LITTLETON Stud owner Jeff Smith has been associated with some top-class fillies, including the brilliant Lochsong who completed the unique treble of the Stewards’ Cup, Portland Handicap and Ayr Gold Cup in the space of 53 days in 1992 before establishing herself at the highest level with three Group 1 victories.

Arabian Queen, who also sported Smith’s familiar purple and light blue silks, shocked the racing world when becoming the first horse to beat Golden Horn in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York eight years ago.

The daughter of Dubawi was sent off 50/1 under Silvestre De Sousa as she edged out the Epsom Derby and Coral Eclipse winner by a neck.

To date, the former David Elsworth-trained filly has produced four individual winners including the Northumberland Plate runner-up Spirit Mixer.

However, the pick of her crop may prove to be stablemate See The Fire who transferred her ‘exceptional’ homework to the track proper on the July course at Newmarket last Saturday.


A filly by Sea The Stars, she lined up in a seven-furlong fillies’ ‘newcomers’ event and, having raced handily, she only had to be pushed out to beat Richard Hannon’s Heartfullofstars by a length and a half.

With a field full of debutantes, time will tell what the form amounts to, but she evidently arrived from Kingsclere with a lofty reputation and, given the fact Jeff Smith is never afraid to plunge his charges into the deep end, don’t be surprised if a pattern race is next.

If connections elect to take that route, the options include the Group 3 Prestige Stakes at Goodwood next Saturday. If upped to a mile, then the Group 2 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster (September 14th) is an obvious target.

Should Smith and Balding decide to remain low key, then there is a £30,000 fillies’ novice stakes over a mile at Ascot (September 8th) or a seven-furlong conditions stakes for fillies at Newbury (September 22nd).

The Group 2 Rockfel Stakes (29th September) and Group 1 Fillies’ Mile (October 13th) – both on the Rowley Mile – are also likely to be on See The Fire’s radar later on.

Four times Group 1 winner Alcohol Free was the last top-notcher Andrew Balding trained for Jeff Smith and the pair may have unearthed another.

More impressive

Less than 24 hours earlier, Ghostwriter was arguably even more impressive in the same colours over the same course and distance in a similar event.

The Clive Cox-trained colt won the second division of another ‘newcomers’ contest in a time of 1m 25.88 seconds compared to 1m 27.75 seconds recorded by See The Fire.

Both races were run on ground described as good, although William Buick who rode in each one felt the surface had tightened up by the Saturday.

A colt by Invincible Spirit who was bought for 100,000gns as a foal, he impressed in the paddock beforehand and, having led approaching the rising ground, Richard Kingscote’s mount stretched clear to win hard held by three and a half lengths. Ghostwriter covered the fifth and sixth furlongs in 10.94 and 10.96 seconds and looked above average in the process. Out of a dam who was runner-up in the Listed Chester Oaks, he should have no difficulty staying a mile.

He doesn’t hold any fancy entries at the moment, but expect that to change shortly. The Haynes, Hanson and Clark Novices’ Stakes at Newbury (September 22nd) over a mile, which unearthed Epsom Derby winners Shahrastani and Authorized, could come under consideration, while the Group 3 Somerville Tattersall Stakes at Newmarket (September 28th) over seven furlongs or Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at the same track two days later may prove to be other realistic assignments.

Smart for Shadwell

IT has been a productive and successful summer for Shadwell Estate Company with four Group 1 successes between May and August. Owen Burrows has been responsible for half of those wins thanks to Anmaat and Hukum and Sir Michael Stoute’s former assistant may have another potential pattern race performer in the shape of the twice raced Raqiya. The homebred daughter of Blue Point became the stable’s fourth juvenile winner of 2023, from only their 11th runner, when sauntering to a three-length win in the second division of a six-furlong fillies’ novice stakes at Salisbury on Thursday week.

Incidentally, her half-sister Ribhi won that race two years earlier and she built on the abundance of promise she had displayed on her debut at Newbury less than three weeks earlier.

Under a no nonsense ride by Jim Crowley, Raqiya made all the running and never gave short price favourite backers an anxious moment, pulling away to win by three lengths. The winning time was 1.27 seconds quicker than the first division and she looks ready for a rise in grade. Her performance evoked memories of former Group 1-winning stablemate Minzaal, who also shed his maiden tag at the Wiltshire venue before trouncing his opponents in the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes at York 12 days later. The Group 3 Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes over course and distance (September 7th) may be a good fit for the Shadwell-owned filly.

Al Aasy’s family traits live on

THE highlight of Haydock Park’s card last weekend was Al Aasy’s last ditch win in the Group 3 Rose of Lancaster Stakes.

The former Coronation Cup runner-up has been reinvented since returning from a lengthy spell on the sidelines and dropped back to 10 furlongs this summer.

The six-year-old had previously won the Listed Steventon Stakes at Newbury and was gaining his fourth Group 3 win at the Merseyside track.

Given his preference for slow ground, it wouldn’t be the worst decision William Haggas has ever made if the son of Sea The Stars is given an entry in the Group 1 Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot in October – Addeybb won both races, albeit a year apart.

Family’s traits

Al Aasy’s half-sister Karat Karat is only just starting her career but there is already evidence that she has inherited some of the family’s traits.

A daughter of Australia who didn’t race as a juvenile, the Haggas-trained filly finished an eyecatching fourth behind subsequent listed winner Sweet Memories on her belated first racecourse appearance in a 10-furlong novice stakes at Newbury last month.

Back in action three weeks later, she never looked like getting beaten as she readily disposed of four opponents at Yarmouth on a quicker surface. From a family who get better with age, she looks a strong stayer who promises to stay at least a mile and a half.

As regular as clockwork, owners Sunderland Holdings appear to produce a progressive three-year-old middle-distance performer every year and this twice-raced filly could be the 2023 version. She has a lot more to offer.