Gale Force Maya looks set to outstay Enable as a prolific winning mare racing on, as owner Frank Lowe reveals to Owner Breeder he intends for her to run next year as a seven-year-old.
The daughter of Gale Force Ten – certainly one of the sire’s best performers, if not the best – out of the Galileo mare Parabola has a fine strike-rate, given that she operates in the shark-infested pool of handicap sprinting.
Indeed, so well does she continue to do that going up another 3lb after winning the valuable Sky Bet Dash at York elevated her rating to 107. She already had black type, having finished third in the Group 3 Summer Stakes on the Knavesmire a couple of weeks prior, and was beaten just a short-head when runner-up in the Listed Boadicea Stakes at Newmarket last backend.
From the time she won on her debut at Newcastle in August 2018, she has carried her owner’s red and yellow silks with distinction, and at the time of writing was responsible for 11 of his 30 winners – she herself has run 36 times, with six seconds and nine thirds helping to propel her prize-money haul to £224,050.
She followed her York victory with another second at Listed level, this time in the Flying Fillies’ Stakes at Pontefract. Lowe’s horses are based with Michael Dods, who is based in Denton, near Darlington, and speaking a few days after the Sky Bet Dash triumph, the owner says: “Without doubt York was the most magical day so far but we’ve done well at Newmarket and Pontefract too, so I think we’ll try to aim her at those three courses.
“I had a chat with Michael and we’ve decided we’re going to carry on running her next year. It’s on the proviso that, like this year, she goes up another 9lb next year!”
Lowe is a breeder as well as an owner so will be centrally involved in the writing of Gale Force Maya’s future chapters, and continues: “I’ve got one mare, the half-sister to Gale Force Maya by Bated Breath, she’s in foal to Zoustar.
“I was looking at retiring Gale Force Maya at the end of this year but the way she’s going, I just love her so much and to see her racing, it’s absolutely brilliant. “We have got five in training. Masterpainter, who’s two, and another couple of two-year-olds, Roaring Ralph, he’s a half-brother to Sandrine, the Kirsten Rausing filly, and Boy Douglas, by New Bay. He’s not run yet as we speak, we’re just waiting for easier ground. And we’ve got A Boy Named Ivy. As soon as we get soft ground, he’ll be running again. He’s four so we’ll probably go to the sales with him at the end of the year.
“I’ve named Boy Douglas after my son’s son. Funnily enough it was his birthday party recently and he had about 40 or 50 people round to his house. They were all asking where myself and my wife were – we were at York. Priorities! Ivy is my mother, and she likes greys.”
Naming horses with his family in mind has been a theme for more than a decade, with Ralphy Boy – named after his eldest son and who he also bred – becoming Lowe’s first winner in 2011, after having been an owner for ten years by that point.
Lowe, who started off as an owner on the Flat with James Given and had a couple of jumpers who were placed, got into racing through going to Haydock from about the age of 15 – “racing has been in my blood from an early age,” he says.
His business interests these days revolve around high-spec property builder Magnus Homes, while Dods’ yard is about an hour’s drive from where he lives, six miles outside of Carlisle.
“They’re so friendly, not just Michael but Carol, his wife, and the staff,” he says. “I go about once every four weeks and will carry on as long as they keep making the bacon butties!”
Dods is not the only trainer to have provided magical moments for the owner-breeder – Ralphy Boy was with the late Dandy Nicholls to start with, before moving on to Kevin Ryan and then Alistair Whillans, who has been Lowe’s other main handler down the years – but Gale Force Maya would take some topping.
Lowe adds: “Ralphy Boy was our first two-year-old and he won his first two races, so we were really pleased with him. They all stand out in a certain way but to be honest Gale Force Maya just kills the lot of them!
“She was rated 85 and went up 7lb after winning at Doncaster last April and Michael and myself both wondered if that was the end of it and whether we should turn to breeding. But she’s just proven so versatile, it’s extraordinary.