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Caturra digs deep for Rose Bowl victory

Caturra clung on for a narrow victory in the Ire Incentive, It Pays To Buy Irish Rose Bowl Stakes at Newbury.

Clive Cox’s Bath novice winner performed with plenty of credit when beaten just over three lengths into seventh in last month’s Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, and was a 7-2 chance for this Listed assignment under Adam Kirby.

After battling his way to the front, Caturra first looked likely to be picked up by 9-4 favourite Orazio and Frankie Dettori, but saw him off despite hanging slightly left.

In the final strides, Detail was then flashing home in the hands of Sean Levey, but the line came in time for Cox’s charge to prevail by a neck.

The Lambourn trainer said: “He’s a lovely horse – and it was a great run at Ascot, I thought, of all the horses who raced up with the pace.

“It wasn’t a strong pace today, and when he hit the front I felt he only just did enough because he’s very laid back – but I’m very happy.”

Caturra is set to go back up in class again next – possibly at Goodwood or York.

“I was very much keen on the Richmond (Stakes at Goodwood) after Ascot, but I didn’t think we could pass up this opportunity,” added Cox.

“If it had remained soft we wouldn’t have been here.

“Where we go from here will be dependent on how the horse comes out of it – we’re only two weeks away from Goodwood. We’ll be dictated by his well-being – if we do run it will be because he’s showing us he’s very well.

“The Gimcrack could be on the cards as well – his temperament is so pleasing, and we’re still learning about him. He would be just as adept over five furlongs, and today the winning distance was diminishing.”

Cox ‘elated’ after Kirby secures deserved Derby triumph

Clive Cox is full of pride after his stable jockey Adam Kirby pulled off a brilliant triumph on Adayar in the Cazoo Derby at Epsom.

Kirby joined Lambourn trainer Cox as a 15-year-old in 2005, and the pair have since enjoyed tremendous success – including at the top table with Lethal Force, Profitable, Harry’s Angel and Golden Horde.

Cox was thrilled to see Kirby etch his name on the roll of honour in Britain’s biggest Flat race on Saturday – on the Godolphin-owned colt for trainer Charlie Appleby.

“I’m absolutely over the moon for him. It was spectacular,” he said.

Trainer Clive Cox hailed Adam Kirby's 'very well-deserved' Derby success
Trainer Clive Cox hailed Adam Kirby’s ‘very well-deserved’ Derby success (John Walton/PA)

“We’ve had some amazing days, but it is very special to see him win a Derby – the pinnacle of the racing scene. It’s such a wonderful achievement.

“We go back a long way, and I’m absolutely elated by watching him yesterday.

“It’s well-deserved, and on top of everything else he’s a really nice fella. I was very proud of what he did.”

Kirby himself was on Sunday trying to come to terms with his amazing success on Adayar.

Still replying to countless messages and missed calls, the 32-year-old plans a couple of days off to fully take in what has been a rollercoaster week.

From looking forward to the ride on John Leeper, then losing out to Frankie Dettori only to be given a second chance to be aboard Adayar for Charlie Appleby at the expense of champion jockey Oisin Murphy and then to win the premier Classic, is quite a story.

“It’s unbelievable. A great day,” Kirby told Sky Sports Racing.

“It’s something I’ll never forget. I’m a bit stuck for words – it’s only just kicking in, but it’s fantastic.

“The Derby is the ultimate test. It’s still sinking in. It was a great feeling. It’s something no one can take away from me. I’m really pleased.”

Adam Kirby (right) receiving his trophy after his Derby victory on Adayar
Adam Kirby (right) receiving his trophy after his Derby victory on Adayar (John Walton/PA)

Kirby savoured the moment, because he does not expect to ride Adayar again – with William Buick, who rode Hurricane Lane into third place, and James Doyle, sixth on One Ruler, as Appleby’s two main jockeys.

“We all know William Buick is stable jockey, and James Doyle is the second, so good look to the boys,” he said.

