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Trainers revise plans for Club horses

Trainers revise plans for Club horses

20 April 2020

The global Coronavirus pandemic has had a profound effect on the European racing industry, and recent BHA announcements suggest that a return to any form of racing under Rules in Britain may not be likely, even with restrictions, until late May/June.

With the race programme remaining uncertain, trainers are having to adjust the race plans for their strings on a regular basis, as well as their corresponding exercise schedules. This has meant that our Club trainers have had to think outside the box with a few members of our string.

With no Jumps racing until July at the earliest, Wiltshire trainer Alan King (pictured above) has had to go back to the drawing board with the eight-year-old ELGIN, a multiple Graded-race winner over timber, who had been on the sidelines since 2018, following a tendon injury. Elgin returned to action in the rescheduled Kingwell Hurdle at Kempton on 22 February, but the suspension of racing in Britain, announced on 17 March, thwarted plans for a follow-up run over hurdles. Instead, following the Coronavirus outbreak, Elgin is being prepared to run on the Flat as and when racing resumes. A dual winner on the level already, hopefully he can show some of his old sparkle on his next start.

In terms of horses with definite targets, perhaps the one most notably affected by the suspension of racing was our winning-most Club horse to date, JUDICIAL. After a successful campaign in 2019, during which he won three races, including two at Listed level, our prolific sprinter ended the campaign on his joint-highest official rating to date of 109. Longstanding Club trainer Julie Camacho had been firmly aiming Judicial for the valuable sprint final at the All-Weather Championships, at Lingfield on Good Friday. However, the suspension of racing has led the Norton-based trainer to revise plans, with Group and Listed races on the turf very much back on the agenda for Judicial, who also has the option of running over 6f, further to his stylish win in a Listed race over 6f at Lingfield last November.

One who showed a deal of promise last year was MAURICE DANCER, who rounded off 2019 with a first win on a step-up to seven furlongs. Julie Camacho is pleased with how he has matured into a three-year-old this season, and hopefully the promise he has shown on the gallops in recent weeks will translate to the racecourse this summer. His year-younger half-sister, OH SO QUIET, is coming along nicely, while his fellow three-year-old and stablemate LORETTA is reported to have improved physically in leaps and bounds this year; this will hopefully give her every chance of adding further victories to those achieved by her siblings, including Judicial and the now-retired dual Group 1 winner, Marsha, who was sold by the Club at the end of 2017.

Newmarket trainer James Fanshawe has saddled plenty of Club winners over the years, including SINCERITY and CANASTA, two of the three Club horses currently in training at James's Pegasus Stables. Both Sincerity and Canasta are currently ticking over, with the aim of bringing them up to speed when firm race plans can be made, and both have claims for further successes in handicaps this season. Their stablemate VIOLA ran a very encouraging race when finishing eighth in what looked to be a competitive fillies' maiden at Doncaster at the back end of last season. Having wintered well, hopefully Viola can build on her promising debut in due course.

Naturally, not every member of our string was set to run in the coming months, so some have not been affected by the suspension of racing. Looking ahead, we look forward to hopefully seeing AMALFI BAY make his racing debut later this year. Out of a three-year-old winner over the middle distances, our attractive homebred son of Lope De Vega always looked like one who would be likely to run in the second half of 2020, so is well placed in the patient hands of his trainer, Roger Charlton.

Over Jumps, our dual-winning hurdler CONSTANCIO is currently being built up by Donald McCain for a campaign on the Flat, before going back over hurdles at a later date, while LISHEEN CASTLE, a winning juvenile hurdler in early 2019, is recovering from injury under the watchful eye of Champion Jumps trainer Nicky Henderson, and will hopefully be back in action this autumn.

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