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 & 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.


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.”

Olivier Peslier will retire from riding at La Teste on Thursday.

The 51-year-old has enjoyed an exemplary career in the saddle, being crowned French champion on four occasions and claiming a string of big-race successes across the world.

Peslier counts four victories in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on his CV, as well as Derby success aboard High-Rise in 1998 and a 2000 Guineas triumph with Cockney Rebel in 2007.

He enjoyed a long association with star miler Goldikova, riding the mare to win 17 of her 27 career starts which included a famous Breeders’ Cup Mile hat-trick in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Peslier also chalked up two Japan Cup wins and victories the Hong Kong Cup, Mile and Vase plus big-races successes in the likes of Germany, Italy, Ireland and Dubai during a truly international career.

He was retained rider for owners Alain and Gerard Wertheimer between 2003 and 2014 with the aforementioned Goldikova and 2012 Arc winner Solemia two of the headline acts of their lengthy relationship.

Peslier will sign off after two rides at La Teste in the south-west of France, bowing out with over 3,700 wins to his name.

“My health is fine, but you need the horses and need the practice and if you don’t have so many horses, it is the time to decide to stop because it is very tricky to ride only a few horses,” Peslier told the PA news agency.

“After a very long career I have had plenty of success. I have had more than 3,700 winners and over 500 Group race wins. I have won with both Arabians and thoroughbreds and 165 Group Ones, so it is amazing when I look at my career.

“I have won everywhere in the world and had great success and great moments. I’ve met so many good people and I’m very happy to stop my career and watch what has happened before.

“I won all the good races in England – the Epsom Derby, the King George and at Royal Ascot. In Japan, I won 12 Group Ones and won the Japan Cup and all the big races over there and also the Breeders’ Cup and all the Derbies in Europe.

“So now is the time and I’m in good form and everything is fine. It’s sad to take the decision but this morning I rode six horses and tomorrow I will ride some horses in training and for sure I will keep riding some horses because everybody loves horses and also I ride for my passion.”

Peslier is unsure what the future holds, intending to spend the summer months enjoying time with family and friends before finalising plans for the next stage of life, while he highlighted the talents of both Goldikova and Prix du Jockey Club and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Peintre Celebre as notable memories from his decorated career.

“I will take a little break and see some friends and see what happens over the next few months,” continued Peslier.

“After a holiday, September will be a new life, and I think I need a little bit of time to see what will happen in the future. I’m going to spend some time with my kids and enjoy life, then it will be a new life.

“Normally when I go to say Hong Kong and England it is for work, now I can go and visit people I know and take the time to enjoy it.

“Goldikova won 14 Group Ones and Peintre Celebre won the French Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and were both really, really good.”

Bellum Justum halved in price for the Derby after Andrew Balding’s colt won the Betfred Blue Riband Trial at Epsom.

While he took four attempts to get off the mark as a juvenile, the form of his win over Kevin Ryan’s Inisherin now looks much stronger than it did at the time and he took another leap forward here.

Ridden by Oisin Murphy, he was content to take a lead off Ryan Moore on Aidan O’Brien’s Chief Little Rock and with those in behind struggling to get on terms, it soon developed into a battle.

Bellum Justum held a narrow advantage for much of the final furlong but while he was well on top of the Ballydoyle runner close home, Roger Varian’s Defiance began to stay on strongly.

Without looking like winning, he closed to within three-quarters of a length of the 9-1 winner, looking promising for the future on just his third outing.

Bellum Justum was cut to 25-1 from 50s for the Derby by both Coral and Paddy Power.

“He had a setback about a month ago and he missed 10 days, so he’s entitled to come on for that today,” Balding told Racing TV.

“His form looked pretty strong and he improved a lot with racing last year and he’s entitled to improve from two to three, so we were fairly sure he’d be there or thereabouts but we’re expecting him to come on for it.

“He’s in the Dante and if he was going to run again that would be the likely target, we’ll just see how the Guineas goes and the other trials and we might end up coming back here.

“He’s out of an Oasis Dream mare but he’s closely related to Fox Tal who stayed a mile and a half.

“He’s up there with our best three-year-olds but unfortunately the one we were really excited about, Anzac Day, has had a setback.”