“I doubt I will ever come across him again, because the boys will have him back. That’s their job.

“I’d like to say what two great lads they are. They were the first to greet me and congratulate me – two top jockeys and two top blokes as well.

“I’m still trying to reply to messages and get back to missed calls. I will get back to everybody – it’s been a manic few hours.”

Sheer Derby delight for Kirby as everything comes right in the end

Adam Kirby was struggling to take it all in after ending a rollercoaster week on a high by claiming Cazoo Derby glory aboard Adayar.

The multiple Group One-winning rider is not one of the more fashionable members of the weighing room, perhaps because he made his name riding on the all-weather or perhaps because he has endured a career-long battle with his weight.

Imagine then being handed what may be the opportunity of a lifetime by being booked to partner the Ed Dunlop-trained John Leeper in the world’s most famous Flat race – only to lose the ride at the eleventh hour after Frankie Dettori became available.

“You wouldn’t have wanted to have been around me for the first hour,” Kirby admitted.

However, that was not the end of the story for the 32-year-old, with his friend and ally Charlie Appleby stepping in to give him the mount on his apparent third-string Adayar, replacing previously booked champion jockey Oisin Murphy.

The rest, as they say, is history, with the Lingfield Derby Trial runner-up and 16-1 shot – who was not short of support in the market beforehand – finding a gap on the far rail before scooting four and a half lengths clear.

Recalling the events of recent days, Kirby – no stranger to Group One success through his association with Clive Cox – said: “I was asked to ride John Leeper and then five minutes later Charlie rang me to asked me to ride this lad. I said ‘I’m sorry, I’ve just put my name to John Leeper’.

“Mr Dunlop said ‘if you’re going to ride him put your name to him’, and as a man of my word I did

“It’s worked out great that I lost the ride on him!”

Adayar storms home under Adam Kirby
Adayar storms home under Adam Kirby (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

He added: “I spoke to Charlie very quickly and I can’t thank him enough – his loyalty is unbelievable.

“When you’re just a run-of-the-mill jockey, being able to ride class horses and get a chance on the big day to deliver, it’s a marvellous feeling.

“Charlie had a champion jockey booked (to ride Adayar), but was kind enough to let me ride him. All credit it to him – he’s a great trainer, a great man and a great father. I will never be able to thank him enough.

“It’s quite unbelievable, really. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. It’s mad, crazy – what goes around comes around.”

Trainer Charlie Appleby celebrates at Epsom
Trainer Charlie Appleby celebrates at Epsom (John Walton/PA)

Appleby, who saddled the first Derby winner to carry the Godolphin blue in 2018 hero Masar, was keen for most of the praise for his latest success to go to the winning rider.

He said: “Adam is a natural horseman. You can put him on every type of horse. When I was first given the licence, Adam rode winners for us very early on.

“I think if you win an English Derby, you don’t have to call yourself an all-weather jockey, that’s for sure! Adam is far from an all-weather jockey.

“I’m just delighted he’s part of the team and I’m delighted he’s had a winner.”

Kirby hopes his Derby success is proof, if it were needed, that he is just as capable of delivering the goods on a Saturday at Epsom as he is on a Wednesday at Lingfield.

He added: “I’m really pleased. I’m not really one to get over-excited about things, but I was then (passing the post).

“I hope the kids are watching and at least they know when people call daddy an all-weather jockey, I’m not.

“I’m good on the all-weather because I ride on the all-weather and I ride horses with a chance on the all-weather.

“You can’t win these big races unless you’re in them for starters. It’s great to pick up a ride and then go and win it.

“There was just enough room up the rail, and I thought if I could just get in I could help them make their minds up, so I got in – luckily the horse was brave enough to go through with it and galloped up to the line and out through it.

“It’s a marvellous day. I hope my mother was watching!”

