International sale griffins have featured prominently in our black bookers recently and Wednesday again threw out a coming winner from the Jockey Club’s sale.
The 2016 edition looks quite a successful line-up, with the standouts Pakistan Star and Jing Jing Win but there has also been a good proportion of horses who are going to pay their way, whether or not they ascend to the fast classes.
The Caspar Fownes-trained three-year-old Jumbo Happiness has made up good ground at two of his three appearances at Happy Valley in 1,200m sprint races, with the other the void “Rakegate” 1,000m race when the starting gates malfunctioned.
On Wednesday night, Jumbo Happiness was hampered just after the jump and then again as the field went past the Football Club and into the back straight, and settled towards the tail of the field.
It didn’t help him, although those incidents probably just ensured what his prior appearances indicated anyway – that Jumbo Happiness would not be getting into the race at all in the early stages and look for him late.
While that was happening, the winner, Sea Jade, and the runner-up, Hasta La Vista, were cruising along trouble free up on the top end, so Jumbo Happiness did well to get himself balanced up again and take lengths off them in the second half of the race to post one of the top handful of finishing splits for the meeting.
The winner was running smart Class Three times and sectionals in a Class Four race so it was no disgrace to be beaten, even by almost five lengths.
What looks certain for this British-bred son of Fastnet Rock is that Jumbo Happiness will require further than 1,200m to show his best but these shorter races have been excellent for getting the youngster into the rhythm of racing.
His mother, Tashzara, is a half sister to the former outstanding British miler, Excelebration, and to Mull Of Killough, another Group performer who contested races like the Singapore International Airlines Cup over 2,000m.
A mile looks to be the minimum requirement for Jumbo Happiness and he seems to like the Valley, so when Fownes thinks he is ready to step up to 1,650m there, he should be something to bet on.