Roger Charlton Stable Tour
Roger Charlton completed his 25th season in charge at historic Beckhampton last year with results on an upward trajectory. A haul of 52 wins was his best score for 11 years and the stable’s consistency at Pattern-race level was maintained with another six Group victories.
Domestic earnings surpassed £1 million for the second year running thanks largely to the remarkable Al Kazeem, whose return from a failed stud venture was rewarded with a gallant second place in a memorable Champion Stakes, and Group 3-winning miler Captain Cat.
The first Group-race win of 2015 is already in the bag with Al Kazeem, set to be one of the stable standard-bearers again with support from the likes of Captain Cat and Be My Gal, who will be given the chance to fill the gap left by the retired Thistle Bird. Last April produced six winners, and Newbury’s Greenham meeting, where exciting three-year-old Ooty Hill heads, could prove an informative fixture.
“The last few years have been rewarding and very much aided by the likes of Cityscape kicking off with a win in Dubai,” says Charlton. “Bated Breath did a pretty good job around the world, Al Kazeem has been phenomenal and so too Thistle Bird.
When she was a three-year-old no-one dreamed she would even win a Group race let alone a Group 1 race. Her win at the Curragh made the whole season. Last year we were lucky enough to win six Group races. If we could do that this year it would be fantastic, but it’s not easy.”
James Horton’s departure to become assistant to Sir Michael Stoute has resulted in the appointment of Charlton’s son Harry, 28, to the full-time assistant trainer’s role.
“Harry has had some experience with Godolphin,” says the trainer, “and has a background of being a qualified accountant, which is always useful. He is full of new ideas and energy and has very good PR skills, which is important. It will be a great boost for us.”
Yard: Beckhampton House
Location: Beckhampton, Wiltshire
Finest Hour: Winning the Derby and Prix du Jockey Club in his debut season
Assistant trainer: Harry Charlton
Head grooms: Steve Raymont, David Wells, Ricky Evans
Jockeys: George Baker, James Doyle
3yo Dubawi – Mussoorie
He’s an exciting colt who made an impressive debut at Newmarket in October. He’s a half-brother to Dare To Achieve, who stayed a mile and a half and was by Galileo. His dam won over a mile and a quarter in France and stayed a mile and a half and he’s related to some decent horses in France.
He has not been allocated a handicap mark and therefore is likely to start in the 1m2f conditions race at Newbury on the Friday of the Greenham meeting. I’ve put him in the Dante and the French Derby.
It’s all guesswork at this stage but the positive things are he’s by the all-conquering Dubawi, he seems to have a nice temperament and is very big and backward, so he can surely improve from what he did at Newmarket. It’s possible he’ll prefer cut in the ground and I don’t think Epsom would be the right place for him. He may well be better in the autumn and next year.
3yo High Chaparral – Amber Queen
He won a weak race on his debut at Kempton but followed up with a better effort over an extra furlong when he was beaten by a decent Marco Botti horse, Qatar Road. He’ll start in handicaps and, being by High Chaparral, should be suited by 1m2f and could improve.
7yo Dubawi – Kazeem
He ran a really nice comeback race to win the Prix d’Harcourt last week. He was favoured by the conditions in that he didn’t have a penalty while others in the field did but I hope and expect he will improve for that race. Future plans would be a return to Paris for the Prix Ganay, which the Prix d’Harcourt is a trial for.
As it’s on the Sunday of Guineas weekend we could be looking for another jockey. I imagine he’d be meeting Cirrus Des Aigles, who is a professional at winning that race. If that goes well the next races to consider could be the Tattersalls Gold Cup and the Prix d’Ispahan. We’ve always been of the opinion he’s better going right-handed and I think Ryan Moore felt that too. We’ll pick the right races for him and try to keep going.
Be My Gal
4yo Galileo – Longing To Dance
She’ll possibly follow a similar programme to Thistle Bird in that she’s unlikely to stay 1m4f, so 1m2f is probably going to be her best distance. She won a Group 3 in France last year.
