Tag Archive for: Andrea Atzeni

In-form Andrea Atzeni relishing Royal Ascot challenge

Fresh from Saturday’s York double, Andrea Atzeni heads into Royal Ascot week on a high with several plum rides to look forward to, headed by Legend Of Dubai in the Royal Hunt Cup.

Atzeni has had eight winners from his last 30 rides, including his last three, and he is brimming with confidence ahead of the five-day Royal meeting.

The Italian rider is key cog in Roger Varian’s Newmarket operation, and Legend Of Dubai is one of the stable’s main hopes in the cavalry charge over the straight mile on Wednesday.

The four-year-old is on a hat-trick after wins at Ffos Las last August and another on his seasonal return at Newmarket.

Atzeni said: “He is a lovely horse and is obviously beautifully bred – and bred to be a lot better than a handicapper.

“He won nicely at Newmarket and obviously the plan was the Hunt Cup.

“We could have had a run in between, but he has a high enough mark to get into the race and he likes fast ground.

“He is a horse who will not mind if it is good or good to firm ground and his work has been good. The Hunt Cup is a lottery, but if he hopefully gets a good draw, he would have a good chance.”

Big things were mooted for Sea The Stars colt Subastar after he powered up the Rowley Mile to score on his juvenile debut over a mile last September.

However, despite receiving quotes for the Classics, he did not reappear until the end of April, when a tame third of four to Nations Pride in a Listed 10-furlong race.

Atzeni has certainly not lost faith in the Varian-trained colt, who holds a double engagement – in the Group Three Hampton Court Stakes on Thursday and the Group Two King Edward VII on Friday.

He feels the former is more likely, in which the Queen’s Reach For The Moon is a warm order.

Atzeni said: “I think the plan is to go to the Hampton Court over a mile and quarter.

Subastar (left) set to run in the Hampton Court on Thursday
Subastar (left) set to run in the Hampton Court on Thursday (Tim Goode/PA)

“His comeback run at Newmaket saw him travel good, and it looked like he just got a bit tired. The ground was probably a bit quick but his homework has got a lot better since his run. He has woken up a lot. I think he is a nice horse.

“Obviously we have Reach For The Moon in the race, but he is a horse who we have been kind with and he is a lot better than his Newmarket run.

“He is beautifully bred and I’m looking forward to getting back on him.”

The Kevin Ryan-trained Juan Alcano will bid to win the Listed Wolferton Stakes for a second successive year on Tuesday and while last of three on his seasonal return at Sandown in April, Atzeni felt he would come on for his first run in seven months.

Atzeni steered Juan Elcano (right) to Wolferton Stakes success last season
Atzeni steered Juan Elcano (right) to Wolferton Stakes success last season (David Davies/PA)

“Juan Alcano won the race last year and I thought his comeback run was decent and he probably he needed the race,” he added.

Ryan and Atzeni will team up again in the Albany Stakes on Friday with the once-raced Elvenia, a daughter of Dark Angel who steps up in trip for her second start.

“She won over five at Newcastle last time out,” said the jockey. “We were trying to find a race over six (furlong), but because we were getting closer to Ascot, Kevin had to get a run into her and the race at Newcastle came up, which she won.

“I think the step up to six will really suit her. I spoke to Kevin on Saturday and he says she has come on a lot.

“She has won a novice and it depends on how much she has improved, but I’m really looking forward to getting back on her.”

Mobadra is another whom he hopes will go well when she lines up in Wednesday’s finale, the Kensington Palace Stakes.

The Varian-trained daughter of Oasis Dream signed off her three-year-old campaign in November with a second win from five career starts, taking a seven-furlong Kempton all-weather handicap in good style.

She makes her seasonal bow in the mile handicap and Atzeni said: “She is a nice filly. She has a mark of 89 and if she goes there, I think she will have a really good chance.

“Her work has been really good. I actually rode her on Friday and I’m really looking forward to riding her.

“If we get a good draw in the round mile, I think she will be competitive.”

Without A Fight comes out on top at York

Ed Crisford was delighted to see Without A Fight stamp his class on the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Grand Cup Stakes at York.

The five-year-old won in handicap and Listed company in the autumn and kicked off his 2022 campaign by finishing a head second to last week’s Coronation Cup hero Hukum at Meydan.

He subsequently failed to land a telling blow in the Dubai Sheema Classic on World Cup night, but made a pleasing return to British soil when third in the Group Three Al Rayyan Stakes at Newbury last month.

Stepping up in trip but down in class for this one-mile-six-furlong Listed contest, Without A Fight was sent on his wat at 4-1 in the hands of Andrea Atzeni as he conceded 3lb to each of his five rivals.

Andrea Atzeni with Without A Fight
Andrea Atzeni with Without A Fight (PA)

The five-year-old was never too far off the pace set by Kemari and knuckled down well to prevail by a length and three-quarters from the strong-finishing John Leeper.

