'I Have Seven New Bays out of 40 Horses': Chapple-Hyam on her Royal Ascot Heroes

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Saffron Beach with Lucy Sangster, left, Lisa Williams and Jane Chapple-Hyam | racingfotos.com

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Jane Chapple-Hyam may have lived in Britain for many years but she is still a proud Aussie and thus played her part in bringing an international feel to last week's results at Royal Ascot.

And what a part it was. The powerhouse Coolmore and Godolphin stables of Aidan O'Brien and Charlie Appleby may have had more winners at the meeting, but Chapple-Hyam more than held her own on two winners, equal to William Haggas, Richard Fahey, Karl Burke and George Boughey, all of whom have greater reserves to call upon. In fact, her strike-rate was second to none, as the Abington Place trainer took just three horses to Ascot, with Saffron Beach (Ire) (New Bay {GB}) and Claymore (Ire) (New Bay {GB}) each winning their group-race assignments while the older stager Intellogent (Ire) (Intello {Ger}) was second in the fiercely competitive Royal Hunt Cup.

“You always hope it will happen but it's so competitive that you normally come home scratching your head, because it's such hard company. And it's hard to win a race anywhere, let alone Ascot,” says Chapple-Hyam as she reflects on an outstanding week for her stable which was rounded off with another winner at her home track of Newmarket on Friday evening. 

The statuesque Group 1 winner Saffron Beach has filled the role of stable star in Chapple-Hyam's select team for three seasons now and, arguably most pleasing of all was her return in fine style in the G2 Duke of Cambridge S. after a decent fourth-place finish behind some stiff opposition in the G1 Dubai Turf in March.

“I was standing next to David Loder and he just made it sound so easy. When we'd gone two furlongs, he said, 'You win',” says Chapple-Hyam of the filly's three-and-a-half-length victory.

“She's just short of 500 kilos, and she's just developed into such a powerful filly. If you look at her from behind and side on without looking at her head, you would think she was a colt.”

With a Royal Ascot win to sit alongside last season's Sun Chariot success and 1,000 Guineas second, Saffron Beach is now being primed with a major end-of-season target in mind.

“Our goal is really to get to the Breeders' Cup, so we're kind of working backwards from that and we don't want to over-race her, so we didn't put her in the Falmouth,” says Chapple-Hyam, who trains the 4-year-old on behalf of her step-brother Ben Sangster and his wife Lucy and son Ollie, as well as James Wigan.

“We feel we should aim for things like the Prix Rothschild at Deauville, and then we've got the Sun Chariot just up the road.

“As a 2-year-old and early 3-year-old, I could run her every fortnight, But now we're being sensible. We're spacing time between her races, which is sensible, because then we should get to the Breeders' Cup and have a good chance without being over the top.”

There was relief coupled with joy in the case of Claymore bouncing back from his last-place finish in the G1 Poule d'Essai Poulains. The colt, owned by South African-based Mary Slack, who also owns the yard in which he is trained, made just one winning start as a juvenile before chasing home Native Trail (GB) for second in the G3 Craven S.

“It was just so, so disappointing in France,” says the trainer. “My heart sank when I saw the draw, 16 of 16. And then I suppose in hindsight, I should have pulled out, but I'm not one to withdraw because of a bad draw. And the good side of it was, he travelled over there, he was stabled at Longchamp. He went there a teenager and he came back a man. The whole trip was perfect for a learning experience.

“But unfortunately, just a bad draw and a bad run. We had to put a line through the French Guineas and I was quietly confident [at Ascot], even though I was taking on an odds-on shot.”

With a Group 3 win in the book, Claymore will now start to step up the grades again, with the G2 York S. his likely next target on July 23.

She adds, “I think he'll develop in to a lovely 4-year-old. I think that these New Bays just get better with age.”

Chapple-Hyam is in as good a position as anyone to comment on the Ballylinch Stud stallion New Bay as the trainer of his sole Group 1 winner to date and two of his six Group winners. Just across the road from her stable at Sir Michael Stoute's Freemason Lodge is trained the exciting prospect Bay Bridge (GB), runner-up in the G1 Prince of Wales's S. and bred and co-owned by James Wigan, who is also involved in Saffron Beach. Meanwhile Wigan's son Harry is one of the owners, in a group involving Mimi Wadham and Violet Hesketh, of Chapple-Hyam's latest winner by New Bay, Nizaaka (Fr). The 4-year-old won at the July Course on Friday evening on her second start for the trainer after being bought at last year's December Sale.

“I'm very proud to say that I have seven New Bays in the yard out of 40 horses, so I'm pretty happy about that,” she says. “Lucy Sangster and I also bought a mare called Vitamin in December that was in foal to him. We thought, 'We'll jump in now and get one', knowing that I had Claymore and Saffron Beach. We got a lovely colt and then we sent her back to New Bay. So we're just trying to buy every New Bay we come across.”

The 80-rated Nizaaka, like Saffron Beach, could have her passport stamped for France this summer. Her trainer says, “I feel the team might have a little venture over to Deauville. She's a nice filly and she can only improve her game. We'll try and pick up some black types somewhere along the line.”

Meanwhile, Fiona Carmichael's former French-trained Intellogent, who won the G1 Prix Jean Prat while in the care of Fabrice Chappet, could be back on longer-range missions. The 7-year-old has already raced in America, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, as well as Britain and France, and Chapple-Hyam is eyeing a return for the G3 Bahrain International Trophy in November.

“He's quite a clever horse is our Ted, as we call him, and I feel he did extremely well considering he was drawn in four,” she says of his Royal Hunt Cup run, in which he was beaten half a length by Dark Shift (GB).

“He's obviously had issues before he came to me but they seem to be all ironed out now, and he's enjoying his racing. And really he was campaigned a lot over a mile and a quarter but I felt a Hunt Cup mile would be fine because they go so quick, and that he could then work his way back over the top of them.”

She continues, He's got an entry at York in the John Smith's Cup. I was fortunate to have a runner in the first Bahrain International, and actually Intellogent ran there and I was stabled next to him. And he ran well at that track, so I'd love to send him back there.”

Chapple-Hyam first came to prominence as a trainer when her 100/1 shot Mudawin (Ire) landed the Ebor in 2006, in her first full season with a licence. She has never been afraid to travel her horses and has saddled runners in France, Germany, America, Dubai, Bahrain, Saudi, and her native Australia. She is also not averse to pitching them into smart company, with the end result being a string of stakes-race successes of which stables twice the size would be proud.

“Well, we just do our best with what we've got,” she says modestly. “It's always a cold, hard winter. So for me, this winter, having Saffron Beach and Claymore made it a lot easier to get out of bed.”

Those early mornings must be getting easier all the time.

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