Highly regarded filly Al Agaila produced one of the most notable performances in the opening weeks of the All-Weather Championships, with last season’s Winter Oaks heroine making a successful comeback in a mile handicap at Kempton Park last week.
Having been off the track since July, Simon & Ed Crisford’s four-year-old is now unbeaten in her last four all-weather appearances and could look towards Listed targets at Lingfield Park in the coming months.
Following a stop-start year, G3 runner-up Blanchland was back on song as he claimed the first £25,000 handicap of the season at Newcastle on October 17. Trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam is eyeing an all-weather campaign for the four-year-old, with next week’s Listed Floodlit Stakes at Kempton Park an option.
Over in Ireland, Dun Na Sead made the perfect start for trainer Danny Murphy as she defeated 2022 Sprint champion Bouttemont in the five-furlong G3 Mercury Stakes at Dundalk. Murphy, a former champion trainer in Macau and Malaysia, sent out his first runner from his new Curragh base in late September.
Oisin Murphy and Rossa Ryan set the early pace in the All-Weather Champion Jockey standings with seven wins each. Daniel Muscutt is next best on five as he looks to become the first jockey to retain the title since Luke Morris in 2016.
Charlie Johnston tops the All-Weather Champion Trainer table, with Secret World the pick of his six winners so far. The Dark Angel filly, who is from the family of 1,000 Guineas heroine Billesdon Brook, made all in a hotly contested novice at Wolverhampton on October 23.
Other novice winners to note include the John & Thady Gosden-trained Gamekeeper, who backed up an eye-catching debut to score on the same Wolverhampton card. His stable-mate Enrico Caruso, a Roaring Lion half-brother to G2 scorer Richard Pankhurst, looks a three-year-old to follow after comfortably overcoming stall 15 at Chelmsford on Saturday.
Chelmsford was also the scene of Whip Cracker’s six-length victory on October 19, with trainer Richard Hughes describing the Cracksman juvenile as ‘one to watch in 2024’.
The Caltonian is the first horse eligible for Finals Day, with his three qualifying runs yielding two wins and a second – meaning Linda Perratt’s charge heads the early standings for the £30,000 All-Weather Bonus prize covering October & November.
All eyes will be on the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita this weekend, where several all-weather graduates from Britain, France and Ireland will be in action. Missed The Cut and Algiers, who were separated by a short-head in last season’s Listed Churchill Stakes at Lingfield Park, line up in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic and G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile respectively.
AW graduates at the Breeders’ Cup:
Algiers (Dirt Mile)
Bolshoi Ballet (Turf)
Cuban Thunder (Juvenile)
Gold Phoenix (Turf)
Live In The Dream (Turf Sprint)
Missed The Cut (Classic)
Motorious (Turf Sprint)
Mountain Bear (Juvenile Turf)
Starlust (Juvenile Sprint)
State Occasion (Filly & Mare Turf)
Warm Heart (Filly & Mare Turf)
With The Moonlight (Filly & Mare Turf)