Owners eye Royal Ascot Group One for top sprinter.
le Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot is next on the agenda for Glen Shiel following his promising return to action in Ireland.
Making his first appearance since providing record-breaking jockey Hollie Doyle with her first Group One victory on Champions Day at Ascot, Archie Watson’s sprinter was a hot favourite for the Group Two Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh.
The seven-year-old could finish only fourth, but connections are optimistic of an improved performance when he returns to Berkshire for the showpiece meeting.
Cosmo Charlton, head racing manager for owners Hambleton Racing, said of Glen Shiel’s Curragh effort: “We were happy enough with that for his first run of the year. He was always going to come on a bit.
“Although he handles heavy ground, obviously the meeting was nearly abandoned. First time back on that ground, Hollie felt he’d come on for the run – and I thought he might just have been on the wrong part of the track as well.
“I think there were a combination of factors – and under a penalty first time out, it was no penalty kick. He could have got away with it, but it didn’t quite pan out.
“It was very much a prep, and it’s all systems go for Ascot now. He certainly handles plenty of cut, but Archie has made it very clear that decent ground won’t be a problem for him.”
Another exciting prospect for the Hambleton team is the David O’Meara-trained Twilight Spinner, who created a huge impression when streaking clear in the Cecil Frail at Haydock La semaine dernière.
The Twilight Son filly has not taken up her entry in Wednesday’s Ballyogan Stakes at the Curragh and does not as yet hold any at Royal Ascot, as connections consider their options.
“I’m not sure where she’ll go next at the moment – we’re just resting on that performance,” said Charlton.
“It was obviously very soft ground at Haydock, and a couple underperformed, but she couldn’t really have been more impressive – she pulled right away in the closing stages.
“She’s clearly a quality horse – and David thinks she could be very, very good, so fingers crossed.
“She’s not in the Commonwealth Cup. There’s a possibility she could be supplemented for something like that, but it’s early days and there is no firm decision on what we’re doing yet.”
Mehmento, who was last seen finishing down the field in the French 2000 Guineas having previously pushed the high-class Chindit all the way in the Greenham, is set for a more immediate outing at Epsom next week.
Charlton said: “The ground was just too slow for him in Paris. We thought he might be OK on it, having won at Southwell really well, but it didn’t work out.
“When he ran in the Greenham at Newbury the ground was on the quicker side, and he quickened up like a really good horse.
"Adam (McNamara) was delighted with him turning for home in the French Guineas, but he didn’t pick up on the ground – it’s as simple as that.
“We’re heading towards the Surrey Stakes at Epsom next Friday. Looking at the weather forecast, it should be decent ground.”