Crisford, who trains Without A Fight in partnership with his father, Simon, said: “It was a great run and he did it really well.

“They went so slow early and nobody really wanted to go forward, but once he got into a rhythm he settled lovely and he showed his class today, winning with the penalty.

“He quickened away lovely and hit the line really well. Now that he’s won over a mile and three-quarters, it does open up a few more options, so we’ll see.”

Ed (left) and Simon Crisford at Epsom
Ed (left) and Simon Crisford at Epsom (John Walton/PA)

Betfair introduced Without A Fight at 14-1 in their market for the Ebor back at York in August, but Crisford is in no rush to firm up plans.

He added: “I think he’d be top-weight in the Ebor, so we’ll just have to see where we go.

“There are no immediate plans. We’ll just have to sit down with Sheikh Mohammed Obaid.

“He’d have plenty of weight in the Ebor, but that is obviously an option. There’ll be plenty of options for him moving forward and hopefully we’ll have a fun year with him.”

Third Realm returns to winning form in Tapster test

Third Realm bounced back to form in no uncertain terms, cruising to a six-length success in the William Hill Tapster Stakes at Goodwood.

The Roger Varian-trained Sea The Stars colt had not won in five starts since beating subsequent Derby winner Adayar in the Lingfield Derby Trial last year.

However, he showed plenty of spark in his first run as a four-year-old when third to Al Aasy at Ascot earlier this month and with the ground on the soft side of good, he made light work of his four opponents – including last year’s Irish Derby runner-up Lone Eagle, sent off the 8-11 favourite, having his first run since last July.

Andrea Atzeni took advantage of a modest early pace in the mile-and-a-half Listed contest and quickly drew clear on the 3-1 shot with two furlongs to race, with Something Enticing (12-1) giving vain chase.

Atzeni said: “His first run back was a nice one at Ascot. The ground probably dried up for him and the horse got a little bit tired.

“We were looking for a bit more juice in the ground, which we got today. We were confident, but we wouldn’t know with Lone Eagle turning up. He obviously had not run since July last year.

“He hasn’t won since beating Adayar in the Lingfield Derby Trial. We ran him in the Derby on fast ground and I think he is the sort of horse who wants a mile and a half on slow ground.

“It was nearly good to soft today and he would handle bottomless ground – as long as it is not fast ground.

“He quickened up today and put the race to bed quite nicely. Taking the favourite out of the race, this was a very winnable race. It was solid, but I thought on his own form he would win.

“Speaking with Roger (Varian), he said he had definitely improved since Ascot and so we were very hopeful.

“I would think the Hardwicke would be next, but it obviously depends on the ground and we will have to speak to (owner) Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum. The Hardwicke would be the obvious race.”

Listed target pays off for Fonteyn team

Kevin Ryan’s Fonteyn landed Listed honours at York in taking the Oaks Farm Stables Fillies’ Stakes for Andrea Atzeni and owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid.

The three-year-old was placed on both her juvenile starts and finished the runner-up when contesting a Newmarket maiden in April and coming home a neck behind Juddmonte’s smartly-bred Crenelle.

A 6-1 chance on the Knavesmire as a result, the daughter of Farhh travelled in the centre of the field and hit the front with two furlongs to go, ultimately holding off 13-8 favourite Grande Dame by a head.

Ryan said: “We didn’t think she did everything right at Newmarket and the front two were well clear.

“There was no point winning a little maiden, so I spoke to Sheikh Mohammed Obaid and he was in full agreement that we should come here for a Listed race and it’s paid off.

Fonteyn winning on the Knavesmire
Fonteyn winning on the Knavesmire (Tim Goode/PA)

“We think an awful lot of her and it’s no surprise she’s gone and done that.

“I have nothing in mind. I’ll speak to Sheikh Mohammed Obaid. This was our first target and now we’ve got that out of the way we can now plan the rest of the campaign.

“She’s still learning. There’s plenty of time as the year goes on.”

Tim Easterby’s Bollin Joan edged out hot favourite Rogue Bear in a thrilling climax to the Paddy Power “I Love Steak” Stakes.

The latter was a 13-8 chance to open his account for the campaign after finishing third in the Lincoln at Doncaster and the Spring Cup at Newbury.

Dropped out last for much of the way by Jack Mitchell, Rogue Bear raced keenly throughout and was delivered with what looked like a winning run inside the final two furlongs.

But 12-1 shot Bollin Joan, turning out just five days after finishing down the field at Hamilton, refused to bend under Duran Fentiman and clung on by a head.

Easterby said: “She’s a wonderful filly. She ran on Sunday at Hamilton and I think she ran just a little bit free through the race and didn’t get home.

“She wants to come late though – just come on the line. Some horses can stand being run back-to-back, some can’t, she’s seasoned and she likes it here.

“We’ll just take the races as they come with her.”

