WILL Flaming Spear go on to emulate Blaine and The Grey Gatsby for Kevin Ryan?
The Sutton Bank trainer has chosen the John Smith’s Median Auction Maiden Stakes to introduce some impressive talent to the York Racecourse stage and the winner’s enclosure.
Blaine subsequently went on to win the Gimcrack Stakes, while The Grey Gatsby has claimed the Dante Stakes and Prix du Jockey Club this year.
Flaming Spear, the latest juvenile to come off the Hambleton conveyor belt, looks to have just as bright a future after beating Lady Gemini.
It took a moment or two for the penny to drop for the son of Lope de Vega, a £260,000 buy but, once he realised what was required of him, he asserted strongly to win by two and three quarter lengths.
“It’s not a case of finding the same race for them,” said the trainer’s son and assistant, Adam, when asked about the stable’s recent roll of honour in the contest.
“York is a great place for two-year-olds and it is a great education for them with a crowd of that size.
“It’s a beautiful track. He has always shown the right signs at home. We hoped he would rise to the occasion. It was the first day at school for him but it would have been fairly disappointing if he hadn’t been there or thereabouts.
“All he can do is keep on improving.”
Continuum could be aimed at the Ebor Handicap next month after he gave veteran trainer Peter Hedger his first ever York success when taking the Listed John Smith’s Silver Cup.
The five-year-old, an 11-1 shot ridden by Joe Fanning, crept up on the outside to take victory by three-quarters of a length and deny 6-4 Waila the spoils.
The latter, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, came to challenge with a quarter of a mile left to travel and led at the final furlong but Continuum finished the faster and now has all kinds of options, said his Hook-based handler.
“He’s in the Ebor but there are some tricky fixtures that weekend,” Hedger said. “There is also a one mile seven furlong race at Deauville and the German St Leger.
“This is my first winner here at York and he ran really well. The owner, John Whelan, picked him out himself. He had ability but he also had his quirks.
“He paid 240,000 Guineas for him at the October Sales at Newmarket. He’s always been all right with us. You wouldn’t put a kid on him but as long as he has got a lead horse and his lads are good he is okay.”
The Nunthorpe Stakes is also on the cards for Take Cover (9-1) after he made all to win the Listed John Smith’s City Walls Stakes.
Bawtry trainer David Griffiths had considered taking the seven-year-old out of the five furlong £40,000 dash but admitted the son of Singspiel now had another string to his bow - leading from pillar to post to beat G Force by a length and a quarter and giving jockey Andrea Atzeni a quick-fire double following his victory in the John Smith’s Cup on Farraaj.
Griffiths said: “He is different gear when he is like that and they just can’t get to him. He pretty much stays six furlongs and he just keeps going.
“Hopefully, we can kick on. We will go to Goodwood for the King George and maybe come back here for the Nunthorpe. We do think he is a Group 1 horse.”