Trainer Tom Clover admits it feels “very special” for his first-ever Classic runner to be bred by the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum after confirming the unbeaten Rogue Millennium will be supplemented for next month’s Cazoo Oaks at Epsom Downs (Friday 3rd June).
The Newmarket handler announced on Tuesday 10th May that the filly’s owner, The Rogues Gallery, intends to pay the £30,000 supplementary entry fee required to enter the daughter of Dubawi in the mile and a half Group One contest.
Rogue Millennium, who was purchased by connections for 35,000 guineas at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale, enhanced her Classic credentials when following up her debut success at Wetherby in April by the landing the Listed Oaks Trial at Lingfield Park on 7th May.
Should Rogue Millennium win on 3rd June she would be following in the hoofprints of 2005 Oaks heroine Eswarah, who was homebred by Sheikh Hamdan and trained out of Clover’s base at Kremlin House Stables by his late father-in-law, Michael Jarvis.
Clover said: “Rogue Millennium is a lovely filly that deserves her chance to be in the Oaks and it is now very much the plan to go to Epsom. We discussed it several times and both the owners and I are keen to go there.
“For any young trainer to have a horse like her bred by Sheikh Hamdan going for the Oaks is very special. He was a well-respected and hugely popular man.
“Sheikh Hamdan is part of the sport’s heritage and he had so many successes with my late father-in-law Michael Jarvis including winning the Oaks with Eswarah
“To have the chance to train a filly for the Oaks from the same place Sheikh Hamdan won the race with my late father-in-law Michael Jarvis is really exciting.
“I don’t believe we are going there simply to have a runner but because we have a chance. I hope she can make both us and The Rogues Gallery team proud.”
Despite Rogue Millennium not setting the world alight on the gallops ahead of her debut at Wetherby last month, Clover remained confident she would prove a hit once reaching the race track.
Clover said: “She is not the flashiest work horse but she really does find for you. She is a gorgeous looking filly with plenty of strength and depth.
“It was lovely for her to go win the way she did at Wetherby and on the way home we thought that the Lingfield race would be perfect for her.
“Stepping straight up to a mile and a half felt right.
“For her to be caught wide at Lingfield, and be as far back and come through as she did, was a case of her really learning on the job which was exciting to see.
“It was a great performance and wonderful for all the members of The Rogues Gallery that are involved in her. Hopefully she learnt plenty and that there is still more to come.”
Like the majority of her rivals it remains to be seen if Rogue Millennium will prove as effective at Epsom Downs, however Clover believes the track should hold no fears for his newest stable star.
He added: “You would hope she would be fine around Epsom having won an Oaks trial on track that has got undulations but nothing can truly replicate Epsom.
“She was balanced enough to handle Lingfield on her second start over a mile and a half around there.
“It is usually beautiful good to firm ground around Epsom at that time of year so it should all be fine for her.
“Hopefully she does improve again but she has got a huge advantage in having a great father and a mother (Hawaafez) who was a Group Three winner over a mile and a half.
“She has been bred by a fantastic operation so you would like to think she would hopefully have a chance in the race.
“Having a runner in a Classic is something new to us and now the focus is on getting the filly there in the best possible shape we can. It is exciting but we just want a smooth run.”
The Cazoo Oaks is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
It could be another weekend to savour closer to home for Clover who intends to saddle Zain Sarinda in the Listed Denbury Homes Fairway Stakes (1m 2f) at Newmarket on Saturday (14th May).
After securing a brace of wins at Wolverhampton the son of Churchill finished third on his turf debut at Epsom Downs last month over the same trip in the Cazoo Blue Riband Trial.
With the switch to racing on the Rowley Mile expected to suit Zain Sarinda much better Clover hopes the lightly-raced colt can regain the winning thread and book his ticket to Royal Ascot.
He said: “He ran a great race but he probably didn’t handle the track which has therefore put our dreams of the Derby on hold.
“Jack Mitchell (jockey) had to spend more energy correcting him as opposed to going forward as he didn’t handle the camber but at the same time he wasn’t beaten far.
“We have been really pleased with Zain Sarinda since Epsom and the Fairway Stakes was on the agenda after that run with a view of going to Royal Ascot afterwards.
“What race he runs in at Royal Ascot remains to be decided as he is entered in the King Edward VII over a mile and a half but there is also the Hampton Court over a mile and a quarter. We will cross that bridge nearer the time.
“The Fairway Stakes is a nice pot to win and it will not be a given as it is a Listed race so it won’t be easy but hopefully he will give a good account of himself.”