The 2018 flat season is already a month old, and thankfully it has been a good start for the team here in Rathbride Stables, with five winners on the board already.
We didn’t have long to wait for our first winner of the season. Jungle Jane in a two-year-old maiden at Dundalk on 28 March was quick out of the stalls and tough at the end of the five furlongs to claim a win on her first start. She is owned by Madeline Burns and by the Burns’ family’s first season sire Bungle IntheJungle so it was great to be training one of his first winners for the Rathasker Stud team. Jungle Jane is a really sharp filly with lots of boot and enjoys fast ground as she doesn’t bend the knee much.
Downforce was busy over the last month as we had to make the most of the opportunities presented by the wet weather. He loves soft and heavy ground so we kept him on the go while the ground was suitable for him and he ran four times during April, winning once and being placed twice. His victory came in the Listed Cork Stakes at Navan over five and a half furlongs on 7 April and he really enjoyed the heavy ground that day. We ran him back quickly at the rescheduled Naas fixture six days later in the Group 3 Gladness Stakes, this time over seven furlongs and he ran well to be second to Psychedelic Funk. For his latest run we took him to Leicester last Sunday for the Listed King Richard III Stakes, keeping him at the seven furlong trip. It was his preferred heavy ground and he put up another good performance to take third. We have to take whatever opportunities come our way for Downforce as he is ground-dependent and won’t run when the weather dries up and the tracks dry out.
Downforce making the most of the heavy ground.
Bloomfield gave us our first blacktype win of the 2018 season when taking the Listed Noblesse Stakes at Cork on 15 April. She was second over course and distance in the Group 3 Munster Oaks on her third and final start of last season. A homebred filly for John Connaughton from the family of the brilliant broodmare Cassandra Go, it’s great for her pedigree that she is now a blacktype winner The going in Cork was heavy and I think she appreciates a bit of ease in the ground. She stays well too and I wouldn’t have any problem going a bit further with her as she matures. Bloomfield is a lovely filly and I’m really looking forward to what she can do this year.
We were delighted for Mary Tudor to break her maiden on her seasonal reappearance in the Listed Salsabil Stakes at Navan on 22 April. She had very good form as a two-year-old, being placed twice in Group company, including when she was third behind Happily and Magical in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes at the Curragh back in August. Happily went on to win the Moyglare and Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere Stakes while Magical was placed in three Group 1 contests so Mary Tudor had a high level of ability and it was important to get her to win. A Godolphin homebred from the family of Street Cry and Shamardal, we ran her in a hood for the first time at Navan and she really saw out the ten furlong trip very well. I think she will get a mile and a half later and she is a filly that we really like and one to look forward to for the season.
So Long Marianne was a debut winner of the six furlong three-year-old fillies’ maiden at Naas on 13 April. Owned by Garret Freyne, she is from a family that I know well and have enjoyed success within the last few years as a relation to Colour Blue. She ran in Garrett’s colours too and was a good mare for us a few seasons ago. Hopefully this filly can be lucky for us too, she definitely started off the right way.
Samasthiti made a pleasing debut in a ten furlong fillies’ maiden at Leopardstown on 16 April, grabbing second on the line. By Camelot, she was a bit green and slow leaving the stalls but she will have learned a lot from the experience and should give her Swiss owners, Marco and Natalie Steinmann, plenty of excitement as she progresses. Our young apprentice Nathan Crosse steered Thiswaycadeaux into third in the fillies’ sprint handicap at Navan on 22 April while Cian MacRedmond, another young lad who works in the yard rode Sweetest Taboo in the apprentice race on the same card. He won with her last year and was placed, this time they finished third and hopefully there will be more opportunities for them to add to their wins this year.
The first few weeks of the season have gone well, with five winners in the opening month and some promising placed runs as well as two of our nice fillies winning their listed races.
Hopefully we can get them to go on to even better things from here and kick on ourselves in the yard. Before the Bank Holiday weekend racing, we were fourth in the leading trainers’ table with a significantly smaller amount of runners than the yards above us. It’s a good start and the aim is to keep this up as the season progresses.