She hasn’t been back in training that long but all being well she’ll head to the Middleton Stakes at York and then possibly the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom, which Thistle Bird won twice.
All the mile or 1m2f races for older fillies, the Nassau Stakes being one, could be on her schedule. She’ll need to improve but so did Thistle Bird. We’ll make ambitious entries and it’s up to her whether she’s good enough.
6yo Dylan Thomas – Mother Of Pearl
It was slightly frustrating that after he had run a very good race at Kempton behind Sloane Avenue we probably made the wrong decision by running in Hong Kong. He ran no sort of race for no apparent reason. We gave him a bit of a break and we rather missed out on qualifying for the All-Weather Mile Championship on Good Friday, which he possibly would have been favourite for.
His comeback race in the Winter Derby was a pretty good effort giving them all weight and being beaten less than two lengths, and the form was boosted by Tryster. We’ll keep him fresh for a shot at the Lockinge, which might suit him as there is unlikely to be a big field and there’s a huge amount of prize-money.
In reality we’re playing for the places but if things went his way I would hope he could finish second, third or fourth. Then he would follow a similar programme of Group 3 and Group 2 races to last year. Some people think he’s quirky but he still has a pretty good record.
5yo Henrythenavigator – Moon’s Tune
He had good form early in his career and then lost his way a bit last year for Kevin Ryan. A change of scenery may work out. He belongs to a small syndicate, so it would be nice to try to get him back on track and win a nice handicap.
5yo Elusive Quality – Badminton
He surprised us by winning first time out last year at Windsor at long odds and went on to have a fairly solid year culminating in victory in the Silver Cup at Ayr, where he had a lucky run up the favoured stands rails.
I hope he’s a progressive horse and he is one I think has benefited from a change of scene away from Newmarket. He’s very happy training and much more relaxed. Physically he looks to have done really well. He belongs to a group of enthusiasts happy to have runners in big handicaps and should fit the bill for races like the Wokingham or Stewards’ Cup.
4yo Kheleyf – Azeema
He’s lightly raced with a fairly progressive profile. He has pretty solid form, mainly on the all-weather. We felt he was unsuited by undulating tracks, although he may be better this year now he is that bit more mature. Physically and from a pedigree perspective he ought to stay further than 6f. He will be aimed at nice handicaps and I hope there is better to come. He’s from the same family as Al Kazeem.
Quest For More
5yo Teofilo – No Quest
He’s a fun horse for 2m handicaps. He has won four races, of which two were last year. He’s certainly not well handicapped but he’s consistent and you couldn’t rule out him popping up under the right conditions – quick ground over 2m-plus – during the summer.
4yo Shirocco – Femme Fatale
She had a good season last year, producing her best form at Ascot in July to win a fillies’ handicap by a rather easy four and a half lengths from Felwah, who went on to frank the form by winning twice more. She is suited by a mile and with her rating in the mid-90s we are definitely hoping we can get some black type with her.
Being by Shirocco she should improve but she’s from a fast family and will not necessarily stay further.
3yo Speightstown – Didina
He’s a strong sprinter who was perhaps a little disappointing on his second start and has subsequently been gelded. He should be suited by 6f and possibly 7f, and will start off in a maiden.
3yo Acclamation – Obsara
He’s been gelded over the winter. He ran up to expectations at Windsor on Monday. He needed the race slightly and was up against a fitter rival who had possibly been a bit unlucky at Lingfield. Hopefully he’ll have a good season at around 6f and could go to Lingfield next month for a race Stomp won last year.
3yo Montjeu – Alaia
She’s bred to stay, being by Montjeu out of a Sinndar mare. She will start off at 1m2f
and should be suited by 1m4f. She is likely to run in May.
3yo Sholokhov – Diora
He’s an unraced colt from a good staying German family. He had a training setback last year and still has a bit to learn but should be running by the end of the month. He’s showing promise.
3yo Oasis Dream – Minority
He was perhaps a little disappointing on his second outing, having run well in a decent race at Ffos Las. He came with every chance to win at Nottingham and then faded. Being by Oasis Dream he may have been unsuited by the soft ground and he could drop back in trip to 7f.