Bollin Joan winning the Paddy Power “I Love Steak” Stakes
Bollin Joan winning the Paddy Power “I Love Steak” Stakes (Tim Goode/PA)

Karl Burke’s superb run of form continued in the Paddy Power “Fill Thi Boots” Handicap as Al Qareem struck from the front to prevail by a length and a quarter at 9-2.

Ridden by Clifford Lee for owners Nick Bradley Racing, the consistent gelding produced another admirable performance to make all of the running.

“It was a great ride, he’s always been very good from the front has Clifford, he knows our horse well and he’s given him a lovely ride,” said Burke.

Karl Burke's Al Qareem
Karl Burke’s Al Qareem (Tim Goode/PA)

“We were a little bit worried, there were four or five I thought could go and make the running and I said to Clifford ‘don’t make it just for the sake of it, just jump positive and see where you land’.

“He’s landed in front and I was very happy after a couple of furlongs.

“All being well he’ll go to Royal Ascot for the mile-and-a-half three-year-old race (King George V Stakes) and maybe come back here for the Melrose, onwards and upwards from there.”

Lee and Burke were also on the scoresheet with Korker, who obliged favourite-backers at 4-1 in the Longines Irish Champions Weekend Handicap.

Il Bandito recorded a second successive victory when landing the Yorkshire Equine Practice Handicap for James Horton and PJ McDonald.

The four-year-old was a winner at Ripon in April and followed up on the Knavesmire when victorious by a neck as the 4-1 joint-favourite.

Il Bandito on his way to victory
Il Bandito on his way to victory (Tim Goode/PA)

Horton, who was enjoying his fifth and highest-profile winner since taking out his licence, said: “Coming to Group One tracks with horses is what John and Jess (Dance, owners) are in it for and I’m delighted to supply them with a winner here this early on.

“I thought PJ gave him a belting ride. He got over to that rail and I think that was probably helping him up the straight.

“He was in front a long way out, but in fairness he toughed it out and battled all the way to the line.

“We’ll see what the handicapper does to him and go from there.”

Atzeni eager for Emaraaty Ana reunion at Meydan

Andrea Atzeni is excited to get back on board last season’s Sprint Cup hero Emaraaty Ana on Super Saturday at Meydan.

Runner-up to Winter Power as a 40-1 shot for the Nunthorpe at York last summer, Kevin Ryan’s charge proved that was no fluke when narrowly denying Starman in a thriller ay Haydock in September.

He subsequently finished fourth behind American speedball Golden Pal at the Breeders’ Cup and will make his first competitive appearance since in this weekend’s Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint.

“I’m looking forward to riding him. He’s done a strong bit of work at Southwell. I watched the video and it looked like a solid piece of work,” said Atzeni.

“Kevin is very happy with him and if he’s ready, hopefully he’d be the one to beat on form.

“He was good at Haydock and ran well at the Breeders’ Cup considering five furlongs round a bend is probably sharp enough for him. The horse that won it, Golden Pal, is a solid horse out there.

“He loves fast ground and an easy six furlongs at Meydan should suit him.

“He owes us nothing and being a gelding, we’re just going to try to go where the big pots are.”

Emaraaty Ana is unlikely to have things all his own way, with Ado McGuinness saddling last year’s Prix de l’Abbaye winner A Case Of You.

A Case Of You sparked celebrations with his victory in the Prix de l'Abbaye at ParisLongchamp
A Case Of You sparked celebrations with his victory in the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp (Ashley Iveson/PA)

Unlike Atzeni’s mount, the four-year-old has the benefit of a recent run, having made a successful start to his campaign at Dundalk three weeks ago.

Charlie Appleby’s course and distance winner Man Of Promise, Nigel Tinkler’s Blue Point Sprint runner-up Acklam Express and the Karl Burke-trained Lord Of The Lodge also feature in the Group Three field.

Atzeni has a good chance of claiming Group Two honours earlier on the card, with Simon and Ed Crisford’s Without A Fight bringing solid claims to the table in the Dubai City of Gold.

The son of Teofilo steps up in class on his return after rounding off last season by winning a Haydock handicap and a Listed event at Newmarket.

Hukum has been an excellent servant to connections
Hukum has been an excellent servant to connections (John Walton/PA)

“Without A Fight is a solid horse. It’s his first run back this year and he obviously needs to improve a bit, but there doesn’t seem to be a standout horse in it this year,” Atzeni added.

“Hopefully he’ll run well.”

The biggest threat to Without A Fight appears to be the Owen Burrows-trained Hukum.

The ultra-consistent five-year-old has carried the colours of the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum to seven victories, four of which have been at Group Three level.

The son of Sea The Stars makes his first competitive appearance since winning the Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot in October, with Burrows hoping this weekend’s run will leave his charge spot-on for a tilt at the Sheema Classic on World Cup night in three weeks’ time.