Crystal Delight (5-2) made a winning debut for Harry Eustace when leading home stablemate Ziggy in the Lilley Plummer Risks City & Suburban Handicap.

Previously trained by the now-retired William Jarvis, he was sent straight to the front by Jim Crowley and controlled matters from the outset.

He kicked clear over two furlongs out and came home five and a half lengths ahead of Ziggy, who stayed on without ever looking a danger.

“William came as he’s good friends with dad (James Eustace) and we ended up with a couple off him, this one and Duke Of Verona and it’s going well so far,” said Eustace.

“I thought he’d run well as he’s been training well at home. It was a small field and he likes making the running, so I thought we’d be able to set our own fractions and that’s what Jim did, it worked out well.

“I had a mile-and-a-half handicap at York in mind so we’ll see how we go.”

Eustace had to settle for third with Duke Of Verona in the Weatherbys Global Stallions App Great Metropolitan Handicap as Champagne Piaff (5-2 favourite) ran out an easy winner for Gary and Ryan Moore.

Harry Fry is excited to see what Gidleigh Park can achieve over fences next season following his sixth-place finish in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival.

Impressive on his racecourse debut in a Chepstow bumper in the spring of last year, the six-year-old this term established himself as one of Britain’s leading novice hurdlers with a hat-trick of victories.

Having claimed Grade Two honours on Festival Trials day at Cheltenham in January, the son of Walk In The Park lost his unbeaten record on his return to the Cotswolds last month, with Fry blaming a combination of three miles and heavy ground for his slightly disappointing effort.

“He’s fine, it just didn’t happen for us on the day,” said the Dorset-based trainer.

“Obviously, the ground went testing from Thursday night into Friday and suddenly we were encountering what we’d been trying to avoid, which was running him over three miles on testing ground.

“It just meant they went steady, sensibly in the conditions, which didn’t suit us and he just overraced through the early and middle part of it and didn’t give himself a chance to really see it out.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I don’t think we’d have beaten Ballyburn in the other race anyway (Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle). Probably the race we should have run in was the Supreme as it turned out, given the conditions.

“He’s fine and he’s been schooling away over fences since Cheltenham, which has gone very well, ahead of a novice chase campaign next season.

“We’ve always had half an eye on the day this horse goes novice chasing and he won’t be the first novice hurdler to get beat at the Festival and go on to better things over fences.”

Lucinda Russell’s Apple Away looks to round off her season with a win in the Robertson Homes Fair Maid Of Perth Mares’ Chase at Perth.

A Grade One winner over hurdles for owners Old Gold Racing, this term she has turned her hand to chasing without quite matching that success.

Placed in graded races at Warwick and Ascot, she ran well for a long way at Cheltenham before ultimately failing to see out the trip in the National Hunt Chase.

A mixed chasing and hurdling campaign awaits the mare next season, but first she will wrap up the term at Listed level over fences at Perth.

“After Cheltenham she got so cocky again so quickly up in Scotland that Lucinda suddenly said it wasn’t right to put her away,” said Ed Seyfried of Old Gold Racing.

“There was talk of sending her hurdling and we had entries in the both the Liverpool Hurdle and the handicap hurdle on Grand National day, but they were both very competitive and we felt if we were going to reintroduce her to hurdles, we didn’t want to throw her in at the deep end.

“This race is a very nice way to round off the season, it’s competitive and we’re the second or third favourite – that’s probably about right.

“She ran her heart out at Cheltenham, she is so brave and genuine, but stepping her up in trip wasn’t the right thing to do that day.”

Gavin Cromwell’s Malina Girl just failed to make the cut for the Grand National and has been diverted to this contest, where she leads a three-strong Irish challenge in a field of six.

The seven-year-old was last seen over hurdles ahead of her intended National tilt, having won at Cheltenham in November.

“Obviously she didn’t get into the National, which was disappointing, but she seems in good nick and she should hopefully run a good race,” Cromwell said.

“She was over there and ready to go, which is not ideal, she’d travelled over and back and then travelled to Perth.

“She seems in good order though, and she takes everything in her stride so she should be fine.”

