Ralph Beckett was given a nice surprise when Funny Story made a taking debut in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket.
A daughter of Havana Grey, who is making a real name for himself at stud, the filly is from a family Beckett knows inside out.
She looked to face a tough task against Richard Spencer’s Ivory Madonna, who was sent off the 11-8 favourite based on her excellent third in the Albany at Ascot, but when Hector Crouch asked his mount to pick up Funny Story shot a length and three-quarters clear.
“She’s from a family I know well, I trained the dam (Funny Enough) as a two-year-old but this is the first horse I’ve trained for the Harpers (owners) since I left Whitsbury 12 years ago,” said Beckett of his 12-1 scorer, who was introduced at 40-1 for the 1000 Guineas by Betfair and Paddy Power.
“She’s pretty good, obviously, as she did that despite being green, which was the first thing the jockey said. He said she won despite not knowing much.
“I thought she’d run well today but I didn’t expect her to win – I didn’t think she’d know enough.
“We’ll stick to six furlongs for now. She’ll get seven, but she’s from a speedy family. I’ve nothing in mind, she’s not all two-year-old, she’s quite leggy and she’ll come on a bundle.”
Karl Burke was on the scoresheet as Lethal Levi (16-1) blazed a trail from the front and ran the opposition ragged in the Bet Boost At bet365 Handicap.
Carrying just 8st 3lb, the mount of Jimmy Quinn was always to the fore and had daylight between himself and the field from the three-furlong marker onwards. Although some of the others in the line-up were finishing fast, they were unable to close down the winner who had plenty in reserve at the finish.
Burke said: “I was going to run him over seven furlongs, but there was such good prize-money here (£51,000 to the winner) we had to run.
“It’s great for Jimmy. At the start of the week he texted me when he saw I had three out of the handicap and said ‘don’t forget me’.
“I nearly did, I almost put someone else on him, but we go back a long way so I’m delighted for him.
“We’ll see what the handicapper does next, he’s so consistent and like I said I was going to go over seven furlongs so that might be something we look at.”