Mick Halford Stable Tour

    Kildare trainer Mick Halford gives us the lowdown on his significant squad of promising horses, several of which are set to line up at the Irish Derby Festival at the Curragh this weekend.
  • Wednesday 27 June 2018
  • Stable Tours

It will come as a surprise to many, but Mick Halford has been a trainer for over 30 years having taken out his license at the age of 21 back in 1985. Success did not come quickly for him, but he gradually worked his way up the ranks and for the last decade he has been a regular fixture in the top 10 trainers in Ireland. 

Indeed, having made a significant move to the purpose-built Copper Beech Stables in 2007, Halford has steadily increased the quality of his string and his performance has gone up a gear too.

High-profile owners such as the Aga Khan and Sheikh Mohammed have come on-board and he got off the mark in Group 1 company when saddling Casamento to win the Racing Post Trophy in 2010.

With a significant squad of promising horses at his disposal for 2018, Halford was good enough to sit down with Kevin Blake of attheraces.com to discuss their prospects.

Older Horses

Abjar (GB)

  • 4-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Nathaniel - Kinnaird (Dr Devious)
  • Trained by: M Halford
  • Last Race: Leopardstown, 12 Jul 2018 20:25
  • Result: 4/8, chased leaders and 4th from halfway, pushed along from 3f out and ridden from 2f out, no impression in 4th from 1f out and kept on same pace inside final furlong
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Rated 86, he was formerly trained by Sir Michael Stoute to win a maiden at Wolverhampton last year and joined his current connections for 26,000gns in February.

Trainer Says:

He’s a grand horse that was bought at the February Sale at Tattersalls for a new owner in the yard from Dubai. He looks to stay well and appreciates a sound surface. He has a high enough rating based on what he shows us at home, but he seems a lazy type and I think he probably saves his best for the track. We’ll start him off at the Curragh on Friday evening and we’ll see how he goes.

Video Form
12 Jul 2018:
29 Jun 2018:
9 Sep 2017:
11 Aug 2017:
3 Jun 2017:

Ambassadorial (USA)

Form Profile:

Rated 98, he impressed in winning a maiden and Listed race at Dundalk as a two-year-old and has shaped well without winning this season.

Trainer Says:

He pleased us with his first run back this year at Dundalk and he ran well in a Listed race at Naas on his next start despite getting caught very wide. We ran him back quick in a handicap at the Curragh in first-time blinkers and he just boiled over on the day. That’s an easy run for us to forgive. I think he will get a mile, but he might just be best dropped in with plenty of cover to give himself the best chance of getting home well. We have freshened him up since his last start and he worked well this morning, so he’ll run at the Curragh this weekend. We just haven’t picked which one of his two entries he’ll take up as of yet. He’s lightly raced for his age and hopefully there is more to come from him.

Video Form
30 Jun 2018:
27 May 2018:
20 May 2018:
6 Apr 2018:
12 Apr 2017:

Katiymann

Form Profile:

Rated 91, he won three handicaps last year and has run well without winning this season.

Trainer Says:

I just get the impression that the handicapper might have a hold on him right now. He’s a very genuine and straightforward horse, but he does need things to pan out right for him. He loves being held up off a fast pace and when he gets that gallop in front of him, he can usually be relied on to run his race.

Video Form
15 Jul 2018:
27 May 2018:
7 May 2018:
8 Dec 2017:
10 Nov 2017:

Massif Central

  • 4-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Arcano - Melaaya (Aljabr)
  • Trained by: M Halford
  • Last Race: Leopardstown, 12 Jul 2018 19:20
  • Result: 9/12, prominent and lead early, headed after 2f out and chased leader in 2nd, ridden from 2f out, soon lost place and weakened, no extra inside final furlong
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Rated 100, he joined Halford last September and made a winning start for him in a maiden at Dundalk in October. He made an encouraging return in a valuable handicap at the Curragh in May.

