Glen Shiel Champions Sprint Ascot

2020 review, part two

30th December 2020

The second part of our 2020 review follows on neatly from the first as Highland Dress was our first winner after racing resumed, winning in great style on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile in June.

The win was a second consecutive success for a horse who would climb to an official rating of 102 by the end of the year, having placed in Listed company along the way.

Talented sprinters provided lots of success for our horse racing syndicates during 2020, with Magical Spirit another name to remember. A bargain €20,000 buy from the breeze-ups, Magical Spirit has improved year on year and enjoyed another fantastic year, kicking off with a taking win at Beverley in June. More on him later.

Talented two-year-old filly Country Carnival was another to win at Beverley, scoring with ease under Shane Gray. Having shaped well on her debut at Newcastle, the daughter of Rural Celebration showed marked progress to win in great style. She would go on to get black type at York and finish an impressive runner-up at Glorious Goodwood.

Another nice two-year-old winner was Tinochio for Kevin Ryan, who built on his hugely promising Pontefract debut with a smooth win at Hamilton. Further good runs in the Super Sprint at Newbury and Goffs Premier Sales race at York gave his owners some great excitement and he remains another exciting prospect for 2021.

Our final winner of a very productive June was Glen Shiel, who’s win in a 0-105 Newcastle six-furlong handicap earned him a Racing Post Rating of 111, a rating that suggested he’d be able to feature in Group races over six furlongs later in the year (spoiler alert, he was!).

July was a month were a few horses gained well-deserved wins. Rebel Soldier Boy had been knocking on the door prior to winning at Catterick while Dublin Rocker won in good style at Yarmouth to break her duck. Stars In The Night was another Catterick winner after a series of good efforts for the Kevin Ryan team. She remains at Hambleton Lodge and having wintered well has more to offer.

Wild Hope enjoyed a change in tactics at Doncaster towards the end of July, scoring under a masterful ride from Kevin Stott under ten stone. The son of Kingman produced some good, consistent efforts towards the end of the year and can do better again next year.

August kicked off with another win for Glen Shiel who toyed with rivals in a six-furlong conditions race at Newcastle, which was to tee him up perfectly for the rest of the season, starting on the following Sunday, 9th August, which was to prove a day to remember in more ways than one.

The loveable Watchable kicked things off perfectly, continuing to prove that age was just a number after winning at Thirsk in typically game style.

Next up was superstar globe trotter Maystar, a horse who’s taken his owners to Doha, Ireland and France with great success in the past year.

Typically well prepared by Archie, Maystar headed to Deauville for the Listed Prix Moonlight Cloud as one of the outsiders but with a strong form chance on his best form. Bounced out early on by Hollie, Maystar quickly made his way to the front and fought off all comers to win in typically game style under a copybook ride and provide another magic moment for his horse racing syndicate.

With two winners from our first two runners, attention turned to Ireland where Glen Shiel was lining up in the Group 3 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh. Glen completed the perfect day, staying on strongly in the closing stages for a famous win, despite not getting a perfect run through.

To score a win at that level was a huge thrill for his horse racing syndicate on a day few of us will ever forget. We were inundated with congratulations from owners, with many delighted having put the horses together in fun bets. Those that did were handsomely rewarded with the winners returned at 3/1, 32/1 and 12/1!

A name for the future is Roman Encounter, a filly who made the perfect start to her career when winning well at Beverley later in the month while another Kevin Ryan inmate Soaring Star went on to register a deserved first success at Ayr, making all the running under Kevin Stott.

September started with huge excitement as Glen Shiel lined up in the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup. His form was there for all to see and with the soft ground confidently expected to suit hopes were high of a big run in one of the biggest races of the year.

Glen and Hollie proved naturals at the top table, travelling with ease towards the head of affairs before running on strongly to finish runner-up to Dream Of Dreams with several Group 1 winners behind.

Elsewhere in September Watchable added yet more prize money to his earnings column with another win at Chelmsford in September before Kevin Ryan provided us with another big winner, this time via Magical Spirit in the Ayr Silver Cup. Magical is a horse Kevin has always been very fond of. With better again expected next year, hopes are high he can make yet another step forward in 2021.

October provided the moment of the year as Glen Shiel headed to Champions Day with Hollie Doyle aboard. Hollie and Glen bounced out of the stalls early on and battled on in tremendous fashion to repel all comers in one of the most exciting finishes of the year. With the majority of his horse racing syndicate present at Ascot there were some incredible scenes as the result of the photo finish was announced with just about everyone present in tears!

This really was the stuff of dreams – a horse bought for just £45,000 less than 18 months earlier winning on the biggest stage of all. The result confirmed something we’ve always maintained – working with top trainers it’s perfectly possible to compete in good races with intelligently bought bloodstock.

To see so many great friends and owners living their racing dream was an extra special moment and one we’ll be hoping to repeat in 2021 as Glen returns for more big races.

Our final two winners of the year came in very different circumstances, exciting novice chaser Whoshotthesheriff providing a big win for his owners and trainer Phil Kirby when scoring in great style at Carlisle under Sean Quinlan before Highland Dress provided another notable win for his horse racing syndicate at Lingfield, scoring his first win over seven furlongs for Archie.

The son of Shamardal is another fine advert for Archie Watson’s skills and yet another exciting horse to look forward to next year.

A few images from this year appear below. We believe we’ve amassed an even stronger squad of horses for 2021 which is very exciting.

When times are challenging racehorses have the ability to transport us away to another place. We’re more committed than ever to try and make some more special memories for our wonderful owners next year, with a particularly exciting group of youngsters ready to strut their stuff.

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