And on the 40th anniversary of the great Shergar’s Derby win, the popular Kirby was also quick to remember the late Walter Swinburn, who was in the saddle that day and went on become a successful trainer before his untimely death at the age of 55.

He said: “He was a top man and a very sad loss. He taught me great things as well and taught me always to be very cool and calm and relaxed about things.

“He was great to ride for and a fantastic man. He had a lovely family and I am sure they will be pleased for me, too.”

Kirby stars as Adayar powers to Derby glory

Adayar sprang a 16-1 surprise as he came home a wide-margin winner of the Cazoo Derby under a jubilant Adam Kirby at Epsom.

Trained by Charlie Appleby and only ridden by Kirby after he lost the ride on John Leeper to Frankie Dettori, the Godolphin-owned son of Frankel shot clear in the final furlong to give his handler a second win after Masar in 2018.

Richard Hannon’s Mojo Star, a 50-1 chance, ran a huge race to be four and a half lengths away in second, with the winner’s stablemate Hurricane Lane another three and a quarter lengths back in third.

Gear Up set the early gallop, with Kirby on his heels aboard Adayar and Youth Spirit also prominent in the early stages.

Hot favourite Bolshoi Ballet was also towards the head of the field, settled in fourth on the outside, while the well-fancied John Leeper was restrained in last place by Dettori until the field reached Tattenham Corner.

Gear Up started to drop away with two furlongs to run, allowing Kirby a run up the inside rail and he soon put daylight between himself and the field.

Mojo Star finished well from off the pace, with Hurricane Lane also keeping on at the one pace for minor honours, but Aidan O’Brien’s Bolshoi Ballet and the Ed Dunlop-trained John Leeper were both ultimately well-beaten.

Kirby was struggling to comprehend his achievement following the race.

He said: “There’s been ups and downs, it’s racing, but when it comes to Charlie Appleby, he’s a top man. I can’t thank him enough. He’s a real gentleman and a great trainer. It’s quite unbelievable really – I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet.

“It’s a Derby. He ran well in the Lingfield Derby Trial and that was obviously good form – we can all be wiser after the event.

“I got in (on the rail) and luckily the horse was brave enough to go through with it – he galloped up to the line and out through it.

“It’s a marvellous day. I hope my mother was watching.”

Appleby admitted he had his doubts about Adayar tackling the Derby, but Godolphin founder Sheikh Mohammed was keen to let the colt have his Classic chance.

Trainer Charlie Appleby celebrates with the trophy at Epsom
Trainer Charlie Appleby celebrates with the trophy at Epsom (John Walton/PA)

The trainer said: “I’m delighted for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and Team Godolphin, being a home-bred as well and Frankel having his first Derby winner.

“I’m delighted for Adam. He knows him as well as anyone as he broke all three of the runners in.

“To win the way he has done, he’s stamped his authority there among the three-year-old middle-distance horses. We’ll just take a breath, let the dust settle and regroup. It will be interesting to see what the boys say about the other pair (Hurricane Run and One Ruler, who was sixth) as well.

“I had a conversation with His Highness on Wednesday and I sort of put it up there that Adayar would be more of a staying horse and, thankfully, he put me straight back where I should be and said ‘no Charlie, there’s only one Derby and you need to stay in the Derby’.”

Adam Kirby celebrates at Epsom
Adam Kirby celebrates at Epsom (Mike Egerton/Jockey Club)

Oisin Murphy had been asked to partner Adayar, but given Appleby’s long-standing relationship with Kirby, he changed the riding plans.

Appleby said: “Adam is a huge part of the team, he’s been with us since I started and does a lot on the racing side, breaks some of our horses in. I have to say Oisin was very professional when he took the news.

“Once Adam was available, I was always going to offer the ride to him, and Oisin said ‘I know what you’re going to say and I understand’, so a big thanks to him for being a true sportsman.”

Appleby admitted he felt Adayar might be more suited to a stamina test.

