When George Boughey started out in 2019 chasing Classic glory seemed a million miles away, but Cachet could turn his dreams into reality at Newmarket on Sunday 1st May should she secure a victory he admits would mean “everything” in the first fillies’ Classic of the season, the Group One QIPCO 1000 Guineas.
Starting out with just four horses to his name the young Newmarket handler has come a long way since renting a barn at Red House Stables in the town to possessing a string of more than 100 at his current home just a stone's throw away at Saffron House Stables.
Last year was something of a breakthrough for the 30 year old who not only celebrated his first Group race victory over in France, but saddled his first ever Classic runner at Epsom Downs in the form of Cazoo Oaks runner-up Mystery Angel.
Having experienced what it feels like to have a Classic runner in his own name, Boughey now hopes the daughter of Aclaim can build on her comeback win in the Group Three Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket on April 12th on her return to Group One company.
Boughey said: “Last year was amazing and with racing you are always striving to match it or better it. To have a horse like Mystery Angel was well beyond my wildest dreams.
“No one knew Mystery Angel was going to run in the Oaks apart from me until we supplemented her but this has been the aim for Cachet for a long time.
“It is a different buzz because she has probably got a better chance than Mystery Angel on paper.
“There are people that have been with me from the start and we started low grade animals. We are now increasing the quality.
“For me as I train in Newmarket winning the 1000 Guineas would mean everything. Most of those that work for us are Newmarket people and this is one of those races you want to win. It is only my third full year and I never thought we would be here this soon.”
Right from the beginning Boughey believed Cachet had a touch of star quality about her and he fondly remembers the phone call he made to Harry Herbert, Chairman and Managing Director of owners Highclere Racing, ahead of her debut on the Rowley Mile last May.
He added: “I’d never really be over bullish about horses but I did call Harry Herbet before she ran.
“The question I asked was could I put her in the Marygate (Listed race at York) on her debut which was a statement in itself and we talk about that now a year on.
“She has always been impressive at home. It didn’t surprise me that she won well on the Rowley Mile first time out.”
Although Cachet went into the notebooks of many following her debut success it was to be her only victory in a campaign which saw her run a host of respectable races on defeat, most notably when fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf at Del Mar, USA.
He added: “It was 100 per cent frustrating that she didn’t win another race last season.
“With a colt we would have been able to take a drop in grade but she is a filly that needs a pedigree and we were running exclusively in Listed and Group races and we were constantly knocking on the door.
“One thing I wanted to do this year was make her a stakes winner and being able to do that in a Classic trial was great.
“It looked like we might have nicked a Breeders’ Cup but we just missed out, however she is a Stakes winner now.”
It is never a given that horses will train on from two to three but Boughey, whose father James is chairman of Wincanton Racecourse, had plenty of faith that Cachet would excel again this season.
He added: “She always had the right physique to train on and her sire Aclaim was a Group One winner at four.
“I think she was a bit of a weak finisher at the end of her two year old career. She had them all off the bridle in the Fillies’ Mile and got outstayed then didn’t quite hit the line in the Breeders’ Cup.
“I don’t think she has grown much but she has done well physically. She is stronger and much more the finished article now. I think there are lots of good days ahead of her.”
While questions remain about Cachet’s stamina on her return to a mile, one big advantage Boughey believes is in favour of his stable flagbearer is her ability to handle the undulations of the Rowley Mile exemplified by her Nell Gwyn success.
He added: “I personally think she stays the mile. I think in the Guineas she could take on fillies that stay the mile better who might be 10 furlong horses and that might make her look like she doesn’t stay as well but I’d be pretty hopeful she stays the trip.
“She is a very well balanced filly and she loves it at Newmarket.
“She has not been out of the three on all her starts at the Rowley Mile having won her maiden and finished second in the Rockfel and third in the Fillies’ Mile.
“That has got to be a huge help.”
Although looking forward to saddling Cachet in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, given his Dorset roots it would seemingly be more fitting for Boughey to talk about targeting Cheltenham Gold Cups. However training Jump horses was never on the agenda.
He added: “Jump racing was the diet when I was younger and I remember horses like Rooster Booster winning the Champion Hurdle and that sort of thing.
“Flat racing is what I’ve always done though having worked with the likes of Gai Waterhouse and Hugo Palmer and I moved away from the jumps quickly.
“There wasn’t any real ambition to be a jumps trainer. I’ve had limited jump runners and they have run terribly.
“Unless someone sends me a Champion Hurdle horse I don’t think that is where we will be going.”
Keeping a calm head is essential ahead of such important days and Boughey admits he will be doing all he can to enjoy the occasion and not let the pressure get to him.
He added: “I try and keep pretty relaxed. The nerves were up a bit when she got to the post in the Nell Gwyn and I’m sure we will have a think about it the day before the Guineas.
“I’ve got very good people working with me that helps everything move along. The main thing is I’m looking forward to it. I’ve dreamt since I was a child getting a horse of this ability and you have to enjoy it as it might never happen again.
“Oaks day last year was one of the best days of my life. Everything I do I try to enjoy it as if you get too worried you will end up with no hair.
“For me I’m preparing her like it is any other race. As long as she is in good form she will certainly run a big race.”