“The draw (14) is what it is. Ideally we’d have liked to have been in a bit more in the middle, but he’s pretty straightforward,” he told Sky Sports Racing.

“He normally jumps well enough. Jim (Crowley) will just slot him in where he can. It’s not ideal, but I’m not too worried about it.

“He’s top rated. We just felt last year he took a run or two before he hit top form, so we thought it was asking a lot for him to come off the plane the week before the Sheema Classic and would probably have to run to a career-high mark, so we planned to run him here.

“It is a prep run. We’re very happy with him, but whatever he does he will come on plenty. He’s got three weeks then to enjoy this lovely warm sunshine and he’ll come on massively for that.”

Godolphin-owned course and distance winners Global Storm (Appleby) and Global Heat (Saeed bin Suroor) also feature in the mile-and-a-half contest.

Crisford runner Algiers, a recent winner at Jebel Ali, tops the field for the Group Three Burj Nahaar.

Doug O’Neill has booked Frankie Dettori to partner Appreciated, who won a Listed prize at Meydan three weeks ago and tests the water at Group One level in round three of the Al Maktoum Challenge.

The other Group One on the card is the Jebel Hatta, in which popular grey Lord Glitters bids for back-to-back victories.

David O’Meara’s stable stalwart looks the one to beat judged on his recent success in the Singspiel Stakes, with Appleby’s pair of Barney Roy and Zakouski chief among his rivals.

Miss Carol Ann impresses on Newmarket debut

Miss Carol Ann made an impressive start to her career in division one of the Blandford Bloodstock Maiden Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket.

Second in the betting at 100-30, Roger Varian’s filly travelled strongly in the hands of Andrea Atzeni, with the more experienced 11-10 favourite Oheka bidding to make every yard of the running under Oisin Murphy.

The market leader did her best to keep Miss Carol Ann at bay, but the daughter of Kingman quickened up stylishly to grab the lead before kicking two lengths clear.

Varian said: “We have some nice unraced horses at home and we thought this filly would come here and run well. I didn’t know if she’d win, but she’d certainly shown up nicely at home and hopefully she’s a filly with a nice future.

“The winning owners are new owners in the yard. We met Bill Crager and his son Will about 18 months ago and they sent this filly to us this time last year as a yearling. They’re very enthusiastic and lovely people, so it’s great their first experience with us is a winning one.

“She’s a good-moving filly, so she should handle most grounds. Andrea felt it was just lively enough for her today, but I hope she’s a filly that will be quite versatile.

“She’s travelled nicely and seen the stiff seven furlongs out well, so I would think she’ll get a mile next year.”

Roger Varian won the opening race at Newmarket with Miss Carol Ann
Roger Varian won the opening race at Newmarket with Miss Carol Ann (Mike Egerton/PA)

Last year’s winner Saffron Beach went on to land the Group Three Oh So Sharp Stakes over the same course and distance a fortnight later.

When asked if Miss Carol Ann could follow the same route, Varian added: “I’m not sure. We’ve done it with a filly in the past and it can come a bit quick.

“I’m not going to rule it out and I’m not going to rule it in. We’ll just have to see how she is in the next week or so.”

Siamsa on her way to victory
Siamsa on her way to victory (Tim Goode/PA)

The second division went to Richard Hannon’s 9-1 shot Siamsa, who repelled the challenge of evens favourite Thanks Monica by a comfortable two and a half lengths in the hands of Pat Dobbs.

Hannon said: “I worried bringing her here that she might see the open spaces, look around a bit and get a little bit warm, but to be fair she’s done it well.

“Pat said she went down very quietly, so he thought he’d let her roll on the way back.

“She’s won her maiden obviously, so we can have a look either at nurseries or a bit of black type would be lovely, the Radley Stakes or something like that.

“She will love to get her toe in the ground later on in the year, but she is a filly for next year.”

Perfect News leads home Eidikos at Newmarket
Perfect News leads home Eidikos at Newmarket (Tim Goode/PA)

Perfect News (6-1) made it a double on the day for owner Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum as she landed the British Stallion Studs EBF “Jersey Lily” Fillies’ Nursery Handicap.

Perfect Power had earlier carried the owner’s colours to glory in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes and the William Haggas-trained Perfect News dug deep for Tom Marquand to hold off Eidikos by a neck.

Jumby (5-2 favourite) defied top-weight to win the closing Sue Human Celebration Handicap for Eve Johnson Houghton and William Buick.

Subastar promises plenty for the future

Subastar is expected to go on to bigger and better things after making a successful start to his career in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes at Newmarket.

The well-related Sea The Stars colt was a 14-1 shot for a race that has been won by a whole host of high-class performers in recent years, including Telescope (2012), Eminent (2016) and the brilliant Ghaiyyath (2017).

Ridden by Andrea Atzeni, Roger Varian’s charge travelled strongly and picked up well to beat the twice-placed favourite 11-8 favourite Dawn Of Liberation by a length and a half. Godolphin newcomer Symbol Of Light also shaped with plenty of promise in third.

