Skip to main content Skip to site footer


Article 5th May 2023 Newmarket

By Graham Clark & Nick Seddon

The colours of ownership syndicate Middleham Park Racing enjoyed a 16.3-1 double with Shouldhavebeenaring (3-1) and The Gatekeeper (100-30 Favourite) both scoring on day one of the QIPCO Guineas Festival at Newmarket today.  

Shouldhavebeenaring got the ball rolling when battling well to come out on top in the seven-furlong Listed King Charles II Stakes.

The three year old son of Havana Grey still had plenty to do entering the final furlong but found plenty for Sean Levey to win by three-quarters of a length from Benacre.

Winning trainer Richard Hannon said: “He has got the heart of a lion. He is not a big horse but he is one of the bravest you will see. I thought he would get seven furlongs and he did get it very well. He has barely ever run a bad race. There was a stage in that race that it looked like he was going to run horrible and he got a little fractious in the gates.

“He has been on the go a bit but he thrives on that. He gets better and better. I’m delighted for the horse. He is a little gem and he didn’t cost a lot of money and it is great for people like Middleham Park. You don’t have to do much with him at home as he does his own thing. It is Sean’s wedding on Monday and I’ve got one or two (rings) I can lend him! We will look at the Jersey (at Royal Ascot) but there is a nice race at Epsom, the Surrey Stakes before that.

“He will handle anything and go anywhere. Ascot is where these guys (owners Middleham Park Racing) want to be though. That kind of compensated for the all-weather (three year old championship) final and he was second. What a little gem he is.”

Successful jockey Sean Levey added: “They went a good gallop and he is a great minded horse. He always turns up. He is just so straightforward. They went a good gallop and that is probably why I’ve been convinced he wants six furlongs as he gets that gallop.

“Over seven if they go that bit steady it doesn’t necessarily suit but they went a true gallop there. I think for us he just keeps finding that little bit more. In a handicap now he is always going to be top weight which is difficult. One of his best runs was over six furlongs in the handicap here but he had to carry a lot of weight. Now that he has shown that he can run against these better types of horses and beat them there are definitely more opportunities to come. He keeps finding that bit more so I don’t see why not (that he could run in the Jersey Stakes). It is hard to say exactly where his limits are.

“It is a big day on Monday with my wedding and that has helped pay for some of it but not enough! I’m excited about it though.”

Charlie Johnston, trainer of runner-up Benacre, said: “It was a very good run. The winner is rated 102 so we had 7lbs to find with him on officials and we were beaten three quarters of a length. It’s probably a career best and if there was a mile Listed race around this sort of time we’d have run in that, but the Heron Stakes (at Sandown Park) isn’t for a couple of weeks yet and he was in smashing form so we were keen to take our chance.

“I’d say we’ll go back to a mile next time, we could easily have finished fifth 100 yards out and he’s hit the line strongest and galloped out strongest, so we’ll go back up and he’s going to be a fun horse this year. On his pedigree you’d say he would go over a mile and a quarter as he’s by Australia, he’ll get a mile standing on his head and it wouldn’t be a surprise if we go further in time.”

Oisin Murphy, rider of third-placed Arabian Storm, said: “I’m very pleased with him, it was a much better effort than at Newcastle. He’s a horse to really look forward to, he’s got a really good pedigree and hopefully he’ll come on again. He’s very gutsy, it’s a shame he got beat but he was tough.”

Four year old The Gatekeeper was the winner of the seven-furlong Nyetimber Handicap, making all for a length success under Andrea Atzeni.

Winning trainer Charlie Johnston said: “Fair play to the owners and the Middleham Park team, because they’ve had to be very patient with this horse. He was a very talented two year old and then had the best part of two years off, so it’s great that they retained the faith and he’s paying them back now in spades.

“You may say he’s done it the hard way but for him he’s done it the easy way there! After two furlongs I thought it was game over as they’d given him an early lead. We know he stays further and we thought if he’s in front coming out of the dip he won’t be caught. His last furlong was his best furlong, he’s going to be flexible between seven furlongs and a mile and the way that race panned out was ideal for him. We’ll work back from the Buckingham Palace Stakes (at Royal Ascot) I’d say, that will be his next target.”



Cookie Policy

We use “cookies” to help enhance your experience and improve the functionality of our website. You can find out more in our cookie policy. We also serve cookies, some with chocolate chips, on our racecourses.