Holloway Boy proved a Royal Ascot stunner by winning the Listed Chesham Stakes on his first racecourse appearance.
Sent off a 40/1 chance for trainer Karl Burke, the son of Ulysees was held up at the back of the field initially but began to make headway on the outside of the field as his rivals came under pressure. The further the 60,000gns colt went, the stronger he looked, and he finished his race in power-packed fashion to reel in Pearling Path for a length success.
Pearling Path (80/1) looked like he was going to become the biggest-priced Chesham Stakes winner in history until he was picked up in the last half-furlong, with Lakota Sioux (33/1) a further length and a half away in third.
Holloway Boy’s success continues a fine week for jockey Danny Tudhope, who has now ridden four winners at odds of 20/1, 16/1, 5/2 and 40/1.
Burke said: “Time will tell how strong the form is but to do that first time out is a bit special. Holloway Boy is a lovely horse, but he has been slightly backward. He is a horse for the future. We were going to go to Musselburgh for one of the Sunday Series races a couple of weeks ago, but he twinged a muscle.
‘Nick [White, owner] rang me and said he had been let down for a box here on Saturday, so I said, ‘we will enter the horse and use the tickets for that!’ We worked well at home so we thought we’d let him take his chances and give the owners a nice day out… I think we have achieved that!
“He is the first horse and first runner that Nick has ever had in his own colours. It is a great story and a great ride by Danny. We were always going to ride him that way and Danny rides this track brilliantly.
“He is a very nice horse, and time will tell how far we can take him, but he is hardly blowing there. I saw him [as a yearling] with the Cheveley Park draft and they have been very good to us in the past. I like to try and buy one off them every year… I’ll buy a few more now.”
Tudhope said: “It is a bit of a surprise, to be honest. Holloway Boy is a fine big specimen of a horse. Karl just said to go out there and enjoy it. I gave him a nice day out and a nice education.
“We liked Holloway Boy but we didn’t think he would go out and do that. I would say he is very good. It was only his first run, but he gave me a great feel. He is a fine big horse and I’m pretty sure he will improve on that.
“It’s unbelievable, to be honest. I am speechless. It’s great for Karl – he’s had two winners this week.”
Winning owner Nick White said: “Danny has given Holloway Boy a fantastic ride, and what a performance from Karl.
“We said we would give it a chance and run here for his first race. I’ve been coming here 45 years. To have a horse here and have a winner, I’m in shock.
“I don’t even have a top hat and tails as we only knew we were going to run on Thursday, so it was too late to get everything.”
John O’Donoghue said of Pearling Path: “I’ve watched the replay once and that’s all I’ll watch it! I think with a stronger pace, we would have won. He’s just got there too soon, idled, and got caught. We’ll probably geld him – we are frustrated with him, because he doesn’t show it [coltish behaviour] at home at all, and he’s real sort of macho coming into the ring. I think he could be a serious horse with the gelding operation.
“It’s frustrating, but we’ll take it. If we could come for the week and someone said, you’ll finish second, we’d have taken it. But he was a silly price. I thought he was a solid 12/1 or 10/1 shot. The strength of Irish maidens these days – it’s so hard to win one, and we had Jessie [Harrington] and Ger [Lyons] behind us that day. And he won bloody well.
“I have no plans for him now. I wasn’t going to push him into this race, and he just blossomed away in the background. We had an entry and I thought he’d run well in it, so we came.
“This is my first Royal Ascot runner and my second runner in England. This is my first season training. I spent seven years in England, and then moved home [to Ireland] when the set-up was ready at the end of last year.”
Royal Ascot News Release
Holloway Boy wins the Chesham Stakes (credit: Megan Ridgwell)