He said: “They all looked great and were training well and I couldn’t give a negative to any of them coming in, but I felt one horse was going to be a more of a Leger horse and that was him – I’m not saying we won’t see him there yet.

“He’s a big horse and I wouldn’t say we’re going to rush to anything yet. I think we’ll take this on and just sit back – they’re nice discussions to have of where we go next.”

Masar won the Derby three years ago for Appleby
Masar won the Derby three years ago for Appleby (Adam Davy/PA)

The trainer believes his first Derby win three years ago provided some valuable insight ahead of a second success.

He added: “When you’re in the position I’m in and have the horses I have in your care, the expectations are always there and when you have your first Derby winner it’s a surreal moment and there’s also a sort of sense of relief that you’ve ticked off one of the boxes of what you’re employed to do.

“So coming into today’s Derby, everyone was a bit more relaxed – but as I always say, unless you’ve driven a Ferrari you don’t know what one is like, and until you’ve won a Derby you don’t really know what sort of horse you need to win a Derby.

“So thankfully we’re in a position now to learn what horses are needed and we have a great team sourcing horses for us to train.”

John Leeper delights Dunlop in racecourse spin

Ed Dunlop is counting down the days until the Cazoo Derby with John Leeper following a pleasing racecourse gallop at Epsom on Monday.

Bred in the purple as a son of Frankel out of the trainer’s 2010 Oaks heroine Snow Fairy, the three-year-old has earned himself a crack at the premier Classic with spring victories at Newcastle and Newmarket.

With just three career outings under his belt, Dunlop was keen to give his charge a feel for the undulations of Epsom before the big day and was delighted with what he saw.

He said: “We were never going to do too much, whether the ground was nice or not, as he only ran the weekend before last. This was about bringing him to get a bit more experience with Adam (Kirby) on him. The ground was very soft, almost heavy, but he looked to enjoy himself.

“Hopefully everything will be OK and we will be back here on the first Saturday in June. He is an inexperienced horse, but what I was pleased to see today was that he has been very relaxed doing the whole thing.

“He is not a baby, but everything was new to him today. I was thrilled with the way he behaved and he wasn’t keen going down the hill, which was good as they were only going slowly.

“He has got to step up markedly to be competitive in the Derby, which at the moment the Irish look like they have a stranglehold on. We will just keep him fit, healthy and sound leading up to the race and the rest will be up to the Gods.”

Given the exciting colt is named after the Newmarket handler’s late father John Dunlop, there are likely to be plenty of tears in the winner’s enclosure should he strike Derby gold on Saturday week.

“It is probably one of the more interesting stories of the race,” Dunlop added.

“Having a horse named after my father is very exciting, and it creates a little bit of pressure for everyone, but at the moment the horse has no idea there is any pressure on him, so hopefully we can enjoy it.

“Of course it is quite emotional and it would be a great day if he could go on and win the Derby.”

John Leeper will be ridden by Adam Kirby, who also partners Saffron Beach in the Cazoo Oaks.

He said: “I’ve got two very nice horses to ride at Epsom this year, so let’s hope we have a bit of luck on our side.

Adam Kirby on board John Leeper at Epsom
Adam Kirby on board John Leeper at Epsom (Adam Davy/PA)

“It was brilliant when I got the call to ride John Leeper. I didn’t know whether Ed was winding me up as he has got that in him, but luckily he wasn’t! It is a great ride to pick up and thanks to Ed and all the connections.

“Today was the second time that I have sat on him. I was really pleased with him. He settled lovely on the way down. He didn’t get worked up or in a stew. He relaxed beautifully in behind and when I pulled him out in the straight, he gave me a really good feel.”

Another Derby hopeful to enjoy a Monday morning spin over the famous Downs was the Charlie Appleby-trained One Ruler.

