Straight from the Stables
This week Tom Dascombe gives John O’Hara the lowdown on his horses
Dascombe hoping for big gamble to pay rich dividends
THE 2010 season promises to be a very interesting one for followers of trainer Tom Dascombe as he embarks on his first full campaign at the state of the art Manor House Stables in Cheshire.
Dascombe, whose star has been in the ascendant for the past two seasons, took the gamble to leave the south and take the helm at Michael Owen’s establishment. And so far so good.
“We have 88 stables in the yard and they are full. Michael owns three horses and he comes down when can, but obviously the football season is still ongoing and he has his priorities there.”
Continuing the soccer theme, there are also three juveniles owned by Manchester United players, as well as an older filly co-owned by Owen, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes.
The former jumps jockey arrived at his new base in August and spent until Christmas making plans before acting on them since.
“I think we are halfway through what we want to do. I am very happy with the development that has taken place, but is it not going to be an overnight success. We are trying to build a future, working on different gallops, different surfaces, and we’re learning by our mistakes. People have to understand that with everything so new mistakes will be made! But we will get there.”
Explaining why he took the gamble, he says: “Far better trainers than me are training half the horses that I am. This is a wonderful opportunity for me and I am going to make the best of it. I think I have a team of horses that will do us proud and we will build on things each year.”
July Stakes runner-up Orpen Grey has left Dascombe, but he reports that the move has generally been well received.
“The owners have been amazingly supportive and some of them who were with me at Lambourn drive six hours to get here. Most of my success is down to some wonderful owners.”
Bagutta Sun (4 b f Diktat – Valhalla Moon)
She was trained by Andreas Wohler in Germany before coming here. She is owned by three lads with Manchester United connections – Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Michael Owen. I know Paul is very keen about racing, while everyone knows of Michael’s love of the sport, but I haven’t met Nicky yet.
This filly won her maiden in Germany in 2008 and subsequently finished second to Copperbeech at Longchamp, and that filly went on to be third in the Marcel Boussac, so you would think the handicapper will hammer her as doesn’t have a handicap mark yet. I ran her at Ripon last week just to get her mark, but she fly-jumped coming out of the stalls and unseated Richard [Smith]. We will head to Leicester on Saturday for a Listed race and hopefully we can get a mark after that.
Blue Jack (5 b g Cadeaux Genereux – Fairy Flight)
He came here having been with Willie Muir, who did a great job with him. He seems a very sound individual and will be a nice sprinter to run at the good meetings over the summer. He started last year in the mid 70s and finished on a mark of 97, but I think we saw last Friday that he still has improvement in him as he won the Dubai Duty Free Double Millionaire Handicap at Newbury in great style. I am not sure that was a great race, but you can’t argue with the time he put up.
I suppose the handicapper will put him over 100 now so we will have to consider looking above handicaps.
I am considering either a 5f handicap at Chester’s May meeting or the Group 3 Palace House Stakes next for him. I am leaning towards the Newmarket race as I think the track would suit him better than the Chester turns.
Brouhaha (6 b g Bahhare – Top Of The Morning)
He is a genuine old boy who loves to front-run and be left alone. When things go his way he is hard to catch and is a real fighter. He started last year with a mark of 45 and ended up on 80, so he has been a victim of his own success. He is having a break and will be back early summer.
Danehill’s Pearl (4 b f Danehill Dancer – Mother Of Pearl)
She is owned by a lovely man called Paul Murphy, who is possibly known for his classy chaser Mad Max. This filly won a maiden over 7f last year and Listed race at Vichy over 1m2f so she is versatile. I know Paul would like her as a broodmare so we will try and get some more black type. We will be looking at Group 3 contests and we could end up going to France again as she enjoyed her experience there. I think possibly 1m2f is her best trip.
Jonny Mudball (4 b c Oasis Dream – Waypoint)
He ran a cracker on his seasonal reappearance when sixth to Kaldoun Kingdom at Doncaster in a good 6f handicap. He led most of the way and was only collared in the final furlong, as he blew up. Being one of my first runners having worked on the new gallops we weren’t sure how much work he would need, but clearly this is a learning process for us and he was just a little short. I would like to think he is on a decent mark and we can soon make up for that recent disappointment. I wouldn’t be frightened to drop him to 5f if I found the right race.