Trainer Says:

He’s a smashing horse. After we bought him at the Champions Weekend Sale at Leopardstown last year we won a maiden at Dundalk with him to give him a confidence boost. I was delighted with his comeback run at the Curragh and he is an intended runner back there this weekend. He has plenty of pace for a mile and has looked as though he stays a mile-and-a-quarter, so he has plenty of options. He was bought with a view to running him in Dubai, so that is something we’ll have in the back of our minds as the season progresses.

Video Form
12 Jul 2018:
1 Jul 2018:
27 May 2018:
20 Oct 2017:
20 Aug 2017:

Petticoat (GB)

  • 4-y-o; bay filly
  • Breeding: Cape Cross - Minidress (Street Cry)
  • Trained by: M Halford
  • Last Race: Killarney, 15 Jul 2018 15:30
  • Result: 10/10, slowly into stride, a little keen, soon raced in 8th, some headway straight, no extra and eased inside final furlong
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Rated 91, she won a maiden at Leopardstown and was Listed-placed last season. She made an encouraging return to action in a valuable handicap at the Curragh in May.

Trainer Says:

She is a lovely, big, scopey filly that was lightly raced last year and has strengthened up well over the winter. I was very happy with her comeback run at the Curragh, as she would have needed it quite badly. We have her in a valuable seven-furlong fillies handicap at the Curragh this weekend and she is an intended runner. After that, we will go chasing black type with her.

Video Form
15 Jul 2018:
30 Jun 2018:
27 May 2018:
15 Oct 2017:
17 Jul 2017:

Saltonstall

Form Profile:

Rated 104, he won a valuable handicap at the Curragh in May prior to running below form in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot.

Trainer Says:

He was lightly raced last year as he kept getting held up by niggly problems. When we didn’t get him back at the backend of the season, we made a plan to target him at the Royal Hunt Cup. He ran a blinder in the Irish Lincoln and just got stuck in atrocious ground at Cork on his next start. We always thought better ground would suit him, so it was great to see him win well at the Curragh on Guineas weekend. That set him up lovely for Royal Ascot, but it didn’t work out and William Buick thought he didn’t let himself down on what was the firmest ground he has run on. He has come out of it well, but we’ll take our time with him and make a new plan. We’ll stick to a mile with him and I’d still be hopeful that he can be better than his mark.

Video Form
27 May 2018:
15 Apr 2018:
25 Mar 2018:
8 Apr 2017:
29 Oct 2016:

Surrounding

Form Profile:

Rated 95, she has progressed notably well in the last year and won her most recent start in a conditions race at Fairyhouse.

Trainer Says:

She’s been a great servant. We were delighted with her win at Fairyhouse last time and that has done her confidence the world of good. She didn’t get any penalty for that and she’ll run in the seven-furlong fillies handicap at the Curragh this weekend. She rarely runs a bad race and conditions will suit her, so hopefully she’ll run well. We’ll be looking for black type for her in the near future.

Video Form
30 Jun 2018:
15 Jun 2018:
13 May 2018:
27 Oct 2017:
6 Oct 2017:

Tirmizi (FR)

Form Profile:

Rated 88, he joined Halford last year and has shaped with promise without winning in three starts this season.

Trainer Says:

He joined us from the Champions Weekend Sale last year and we are getting there slowly but surely with him. He looked a stayer in the making last year, but he shows us plenty of pace and a mile-and-a-quarter might be his best trip. He seems to be coming around and will hopefully get competitive soon.

Video Form
1 Jul 2018:
9 Jun 2018:
27 May 2018:
12 May 2018:
4 Jun 2017:

Three Year Olds

Arcanears

Form Profile:

Rated 84, he won a maiden at the Curragh in May prior to disappointing in a handicap back at that track last time.