The son of Dubawi will be running in his second Classic, having finished a respectable sixth in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

One Ruler and jockey James Doyle at Epsom
One Ruler and jockey James Doyle at Epsom (Adam Davy/PA)

Reflecting on his morning workout, Appleby said: “I was very pleased with what I saw there. He is a naturally balanced horse, but he hasn’t encountered anything like that before.

“The whole object of the exercise was to let him have a look at the track, but more importantly he was fresh in the Guineas.

“We already had it in our mindset that we were going to come straight from the Guineas to the Derby. We felt that bringing him here would ensure we wouldn’t be going into the Derby too fresh.

“He is a horse that has form on soft ground, so these conditions weren’t going to worry us. He has moved well on the track and picked up well up the straight there. Visually, I don’t think you could be any happier with what we saw really.”

The Moulton Paddocks maestro admits to having some doubt about whether One Ruler’s stamina will last out over a mile and a half, adding: “If the race was 10 furlongs you would be delighted. It is going to be a big question mark, the mile and a half.”

James Doyle partnered the colt in his gallop and will do so in the Derby, with William Buick siding with his Dante-winning stable companion Hurricane Lane.

“William had the choice of them and we spoke about it,” said Appleby.

“Without putting too much pressure on William, I said it would be helpful from the team’s point of view to make a call as it gives James the chance to ride him here if he is going to be riding him in the Derby.

“William said it is not very often that you get the chance to ride a Dante winner in the Derby, so his mind was firmly set on staying with Hurricane Lane and therefore James is first man to be jumping up on One Ruler.

“I’m delighted with Hurricane Lane. As you saw at York, he is one of those characters that is very laid back. He just goes about his business, but he has come out of the race very well and I’m looking forward to getting him here.”

Charlie Appleby (left) with his Derby hero Masar
Charlie Appleby (left) with his Derby hero Masar (Simon Cooper/PA)

Appleby will be bidding for a second Derby victory following the success of Masar in 2018.

He added: “The day of Masar was one we will never forget from myself, my family and the team’s point of view.

“He was the first horse to win in the Godolphin blue and for His Highness (Sheikh Mohammed) and the Royal family to be here, it was a very special occasion.

“We all know winning the Derby is something everyone would love to have on their CV.”

Adam Kirby booked for John Leeper Derby ride

Adam Kirby is looking forward to the big-race ride on Cazoo Derby hopeful John Leeper at Epsom next month.

Kirby will be on board Ed Dunlop’s colt, currently among the most prominent British hopes in the ante-post market for the Classic on June 5.

He has also already ridden John Leeper on the gallops, and is confident he will be suited by his Epsom assignment.

A clutch of other high-profile jockeys had been linked with the possibility of riding the son of the mighty Frankel and Dunlop’s Snow Fairy – who won the 2010 Oaks for the same owners.

But confirming reports that he will be in the saddle, Kirby told Sky Sports Racing: “I’m really pleased with that – thanks to all connections.

“I’m looking forward to him.”

John Leeper, named after Dunlop’s father and training great John, has won both his starts this season – under Hollie Doyle and most recently William Buick, in a Listed race at Newmarket last weekend.

He pulled hard in that slowly-run contest over 10 furlongs, but Kirby expects a different set of circumstances in the Derby.

“I’ve sat on him, and he’s a lovely moving horse,” he added.

“I wouldn’t describe him as keen – he just covers a lot of ground.

“I hope it’s a true-run race, and it will be fine.”

Sarah’s Verse hits the right notes for Ron Harris at Bath

Sarah’s Verse became the first winner in Bath’s 2021 season when landing the CB Protection Handicap for trainer Ron Harris and apprentice Laura Pearson.

The Poet’s Voice filly dispelled Harris’ fears that she might want a longer trip by running on too strongly for Bluebell Time to score by a neck.

Of the 12-1 winner, Harris observed: “This meeting has proved lucky for me over the years and has done so again.

“The filly has done it well, but I thought she might want further. They went very quick, which helped her, and she’s shown more toe back on the grass than was the case on the all-weather.”

