Ben Curtis

Derby 150 Countdown: Quiet Morning at Churchill Monday

After a busy weekend of works, it was a relatively quiet morning for the 20 contenders for Saturday's GI Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Monday. Only two Derby horses are expected to have published workouts this week, with Forever Young (Jpn) (Real Steel {Jpn}) and T O Password (Jpn) (Copano Rickey {Jpn}) scheduled to work Tuesday morning. A day before those works, both Japanese runners followed similar routines Monday, warming up in the mile chute for a half-hour before galloping a mile and a half and then returning to the...

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Honor Marie Fires Five-Furlong Bullet for Kentucky Derby

Ribble Farms, Michael Eiserman, Earl Silver and Kenneth and Dave Fishbein's Honor Marie (Honor Code) worked five furlongs in company with his stakes-placed stablemate Agoo (Munnings) in a bullet :59.20 (1/11) over a fast track on a chilly Thursday morning at Churchill Downs. With jockey Ben Curtis aboard for trainer Whit Beckman, the GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. winner and GII Louisiana Derby runner-up clicked off fractions of :12, :23.80, :35.60, :47.40 and :59.20. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.60 and seven-eighths in 1:27.60. "We can take one breath...

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Seven Days: Bring on the Classic Trials 

I love Paris in the springtime, sang Ella Fitzgerald, and I'm pretty sure it was a thinly-veiled reference to her secret passion for heavy ground three-year-old maidens at Saint-Cloud. What Classic clues may we glean there? Well, maybe none. But I liked the look of Narkez (Fr), who gave his rivals a six-length walloping in the Prix Comrade last Tuesday, picking up where he left off after winning at Clairefontaine last October. Bred by Nurlan Bizakov under his Sumbe banner, the colt represents that magic Siyouni (Fr)-Galileo (Ire) cross, though...

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Another Stakes Winner For Night Of Thunder As Al Musmak Is Ascendant At Haydock

    Al Musmak (Ire) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}) became the second new stakes winner for his Darley sire in one day at Haydock Park after the victory of Flight Plan (GB) in the G2 Dullingham Park S. at Leopardstown. A winner of an Ascot novice race on debut in July, the colt was second to Rosallion (Ire) (Blue Point {Ire}) in the Listed Pat Eddery S. there at the end of the month. Content to sit near the tail of the field as Hot Fuss (Ire) (Calyx {GB}) made...

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Teofilo's West Wind Blows Impresses In Hamilton Romp

One of those who paid for going too fast before it got serious in the Derby, Abdulla Al Mansoori's West Wind Blows (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) showed that big experience had done nothing to dent his natural enthusiasm with a command performance in Friday's Listed British Stallions Studs EBF Glasgow S. at Hamilton. Earning TDN Rising Star status in a 10-furlong novice at Nottingham May 6, the Simon and Ed Crisford-trained son of the G1 Prix de Diane heroine West Wind (GB) (Machiavellian) had run ninth in the Blue Riband having...

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Freshman Sire Highland Reel Off The Mark at Hamilton

Coolmore's Highland Reel (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) became the latest European freshman sire off the mark when the Mark Johnston-trained even-money favourite Highland Premiere (GB) shed maiden status in Thursday's EBF Restricted Novice S. going a shade over six furlongs at Hamilton. The 32,000gns Tattersalls December foal and 15,000gns October Book 2 yearling had earlier posted an Apr. 15 debut fourth over five at Ripon before running third upped to six in a May 18 Nottingham maiden last time. Prominent throughout, he was stoked up when tackled by Smullen (Ire) (Camacho...

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John Gosden Crowned Champion Trainer

John Gosden was on Monday named champion flat trainer for the third year running and fifth time overall. Gosden's runners earned £3,114,226 on the racecourse in 2020, more than £650,000 ahead of Aidan O'Brien. Gosden's stable took home seven Group 1 trophies this year, including a third win in the G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S. for Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) and for Stradivarius (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) in the G1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. "I would like to thank all of my staff for all...

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Ben Curtis banned 14 Days After Breaching COVID-19 Protocols

Jockey Ben Curtis was escorted from Newmarket Friday and will be sidelined for 14 days after breaching COVID-19 protocols. The all-weather champion for the 2019/20 campaign, he currently is fourth in the Flat jockeys' championship standings. A British Horseracing Authority spokesperson said Friday, "He will not be permitted to enter a racecourse for 14 days from today as per the published COVID-19 requirements whilst the matter is investigated further." Trainer Gary Moore was fined £750 earlier this month after breaching protocols at Goodwood, while Mark Gillard and his assistant Steven...

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Dandy Man's Dandalla Takes the Duchess of Cambridge

Imperious when taking the G3 Albany S. by storm, Dandalla (Ire) (Dandy Man {Ire}) made her syndicate members sweat in Friday's G2 Duchess of Cambridge S. at a rain-afflicted Newmarket but ultimately prevailed to complete the notable double. Reluctant to load and a touch tardy from the gates, the even-money favourite raced up the centre of the track in fourth early before being asked to close by Ben Curtis approaching the two-furlong marker. Working hard to gain the lead a furlong from home, she was unable to put the contest...

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Curtis Receives Derby Ride on Highland Chief

Ben Curtis has been handed a first G1 Investec Derby ride on Royal Ascot winner Highland Chief (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}). Trained by Paul and Oliver Cole, the colt was ridden to victory at Ascot by Rossa Ryan but was due to be partnered by Andrea Atzeni at Epsom. However, with Atzeni claimed to ride David Simcock's Mohican Heights (Ire) (Australia {GB}), Curtis has been called up after a brilliant start to the season. "Andrea didn't foresee that he had to ride for someone else and he's got to ride for...

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Dandy Man's Dandalla Streets Albany Rivals

Off the mark over five furlongs at Newcastle June 2, Nick Bradley Racing and Elaine Burke's Dandalla (Ire) (Dandy Man {Ire}) really turned it on in Friday's G3 Albany S. as she came home alone. Sent off at 13-2, the bay travelled with zest anchored in rear early by Ben Curtis as Flying Aletha (Tiznow) cut out the running. Moving between rivals with menace approaching the two pole, she was in front soon after and galloped resolutely to the line for an emphatic six-length success from the 11-4 favourite Setarhe...

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All-Weather Champions Donate To NHS

Each of the winners of Britain's all-weather championship categories, which were revealed on Friday, have pledged to donate some or all of their cash prizes to National Health Service charities to aid its ongoing fight against COVID-19. Godolphin, Mick Appleby and Ben Curtis were announced as winners of the owner, trainer and jockey categories respectively, while George Rooke was named champion apprentice jockey, Dubai Warrior (GB) (Dansili {GB}) Horse of the Year and Agent of Fortune (GB) (Kheleyf) Winning Most Horse. Each of the six categories carries a cash prize...

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