Jason Fildes, of Highclere Racing, looks at the prospects of the two-year-olds and when they are likely to be seen on the racecourse

We were in Middleham this week looking at the new two-year-olds beginning to step up their training ahead of making racecourse debuts in the next couple of months.

There are two colts at Karl Burke’s Spigot Lodge stables, both of whom look very promising.

Design is Highclere’s home bred by Expert Eye. Karl thinks it will probably be towards the end of May before he’s ready to run over six furlongs.

The well named Edmund Ironside, whose sire Saxon Warrior won the 2000 Guineas over one mile is also unlikely to be sharp enough to be an out and out sprinter, so probably won’t be seen until the six-furlong races start for these youngsters (up until the Dante meeting at York it’s five furlongs only for two-year-olds).

As it’s an early start in the training yards at this time of year, some of the owners went up the night before and we had an excellent dinner at the Wensleydale Heifer in West Witton. A full English breakfast was a must the following morning before we set out onto Low Moor to see the horses working over four furlongs.

As well as bringing better weather, spring also accelerates the development of the young colts and fillies – and these months are wonderful times in racehorse ownership with their potential yet untapped and all the dreams very much alive!

Mid-morning, we moved on to the other end of Middleham Moor and the fabulous facilities at Kingsley Park stables. Mark Johnston now shares the trainer licence with his son, Charlie. Like with all family businesses, this seems a natural progression with Mark, the winning-most trainer in the history of UK racing, taking a chairman-type role with Charlie overseeing day to day operations.

Our chestnut filly, Fragrance, by Oasis Dream only arrived in Yorkshire just before Christmas and she looked absolutely gorgeous in the sunshine. There is some talk of her potentially running in a quality fillies’ novice race at Chester at the beginning of May, but she needs to prove herself in a trial gallop before then.

Of all these two-year-olds, the first to run is probably going to be Admiral Jack, a very handsome steel grey colt, beautifully bred by Coolmore Stud who retained 20 per cent – always a good sign when the breeders want to keep an interest!

Charlie said that he expected Admiral Jack to make his debut before the end of April. Personally, I can’t wait to see him run as he seems to have a brilliant attitude and the Johnstons have plenty of other youngsters to compare him with.

It’s going to be great fun to see how these lovely horses fare at the start of their racing careers and let’s hope they give their owners lots of fun – and some wonderful days ahead.

Highclere – Jason Fildes
01200 444622
07721 311778



Tedd Walmsley

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