Blue Collar Lad and Sean Levey (centre) on the way to victory
Blue Collar Lad and Sean Levey (centre) on the way to victory (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The previous experience of Brocklesby Stakes third and fifth Wonderful World and Muskateer Three saw that pair dominate the market for the CB Protection Security Training Restricted Novice Stakes, a race run in a hail storm.

However, it was 16-1 newcomer Blue Collar Lad that took the spoils for trainer Robyn Brisland and jockey Sean Levey.

Wonderful World travelled kindly in front, but had a fight on his hands when challenged on both sides entering the final furlong, and ultimately failed to hold his rivals by a short head and half a length.

Levey praised the winning Arcadia colt, saying: “He kept on well and put his head down between two horses that had previous experience.

“Mr Brisland has done well to have him ready first time. I thought he had a good chance today.”

Levey completed a double when executing a waiting ride on the Jim Boyle-trained Marlay Park to perfection in the CB Protection Security Training Maiden Stakes.

The start was delayed by the reluctance of favourite Fernando Rah to load and he was finally withdrawn, leaving Khatwah to blaze the trail.

Alphonse Karr had wrested the lead approaching the distance but Major Force and then Marlay Park challenged, with the latter pulling a length and a half clear.

Boyle said: “He was recommended by Richard Hannon and will be a lovely fun horse for the owners. This was almost six furlongs, but I think he’ll have no trouble stepping up to seven.”

With three earning runs behind him in as many starts, Golden Flame set the standard in the CB Protection Event Specialists Maiden Stakes and duly hacked up as the 1-3 favourite under Adam Kirby.

The Mark Johnston-trained colt made all and coasted home five lengths clear of Going Gone, giving Kirby a timely boost following his defeat on Able Kane and disappointment that Fernando Rah failed to load.

The jockey said: “It’s been a bit of a kerfuffle, but it’s always nice to get a winner. He bowled along nicely and then lengthened from three and a half out all the way to the line.”

Kirby completed a double to share the riding honours with Levey when guiding 25-race maiden Quarry Beach (11-1) home in a blanket finish to the CB Protection Security Consultants Handicap.

The David Evans-trained mare got up in the final strides to score by half a length from Bounty Pursuit.

Kirby said: “I think she liked the track and handled the quick ground. It’s always good to ride a winner for David, he’s a top man.”

Clog Na Fola ended an 11-year wait for a winner on the Flat by owner Nick Ayliffe when gunning down Villanelle and foiling a gamble on that horse in the CB Protection Safety Officers Handicap.

The daughter of Sir Prancealot, trained by John O’Shea, emerged from the chasing pack to catch her rival and score at 9-1 under a fine ride by Ciaran McKee.

Clog Na Fola (centre) was a memorable winner for owner Nick Ayliffe
Clog Na Fola (centre) was a memorable winner for owner Nick Ayliffe (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

McKee said: “I’m very pleased for John and for Nick Ayliffe who is a very loyal owner. People like Nick are in it for the day out, but he’s stuck with us.”

King Of Stars (9-1) made a triumphant switch to turf from sand when denying the gambled-on Able Kane in the CB Protection Professional Security Systems Handicap.

The grey engaged in a controlled front-running display under Ali Rawlinson and kept on strongly to score by two and a quarter lengths.

He is a credit to trainer Mick Appleby, a point emphasised by Rawlinson who said: “He’s done well over the winter, showing plenty of speed at Southwell where the name of the game is to avoid the kickback. He’s got bags of speed and has improved for the switch to turf.

“He’s a good advertisement for Mick who gives a new lease of life to horses that join him. If he has the ammo, he will deliver.”

Summerghand pips Exalted Angel in Sprint thriller

Summerghand got up in the dying strides to snatch the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes at Lingfield.

Wearing a visor for the first time, Summerghand pegged back Exalted Angel on the line in the hands of Adam Kirby in a driving finish to the six-furlong heat.

