Willie McCreery
Racehorse Trainer

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Performance Review
08. January – May 2016

Group 2 winner Devonshire comes back better than ever.
Group 2 winner Devonshire comes back better than ever.

As the dust settles on the first two classics of the domestic season we are thrilled with how the first couple of months of the 2016 season have gone for the yard with pride of place going to Devonshire.

She provided us with our first pattern race winner for Godolphin when posting a career best effort to win the Group 2 Landwades Stud Stakes at the Curragh on 2000 Guineas day. This time last year Devonshire finished third in the 1000 Guineas and she has come back better than ever this year. As a Group 2 winner and a classic placed filly the dream would be to see if she could win at the highest level and she might head back to North America over the coming months – she was quite unlucky when beaten just over three lengths in last year’s E P Taylor Stakes at Woodbine.

In early May Dolce Strega provided us with a first pattern race victory of the season in the Athasi Stakes. She is the first horse that we have had for Italian owner-breeder Renzo Forni and, having shown a good level of form last year, she has stepped forward nicely as a three-year-old. In terms of both trip and ground she is quite a versatile sort and she should continue to hold her own in good company throughout the summer.

In recent weeks Erysimum has done really well. She progressed from a wide margin maiden win at Sligo to make all the running in a winner’s contest at Killarney. She is a fine, big filly who has come into herself this year and later in the season the aim would be to see if she could pick up some black-type for her owner Barouche Stud.

At the moment we are lucky to have a number of decent fillies who are more than good enough to compete at premier handicap level. Peticoatgovernment is one of those and she has already won a premier handicap having picked up a €50,000 contest over six furlongs at Naas several weeks ago. She is owned by a locally-based syndicate and the plan is to aim her at a premier handicap for fillies on Derby weekend.

That race could also be on the agenda for Champagne Or Water who is something of a stable stalwart at this stage having first made her mark two years ago in the Sligo maiden that recently went to Erysimum. Now a five-year-old, the Leanne Scott-owned mare won a decent handicap at Gowran in the spring and she followed that with a second in a premier handicap at the Curragh. There is another decent pot to be won with her.

Over the last few years Sligo has been a happy hunting ground and another to strike for us there in early May was Downforce who then progressed to winning a sprint handicap at the Curragh on Guineas Weekend. He is a horse we always liked and is really starting to fulfill his potential now. The big sprint handicaps will be another step up for him but we do hope that there is more to come from him.

Other winners for the yard in recent months include Elm Grove whose breeders, John and Ita Malone, have been tremendous supporters of ours while we were thrilled to see Invincible Lia make her mark in a Clonmel maiden. She is the first horse to run in the colours of the Irish National Stud Racing & Breeding Club which has brought together a group of racing enthusiasts and this filly is their first venture into ownership.

Meanwhile New Classicism is a nice Godolphin-owned colt who won a maiden at Navan lately to build on the promise of his first two runs. Elsewhere Radiantly, who ran sixth in the 1000 Guineas, is a filly who will hopefully make her mark at Stakes level this year. She has already reached the frame in several Group 3s and we would hope that there is still more to come from her. Colour Blue, who has won at least once in each of the last three seasons, showed that she was coming back to her best with a second to Champagne Or Water at Gowran and hopefully it won’t be too long before she is making her mark.

Performance Review