The Irish team is boosted by Gordon Elliott’s Riviere D’Etel and Willie Mullins’ Instit, the latter of whom will be vying to add the £18,509 prize to her trainer’s British haul this season.

Mullins currently heads the British jumps trainers’ championship ahead of Dan Skelton and has a significant advantage ahead of the season finale at Sandown at the weekend, with the Perth prize a welcome boost with that aim in mind.

Task Force will be primed to perfection for his Qipco 2000 Guineas tilt after thriving in a racecourse gallop at Newbury on Monday.

The Middle Park runner-up found just sprint star Vandeek too good when visiting Newmarket last autumn and is preparing to step up to a mile on his return to the Rowley Mile for the opening Classic of the season.

Although solely racing at six furlongs in his three starts at two, the Ralph Beckett-trained son of Frankel is bred to be a Guineas contender, with not only his sire a champion at the home of racing but also his dam Special Duty, who was the 1000 Guineas victor in 2010.

Having begun putting the finishing touches to his Guineas preparations with a racecourse sighter over six furlongs, connections are now eagerly looking forward to Task Force’s shot at glory on May 4.

“The gallop went well and the horse did everything Ralph wanted him to do,” said Barry Mahon, European racing manager for owners Juddmonte.

“He worked six furlongs and Ralph came away happy with the horse and it leaves him on track for the Guineas on Saturday week.

“He is bred to win a Classic as he’s by a Guineas winner out of a Guineas winner and there are not many horses who boast a pedigree like that. He’s a nice horse and showed good form last year.

“He’s done well from two to three and has changed shape a lot. We feel he definitely doesn’t look a sprinter and last year he was a bit keen and a bit mentally immature, so we kept him to six furlongs and he had the talent to be able to perform over that distance. Now we’re looking forward to seeing if he can be just as effective to win over a mile.”

Task Force is as short as 12-1 for the 2000 Guineas and with no horse leaping out of the pack with a statement performance during the recent trials, connections hope they are in possession of one of the unexposed candidates who can shape up well against the formidable might of City Of Troy and Rosallion.

Mahon continued: “We’re under no illusions and it’s going to be a hard task to beat the two at the top of the market who both look exceptionally talented colts, but it’s a Classic and we have a horse who has shown Group One form and who we think will stay a mile so we have to give it a go and we’re excited to run him.

“We won’t find out until the day whether we’re up to that standard or not, but it’s nice to be able to partake and if there are any weaknesses in the top two, then we hope we are there to pick up the pieces.”

However, there will not be any Juddmonte representation in the Qipco 1000 Guineas, with the Beckett-trained fillies Skellet and Indelible to sit out the Newmarket action.

Skellet was last seen finishing a neck second to Nell Gwyn runner-up Dance Sequence in the Oh So Sharp Stakes but has met with a setback and although the form of Indelible’s two appearances late last year have a smart look to them, her team are keen not to rush her into Classic action.

Both fillies will be given plenty of time to flourish over the next few weeks, with the French and Irish versions of the Guineas possible options available moving forwards.

“They are coming along in their own time and are a little bit behind,” continued Mahon.

“Indelible has just taken a bit of time and Skellet had a small setback that has caused her to miss a couple of days training – nothing of any real significance, just a nuisance of a thing which has meant she’s had to have two or three days off.

“We just said we would sit tight and let them come to themselves and you have a French Guineas 10 or 12 days after the English Guineas and then you have an Irish one in another 10 or 12 days after France and there is no point fitting a square peg in a round hole if they are not ready for Newmarket.”

It is “all systems go” in Alyanaabi’s 2000 Guineas bid after pleasing trainer Owen Burrows in a racecourse gallop at Newmarket.

The Too Darn Hot colt won on his debut at Salisbury last June and followed up that run when finishing fourth of 10 in the Listed Pat Eddery Stakes at Ascot.

On the latter occasion he was beaten by a subsequent Group One scorer in Richard Hannon’s Rosallion and, after winning the Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket, he then crossed paths with perhaps the highest-regarded horse in training in City Of Troy.

The meeting was in the Dewhurst Stakes, widely considered to be an early Classic trial, and although City Of Troy’s significant reputation was not dented, Alyanaabi still impressed when coming home as runner-up behind him.

