James Garfield stormed to victory in the Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury, and in doing so, booked himself a trip to America in November.
Nebo had led the field into the final third, but had no answer as Frankie Dettori unleashed the winner approaching the furlong pole. The James Tate-trained favourite, Invincible Army, gave chase and managed to get to within a length at the line, though in all honesty James G appeared to have something in hand. The first three pulled well clear of the remainder, underlining their status as classy juveniles.
Speaking immediately after the win, Dettori told ITV Racing: “The owner is a good friend of mine and I'd like to say congratulations to George as he only got married last weekend. Over a few glasses of champagne, he was telling me how this horse was going to win today and he was absolutely right. He's a funny horse, he just got touched off at York but now I think he's off to America. He stays seven, but this was a good opportunity over six. This is George's biggest win.”
George Scott, reflecting on his biggest win to date, said: “He has danced every dance this year and has been unlucky on several occasions. He has shown it over five, six and seven furlongs now, so he is a pretty versatile horse. He has improved physically the whole time and I am slightly lost for words really. It was all pretty smooth for Frankie. He said he was where he wanted to be, although he lost his position, he had plenty of horse and hit the line great - it was dream stuff really.”
Of targets the trainer added: “We will go to the Breeders' Cup now. Exceed and Excel's have always gone great out there, he has got tactical speed and he will get a tight mile. Since he sat on him at York, Frankie has always been keen to go to the Breeders' Cup. I would imagine he would go for a seven-furlong trial (next year), then we have the two options, we can either go up to a mile or come back to six for the Commonwealth Cup.”
He was no match for the exceptional Expert Eye at Goodwood over seven-furlongs earlier in the campaign, and then appeared out-stayed by Wells Farhh Go over the same trip at York. Though Royal Ascot 2018 is a long way off, his juvenile performances suggest the stiff six-furlongs of the Commonwealth would prove ideal.
One that proved talented enough to capture the Ascot event in 2016 is Quiet Reflection. She’d been off the track since disappointing in the Temple Stakes at Haydock in May, but returned with a stylish victory at Naas yesterday. She’s virtually unbeatable on her favoured soft ground, and looked impressive in taking the Group Three Renaissance Stakes by almost three-lengths. It was a race she would be expected to win, but it confirmed her well-being, and hopefully we can now look forward to a clash with Harry Angel on Champions Day in October.
Her trainer, Karl Burke, spoke of his returning star: “We had to take our time with her and it's just a shame that things didn't go right early on (in the year). Hopefully she comes out of this well and roll on four weeks for Ascot. If the ground comes up soft she will give Harry Angel a race. On soft ground, this filly is very good and she can only sharpen up for that run. Win, lose or draw she has been an absolute star for us, and it's just great to get her back. She heads to Tattersalls in December. That's where she'll go after Ascot.”
The trainer added: “We will be able to float her into Ascot now. We won't have to push her at all and can give her a nice easy week or two and then pick her up for a week or so. She has a great temperament and has been a pleasure to be around.”
She now has eight wins from 12 career starts, with the Sprint Cup last September arguably the highlight. The flying filly has also earned a mighty £656,953 in prize money.