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Ballymount aiming to be top Boy in Greenham

Ballymount aiming to be top Boy in Greenham
Ballymount aiming to be top Boy in Greenham

Ballymount Boy will cut his teeth as a three-year-old in the Watership Down Stud Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes at Newbury.

The Adrian Keatley-trained Camacho colt enjoyed a good juvenile season, taking a Hamilton maiden before showing a great deal of promise when finishing just a length behind Vandeek in Goodwood’s Group Two Richmond Stakes.

Vandeek subsequently went on to score twice at Group One level in the Prix Morny and the Middle Park, while Ballymount Boy was runner-up in the Acomb and then the winner of the Listed Prospect Stakes at Doncaster.

He will be seen for the first time this term at Newbury on Saturday, competing over seven furlongs at Group Three level before the rest of his season is mapped out.

“We’re looking forward to running him, the draw hasn’t been very kind to us (stall 11) but he won’t mind the ground,” said Keatley.

Ballymount Boy (fourth left) at Doncaster
Ballymount Boy (fourth left) at Doncaster (Richard Sellers/PA)

“Hopefully it’s a good starting off point and we’ll know where we’re at for the first half of the season after Saturday anyway.

“He has form on firm ground and he has form on soft ground, even from his worst run in France last year (eighth in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere), his form has worked out, with Brian Meehan’s horse (Jayarebe) who finished in front of us that day and won well on Thursday.

“He’s good, solid form from last year, he’s only a length off the highest-rated three-year-old in England in Vandeek, so he’s very much entitled to take his chance in this.”

Wathnan Racing acquired Ballymount Boy midway through last season and also own Mister Sketch, trained by Eve Johnson Houghton and also set to run in the Greenham.

The Territories colt ran three times last year and was beaten just a neck on debut before winning a Salisbury novice by nine and a half lengths in mid-August.

Mister Sketch (right) in the silks of his prior owners
Mister Sketch (right) in the silks of his prior owners (Adam Davy/PA)

From there, he stepped up in grade to contest the Mill Reef and was beaten only half a length by Andrew Balding’s Array on heavy ground.

“He’s in great form, he’s done some nice work,” Johnson Houghton said.

“At this stage, this is a stepping stone to know which direction we’re going to go with him.

“He’ll love better ground but I think this ground will be OK, he is a lovely horse but he’s very much still a work in progress.

“He’s improving all the time, I thought he ran really well in the Mill Reef and I think we’ve got a very nice horse on our hands.”

David O’Meara runs Esquire, a Harry Angel gelding owned by Cheveley Park Stud.

A Hamilton winner on debut, he was then second to a very useful horse in the Balding-trained Purosangue in the Listed Rockingham Stakes at York in October.

His next run came in the Prospect Stakes at Doncaster, where he was sixth as Ballymount Boy came home in front.

“I think he’s a progressive horse, trip-wise he may be more suited to six furlongs, going forward,” said Chris Richardson of Cheveley Park.

“He prefers a bit of ease in the ground, so we’ve got our conditions.

“Like all these races at this time of year, it’s very much a fact-finding mission, whether he’s good enough or not, we will learn a huge amount about his potential, so we’ll roll the dice.”

Another notable contender is Ralph Beckett’s Zoum Zoum, a chestnut son of Zoustar who was unbeaten last year when winning two novices and the Listed Prix Herod at Saint-Cloud.

One of those novice runs was a two-and-a-half-length victory over Kikkuli at Newmarket, an interesting piece of form as that horse is a Kingman half-brother to Frankel and subsequently won a maiden at the same track earlier in the week.

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