Hughie Morrison is hopeful that he can pick up some more valuable black type this term with recent recruit One For Bobby (17-2), who showed an excellent attitude to strike on her first start of the season in the Listed British EBF Nottinghamshire Oaks at Nottingham today.
The four year old joined Morrison in January having won twice in Ireland as a three year old for Johnny Murtagh and she certainly showed a liking for the soft conditions here under jockey Rob Hornby, showing a good attitude to reel in the long-time leader Pink Carnation (16-1) – who for a long time looked as though she had slipped the field.
One For Bobby was carrying the famous colours of the late Irish owner-breeder Frank Dunne, who was perhaps best known for owning the 1983 Japan Cup heroine Stanerra and Morrison was delighted to see everything come together.
He said: “She has never put a foot wrong at home
“She came in at the end of January looking well and she’s worked well - I was amazed when I saw she was 16-1 in the Racing Post this morning. I fancied her, but it did read like a decent race. She liked the ground which helps and we worked out at home that she likes soft ground.
“It’s very competitive in Ireland and the thought was that we could get her some better opportunities here. She’s done well there and I think she’ll stay further, she’s done a lot of running on fast ground last year and I think some cut just suits.
“This was the main plan for her, but we’ll have a look and see if there are some fillies pattern races which ought to suit. I think we’ll give her the jabs needed for her to go to France.
“She carries some very famous colours of the late Frank Dunne, who sadly died last year. His partner (Ann Marshall) has carried it all on, so it’s lovely.”
The winning jockey Rob Hornby added: “I didn’t know a lot about her, I don’t think many did with her coming over from Ireland. She seems very uncomplicated and enjoyed the conditions.
“I wasn’t worried about Danny (Tudhope on Pink Carnation), Hughie was confident she would stay further and it was quite testing ground. It was nice to have a target to aim at and she stays.”
Elsewhere on the card, joint-trainer Chris Grassick is eyeing up a tilt at Royal Ascot with the improving Maggie's Way (12-1), who took advantage of positive tactics from James Doyle to open her account in the Follow @racingtv On Twitter Fillies' Handicap over an extended mile.
The daughter of Cityscape had shown some promise in three starts as a juvenile last autumn and her joint-trainer is hopeful that there’s plenty more to come from her this term now that she has got her head in front.
Grassick, who shares the licence with William Muir, said: “We felt a bit unlucky with her race at Kempton (two starts ago in October 2022), we were collared on the line and often what happens there is they just come on top of you. That filly of Haggas’ (Five Towns) has yet to run since but we’ve never lost faith of this filly over the winter, she’s always shown plenty and galloped very well with a great attitude.
“We came here quite bullish and her price probably didn’t reflect our feeling, so it was nice that she was able to get the job done for us on her first start of the season. The owner (Dr J.A.E Hobby) bred her as well so it’s lovely that she could get the job done.
“I think we’ll look to have one more run before Ascot if we can and then we’ll get her to the Royal meeting for the Sandringham. A stiff mile there will suit and we’re hopeful she’ll get in – you usually need a mark in the low eighties.”
It also proved to be a productive afternoon for Irish trainer Jack Davison, who saddled his first winner in Britain when Thunderbear (18-1) won the penultimate Bet At racingtv.com Handicap in some style under Ronan Whelan.
The three year old was a virtually unconsidered 18-1 chance for the six furlong contest, but he travelled remarkably well into proceedings under Whelan, picking up the leader Mutaany with considerable ease in the closing stages.
And speaking after the race, Davison revealed that he would certainly be venturing over the Irish Sea more often after this successful raid. He said: “It was just the way it fell really, it suited us to bring him over with the other filly (Hotter Than Hades). This race just happened to be on the programme and it suited him down to the ground, he doesn’t mind a bit of ease in the ground and it was all quite straightforward. He’s a nice horse for the future.
“This is my first winner in the UK, but I’ll be looking to bring more horses over here now – I’m absolutely buzzing! He’s a homebred as well and credit to my parents, he’s a pretty useful horse. There might be a nice race for him at Ascot next month, we’ll see.
“We have our own private operation near Fairyhouse and it’s very much so far so good. My parents aren’t here unfortunately as I don’t think they were too convinced about the transport costs, but now it’s been justified!”