Marine Boy (4 b g One Cool Cat – Bahamamia)
He won on his debut at Newbury in 2008, but hasn’t triumphed since. He promised the world but never got his head in front again, but that is a little harsh as he ran in some seriously good race and often with great credit. His form is not bad, but with a rating of 98 he is going to find it hard. What is frustrating is that his first official rating was 100 and eight winless races later it is only down to 98. We sent him to Pontefract on Monday and he struggled off that mark.
Nemo Spirit (5 gr g Daylami – La Bayadere)
We bought him off William Muir, who did well with him. We liked this fellow’s profile, being by Daylami, whose stock tend to get better with time. I feel Nemo Spirit is coming into his prime now and he was acquired with a view to the decent long-distance handicaps and who knows, if he progresses sufficiently then possibly Cup races. His first run will be the Chester Cup and I have also given him an entry in a German Group race in early June which if the ground were soft at that time would be a serious option for him.
Noverre To Go (4 ch c Noverre – Ukraine Venture)
He won the Shergar Cup Sprint last year off a mark of 88. He is a lovely horse, but he must have quick ground, or the all-weather, which he appreciates. I ran him last month over 5f at Wolverhampton and the trip was probably sharp enough, although he didn’t run badly to be fourth. He is fine now and will be aimed at Ascot over 6f in the middle of next month and could do with a little help from the handicapper. Sometimes when you look at the likes of him and Marine Boy you feel that honesty doesn’t pay as they are forever in the grip of the handicapper.
Prince Of Dance (4 b c Danehill Dancer – Princess Ellen)
His record so far is three runs for three wins. He started off winning a 7f Newbury maiden and followed up over a mile twice, the most recent a Listed race at Newmarket. He looks great after the winter break and we have tentatively given him an entry in the Lockinge. Sure, on what he’s done so far that’s a big ask, but assuming he continues to improve, it isn’t a race you can enter two days before, so we gave him that option. He basically needs softish ground and I would not be averse to stepping him back in trip if necessary as I feel he only just gets home over a mile. He could go to Sandown on Saturday and I would hope he would have a good each-way chance.
Classic Colori (B c Le Vie Dei Colori – Beryl)
I thought he was my best juvenile last year and I have not lost any faith in him. He won a Listed race at Lingfield earlier this year and then rather foolishly I ran him back too soon at Kempton. He is still in the French Guineas and I think he is a bloody good horse. He could well get 1m2f this term but we’ll stuck to 1m for now. I would suggest readers don’t write him off just yet.
Don’t Tell Mary (B f Starcraft – Only In Dreams)
A half-sister to Cape Feat and Exceptional Art, she is pretty smart. Last year she won her first two races including a four-length romp in the Listed Hilary Needler Trophy but injured herself in the Queen Mary and Royal Ascot. We are going to be very careful picking races out for black type and I have given her an entry in two German Group races over 6f and 1m as I feel her best chances are going to come in the quality races aboard. While she showed a lot of speed last year, I think she could possibly get 1m.
Party Doctor (Ch c Dr Fong – Wedding Party)
He ran some terrific races last year, including when just two lengths behind Elusive Pimpernel in the Acomb Stakes. The aim this season is to win a maiden to start with, which I would hope he can do with the minimum of fuss, and then we will have a look at the Dee Stakes at Chester, although I have yet to discuss this with his connections. He has such a great attitude and I think he is better with a little give underfoot. I would be disappointed if he couldn’t win a group race.
Wisecraic (Ch c Kheleyf – Belle Genius)
He is an interesting colt as he won his debut very easily and then ran a stormer in a valuable sales race at Fairyhouse on bottomless ground, which he hated. I then ran him at Newbury when in retrospect I should have put him away. He started this season on a mark of 86 at Newbury last Friday, which I think is reasonable, but he ran no sort of race. I am at a total loss to explain that run as I thought he was in good order. I think we will try him on the all-weather next at Lingfield with a set of blinkers.
