Hannon strikes Brocklesby gold with Persian Force

Persian Force lived up to the pre-race hype when scooting away with the SBK Brockelsby Conditions Stakes at Doncaster.

The Mehmas colt cost €225,000 euros as a yearling and looks as though he could take high rank in the two-year-old division judged on his performance in the first race of the Flat turf season.

The even-money favourite travelled well throughout for Rossa Ryan before setting sail for home – quickly putting the race to bed as he pulled four and three-quarter lengths clear of Primrose Ridge.

Last year’s winner Chipotle went on to score at Royal Ascot and it would be no surprise if the Richard Hannon-trained Persian Force turned up at the showpiece meeting in June.

Ryan said: “We’ve liked him at home. He’s not done a lot, but what he has done he’s done it well and very professionally. Today was the same and he’s going to improve.

“I hope we’ve only scraped the surface of what’s underneath the bonnet. He had a look at the crowd and went and did his job.

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“They went a good gallop and I was always cantering all over them. He’s got bundles of speed and I think when he goes up to six furlongs, he’ll be much better equipped. He’s going to be nice.

“It’s good to get on the board the first day on grass. It’s a good start to the year.”

Tony Gorman, Hannon’s senior head lad, said: “He does everything very nicely at home and he has a great mind.

“You’ve got to be thinking of Royal Ascot. There’s a lot underneath there we’ve not found yet.”

Darryll Holland, trainer of the runner-up, said: “She’s a lovely filly. I wanted to go to Redcar for a fillies’ only but we decided to come here. I won this race once (on Touch Silver in 1992) for Barry Hills.

“A big strapping colt, who cost a lot of money beat her her. Me and Paul Eddery bought our filly for 8,000 guineas.”

Arthur’s Realm provided Rossa Ryan with an early double in the SBK Spring Mile
Arthur’s Realm provided Rossa Ryan with an early double in the SBK Spring Mile (Simon Marper/PA)

Ryan completed a double on Arthur’s Realm (11-2) for trainer Ed Dunlop in the SBK Spring Mile Handicap.

The Galway-born rider delivered the four-year-old with a strong late run to beat A Boy Named Ivy by a length and three-quarters.

Empirestateofmind, the 100-30 favourite was a short head away in third with long-time leader Invincibly back in fourth place.

Ryan said: “He’s a bit of a tricky customer, but the race fell lovely for me.

“They went a nice gallop and he travelled well. I was a bit wary of the ground but as the races have gone on it’s got a bit holding and it suited me.”

Groundbreaker (5-4 favourite) confirmed the promise of two runs at Kempton at the end of last year to open his account in emphatic fashion in the SBK Betting Podcast Maiden Stakes.

The three-year-old colt, trained by Andrew Balding, kicked clear of his rivals from two furlongs out to win by four lengths from Surrey Knight in the hands of David Probert.

“We’ve very pleased with him. He was still a little bit immature in the early stages of the race. David (Probert) was very complimentary. He said he couldn’t pull him up. It looks we have a nice one,” said Balding’s wife and assistant, Anna Lisa.

“We put a hood on him as it helps him settle and he settled beautifully.

“We’ll see how he is tomorrow and make a plan when the handicapper has had his say. He’s a beautiful looking horse and he’s behaved impeccably.”

Aidan Keeley notched up career win number 11, including seven in Jersey, when steering home the Mick Appleby-trained Sandyman (15-2) in division one of the SBK Apprentice Handicap. Division two went to the Tony Coyle-trained Wots The Wifi Code (11-1), ridden by Jonny Peate.

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