Fanshawe favouring drop in trip for gallant Ambiente Friendly

Ambiente Friendly appears set for a drop back in trip having suffered Classic heartbreak for the second time in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

James Fanshawe’s son of Gleneagles had travelled into the straight at Epsom full of running in the hands of Robert Havlin, before City Of Troy arrived on the scene to land a hammer blow.

And it was another Aidan O’Brien-trained colt who proved a thorn in Ambiente Friendly’s side at the Curragh, as Los Angeles reversed Epsom form to outstay the Gredley family-owned colt late in the day, with Sunway edging him for second.

Fanshawe said: “He ran really well and travelled really well to the two-furlong pole, he just got outstayed in the last furlong.

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“The winner and the second are both very good horses and the winner looked much more at ease with himself today, he was much better behaved. The second was a Group One winner at two, so we have been beaten by two very good horses.”

With Ambiente Friendly’s owners the driving force behind the two Derby bids, Fanshawe is now eyeing a move back in distance where his ability to travel and turn of foot could become a real asset.

He told Racing TV: “I think we will probably be dropping back in trip now. He’s ran in a trial and two Derbys so we are going to have to see how he is when we get home. It would be quite nice to get him winning again before we have any real big targets.

“You would really like to have a go at the Qipco Champion Stakes over a mile and a quarter at Ascot at the end of the season, but we will see how he is when he gets home.

“He’s got a lot of pace and has grown up an awful lot, he’s gone from racing over seven furlongs to a mile and a half. Mr (Bill) fGredley really wanted to have a go at the Derbys and fair play to him for sticking to that route because it nearly paid off.”

Ambiente Friendly had to settle for third as David Menuisier’s Sunway came home for second in his first attempt at 12 furlongs, with his handler delighted his Group One-winning juvenile was able to serve a reminder of his talent on the big stage.

The Sussex-based Frenchman has suffered some Classic near-misses of his own this term, but Sunway could yet give him one final shot at glory if heading further up in trip for the St Leger in September.

“That is the third Classic I am losing by less than a length this season, so I’m used to it now,” said Menuisier.

“I’m delighted with the horse because we have always thought the world of him and people had lost faith in the horse.

“Today he really vindicated himself and showed he is a real class act. I’m really delighted for the horse.

“He got hampered at the start of the French Derby and was nearly brought down. He was closing really fast and only beaten three-quarters of a length for fourth. The ground was tacky and he did something special that day and I think people didn’t give him credit for that.

“I never doubted the horse and I see him every morning, so I know he is a good horse. I’m over the moon he vindicated himself today.

“We will enjoy this and I could see him staying a bit further. If the owners agree he could well go the Leger and we could well have a top stayer on our hands.”

Roger Varian had thrown the well-regarded Matsuri into the deep end following a wide-margin victory in a Leicester novice event and the Sea The Stars colt took the step up in grade in his stride to finish an honourable fourth.



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However, the mount of James Doyle was one to have his progress halted in the closing stages, leaving connections pondering what could have been on the journey home.

“He’s ran a great race and confirmed he is a very good horse,” said Varian.

“We thought that coming into the race, and it is pleasing to see him hold his own and maybe we can think of what could have been if we had got a cleaner passage.

“I’ve only watched it the once and will need to watch it again, but I don’t think we got the room to run when we needed it. That’s racing and he’s ran a fine race and hopefully he is OK tomorrow and we can make some good plans for him.

“He was beaten a length maybe in total having had a slightly troubled passage in the home straight so we might be thinking what could have been. But he’s a good horse and let’s see what is round the corner for him.

“We will digest today, see how he is tomorrow, speak to the owner and go from there.”

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