-year-old off in a blaze of Classic glory when second to Continuous at Doncaster in September.

Shoemark was three places behind Arrest with Gregory on Town Moor, but having taken the reins aboard many of John and Thady Gosden’s star Clarehaven inmates since the relocation of Dettori to California, he will get the leg-up aboard Arrest for the first time on Saturday afternoon.

The 28-year-old hopes the soft-ground loving colt can build on his positive finish to last season and feels there is plenty of improvement to be seen during his four-year-old campaign.

“He’s obviously a big horse and hopefully he’s going to improve with age,” said Shoemark.

“Hopefully the ground is not going to dry out too much at Newbury and we know he wants soft ground.

“His run in the Leger was brilliant – the ground went against me on Gregory, but he enjoyed it. He’s a proper mile-and-a-half horse, not short of speed by all means, and the softer the better for him.

“He’s a big, strapping horse and I honestly believe he will get better with age. He’s entitled to, so there will be plenty to look forward to for the year ahead.”

As well as winning the Chester Vase, Arrest’s other victory last term came at Newbury in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes and joint-trainer Thady Gosden is confident the race more commonly known as the John Porter is the ideal spot to kick-start the son of Frankel’s season.

“He’s a very talented horse, he ran great last year and was second in a Classic,” he said.

“He’s developed very well over the winter and is a horse of great size and quality and he’s really filled into his frame and has been really pleasing leading into this race.

“He doesn’t mind getting his toe in at all and the track and trip should suit.”

Arrest will be in receipt of 3lb from William Haggas’ Hamish, who went through 2023 unbeaten, winning on four occasions, all at Group Three level.

Hamish is one of two in the race for the Somerville Lodge handler alongside Mujtaba, but main hopes lie with the stable stalwart, who is owned by the trainer’s father, Brian, and got the better of Karl Burke’s Al Qareem on his final start of last year in the rearranged St Simon Stakes.

The Spigot Lodge-trained five-year-old is another slated to concede weight to Arrest and his trainer is excited to get Al Qareem back on track.

Burke said: “I’m looking forward to seeing him run and he’s been ready to run for the last month.

“He’s working well, a mile and a half is his minimum trip, but on this ground I’m happy to start him off there.

“He’ll step up and be a good one-mile-six and two-mile horse later in the year. It’ll be a tough race, but I think he’ll run really well.

“We were lucky to keep him and he got travel sickness coming back (from Dubai). He’s hard work at home, Danielle Mooney rides him every day and he pulls her arms out every day, but he’s a lovely horse to have.”

Simon and Ed Crisford’s Chesspiece was behind Arrest when sixth in the Leger before finishing off his season with a silver medal in the Listed Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot.

He makes his first start after being gelded in the royal blue of Godolphin, while Andrew Balding’s Alsakib steps out of handicap company after finishing last year on a real high on home soil.

Max Vega won this in 2022 and having finished third last season, returns for a third crack, while trainer Ralph Beckett is also represented by Salt Bay.

Last year’s Irish Derby fourth Peking Opera makes his first Flat outing for Gary Moore, having been seen juvenile hurdling this winter, with Jack Channon’s Certain Lad completing the line-up.

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