• PT Fornatale Reviews Thursday's Royal Ascot Action

    POSTED Jun 16, 2011

    Banimpire won the Ribblesdale stakes for trainer Jim Bolger, who has an interesting way of training his emerging star: he races her into shape rather than blowing her out at home.

    Looking through her Banimpire’s form, I feel like it should be something out of DRF Press’ great book, Champions, a PP from the last century -- and I’m talking about EARLY last century. Banimpire’s season started at the Curragh on March 20th. She reappeared April 10th. Then she stopped lollygagging and really got busy with a start May 1st, then another May 11th, May 22nd, June 12th, and now June 16th at Royal Ascot. So that's what? Seven races in 88 days, so a race every 12 days or so?

    Perhaps most interesting of all, it’s not like Jim Bolger is some luddite, old-school-to-a-fault trainer. He’s also on the cutting edge of technology. He uses the new fangled Equine Heart Monitors and his former apprentices include Aidan O’Brien, Tony McCoy and Paul Carberry, suggesting he has plenty to offer promising up-and-comers.

    I’d love to sit down one day and talk horses with him. And I promise not to bring this up.


    Speaking of Aidan O’Brien and heart rate monitors. . .

    There’s no doubt that one of AOB’s many skills is taking very good middle-distance horses and turning them into marathoners (Four-time GC winner Yeats most notably). USA readers, in the UK, middle distance is considered 10F-12F (our marathons). UK marathons are 14F and up, and the Gold Cup is the biggest test of all at 20F. Aidan was asked after the race about how he gets these horses to stay the extra ground, “When horses have so much class, they can often stay. I think class makes them stay. It’s the ultimate test of class when you go that extreme distance.”

    He went on to compliment his horse and rider, “We’re privileged to have [Fame and Glory] really. Jamie [Spencer] had ridden him in his first two and he was very happy and confident with him. He gave him an unbelievable ride.”

    Spencer got the ride because he is contracted to the Mrs. Hay, a part owner in Fame and Glory. He described his journey, “We didn’t go fast early, and I was delighted when I saw Geordie go around the field around the mile and a half, he just injected the pace in. My fella wasn’t keen [ed note for Americans, read "rank"] but because he’s got so much class he was used to going a different pace in the race. He just wanted the injection of pace to make it more comfortable for him. He is a very easy ride, a push button ride. I’m just privileged to ride the horse. I like to thank Dr. Hay and his wife for investing in the horse and Mr. and Mrs, Magnier and Mr. and Mrs Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Tabor. They’ve had the faith and allowed me to ride the horse and all I can say is thank you to them.”

    Hey Jamie, you left one name out there. . .for those who don’t know, Spencer was stable jockey for Aidan O’Brien in 2007 but it didn’t work out. When asked about the irony of winning one at Royal Ascot for his ex-boss, Spencer quipped, “We’re getting on better now.”

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