Trainer Says:

He did well to win a maiden on heavy ground at the Curragh on his second start, but he got very upset prior to his last start at the Curragh. The big screen really seemed to set him off and he was still upset down at the start and in the stalls, so he really must not have liked whatever he saw on the screen! That isn’t like him at all, as he is a very cool customer at home and I think the run is best forgiven. I think he’ll be at his best with a little ease in the ground and six furlongs looks a good trip for him at this stage. I think he will improve with racing.

Video Form
26 May 2018:
11 May 2018:
23 Apr 2018:

Blackgold Fairy (USA)

Form Profile:

Rated 91, she won a maiden at Dundalk in February and has acquitted herself well in two starts since.

Trainer Says:

She has been running well since she won her maiden and given that she such a good pedigree, we’ll chase black type with her. She has had a nice freshen up and is ready to run, but we’ll wait until we get a little bit of rain before we run her. A mile is a good trip for her.

Video Form
26 May 2018:
9 Mar 2018:
23 Feb 2018:
8 Nov 2017:

Kalaxana

Form Profile:

Rated 93, she has won a maiden at the Gowran Park and the Ulster Oaks at Down Royal in June.

Trainer Says:

She’s a big, scopey, progressive filly that we took our time with last year. I’ve been delighted with her so far and she was very good in the Ulster Oaks at the weekend. She is rated 93 now and looks to have more to come, so we’ll start chasing black type with her now. We’ll look to step her up in trip and the Lenabane Stakes at Roscommon in a fortnight could well be her next race. She loves fast ground and is taking her racing well, so she’s one to look forward to.

Video Form
9 Jul 2018:
23 Jun 2018:
4 Jun 2018:
20 May 2018:
27 Oct 2017:

Platinum Warrior

Form Profile:

Rated 109, he won a maiden at Dundalk last year and has improved this season, winning the Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh on his latest outing.

Trainer Says:

The plan is to run him in the Irish Derby. He has done really well this spring, improving with every start. It will be his first run at a mile-and-a-half, but looking at how well he hit the line the last day, we don’t think it will be a problem for him. He loves fast ground and won’t have any worries on that score on Saturday. He seems to still be improving and has a great pedigree, so he’s entitled to run in races like this and we’ll wait and see where his improvement levels out. Hopefully it won’t level out for a while yet!

Video Form
30 Jun 2018:
27 May 2018:
13 May 2018:
23 Apr 2018:
10 Nov 2017:

Terzetto

Form Profile:

Rated 94, she won a maiden at Dundalk in May and made a promising handicap debut when third in a valuable contest at the Curragh later that month.

Trainer Says:

She did well to win her maiden at Dundalk from a very wide draw. I thought the handicapper was tough on her with his initial assessment of 94, but he was right, as she ran a blinder in her first handicap at the Curragh last time. We had her declared for the Sandringham at Royal Ascot, but she came in season, so we decided to take her out. She’s in great form and will go for a good handicap before hopefully trying for black type later in the season. She isn’t overly big, but the biggest part of her is her heart.

Video Form
26 May 2018:
6 May 2018:
10 Apr 2018:

Two Year Olds

Lethal Turbo

Form Profile:

Built on his promising debut when second in a maiden at Fairyhouse in May.

Trainer Says:

He just got a bit lost in the heavy ground at the Curragh on his debut. He was much improved at Fairyhouse last time and maybe it was just greenness that got him beat on the day. The penny seems to have dropped with him at home since then and I think he should show good improvement on his next start. He could well run over further next time and he should be more than capable of winning a maiden.

Video Form
6 Jul 2018:
31 May 2018:
11 May 2018:

Nonstop Talker

  • 2 b c Poet’s Voice – Talkitive
Form Profile:

An unraced juvenile from the family of the Grade 1 winner Price Tag, he realised €18,000 as a yearling.

Trainer Says:

He was ready to run a couple of weeks ago, but he got an abscess in his foot that held him up a little bit. He’ll be ready to go soon enough and he shows enough to suggest that he can win an auction maiden. Like most of ours, he’ll improve with racing, but hopefully it won’t be too long before he’s a winner.

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