Varian, who also saddled last year’s winner Royal Champion, said: “He’s a nice colt who is very laid back and relaxed, I thought he might just need the run.

“He’ll be a nice horse next year. He stays well and should be a middle-distance horse as a three-year-old.

“He’s a beautifully-bred horse by Sea The Stars, who can do no wrong at the minute.

“He’ll tell us whether he wants to run again this season. Hopefully he’s a nice one to look forward to.”

Gale Force Maya made it third time lucky in the British Stallion Studs EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap.

The Michael Dods-trained five-year-old had been sent off favourite for each of the last two renewals of the six-furlong contest – finishing second in 2019 and third 12 months ago.

Fresh from riding a double at Goodwood on Wednesday, 5lb claimer Adam Farragher was once again seen to good effect as he steered the northern raider to a neck success over Gellhorn.

“Mr (William) Haggas has been very good to me and him putting me up has seen me get some lovely outside rides like this one today,” said the jockey.

“It’s my first winner on the Rowley Mile – it was only my third ride here.

“She was keen early and I didn’t want to disappoint her. I knew from speaking to a couple of senior jockeys that if you can get your momentum running down the hill, it will slingshot you up the hill at the end. It worked out today.

“To ride a winner here on hallowed ground is very nice.”

Runners and riders pass the grandstand in the Federation Of Bloodstock Agents Nursery
Runners and riders pass the grandstand in the Federation Of Bloodstock Agents Nursery (Tim Goode/PA)

Rank outsider Desert Angel followed up a recent Doncaster success in the Federation Of Bloodstock Agents Nursery.

The application of blinkers brought and a step up to a mile saw Richard Hannon’s charge improve significantly on his previous form when opening his account on Town Moor less than a fortnight ago.

At odds of 16-1, Ryan Moore’s mount proved that was no fluke with a one-and-a-quarter-length victory on the Rowley Mile.

Hannon said: “He is obviously quite a late developer as we questioned his enthusiasm. I wanted to cut him, but his owner Ziad Galadari said ‘let’s give him one more chance’ and to try the headgear. Since he said that, he has not stopped winning.

“We will definitely run him again (this season) and look to find another valuable nursery.”

James Doyle and Boltaway in action at Newmarket
James Doyle and Boltaway in action at Newmarket (Tim Goode/PA)

Boltaway made it four wins from his last five starts in the Discover Newmarket Handicap.

In the space of little over a month Roger Charlton’s charge completed a hat-trick with victories at Doncaster, Redcar and Yarmouth, but came up short in his bid for a four-timer at Pontefract, finishing only third.

But after going off as the 2-1 favourite, Boltaway rewarded those who kept the faith with a ready verdict in the hands of James Doyle.

“He’s back on-song. It was an odd race at Pontefract as the outsider got a soft lead and they ended up strung out across the countryside,” said Charlton.

“There’s the Old Rowley Cup back here in a couple of weeks and we’ll think about that, then I think he’ll be a very nice horse for someone to buy at the Horses In Training Sale.”

Andrew Balding and Oisin Murphy combined to land the Come And Discover Newmarket Handicap with 15-8 favourite Carolus Magnus, while the concluding Newmarket Challenge Whip Handicap went to Ralph Beckett’s 8-1 shot Rhebus Road, ridden by Jane Elliott.

Ryan has Del Mar ambitions for Emaraaty Ana

A tilt at Breeders’ Cup glory looms large for Emaraaty Ana after justifying Kevin Ryan’s confidence with victory in a pulsating renewal of the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock.

It is three years since the son of Shamardal won the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes at York – and by his trainer’s own admission, there have been a few bumps in the road since.

But having snapped a long losing run at Hamilton in late July, Emaraaty Ana produced a career-best performance when runner-up to Winter Power in last month’s Nunthorpe and he proved that effort as a largely unconsidered 40-1 shot was no fluke on Merseyside.

Always travelling strongly in hands of Andrea Atzeni – who was completing a treble on the card – the five-year-old moved to the lead with over a furlong still to run.

Having looked to be going nowhere at one stage, July Cup hero and even-money favourite Starman found overdrive late on and almost joined Emaraaty Ana on the line, but the judge confirmed Ryan’s charge had held on by a short head.

“I thought he was beat,” the North Yorkshire-based handler said.

“When he went to the front I thought ‘this is a long way home’. The last furlong is always a long furlong!

“We had huge faith in the horse. He’s as good a horse as I’ve ever trained.

“His work at home is brilliant and all he wants to do is please you.”

Emaraaty Ana (front left) clung on for Group One glory
Emaraaty Ana (front left) clung on for Group One glory (David Davies/PA)

Ryan admitted he has spent many a night plotting how to get Emaraaty Ana back to his best.

