Epictetus looks one to follow after stylish start

Epictetus made a very pleasing winning debut in the Weatherbys British EBF Maiden Stakes at Newmarket.

Owned by George Strawbridge, the Kingman colt is out of another Group One winner in Thistle Bird so is certainly bred to be good.

Sent off at 11-1, he was clearly not expected by too many to make his first outing a winning one – but could be spotted always travelling smoothly for Martin Harley.

Another newcomer, Andrew Balding’s Leadman, came out of the pack to challenge in the Juddmonte colours, but John and Thady Gosden’s youngster went clear to win by a length and a quarter.

“I was very pleased. He’s done nothing at home bar work on the bridle with another horse,” said Gosden senior, whose charge earned quotes ranging from 20-1 to 40-1 for the 2000 Guineas.

“He was ready for a race, but I’m overjoyed because he was very professional and Martin gave him a lovely ride.

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“Mr Strawbridge bought the mare at the Rothschild dispersal and she was immensely talented, a Group One winner, and to go to Kingman and get a horse like that straight away, it’s all about the owner-breeder really.

“He’s not been on the grass yet so it was very pleasing. I think we’ll look for another novice before setting our sights too high and I think he’ll be very comfortable over a mile.”

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