Aberama Gold got a flier from his rail draw and took the field along with Tone The Barone, Exalted Angel and Highland Dress all handy.

The field spread wide on the turn for home with the race very much up for grabs.

Summerghand (6-1), trained by David O’Meara, got into top gear in the final furlong though, edging out Exalted Angel by a head to land his first success since the Stewards’ Cup last summer.

The seven-year-old was making a swift reappearance having contested the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster last Saturday.

Kirby said: “He’s a horse with a lot of ability and a good bit of class.

“Unfortunately, last time at Doncaster he didn’t get the rub and at Wolverhampton before that gave the winner a lot of weight. He was due to win.

“I was content in my position following Brian The Snail. I decided to pull out and luckily a horse stopped at just the right time when I was about to start my run.

“I therefore didn’t lose too much ground and it worked out well. I think the visor put a bit of an edge on Summerghand.

“Full credit to David O’Meara and his team. Hopefully, we continue to have a bit of luck together.

“It’s great to have a winner on Finals Day.”

Supremacy too good for Middle Park rivals

Supremacy led his rivals a merry dance and held off Lucky Vega to win the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Clive Cox’s youngster had impressed in the Richmond Stakes last time out, but the quality of the race was so deep that Supremacy was sent off a 13-2 chance.

Given a strong wind at the track, Adam Kirby employed the same prominent tactics as he had done when winning the Rockfel Stakes on stablemate Isabella Giles 24 hours earlier and Supremacy was never really headed.

His task was made slightly easier by halfway when Frankie Dettori’s saddle slipped on the keen-going Method and he had to call it a day before the race began in earnest.

Shane Foley was eager not to give the leader too much rope on favourite Lucky Vega, but Minzaal was dropped right out at the back and ended up making up plenty of ground into third.

Supremacy was not for catching, though, prevailing by half a length, with Minzaal beaten a further two and a quarter lengths.

“It was superb. I’m overjoyed. He has been amazing really. From the Richmond, I think he has continued developing and strengthening all the time,” said Cox.

“He is a complete speedball and likes to get on with it. Adam has ridden him beautifully and got the fractions right. I’m just delighted the way he has finished off.

“I’m really excited about him next year, as he has got more development and strengthening to do over the winter. He is just pure class.

“I don’t think we will be stretching beyond six. I don’t think we need to when he shows gears like that. That is precisely what we will be concentrating on and polishing what we have got.

“(This year’s Commonwealth Cup winner) Golden Horde had a little bit more size and scope at this stage of his career and was second in this race. He is another very good horse, but most importantly they are both talented.

“He has got that speed and that is what he likes to get on and do. We realised at Goodwood it was certainly not the wrong way to ride him. I’m just very happy how it has all panned out.

“I wouldn’t have thought he was overlooked, but some people obviously thought it – people have short memories.

“We’ve had a tremendous season, especially with the two-year-old crop as they have been amazing.

“Any winner is special, but that feeling of standing on that stand, even though there wasn’t a huge crowd around us, it was still extremely satisfying.

“We had a wonderful Royal Ascot as well and it has been a wonderful year for us, in spite of the shenanigans.”

Isabella Giles is emphatic Rockfel winner

Isabella Giles continued her progression with a decisive victory in the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket.

Successful on her first two starts at Leicester and Newbury respectively, Clive Cox’s filly came up a little short when bidding to complete the hat-trick – finishing fourth in the Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot.

However, a step up to seven furlongs for the first time saw her claim Group Three honours in impressive style in last month’s Prestige Stakes at Goodwood – and she was an 11-5 chance stepping up to Group Two level on the Rowley Mile.

Aidan O’Brien’s even-money favourite Monday was sent to the front from the off by Ryan Moore, but it was clear from the halfway stage that she was struggling – and Isabella Giles took over the lead with relative ease in the hands of Adam Kirby.

