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Saturday 24th August

Sat 24 August 2019

Good morning from Newmarket. York has produced some wonderful highlights already this week and builds to a fabulous crescendo with the million pound Ebor this afternoon. We are extremely fortunate to be taking part with the wonderful Red Verdon and another of our most popular horses, Dark Red, is also in action today at Goodwood.

The Ebor, which takes place at 3.40, is inevitably going to be one of the most furiously contested races of the whole year, such is the prizemoney on offer and calibre of horse taking part. Red Verdon didn’t necessarily start the season with this as his stated aim, but following a first pattern race success when taking the Grp-3 Silver Cup Stakes over the course and distance in July, this became the obvious target.

There have been tempting races in the meantime, but we made an early decision to keep him fresh for this assignment. It has become increasingly apparent as he gets older that going to the races fresh suits, and his career record from a break of 50 days or more now stands at an impressive 2621011. We have not quite been able to give him that amount of time between races on this occasion, but the six week gap since his York win should more than suffice.  

We have been drifting all day to a price of around 25/1 at the time of writing, and yesterday’s poor showing from our runners dents confidence a little. However, we know he likes the track and distance, prevailing conditions are no hindrance, we know how to ride him to get the very best out of him, and he seems in excellent form. The five pound nudge up in the weights for his last time out victory might be the reason he is being deserted by the odds makers, and it could well be that he is just a fraction high in the weights. However, I am happy that he is set fair to run a good race, and should he show his true form then it would be nice to think he could take home a slice of the prizemoney at least. We have secured the services of leading Irish jockey Shane Foley for the ride, and here is hoping that they can have a great spin. Best of luck to Verdon and his owner Ronnie Arculli, who is thoroughly deserving of all the success that comes his way.

Also racing in Ronnie’s famous blue and red silks in the 4.25 at Goodwood will be Dark Red, an absolute yard stalwart. He was injured earlier in the year, but has shown in recent outings that he is no back number despite now being something of a veteran at seven years of age. We pulled him out at Windsor the other day as conditions got too quick for him, and we will be monitoring the ground very closely once again today. It could be that Simon Crisford’s improving three-year-old Chance has too much up his sleeve, but that apart this looks a very open race. Dark Red continues in good form at home, has great course form and is sitting on a handy mark now. Provided conditions are not too quick, he really ought to run another good race. Kieran Shoemark takes the ride. 

I hope you enjoy the sport today.

All the best,



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