IT has been a great start for the 2014 turf season for Chiddingfold trainer Olly Stevens, with Heisman winning the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes over a mile at Kempton on Monday, with Jamie Spencer in the saddle. Heisman is a smart three-year-old colt, owned by Qatar Racing Ltd, who is by Teofilo out of Luminata, and has the makings of a good middle distance horse.
He proved to be the first leg of a double for Robins Farm Racing Stables, with Pearl Princess winning by 11 lengths at Southwell the same day, ridden by Harry Bentley. The three-year-old filly, owned by Pearl Bloodstock, was running over a mile, and showed that Olly and Hetta Stevens have their string in fine form just as the Guineas weekend approaches.
This is only their second season of training and they impressed last year with some good winners, including one at Royal Ascot when Dandy Man colt, Extortionist, won the Windsor Castle Stakes Listed Race at Royal Ascot. Extortionist is being aimed at the Pearl Bloodstock Palace House Stakes at Newmarket this Saturday at the Guineas meeting while Lightning Thunder is running in the 1,000 Guineas at the meeting.
Lightning Thunder was unbeaten last season until she ran in the Oh So Sharp Stakes, where she was beaten by an exceptional filly Miss France, by just a head. Miss France went on to win the Group 1 Prix Marcl Boussac on Arc Day and Lightning Thunder deserves her entry in the 1,000 Guineas.
Prior to her run against Miss France, Lightning Thunder had won the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Stakes at Doncaster in a gutsy run, and before that opened her account in the highly competitive EBF Maiden Fillies Stakes at Newbury.
This classy filly is owned by Mohd Al Kubasi and Pearl Bloodstock and has been ridden in all her runs by Harry Bentley.
Olly and Hetta, who have an impeccable background in racing, both in this country and America, had an impressive first season of training at Robins Farm Stables, and have both useful juveniles and older horses in their string for the coming year.