Flaming Rib added to Hugo Palmer’s already “well-stocked” three-year-old sprinting team with a smooth display in the Boodles Secret Garden Conditions Stakes at Chester.
Palmer can call on Ebro River and Hierarchy, who both showed top-class form at two, Wednesday’s easy winner Ever Given and now Flaming Rib – and at this stage all seem to be six-furlong horses.
Having failed to see out seven furlongs in the Greenham, the 6-4 chance took over at the head of affair early in the straight and comfortably held off the favourite King’s Lynn by a length and a half.
“He’s done it really well. Michael (Owen) had a fantasy that he might be a Guineas horse which is why we took him to the Greenham first time out. On pedigree there was a chance he’d get a mile,” said Palmer.
“However, despite the best efforts of the team to get him settled at home as soon as he left the stalls at Newbury he told us he was a sprinter!
“He actually ran well in the Greenham, despite not beating a horse, and he’s come back and done that today.
“We’re well-stocked in this department and we’ll try to keep them apart until it’s a Group One.
“He’s actually in a Group Three over France, but Ebro River might go there so we’ve some thinking to do. We’ve got Hierarchy and Ever Given to fit in, too.”
Followers of the form book were rewarded when Baryshnikov followed up a recent Pontefract win in the Deepbridge Handicap.
David and Nicola Barron’s six-year-old had beaten Amy Murphy’s Pride Of America with something to spare and when that one came out and bolted up on Thursday, Baryshnikov’s chance was there for all to see.
Sent off the 5-2 second-favourite behind Mujtaba, the two market leaders went for the same gap in the home straight. Jim Crowley held his line on the market leader, forcing Connor Beasley to look inside and it could not have worked out better.
He got a dream split on the rail and while Cap Francais, a winner at Newmarket just last week, closed to within a length, the result was never in doubt.
“When we saw Amy’s win yesterday we were delighted as this fellow did it nicely at Pontefract,” said Beasley.
“That boosted the form and he loves it around here. He got into a nice rhythm, but you need all the luck in the world on a horse like him to get the splits. Luckily they came at the right time.
“He’s a dude of a horse, he seems to be improving at the minute and hopefully he’s on an upward curve.
“It’s great to deliver winners like this for the team, it’s the same as it always has been but Nicola’s name is in the racecard now.”
Andrew Balding is usually a man to follow at this meeting but he had been quiet this week by his lofty standards until Red Mirage (6-1) won the ICM Stellar Sports Earl Grosvenor Handicap.
Formerly with Mark Johnston, he won on his first start for his new yard three weeks ago and followed up from just 1lb higher under David Probert, albeit Boosala closed to within a nose.
“Andrew was pretty confident but my owner was a little bit worried about the ground thinking it might be too soft,” said Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Saeed Suhail.
“He seems in good form now, though, and David gave him a lovely ride, he rides him well.
“I’d imagine we’ll just have a chat once we know he’s OK after this, but going into the race Andrew was very happy and I got the impression he would run well.”