He said: “When you train horses, you have to think about the individual and what you’re doing wrong with them. Make no mistake, we do make mistakes with these horses and we’ve changed a few little things with this horse.

“It takes confidence to get these horses back. I go to bed on a night and think ‘I did that wrong, we’ll do it differently next week’.

“Some horses can take the hard work and this fellow just needed to come back and take some easier work to go forward and believe in himself.

“I’ve never lost belief in the horse and I don’t produce them for these races to take part – if I don’t think they’re good enough, they won’t run.”

While Emaraaty Ana has the option of returning to five furlongs for the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp in a month’s time, he is most likely to head Stateside for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar – a race Ryan won last season with the similarly rapid Glass Slippers.

He said: “I think there’s a fair chance he’s the right horse for America.

“He can travel and fast ground wouldn’t worry him.

“I’ll have to speak to Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, but I think he’s tailor-made for the Breeders’ Cup this year.”

Andrea Atzeni celebrates winning the Betfair Sprint Cup on Emaraaty Ana
Andrea Atzeni celebrates winning the Betfair Sprint Cup on Emaraaty Ana (David Davies/PA)

The master of Hambleton Lodge was delighted to be adding to his top-level tally, adding: “With the Group Ones, when you’ve won one you want another and when you win another you want another one.

“That is what we base everything on now, to try to compete with the good horses at the top level.

“It’s very hard to do. A lot of trainers are doing it and doing it very well. I’m just thankful that I can drop in there somewhere along the line.”

While this was a sixth Group One triumph for Ryan since Hello Youmzain won the same race two years ago, Atzeni had not enjoyed top-level success in Britain since steering Defoe to victory in the 2019 Coronation Cup at Epsom.

He said: “What a horse. His run in the Nunthorpe was a great run. Coming back here today over six furlongs on very fast ground, we thought we had every chance.

“We knew how good Ed Walker’s horse (Starman) is, but my horse jumped and travelled good and took me to the two-furlong marker on the bridle.

“When I let him down he kept quickening and to be fair to the horse, when the second horse came to him he found a little bit extra.”

The Italian admitted he was not certain he was in front passing the post, adding: “I’ll be honest with you, after the line I wasn’t sure I’d won.

“It’s been my while since my last Group One and this is what it’s all about – the big days with the good horses in the big races.”

Emaraaty Ana is Sprint Cup hero

Emaraaty Ana held the late thrust of hot favourite Starman to win a thrilling race for the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock.

The five-year-old gelding, trained by Kevin Ryan, showed his 40-1 second to Winter Power in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York last month was no fluke as he took the Group One showpiece over six furlongs.

Art Power burst out of the stalls and soon set up a decent lead, with Supremacy leading the pack and Emaraaty Ana close to the pace.

Emaraaty Ana (11-1) picked off Art Power over a furlong out and set sail for home.

Starman, who was under pressure some way out, stayed on strongly – but Emaraaty Ana held on by a short head. Chil Chil was three-quarters of a length back in third, with Happy Romance fourth.

Ryan said: “He deserves it, we’ve started riding him patiently and the horse has come alive for doing that.

“I’ve had huge faith in the horse and I’m delighted he’s done it. He’s as good a horse as I’ve trained – his work in a morning is brilliant.

“All my team at home have done a great job, we’re delighted.”

The winner was introduced at 16-1 for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, and Ryan signalled Del Mar as the target – for a race he won last year with Glass Slippers.

He added: “I think that’s where you have to go now.”

The prestigious victory brought up a treble for Andrea Atzeni after his earlier wins on Triple Time and Artistic Rifles.

The rider said: “He’s a horse that everyone kept faith in.

“I can’t tell you what it means to me to win another Group One, it’s been a couple of years since I won one.

“Things can go a bit quiet, but it’s all about the horses and I had a good one underneath me.”

A dejected Ed Walker said of Starman: “There’s no excuses, it’s disappointing.”

Triple Time in the ascendancy at Haydock

Kevin Ryan views Triple Time as a potential Classic contender for next season following an impressive front-running victory in the Betfair Exchange Ascendant Stakes at Haydock.

The son of Frankel was sent straight to the lead by Andrea Atzeni and comfortably shrugged off the attentions of Hafit and land an emphatic success in the one-mile contest.

Having made all when winning by nine lengths to open his account over the course and distance on his third start, Triple Time (3-1) took the step up to Listed company in his stride.

He moved strongly in front and pulled out more when challenged by the 8-11 favourite Hafit to land the spoils by a length and a half.

Ryan said: “He’s a homebred horse of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s and even in the spring we thought he was very special.

“He’s taken a bit of time. Physically he’s there, but mentally he’s just taken racing to really learn the job.

“He was very impressive today. We were very worried about the ground, but Sheikh Mohammed Obaid is never afraid to get them beat and we decided we’d find out if handled it or not.