3yo Montjeu – Freni
She’s a full-sister to Clowance, who won the St Simon Stakes and was placed in the Oaks. She should be progressive over a trip and could start in early May.
3yo Dansili – Landela
She’s an attractive filly who is bred to stay. She’ll start off at 1m2f and shows promise in her work.
3yo Iffraaj – Marlinka
He’s the first foal of Marlinka, who won a Listed race for Elite Racing. He was in the lucky position of winning two maiden races last year, due to the subsequent disqualification of Strath Burn at Newbury. He followed up by winning a weak race at Wolverhampton. He’s likely to run in three-year-old handicaps over 5f and 6f.
3yo Galileo – Clouded Leopard
She was a weak, backward filly last year but showed promise on her only start at Doncaster in the autumn when a running-on fourth, albeit beaten a long way by the winner. She’s bred to stay 1m4f and should start later this month.
3yo Big Bad Bob – Dolma
He produced an exciting first effort at Newbury to win in slow ground, beating several subsequent winners. He’s a possible to run in the 7f handicap for three-year-olds rated 81-100 at Newbury. We’ll see where we go after that. He’s a half-brother to Thistle Bird and Old Guard, who ran in the Triumph Hurdle.
3yo Dansili – Maganda
She’s a big, attractive filly who got lost in very heavy ground at Newbury on her debut and ran a better race at Lingfield to finish fourth. She should be suited by eventually moving up to 1m4f.
3yo Dansili – Jolie Etoile
She shows a bit of speed in her work and could run in the next few weeks, probably starting over 7f. She’s one I like.
3yo Royal Applause – Silky Dawn
She surprised us a little when she won at Kempton in good style at odds of 33-1. She’ll start life in handicaps and I hope she’ll be suited by moving up to at least 7f. I hope she can win another race or two.
3yo Champs Elysees – Scuffle
She’s from the immediate family of Cityscape and Bated Breath. She made a winning debut at Newmarket in an ordinary-looking maiden but won in good style. She has plenty of size and scope and a pedigree that suggests she should improve as a three-year-old.
3yo Dubawi – Passage Of Time
He made his debut at Newbury in a conditions race, going there with a strong home reputation. I was disappointed when he got beaten. He followed up by winning his maiden at Sandown in good style, although he got the run of the race. Then next time there he showed signs of immaturity when hanging in behind Latharnach. So far I’ve been pleased with his work. Off his rating there are likely to be limited opportunities but I’m hoping to run him in the London Gold Cup at Newbury. His work has been good and he seems happier wearing a hood.
3yo Iffraaj – Harvest Queen
He’s a half-brother to two well-above-average performers in Glean and Barley Mow. He made a very encouraging first start at Newmarket when he was just beaten. He has plenty of size and scope and I hope he’ll progress into a decent three-year-old. He could run at Newbury in the mile maiden race.
There are probably two or three fillies particularly that are bred to be sharp. These would include Quick March (Lawman – Strut), who’s a half-sister to Mince. She hasn’t been in training long but ought to be running by June or July.
Eglantyne Dream (Oasis Dream – Bright Morning) is from the family of Observatory and has been showing up in her work. Oriental Grace (Strategic Prince – Asian Lady) is a full-sister to Oriental Splendour who ought to run early. We probably don’t have any early two-year-old colts but among those I like for later in the year are Pacific Salt (Zebedee – Villa Nova), High Shields (Shamardal – Marine City), a lovely colt from a staying family, Banham (Exchange Rate – Palisade), an attractive horse, albeit a late foal, but a half-brother to Sea Defence. A filly called Archangel Gabriel (Arch – Princess Kris) is showing promise.
She’s a half-sister to a couple of Group 1 winners. For the end of the year there is an unnamed filly by Dansili out of Clowance who could be nice and a half-sister to Suffused and Sleepwalk called Battlement (Dansili – Scuffle) that I like. Pure Fantasy (Fastnet Rock – Fictitious) is a filly who has shown some speed but is going to be one for later in the season.