We've been enjoying a strong season here at Rathbride Stables but having seen some of our smart winners from earlier in the season sold on, it leaves us eager to unearth the next horse that can take us to the winner's enclosure.
With that in mind, I'm really looking forward to seeing what lies in store for our two-year-olds which have yet to start, but July was still a positive month for us, having plenty of good performances to reflect on.
One of the highlights was the very encouraging second Up Helly Aa produced in the Group 3 Meld Stakes. He only found Mowhawk too strong on that occasion and the Ballydoyle-trained winner came to Leopardstown battle-hardened from competing in the Classics, in comparison to our three-year-old having just his third start.
I really liked how he saw out his race and I'm looking forward to running him in the Prix Guillaume d'Ornano at Deauville on August 15, a Group 2 over ten furlongs. You'd expect him to improve with racing, as he was still green at Leopardstown last time, and next season I think he could be effective over a mile.
Innervisions certainly wasn't disgraced when taking on strong opposition in the Tyros Stakes (Group 3) at Leopardstown and Billy just felt that she wasn't enjoying the quick ground in the straight. We'll now be looking for a seven furlong fillies' maiden when there's some kindness in the ground. She's strengthening up nicely and I've been happy with how she's maturing.
Sweetest Taboo has been a brilliant servant and she continues to hold her form very well at the age of eight. She's a fantastic asset for our apprentices to gain experience and it was great to see her win at Bellewstown for the second year in a row, especially considering she was standing in the stalls for a long time before the off. She followed that up with a good second at Down Royal and hopefully she can continue to thrive.
Sweetest Taboo wins at Bellewstown, second year in a row.
I think that Alice Milligan is going the right way and her Naas second was a solid effort, despite running a bit free. They just seemed to quicken past her over a mile at Killarney last time but she stayed on very well and Billy struggled to pull her up after the line, so we'll be looking forward to seeing her back over a mile and a quarter in the future.
You'd imagine that Elite Trooper Grey's turn will have to come sooner rather than later - he just keeps bumping into useful horses. That's reflected in the fact the handicapper has raised him 9lb without getting his head in front this season, and 5lb of that came from a fine second at Killarney last time when Billy gave him a superb ride.
It could well be the case that Arabeska doesn't really enjoy Naas, as the twice she's run there have seen her produce two of her weaker performances, but she showed her true running with a solid second behind what looks a smart Tim Doyle-trained winner at Leopardstown. There could be a race for her at Gowran Park in the middle of next month.
Yenillik was always going to be up against it from a wide draw at Killarney and he had no chance of getting involved from behind when Ross Coakley rode a smart race from the front on the John Oxx-trained winner. There should be better days to come for John Connaughton's three-year-old.
The same owner's Romantically shaped well on debut at the Curragh during the month when fifth and the winner has since given the form a boost by winning at the Galway festival. She's a strong filly who should come on for that run and might take her chance in a Tipperary fillies' maiden in August.
There are plenty of positives for us to build on for next month and hopefully the horses can continue to hold their form well.