“He’s handled it and he’s probably handled it because he’s a very good horse.”

Paddy Power cut Triple Time to 10-1 from 16-1 for the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket on September 25.

Triple Time returns to the Haydock winner's enclosure
Triple Time returns to the Haydock winner’s enclosure (David Davies/PA)

And while Ryan is in no rush to commit to the exciting colt’s next target, he already has one eye on races like the 2000 Guineas and French Derby next season.

“I’ll have to speak to Sheikh Mohammed Obaid about that (Royal Lodge),” said the trainer.

“He’s done everything we’ve needed to do this year and he’s obviously identified himself as a very talented horse.

“We’ll do what’s right by the horse. He’s going to be a very exciting horse for next year.”

He added: “We were talking about the horse the other day and I think 10 furlongs is as far as he’ll want to go.

“You’d have to think of him as a Guineas horse – that’s usually the best trial for any race.

“I presume that’s where we’ll probably be leaning to next year.”

Royal Ascot winners set for York Stakes showdown

Royal Ascot winners Mohaafeth and Juan Elcano could face Irish challenger Armory in an intriguing renewal of the Sky Bet York Stakes.

Following his late withdrawal from the Cazoo Derby at Epsom in early June, the William Haggas-trained Mohaafeth made it four from four for the season in the Hampton Court Stakes at last month’s showpiece meeting.

Kevin Ryan’s Juan Elcano, meanwhile, bounced back from a disappointing run of results with victory in the Wolferton Stakes under Andrea Atzeni, who believes he will have plenty in his favour on the Knavesmire this weekend.

He said: “He won nicely at Ascot on fast ground, which hopefully he’ll get on Saturday – that is what he wants.

“I think an easy mile and a quarter at York will suit him perfectly. Obviously our fellow has got to improve again, but I’m sure he will have done and it was great to get his head in front the last day.

“He’s a horse we always thought a lot of. Like I said, he needs to take another step forward, but if he does he should be very competitive.”

Armory winning the Huxley Stakes at Chester
Armory winning the Huxley Stakes at Chester (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The highest-rated horse in the field is Armory, who could bid to provide trainer Aidan O’Brien with a first York Stakes success after finishing a close-up third behind his esteemed stablemate Love in last month’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

Haggas has also entered talented miler Montatham, who could test the water over 10 furlongs for the first time in Saturday’s Group Two feature.

Andrew Balding’s Bangkok and Ebury from Scott Dixon’s yard are the other hopefuls.

Zeeband impresses with Northumberland Vase victory for Roger Varian

Zeeband powered clear of his rivals in the William Hill Pick Your Places Northumberland Vase at Newcastle.

Third on his comeback run over a mile and three-quarters at Newmarket last month, Roger Varian’s charge was a 4-1 shot as he stepped up to two miles for the first time in the £75,000 consolation race for the Northumberland Plate.

Always travelling well in a first-time visor, Zeeband moved onto the heels of the leaders under a motionless Andrea Atzeni on the far side of the track before readily extending two and a half lengths clear of Margaret Dumont.

“He’d won over a mile and six (furlongs) and his comeback run at Newmarket was quite nice,” said Atzeni.

“He’s obviously improved since then, he worked with a set of visors on last week and Roger was quite confident this morning.

“The draw is obviously a big help here, but the way he won you’d think he could have won from any draw.”

Ejtilaab followed up success on Derby day at Epsom with a dominant display in the williamhill.com Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap.

Three weeks on from a narrow verdict on the Downs, the Ian Williams-trained sprinter was the 9-2 favourite to add to his tally at Gosforth Park under David Egan.

Having bagged the near side rail early, Ejtilaab looked to have his rivals covered from a long way out and was two and a half lengths clear of nearest pursuer Mondammej at the line.

The winner is entered in both the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket and the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood next month, and Williams said: “He’ll go for one or the other – it’s nice to have options like that.

“It was a cracking performance. The drop to six furlongs has really helped him improve on his previous form over seven.”

Catch Cunningham came out on top in a thrilling climax to the opening William Hill Play Responsibly/EBF Novice Stakes.

Catch Cunningham (second left) won the opener on Northumberland Plate day
Catch Cunningham (second left) won the opener on Northumberland Plate day (Tim Goode/PA)

Sixth on his debut at York before finishing third at Haydock a fortnight ago, the Kodiac colt was a 9-1 shot to make it third time lucky in the hands of Tom Eaves.

There was not much to choose between Kevin Ryan’s juvenile and Secret Strength passing the post, but the judge had confirmed Catch Cunningham had won the day by a short head.

Ryan said: “It didn’t work out the way we’d planned. We’d intended taking a lead, but he jumped well and nobody else wanted it, so we had to revert to plan B.

“It (making the running) is hard to do here, but he’s game and genuine.

“He’ll be a better horse in a better race being dropped in.”

