In-form Billy Loughnane booked for Spartan Army in ‘the Plate’ at Newcastle

 In Latest News

June 28

Alan has snapped up one of last week’s Royal Ascot heroes, 16-year-old Billy Loughnane, for the ride on Spartan Army in tomorrow’s prestigious Northumberland Plate at Newcastle.

Not only is Billy, who bagged two of the biggest plums at the Royal meeting, including the Coventry Stakes, the reigning champion apprentice but he has also twice taken the all-weather title. So being able to book the youngster for Spartan Army, who has won three of his four races on an artificial surface, is a real coup.

Spartan Army, who was a classy horse when with Joseph O’Brien in Ireland, took his time to come to himself when recruited for the Barbury team.

However, gradually the penny dropped, and Spartan Army, who takes plenty of work in the mornings to get him fully tuned up, won twice over hurdles last season.

Spartan Army seemed to thrive for a two-month break at the start of winter, rattling off a hat-trick on the Flat on his return, two at Lingfield and one at Southwell.

He has since run a solid third over this tapeta course and another creditable race at Newbury in April, but the all-weather seems to bring out the best in him and Alan, who has won this race twice, with Trueshan and Who Dares Wins, has had this prize in mind for some time.

Spartan Army have company on the journey to Gosforth Park as we will also be represented at Newcastle’s biggest day of the year by Winter Reprise and Westerton, who both run in the mile and a quarter handicap.

Winter Reprise ran his best race yet since joining us when finishing third at 50-1 at Newbury last month, while Westerton though disappointing at both Newmarket and York last month, looked smart last year, so following a wind operation we hope he can recapture his old sparkle.

Similarly, having surgery to sort his wind out has made a big difference to Loughville, who has won twice this year, at Bath and Wetherby and tries to plunder another prize at Chester.  Though now 10lb higher than on the Yorkshire course, Loughville is an improving filly, and Silvestre de Sousa is a significant booking,