Andrew Balding is one of the leading flat trainers in the UK. The likes of Phoenix Reach, Casual Look and Elm Park has propelled him into a top trainer and he looks to further establish his CV with plenty of big race candidates this season.
Duretto – Won a 1m4f Group Three prize at Newbury in October, and was less than a length off when third in a competitively run Ormonde Stakes at Chester.
“He finished a good third in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester last time out carrying a 3lb penalty. He’s a high-class horse, due to go to Ascot for the Hardwicke Stakes for his next target. I’m hoping he can run well there, and progress into a Melbourne Cup prospect later in the year. He’s very high-class, and probably reaching the peak of his ability now. I’m hoping to have a very good season with him.”
Brorocco – Won a decent handicap at Epsom on his penultimate start before finishing second at Chester. The four-year-old is rated 90, and targeting middle-distance handicaps.
“He won the City & Surburban stakes at Epsom, and then was second at Chester last week to the very progressive horse of Sir Michael Stoute’s. He’s a Shirocco, and he’s just developed very well physically, like most of his sires prodigy do with age. I’m actually hoping he could go on and be more than a handicapper, but he’s still only rated 90 so I think we may go to Epsom for the handicap on Oaks day. Then further ahead maybe the John Smith Cup horse at York later in the summer.
Dancing Star – Won the Steward’s Cup at Goodwood last year, and finished second in a listed contest at Windsor earlier this week.
“She was the Steward’s Cup winner last year, and has been very progressive for us. She just found the five furlongs in the Palace House a little too sharp, but she ran on well with credit. She got better with each run last year, and I’m very much hoping that she could develop into one of our leading sprinters this year. It certainly wasn’t a bad run at Newbury considering the circumstances. She’s got a couple of listed options, and then the main aim would be then the July Cup. She’d need to run well in her next start to justify that.
Count Octave – A Wolverhampton maiden winner, before finishing fifth in the Chester Vase last month
“He stayed on to finish fifth in the Chester Vase, and we were really pleased with that. He was a little bit uncomfortable on the track until the closing stages. He stayed on really well, I’d like to think he could progress to be a St Leger candidate. He’ll probably go to the Queens Vase at Royal Ascot next.
Horseplay – An impressive winner of the Pretty Polly stakes at Newmarket after a 13 length maiden success.
“She won the Pretty Polly and we were delighted by that. That’s served well as an Oaks trial in recent years. She’ll go to the Oaks next, and we’d be very hopeful she can run well there. We’re looking forward to running her there.”