Ajero opens Flat account in record-breaking style

Ajero (7/2F) broke a run of second-placed finishes by lowering the nine-furlong course record in the concluding Federation Of Bloodstock Agents Handicap.

A five-time winner over hurdles, Ajero had been knocking on the door on the Flat, not least when second in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.

Dropping back in trip, the Kim Bailey-trained seven-year-old clocked a remarkable time of 1m 52.42s, shaving 0.39secs off a track record that had stood since 1995. Runner-up Kitsune Power (15/2) was a length and a quarter in arrears, with Bolthole (6/1) a neck further back in third.

Bailey said: “This is only my second runner at Goodwood. I even bought a hat to come here – I thought I ought to look the part, if nothing else!

“Ajero is by Red Jazz – he has no right to be a jumper. He is a half-brother to Charbel, who was a great jumper for us, and has had a great career over hurdles. David Bass fell off him when he was 4/1 favourite at Huntingdon, and the next race we could run him in was at Market Rasen, so I said to the owners, ‘why don’t we give him a try on the Flat?’. He got lost the first time out – he lost 25 lengths coming out of the stalls, not knowing what to do, and got beaten by a short-head.

“I gamely said ‘let’s go to Royal Ascot and have some fun’ – 40 horses had to come out [to get a run] and they did, we had a fantastic day. David and Julie Martin and Dan [Hall] have been owners for a long time and this has been a fun adventure. Dan is already talking about going to Bahrain.”

Winning jockey Jim Crowley said: “Kim is a legend of a jumps trainer, a lovely man, and it’s nice to get a winner for him. Ajero has been so consistent. It is the first time I have ridden him, but I was going through his form today and it is rock solid. He ran a super race at Royal Ascot over a mile and a half. He probably didn’t quite get home that day and was coming back to nine furlongs today.

“He travelled round nicely. He doesn’t make a jockey’s life that easy because he comes off the bridle and then he starts to hang right, so between the three and the furlong pole I was trying to extract him from hanging in behind the one in front. But once I got him upsides, he was away and gone. He galloped out well and the return to a mile-and-a-quarter, which would probably be his best trip, will be ideal.”

 

4.30pm Federation of Bloodstock Agents Handicap

1 Ajero (Julie & David Martin and Dan Hall) Kim Bailey 7-9-12 Jim Crowley 7/2F

2 Kistune Power (King Power Racing) Roger Varian 3-8-13 Ray Dawson 15/2

3 Bolthole (Michael Buckley & Fiona Mahony) Michael Bell 3-9-02 Ryan Moore 6/1

4 Dutch Decoy (Owners Group 052) Charlie & Mark Johnston 5-9-06 Oliver Stammers (3) 16/1

16 ran

Kim Bailey – 1st Qatar Goodwood Festival winner

Jim Crowley – 25th Qatar Goodwood Festival winner