Adorable Choice (B/br f Choisir – Burnin’ Memories)
A very nice type of filly, but she isn’t that forward having grown a lot lately. She won’t be rushed but should be ready by June and is one to watch.
Ankh (B f Cape Cross – Everlasting Love)
We picked this filly up in Deauville. For some reason she has an Italian premium and can win double prize money in certain races in Italy, so clearly that will be at the back of our mind. However, we need to know she can go a bit first. She is a beautiful horse and I won’t rush her. At €60,000 I think she could be very good value.
Ballista (B c Majestic Missile – Ancient Secret)
He wouldn’t have the best pedigree in the team, but he has shown ability at home and I would think he will be ready to run by the middle of next month over 5f. With Chester being just up the road, we may look to a maiden there. He’s nice.
Blackleyf (Br g Kheleyf – Cuca Vela)
He has been quite a handful so we felt he would benefit from gelding. He is a relatively early type and we look forward to running him next month.
Brown Panther (B c Shirocco – Treble Heights)
A beautiful, big, strong-looking colt who will be one for the second half of the season. He is bred for middle distances as a three-year-old. He is from the first crop of his sire and I think this colt looks the part.
Coconut Ice (Ch f Bahamian Bounty – Winter Ice)
She is a very nice filly that I decided to start off in a novice stakes at Thirsk last Friday rather than an ordinary maiden, thinking she would benefit from a smaller field. In the end there were 13 runners anyway, but she ran a lovely race in finishing third. She heads to Ripon on Saturday where I think she would have to have a good chance of opening her account.
Countess Ellen (B f Fasliyev – Princess Ellen)
She is a very nice filly who has done all I have asked so far. There is a fillies’ conditions race at Salisbury on May 2 that I am seriously considering as her owners live close to Salisbury and it seems a logical place to start. That will be a hot race, but I have been more than happy with her and I expect a bold show.
Cuban Spirit (B c Invincible Spirit – Shesasmartlady)
A reasonably late foal but the most gorgeous individual to look at. He has a good mental attitude and has shown ability but is a little weak at present. He will hopefully be out next month.
High Table (B c High Chaparral – Inner Strength)
If I have a Royal Ascot two-year-old at the moment then it would probably be this one. He has just been doing lots of cantering and all will depend on how he develops over the next month. I really like him, he is a lovely individual who is straightforward and has a fine attitude. I would think he could be a possible for the Chesham.
Julius Geezer (B c Antonius Pius – Victoria’s Secret)
His debut run at the Curragh was too bad to be true. It wasn’t helped when the horse next to him burst out of the stalls. He ran much better last week at Newmarket behind some decent horses including the easy winner Retainer. Don’t give up on him as he has more than enough ability to win a maiden.
Malpas Missile (B f Elusive City – Second Prayer)
She isn’t that big, but she is pretty straightforward and has been working well prior to her debut at Doncaster on Saturday when she was a cracking second behind Dingle View. She will improve a little for the run, but she was pretty straight for it. There is a 5f race for her at Lingfield on April 30 that I am considering next for her.
Mirror Lad (B c Proclamation – Shaleef)
He is owned by the Mirror Punters Club. He was sent off favourite for the Brocklesby on his debut but hated the ground and ran no race. He fared better at Kempton last week when only two lengths off the winner, but I just wonder if we are trying to make a sprinter out of a horse who needs a trip. He has lots of speed, so next time we will run over 6f, drop him in and hope he shows his speed at the end of the race.
Press Release (B c Elnadim – Last Impression)
He looks a proper two-year-old, being strong, close coupled and a real speedster. He’s done a couple of pieces of work and is virtually ready to run. He can go a bit.
Salmon Rose (B f Iffraaj – North East Bay)
She is a fine-looking filly who has grown quite a bit lately so I haven’t been able to do as much with her as I had hoped and we are a little way off running. She is a nice type and will improve throughout the year.
Trainer’s pick “I have always thought a lot of Wisecraic and he will be worth persevering with”
Reporter’s pick “Tom is very sweet on Countess Ellen who could be good enough to go in first time out”
Dark horse High Table “has not run yet but looks the part”
Handicapper to follow Jonny Mudball “has the form for all to see”