Aidan O’Brien’s colt is the clear favourite for the Qipco-sponsored Guineas after an exemplary two-year-old campaign, with Alyanaabi headed for the same race after working well in a racecourse gallop ahead of the Craven meeting.

“He came out of that fine, he did a bit of work on Saturday as the ground was beautiful at home last weekend,” said Burrows.

“We’re getting a drop of rain again but nothing too measurable and I think he appreciated the nice ground on Saturday.

“He’s in good form and, touch wood, it’s all systems go now.”

Whilst the Shadwell owned and bred Alyanaabi will hold out for the Guineas, other contenders have contested a trial beforehand and added more context to his juvenile form.

One such horse is Hannon’s Haatem, fifth in the Dewhurst and then the clear winner of the Craven Stakes at Newmarket last week.

Reflecting on the outcome of the trials, Burrows said: “Richard Hannon’s horse won well at Newmarket, he was behind us in the Dewhurst but it’s a new year.

“I shouldn’t think Aidan has lost too much sleep, we’ve all got City Of Troy to beat if he turns up in the same form he was in as a two-year-old.

“We’ve all got to take him on, but you can’t run from one horse.”

The 1895 Duke Of York Clipper Stakes appears the preferred next stop for Karl Burke-trained sprinters Spycatcher and Marshman following their mixed efforts in Newmarket’s Abernant Stakes.

It was the Highclere Thoroughbreds-owned Spycatcher who performed best of the Spigot Lodge pair, finishing third and beaten less than a length by winner Washington Heights, having lost a shoe at a vital moment in the Group Three event.

Burke also feels going conditions may have slightly gone against his soft ground-loving six-year-old, who was only a short-head away from Group One glory in France last summer.

The Curragh’s Group Two Greenlands Stakes on May 25 is waiting in reserve if conditions prove unsuitable for Spycatcher at York, but the Middleham handler is hopeful both can take their chance in the six-furlong event on the Knavesmire.

“Hopefully, the ground is right for the pair of them to go to York for the Duke Of York,” said Burke.

“Spycatcher obviously wants cut in the ground and if it turned up firm there, then Marshman would go to York and Spycatcher is in a race in Ireland, the Greenlands.

“Spycatcher ran a cracking race and he’s only just come to himself. I think if you ran it on the first day (of the meeting), with a bit more juice in the ground, he just might have won.

“He pulled a shoe off just at the top of the dip and Clifford (Lee, jockey) said he felt it and just lost his balance for a stride or two. I think it probably cost him second, but on soft ground, I think he would have won.”

Marshman finished a lacklustre 13th of 14 in the Abernant and having failed once again to handle the undulations of the Rowley Mile, connections will look forward to returning the four-year-old to a more level surface and a track where he has some encouraging form figures.

“Marshman was disappointing and we’ve run him twice at Newmarket now and he’s run moderately,” continued Burke.

“Sam (James, jockey) was adamant he hated the undulations and although he was very keen when we ran him in the Middle Park, I would say he wants a flat track.

“If you look back; Doncaster, Chantilly, Deauville are the tracks where he’s been at his best. He’s a good horse with a lot of ability, but he’s a bit quirky.”

Owner Ahmad Al Shaik is again dreaming of Derby glory after Deira Mile broke his duck in routine fashion at Windsor.

Dubai Mile was ninth in the Epsom Classic last year carrying the Green Team Racing colours and hopes are high of an improved placing this term.

The Owen Burrows-trained Deira Mile remained a maiden following four runs as a juvenile, mainly due to fluffing his lines when sent off as a 1-5 favourite at Chelmsford.

However, he showed his potential when beaten less than three lengths in fourth behind Ancient Wisdom in the Group One Futurity at Doncaster and built on that by justifying short odds of 4-9 at Windsor under Jim Crowley.

Asked about Derby aspirations, his owner told Sky Sports Racing: “It is in my blood and my sons’ blood, not just me. We need to go to the Derby and one day we will win – if not me, one of my sons.

“He is still green but Jim Crowley said the further he goes, the better he will be.

“We have only 40 days now until Epsom, I don’t think we have time to run him again, so I will discuss with the trainer about going straight to Epsom and I think he will be fine.”

