Ian Fortune

Graham Holland began his English Derby preparations at Towcester on Sunday afternoon and recorded a fine double with both Jacktavern Bella and Bockos Crystal winning in fine style, while Swords Rex will benefit greatly from his first look at the Northamptonshire venue.

Romeo Hanzo didn’t carry much luck and was never a threat in his respective trial stake.


The star of the quartet, in terms of the clock, was Cesarewitch runner-up Jacktavern Bella.

One of Ireland’s best over extended distances, it was somewhat surprising to lead the field into the back straight.

Oh Tokyo led the field into the bend but sadly lost his action, leaving Jacktavern Bella to take over. Once doing so, it was always a case of by how far she would win. Givemeabreak challenged to halfway but Jacktavern Bella ran right away from her rivals in the second half of the contest to emerge a brilliant eight length scorer in a very useful 29.13.


Fifteen minutes later it was the turn of Bockos Crystal. Normally a good starter, the hugely talented daughter of Droopys Sydney missed the start and was a mile of the pace in the early yards.

Victory seemed impossible but she ran a remarkable bend to move from fifth to enter the back straight in second, some four lengths behind Magical Kyle.

Closing into the third turn, she maintained a powerful gallop to the finish to eventually take over inside the final fifty yards. Shockwave Onyx also finished fast to put pressure on Bockos Crystal but she held on by a neck in 29.57 to complete the Graham Holland double.


Romeo Hanzo carried no luck in the third trial stake, missing the start before finding traffic into the turn.

He entered the back straight a bad last and stayed on late to finish fourth but was never a threat behind 29.28 winner Mustang Sam.


Swords Rex was also out of luck but the 2022 Kirby Memorial and recent Easter Cup champ displayed plenty in defeat to suggest he will be a force around the Towcester circuit in the coming weeks.

The star performer missed the start but displayed fine early speed to challenge for second on the bend.

A lack of knowledge of the circuit saw him take a speed wobble while he checked off the second bend to fall further behind. He did stay on at the finish to be beaten less than four lengths behind fastest winner of the day Distant Podge but seems likely to come on greatly for the outing.