Exciting colt, Holler, might well be the sole Australian-trained representative at Royal Ascot 2016, but he’s not there to simply make up the numbers according to Godolphin’s Racing Manager and Darley Managing Director, Henry Plumptre.
“We consult closely with (media identity and form expert) Jim McGrath and he has rated Holler a good chance at Royal Ascot. Without his encouragement, we simply wouldn’t have gone,” Plumptre confides.
“Exosphere was originally our number one draft pick but it all became too difficult in the end.
“That said, we’ve always had a good opinion of Holler. He had a fairly muddling spring but that was probably as much our fault … 1300m or 1200m are the more ideal distances for the horse.
“He beat some very good horses in the Canterbury Stakes (including Group One winners First Seal, Kermadec and Criterion), but needed to frank the form in the William Reid before we’d consider sending him to England.
“Holler was probably a bit stiff (in the William Reid) and only got beaten an inch by Flamberge.
“So, after speaking with Jim McGrath we decided to make the trip and hopefully he’ll do Sheikh Mohammed proud.
“Holler is a nice, free-going type of racehorse and loves being on the pace.
“It will all depend on the surface (at Royal Ascot) and how he shapes up, but we tend to look at these things from a human point of view. Anything can happen on the day and we’d like to think he’ll get the job done.
“Best part of all, Holler is Australian through and through and we’re looking forward to eventually standing another son of Commands (who is also the sire of Darley resident, Epaulette).”
Holler is due to line up in Saturday’s Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes – the last day of the Royal Ascot carnival – and trainer John O’Shea is happy with his horse’s work since arriving in England.
“There were no issues with him travelling and he’s back to his racing weight … Holler is a big, tough galloping horse and I think he’ll be OK at Ascot.”
Victory in the Diamond Jubilee would see Holler join such Australian luminaries as Choisir (2003), Starspangledbanner (2010) and, unforgettably, Black Caviar in 2012.
You can recapture much of the excitement of those victories in the video above.
One thing is for sure, we’ll all be shouting for Holler to join the list!
HOOFNOTE: A Champion Australian Sire by winners, Commands is the sire of 69 stakes winners – 10 at Group One level – and 834 winners overall. Commands’ sprinter, Soul, ran fourth to Black Caviar in the 2012 Diamond Jubilee and was a Group winner at Newbury. Holler, meanwhile, is out of the Strategic mare, Shouts, a half sister to 3-time Group One winner, Yell, and the stakes winner Sung, with other close relations including dual Group One winner Anthems and juvenile stakes winner Vocalist. Holler’s first five dams are all Australian-bred.