Burrows added: “He’s a big lad and mentally, he’s still quite immature. He had the four runs last year, but he is still a big baby.

“The plan was to try and find as easy a race as we could and it worked out perfectly. He’s ended up hitting the front a little sooner than ideal, as he gets to the front and just thinks ‘right, what do I do now?’ But he’s had a race.”

Crowley pulled alongside main market rival Castle In The Sand between the final two furlongs of the 10-furlong contest and Deira Mile responded to his urgings to prevail by four lengths.

The jockey said: “It’s the first time I’ve ridden him, but I saw him at Chelmsford last year and I think when he hits the front, he just loses concentration a little bit and he did it there, hence why I gave him a smack, because I just don’t want him to get in the habit of doing it.

“The race sort of fell apart at the two-furlong pole and I could have quite easily stayed upsides on the bridle, but he probably wouldn’t have learnt an awful lot.

“But he is learning, he’s going to progress and he stays well – he’s a lovely type of horse and he was entitled to win that race.

“His two-year-old form was very good at the back-end and I suggested to Owen we could possibly put a set of cheekpieces on him, especially in a better race where horses take him further.

“Like I said, he stays very well and there will be some lovely races for him through the summer.”

Azure Blue has the defence of her 1895 Duke of York Clipper Stakes title pencilled in on the calendar as Michael Dods prepares his star speedster for her impending return to action.

The five-year-old appeared to be on a real upward curve in the sprint division around this time last year and followed up a Newmarket Listed win over Heredia on her reappearance by claiming the scalp of the ill-fated Highfield Princess in the York Group Two 12 months ago.

That Knavesmire victory signalled her intentions to compete at the highest level but although she got a first taste of Group One action when finishing sixth in last summer’s July Cup, niggling injuries kept her on the sidelines for the rest of the 2023 campaign.

She is now working towards a return to the track, with her trainer setting his sights on again tackling some of the season’s most prestigious sprinting events.

However, the first port of call is a return to York on May 15, with Darlington-based Dods pleased with how her preparations are going.

“The plan is to go straight to York and we’re on track for that and we’re happy with her,” said Dods. “She’s working nicely and she looks great at the moment.

“The plan is to be in all of those top sprints this year and we’re happy with her, and she’s working nicely. We’re just making steady progress until we get her on the track.

“Hopefully that will be at York, that’s the plan.”

Relief Rally is set for a drop back in trip, as sights turn to the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot following her run in the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury.

A winner of four of her five starts last season, she was highly unfortunate not to be unbeaten as a juvenile, with her sole defeat coming at Royal Ascot when beaten a nose by American raider Crimson Advocate in the Queen Mary Stakes.

Having changed hands for 800,000 guineas in December, the daughter of Kodiac is now owned by Zhang Yuesheng and connections decided to test their filly’s stamina over seven furlongs on her first start of the new campaign.

Despite running with real credit and finishing an honourable fourth as the 7-4 favourite, her trainer feels she should now drop back to sprinting distances and will be targeted at achieving Royal Ascot redemption in the Commonwealth Cup in late June.

“I’m certain she didn’t stay and I said to Tom (Marquand) before the race, this will be the last time she runs over this trip, but I couldn’t not run in it,” said Haggas.

“Whether she is going to be a top filly, I don’t know, but she is going to run six furlongs next time, maybe at the Lockinge meeting against the colts.

“There is a race on the all-weather at Chelmsford (on May 2) for fillies, but that feels a bit hard on her and I don’t think she will go there.

“Tom said she was very weak in the last half-furlong, when he thought he had them covered, so I’m not sure, she may have just got tired as well, but she won’t run seven furlongs again and she’s not going to be running in the French Guineas.

“We’ll try to get her to Ascot if we can, with a run before.”

Aidan O’Brien is keen to see what Chief Little Rock can do back on a decent surface when he contests the Betfred Blue Riband Trial at Epsom on Tuesday.

After winning his maiden on his second outing on good ground, he finished runner-up in two Group races, but they both came with plenty of cut in the ground.

In chasing home Paddy Twomey’s Deepone in the Beresford Stakes and subsequent Group One winner Ancient Wisdom in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket, he nevertheless sets a very good standard for his five rivals to aim at.

