The Grey Gatsby has been earmarked to begin his season at the Curragh in May after Hambleton trainer Kevin Ryan resisted the urge to send him back to Dubai.
Ryan had considered a return to Meydan, this time for the mile-and-a-half Sheema Classic, for the consistent five-year-old after he chased home Solow in the Dubai Turf 12 months ago. The son of Mastercraftsman will instead be kept under wraps for a few more months, with the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh – a race in which he was fourth last year – a possible first objective.
The Grey Gatsby is then likely to head to Royal Ascot for a repeat bid in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes after he finished a short-head second to Free Eagle last summer.
Ryan said: “We’ve decided that it (Dubai) would come too early in the year for him. He’s in great form – he’s wintered really well – but we’ll probably start him off at the Curragh before Ascot.
“If we start later with him, hopefully we’ll be able to keep him going for longer.”
l Joseph O’Brien’s string will be split 50-50 between Flat horses and jumpers when he starts his training career, hopefully in a couple of months.
O’Brien, twice champion Flat jockey in Ireland, has quit the saddle to concentrate on his new role.
The 22-year-old has been playing a key role in helping his father, trainer Aidan O’Brien, with a large string of horses recently, including JCB Triumph Hurdle favourite Ivanovich Gorbatov, from a base at Piltown, County Kilkenny, where the great Istabraq’s triumphs were originally masterminded.
He said: “Hopefully I’ll have the licence for May. That’s the plan at the moment. We’re pretty much 50-50 jumpers and Flat horses. We’ve got a nice bunch of two-year-olds and some National Hunt horses.
“Hopefully we can get a few winners when the season gets going.”
SOUTHWELL: 2.10 Busy Street, 2.45 Northside Prince, 3.15 RAIN IN THE FACE (NAP), 3.50 Danish Duke, 4.25 Desert Command, 5.00 Pull The Pin, 5.35 Big Shoes (treble).
CHELMSFORD: 5.50 Bracken Brae, 6.20 Grecian King, 6.50 Slovak, 7.20 Toumar (next best), 7.50 Coillte Cailin, 8.20 Gulland Rock.
CARLISLE: 2.00 Divine Port, 2.35 Dakota Grey, 3.05 Seldom Inn, 3.40 The Bishop, 4.15 Sean Ban, 4.50 Verko, 5.25 Randy Pike.
WINCANTON: 1.50 Scoresheet, 2.20 Ruperra Tom, 2.55 Native Robin, 3.25 Sea Wall, 4.00 Bonne Question, 4.35 St Johns Point, 5.10 Golden Birthday.