The result was scarcely in doubt from that point, with the daughter of Belardo finishing strongly to prevail by two lengths from Nazuna.

Cox said: “It was on better ground today, and more rain wouldn’t have been a concern.

“She put up a very classy performance and has got a wonderful temperament. She settles into a lovely rhythm and she can find her own way in a race.

“She doesn’t have to lead, but she is so relaxed that finding a rhythm and setting your own fractions worked perfectly. Adam got his fractions right, and she made a good job of it.

“I think she is definitely a filly to get a mile next year, which is really exciting. I’m delighted for Clare and Paul Rooney to have such an exciting possibility as a Classic contender. I’m over the moon.”

Isabella Giles after her latest victory
Isabella Giles after her latest victory (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The Lambourn-based trainer confirmed a return to Newmarket for the Fillies’ Mile as an option.

He added: “She is very well balanced. She has won at the track. She is a filly that has a little bit of scope, that is well balanced and has got a wonderful mind and clearly a big level of ability.

“She is in the Fillies’ Mile, but she has done pretty good this year. She wouldn’t have blown a candle out there, but we will see how she comes back.

“It was a ‘win and you’re in’ race for the Breeders’ Cup, but I’m not sure. Next year beckons over a mile, and I think we will be looking that way.”

Roger Varian was delighted with the performance of the runner-up Nazuna.

He said: “She is a lovely filly, and we were not here just to make up the numbers. I really like this filly and I’m delighted she has run up to our expectations.

“Andrea (Atzeni) thinks she will stay a mile, and there are lots of nice options – there’s the Oh So Sharp Stakes back here in a couple of weeks or there is the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf, which is a race we were second in with Daahyeh last year after winning this.”

Stat of the Day, 18th June 2020

Wednesday's pick was...

6.50 Chelmsford : Huraiz @ 4/1 BOG 2nd at 7/1 (Tracked leaders, went 2nd over 4f out, ridden over 1f out, edged left inside final furlong, unable to challenge winner, stayed on and closing close home but failed by a neck)

Thursday's pick runs in the...

5.00 Newmarket :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Currently, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Matewan @ 7/2 BOG

...in a 7-runner, Class 4, Flat handicap for 4yo+ over 1m4f on Soft ground worth £4,690 to the winner...

Why?...

A consistent sort whose SR rating of 85 is a good way ahead of his rivals here today. Those last 5 runs shown above (22221) were all on the All-Weather over today's trip immediately following a win at Ripon, also over this trip on good to soft ground. He has one win and one runner-up finish from two runs on this track, he has three wins and four runner-up places from eight efforts at this trip and of his overall four career wins...

  • all were at 4/1 or shorter
  • all in fields of 6-9 runners
  • all in handicap company
  • three at Class 4
  • three in cheekpieces
  • three going right handed

My other area of interest here is the jockey booking, because although Adam Kirby doesn't ride many of Ian Williams' horses, I'm going to suggest it's not because they don't work well together, because they've actually got a great record of...

from which...

  • male runners are 20/58 (34.5%) for 30.46pts (+52.5%)
  • those competing for £2k to £8k are 20/49 (40.8%) for 39.46pts (+80.5%)
  • those sent off shorter than a 6/1 official SP are 19/40 (47.5%) for 33.24pts (+83.1%)
  • 3 to 5 yr olds are 15/38 (39.5%) for 33.06pts (+87%)
  • those racing against 4 to 8 rivals are 13/32 (40.6%) for 14.07pts (+44%)
  • class 4 runners are 5/10 (50%) for 6.12pts (+61.2%)
  • and here on the July course : 1/1 (100%) for 0.77pts (+7.7%)

...whilst Williams + Kirby + males + 6/1 max SP + sub-£8k winner's prize produces...

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Matewan @ 7/2 BOG as was widely available at 8.10am Thursday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 5.00 Newmarket

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!