The Ballydoyle handler was last successful in this race in 2019 with Cape Of Good Hope, who like Chief Little Rock was by Galileo and went on to finish fourth in the French Derby before grabbing a Group One win in Australia.

“We’re very happy with him and he showed a good level of form when second in the Beresford,” said O’Brien.

“We like him and we think nice ground will suit him, it was nice ground when he won his maiden and we’re keen to learn plenty about him at Epsom.

“His form from last year looks good now and we’ve been very happy with him this year.

“We always thought he would stay a mile and a quarter and maybe a mile and a half.”

O’Brien, of course, houses the hugely exciting City Of Troy, who despite not running in a trial ahead of the 2000 Guineas, has continually seen his form franked, not least by easy Craven winner Haatem, who was over eight lengths behind him in the Dewhurst.

“All is good with him,” said O’Brien. “It’s a case of so far, so good anyway.”

Ralph Beckett’s Feigning Madness is defending an unbeaten record but has plenty to find on ratings, as does Roger Varian’s Defiance, who stepped straight into Group company after a Sandown maiden win and was not disgraced behind Clive Cox’s Ghostwriter in the Royal Lodge.

Arabic Legend has his first start for Karl Burke after being moved from Andrew Balding by owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, while Balding himself runs Bellum Justum, who beat the promising Inisherin last time out.

Kevin Philippart de Foy’s Bur Dubai completes the field.

Patrick Mullins has warned Britain’s leading yards that his father Willie may well aim for back-to-back victories in the jump trainers’ championship if topping the table this term.

The Closutton camp added a rather modest £4,356.80 to their tally when Patrick partnered 2-9 favourite Rath Gaul Boy to an easy success in the Dragonbet Best Odds On Welsh Sport Novices’ Hurdle at Ffos Las.

But that win showed that having already passed the £3million mark with Grand National victories at Aintree and Ayr to build up a sizeable lead over Dan Skelton and Paul Nicholls, Mullins is clearly keen to take nothing for granted.

And if he becomes only the second trainer based in Ireland to claim the UK title, the inspiration is there to push on for a second straight success.

“Myself, Ruby (Walsh) and David (Casey) would love it to be the plan from the start of the season, but Willie is always very much like mind your own garden and don’t let anyone get a foothold at home and do your best there,” Patrick Mullins told Sky Sports Racing.

“The only reason this became possible is because I Am Maximus won the National, if he hadn’t won the National, we wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t have been at Ayr. It’s half a million, so we’d be fourth.

“So that changed things and we’ve been blown away by the support. People have been saying if you want to send a horse to Ffos Las or Ludlow or wherever, then do that. We’re very grateful for that.

“But Vincent O’Brien did it in the 1950s and he did it two years in a row, so if we do win it, maybe we’ll have to come back next year and emulate him! Although to emulate anything Vincent O’Brien did would be very special, because he is the legend.”

Manchester United fan Mullins was at Wembley on Saturday to watch the Red Devils reach the FA Cup final by getting past Coventry, but he took note of how they blew a 3-0 lead and came within a whisker of being knocked out in extra-time before prevailing on penalties.

Nicholls famously overturned a big deficit on the final day at Sandown when the Closutton team were last in pole position to top the table back in 2016.

“We went to Sandown before on the last day and we’ve been here before and we didn’t win, but hopefully this time we can,” added Patrick.

“The bid for the English title has really livened everything up for us at Closutton as well and we’re really enjoying it. I’m delighted to be in Ffos Las, I was delighted to be in Ayr and I can’t wait to be going to Ludlow on Wednesday.

“I haven’t seen a lot of these tracks, so it’s exciting and hopefully we can get it over the line.

“People have been very kind, we were up in Ayr and the crowd were so welcoming and very supportive of us.

“I remember when Man United used to win everything and everyone wanted to beat them, so there is that side of things when you’re successful, but Willie’s always said you take nothing for granted and you don’t know when things can change, so enjoy it while you can.

“We got the bounce of the ball in Ayr, where we got two photo-finishes. Macdermott could have been second and Chosen Witness could have been second, so that would have changed the whole thing again.”

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