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Scott McCullagh, ICONIC BELLE & Ronnie - A formidable combination


He's only been with us a short time but apprentice Scott McCullagh enjoyed two more winners on Thursday and Saturday, showcasing his talents under two sorts ideally suited to strike in the formative months of a jockey's education in the UK.

There wasn't much you could say about ICONIC BELLE's latest victory at Epsom on Thursday - it was merely a case of 'more of the same' as the Sweet Partnership's four year old daughter of Sixties Icon made it three wins and a place in her last four outings under McCullagh when taking the Apprentice handicap at the Esher venue.

The mile and a quarter Class 5 event for four year olds and upwards saw ICONIC BELLE jump smartly and, although she excels at front running, McCullagh was smart enough to track The Lord's Walk who was intent on making it.

That he did until a quarter of a mile from home when ICONIC BELLE was asked to extend and she did so in fine style. Clearly the pace was honest but not excessive as the front two were never bothered by any of their five pursuers, with the West Ilsley filly winning by a comfortable half length to record her fourth win of the campaign.

Two days later in the finale of Glorious Goodwood, the valuable Class 3 Qatar Apprentice Handicap went the way of the ever improving THE NIGHT PORTER who recorded his third victory in his debut season as a three year old in a style completely opposite to that of ICONIC BELLE.

The son of Sixties Icon was stone last for much of it as McCullagh took his time before bringing THE NIGHT PORTER home in thrilling and assured style, sweeping past all of his eleven opponents in the manner of a horse with a bright future.

As THE NIGHT PORTER's owner, Mick was obviously delighted with both horse and jockey.

"That'll do! Scott is clearly loving life at the minute and without being too much of a grump, he needs to be aware of how much he's benefitted from having ICONIC BELLE in the form of her life and the fact that THE NIGHT PORTER is a young horse very much going places.

"He knows that though - he's a bright lad and very much from racing stock. His dad Niall has won Group races galore and came over to make sure he settled in with us here and his lad has a good head on his shoulders.

"Hard work is the way forward and if Scott proves to be as progressive as THE NIGHT PORTER he won't go far wrong. He's a smashing individual with a great attitude and untapped potential.

"He's gone up from his mark of 86 on Saturday to 94 now and I can't see that stopping him. Another two winners from Norman Court Stud and another emerging talent underlining Sixties Icon's reputation for prucing winners. 

"I sometimes wonder where we'd be without him as a stallion."

Posted By: Wilsley News

Jon & Julia Aisbitt's CARAVELA (Nearside) - A winner at Goodwood yesterday afternoon


A very pleasing result from an ever improving filly as Jon & Julia Aisbitt's CARAVELA won in thrilling fashion on day two of Glorious Goodwood.

The last six months has seen the four year old daughter of Henrythenavigator finally find a bit of consistency after a series of frustrating setbacks in the first two years of her career and she's a filly very much on the up after yesterday's performance.

Under a patient ride from Andrea Atzeni, CARAVELA (as is her way) was slowly away from the gate and sat in behind the entire field off of what was something of a muddling pace before making her move in the mile and a quarter Class 2 fillies' handicap for three year olds and upwards.

A winner two starts ago at Newbury, a strange situation emerged on her next start at Salisbury where she was essentially in a match race with three year old Savaanah. Acceding six pounds to her rival that day, CARAVELA went down by a length but the tables were very much turned yesterday as she reopposed Savaanah, this time off of level weights.

The final quarter mile, still with plenty to do, the front running Savaanah was still there but Andrea pulled CARAVELA to the outside and once she found her stride she ran right through the line to record an extending length and three quarter victory to the delight of everyone, including the Boss who believes that everything is now coming right for a filly with plenty of ability.

"I hope so anyway! We had a torrid time of stop-start-stop-start niggles with her. It was mainly muscuar and, as with a lot of fillies, once we thought we'd got her sound, she'd often tie up on us and we just had to wait for her system to come right.

"Fingers crossed I think she has now because she's done nothing but flourish this summer and although she'll go up from her rating of 82, that's not a disaster because Jon & Julia are very much into the breeding side of things with their fillies and obviously black type is the long term aim.

"She's not an imposing filly but she's very athletic and once she gets going in the closing stages she really does find an extra gear. I hope there's plenty more to come." 

Posted By: Wilsley News