Rod Millman is reluctant to step Cuban Mistress up in class next time despite showing a marked improvement from her first run at Salisbury to take the Watch Racing Online Free With Coral EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes at Sandown.
Ross Coakley’s mount, who had finished sixth of nine in a minor event on debut, was a different proposition on her Esher assignment.
The daughter of Havana Grey (18-1) broke smartly from stall six and got across to the far rail, and held on to win by a neck from Beautiful Aisling, who showed plenty of promise on debut.
Coakley said: “She sharpened from her first run and she was very quick away from the gates. Being drawn six, it allowed me to tack across. She travelled, showed plenty of speed and toughed it out well.
“She has plenty of good attributes. The first day I jumped well and the winner came around me and she got a bit crowded and a bit timid. Salisbury is a tricky track first time – you are running downhill and things happen very quickly. But she learned a lot from that and her experienced showed.
“I’ve ridden her a few times at home and she is a filly I have always liked. She is by a sire who is making waves.”
Millman added: “I am not sure about Royal Ascot. She’d be thereabouts, as I know she is a good filly. But there are some good bonus races to go for later on and I think we’ll keep her sights lower for the time being.”
The Queen’s colours were carried to victory by the powerful Duty Bound, a homebred son of Kingman, who looked better the further he went in the Coral ‘Beaten-By-A-Length’ Free Bet Handicap Stakes.
The three-year-old had shown plenty of promise on his seasonal return when upped to an extended mile and three furlongs at Haydock, but David Probert’s mount showed plenty more when taking the mile-and-three-quarter event by a length and a quarter from Moonlit Warrior.
Trainer Andrew Balding said: “It was really good. He is horse who is learning on the job and he has improved with every run, really.
“This step up in trip has helped him. He is in the handicap system and we will work our way through that for the time being.”
Marco Botti’s string have come out of a lean patch and War Horse (7-2) struck for the Newmarket handler in the Coral Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Stakes.
Andrea Atzeni’s mount improved for the first-time cheekpieces to gain the second win of his career in the mile-and-a-quarter event, wearing down Paradias, who was demoted to third after causing interference to Nolton Cross.
Owned by American Earl Mack, the Sea The Stars gelding had a length to spare at the finish.
“The cheekpieces were the trick. He hit the front and thinks he does enough and idles a little bit. The cheekpieces kept him focussed on his job and while the pace was moderate, which didn’t really suit him, it was job done and we have to be pleased,” Botti said.
“Andrea said he will gain confidence and progress from this. He is still an unexposed type and hopefully there is more to come from him. A bigger field would suit him.
“He is a horse who will mature through the season and we will look for a Class 2 handicap for him now.”