Classy performance from Stay Alert at Newbury

Stay Alert continued her progression with a cosy success in the Greatwood British EBF Stakes at Newbury.

Hughie Morrison’s filly had chased home Oaks third Nashwa last time out and she looked to have improved for that experience with a commanding display.

Ridden confidently by Josephine Gordon, the daughter of Fastnet Rock, who was unraced at two, quickened impressively to steal the march on favourite Golden Lyra.

When a gap appeared on the rails at the two-furlong marker Stay Alert shot three lengths clear and while Tom Marquand tried to follow on Golden Lyra, her change of gear, on just her second start, was not as immediate.

Without Gordon needing to get too serious in the saddle the 11-4 chance was always holding the promising runner-up and crossed the line a length clear, although in truth she was value for more.

Morrison was tied up at British Horseracing Authority headquarters all afternoon, but did manage to catch the race.

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“I thought she was impressive and won with a bit in hand,” he said.

“She showed a bit more speed than she had in the past today – I probably should have run her in the Oaks! Though I’m not sure Epsom would be her track.

“That was seen as a very good race today. I’d like to think we’d beat the one who beat us last time (Nashwa) if they were to meet over a mile and a half, though I understand she’s dropping in trip next time.

“I think we’ll have a look at Haydock if she’s in good form and it’s proper ground at Haydock ahead of the Lancashire Oaks.

“If that goes well then you might have a look at the Yorkshire Oaks and maybe even the St Leger – why not? I trained her sister (Star Rock) who stayed well but was hard to keep sound.”

Josephine Gordon relished being back on a good horse
Josephine Gordon relished being back on a good horse (Mike Egerton/PA)

Gordon told Racing TV: “I always thought she was going to be a nice filly, especially after her last run and her win at Wolverhampton and I said that to Mr Morrison – I didn’t realise she was going to be that nice!

“She’ll definitely stay further, but at the moment a mile and a quarter seems to be working as she can still run a little bit with the gas out. She’s quite awkward at home so her lad at home has done a good job.

“I did worry slightly as normally she only gallops, but she did quicken today and I was lucky to get a run up the rail. At one point I was thinking it could be a hard luck story but she sprinted home.

“She’s beaten some very nice horses and I definitely think she’s Group material, she’s eased down today and being fussy that’s not her ground, she’ll be better with more juice but she’s done nothing wrong.”

It was a welcome winner in the spotlight for Gordon, who added: “People say one horse can make or break things, a few years ago I was riding at this level but unfortunately a few things went down hill.

“It’s an honour to keep on her, a big opportunity and hopefully it will open a few more doors.”

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