Charlie McBride has revealed that the Listed ‘Bosra Sham’ Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket on October 28th could be on the radar for the promising Zouky (5-2), who extended her unbeaten start to two runs when striking at Haydock Park this afternoon.
The daughter of Zoustar was conceding a 7lbs penalty to the field here after making a winning debut at Newbury over this trip last month, but she showed professionalism in abundance to knuckle down and fight off the attentions of the 5-6 Favourite Kitai for a neck success under Marco Ghiani.
It’s a performance which impressed McBride, who is hopeful that she could follow in the footsteps of Spiritual Lady, who won the Bosra Sham at the Final Meeting for the yard back in 2016.
The Newmarket-based handler said: “I’m very pleased. We always thought she’d be a very nice filly but because she’s trained by a small trainer in a small yard she’s crept under the radar! Last time one or two backed her at 40-1, which didn’t last very long.
“Obviously with a 7lbs penalty we were worried about Mr Johnston’s (Kitai) and it’s very difficult to carry that kind of penalty as a juvenile.
“Marco Ghiani was very confident beforehand and thought she’d take a lot of beating, he rode her last time and said she’d take a lot of beating. He was right! I think we’ll stay at six furlongs with her, her pedigree is very sharp.
“She’s by Zoustar out of a five-furlong mare and she’s a full sister to Ventura Mist. She’s got a lot of speed and is built like a two year old, she’s not enormous but she’s a nice size and I think she’ll have her eye on the Bosra Sham at Newmarket.
“We’ve had two or three horses run in the Bosra Sham, so we planned like a month ago to maybe end up there at the end of the year with a bit of luck.
“We think she’s as good as most of the horses we’ve had, we’ve had some nice fillies that have run at Listed and Group class and we think she’s well up there – we like her a hell of a lot.”
This afternoon’s seven race card is the second of three days of racing at Haydock Park as part of the Sprint Cup Celebration meeting and we could have potentially seen a smart sprinter in the form of William Haggas-trained Khanjar (4-5 Favourite), who boosted his claims for the Ayr Gold Cup in just over a fortnight with victory in The Tin Man Handicap over six furlongs.
The three year old didn’t really dazzle in a muddling affair, but he picked up well for Jim Crowley’s urgings and the jockey feels that a big field handicap like the Gold Cup – for which he will collect a 5lbs penalty for after this success – ought to play into his hands far more than today.
Crowley said: “I was drawn next to a usual front-runner so I just thought I’d track him but we absolutely hacked, so I had to sit close to him with no cover. It was a dash for home really, he’s a horse that probably wants a strong gallop and perhaps if I’d have made all he might’ve been more impressive.
“He’s got the job done and he’ll be seen in a better light when he goes a strong pace. You’d expect the nature of the Ayr Gold Cup would suit, you can see physically he’s an imposing sort of horse and he’s only going to keep improving.”
Meanwhile, jockey Danny Tudhope feels that time could be key to the promising Leitzel (4-7 Favourite), who built on her winning debut here last month when battling to victory in the British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies' Novice Stakes.
David O'Meara’s charge was made to fight all the way to the line to see off the attentions of the Sean Woods-trained Double March in second, but she found plenty despite still showing signs of greenness to tough things out by a neck.
The daughter of Teofilo has some fancy entries in the autumn, including in next month’s Group One bet365 Fillies' Mile at Newmarket, though Tudhope feels that it could be next year when his charge is seen to best effect.
He said: “I think the ground was probably tight enough today and she didn’t travel around as good as she did the last day. She’s still a bit green but hopefully she’s only going to go one way.
“It was a good performance, she’s still green but she’s going places and she could be a nice filly for next year. She’s got a lot of filling up do but she’s a nice horse going forward. Speak to connections about plans but she’s only a baby and she feels it, I think a bit of time could help but who knows.”