Spectators during William Hill Northumberland Plate Day at Newcastle
Spectators during William Hill Northumberland Plate Day at Newcastle (Tim Goode/PA)

James Fanshawe and David Probert teamed up to claim top honours in the William Hill Build Your Odds Handicap, with the impressive Second Slip (11-4) skipping almost five lengths clear of 9-4 favourite Hasty Sailor.

Having earlier landed the Group Three Chipchase Stakes with Chil Chil, trainer Andrew Balding completed a double on the card with Oo De Lally edging out Sunset Breeze by a short head in the William Hill Extra Place Races Handicap.

Winning jockey David Probert said: “Andrew’s horses are in great form and we knew this horse handled the track.

“Will Carver gave him a great ride at Goodwood the last day to finish second, so he was probably in the form of his life really going into today.

“Things never really went my way. We got stopped a bit coming out of the gates and then late on we got a bit of bump off the second, so it was a tough performance and he probably deserves to win a race like this.”

Dee delight for Varian with El Drama

Roger Varian was delighted to see El Drama emerge as a potential Classic contender following a clear-cut victory in the tote+ Biggest Dividends At tote.co.uk Dee Stakes at Chester.

A field of seven three-year-olds went to post for the recognised Derby trial, with El Drama sixth in the betting at 12-1 on what was just his second start on turf.

Since that successful debut on soft ground at Doncaster, the Lope De Vega colt had finished third in successive races on the all-weather, but took his game to new heights on the Roodee.

After tracking the pacesetting favourite Yibir for much of the extended 10-furlong journey, El Drama was pushed into the lead rounding the home turn by Andrea Atzeni and he stayed on well to score by a length.

Maximal made late gains to fill the runner-up spot, with Earlswood third and Yibir fading into fourth place.

Varian said: “I’m very pleased with that today. He’s always shown masses at home and we were trying to funnel him into being a 2000 Guineas contender.

“Because he only ran once at two there were limited options trying to get experience into him. He ran over seven furlongs at Lingfield and a mile at Kempton, which wouldn’t be ideal spots for him. He ran with credit, but always looked a better horse on turf.

“He didn’t run well enough to take in a Guineas, but this was a nice alternative plan. We thought he’d stay 10 furlongs well and that he’d be better back on grass.

“I’m delighted that he’s done that today as we always thought him capable of something like that.

“It’s good for him to redeem his reputation.”

El Drama (left) races away from his Chester rivals
El Drama (left) races away from his Chester rivals (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Paddy Power cut El Drama to 16-1 from 66-1 in what is an increasingly murky Derby market, with Bolshoi Ballet and Mohaafeth joint-favourites at 5-1 and High Definition pushed out to 7-1 after being ruled out of his intended prep run at Lingfield this weekend.

However, Varian raised the French Derby as a viable alternative to next month’s premier Classic at Epsom for his colt.

“Having spoken to Sheikh Obaid, all options are open and he’d like him to be considered for the Prix du Jockey Club,” the trainer added.

“He’s a very strong work horse, but I thought if Andrea switched him off today, the fact you are always on the turn helps them relax.

“I’m glad he’s won today – it’s given us food for thought.”

Equilateral doubles up in Dubai

Equilateral followed up a course-and-distance win four weeks ago by running out a ready scorer of the Group Two Meydan Sprint.

The six-year-old has always been highly regarded, and trainer Charlie Hills may have finally found the key to him – because he was winning two in a row for the first time in his career, on this occasion with Andrea Atzeni on board.

Nigel Tinkler’s Acklam Express caught the eye in second too, having been short of room at a crucial stage.

Hills said of the winner: “I’m really delighted. It’s nice to go and win this race.

“He’s now three from four at Meydan – which is very impressive. I think we’ll look to keep him out there for the Al Quoz Sprint.

“He likes a nice gap between his races. Nicola (Dowell), who is over there, has done a great job with him. He seems to really enjoy it over there.

“The way he finished there I can’t see six furlongs being a problem. He has a lot of speed. They didn’t go much of a gallop there today.

“It’s fantastic for Fitri and Jim (Hay, owners). They are great supporters of ours and are massive supporters of the Dubai Racing Carnival. They spend quite a bit of time over there on business, and it’s great for them to have success.”

Soft Whisper’s Saudi Derby claims were given a big boost when the horse she beat by seven lengths in the UAE 1000 Guineas, Mnasek, bolted up in the UAE Oaks.

Doug Watson’s filly was slowly away in the Guineas but came breezing around the home turn four wide under Pat Dobbs to win in fine style.

“The last two times I’ve ridden her (at home) she’s jumped very well,” said Dobbs.

“She’s a little bit shy in her mouth, so you have to be very gentle with her.

“She doesn’t have early speed and wasn’t enjoying the kick-back – and once I switched her out, she travelled super all the way.”

There was a bunched finish to the Group Two Zabeel Mile, but it was Charlie Appleby’s D’bai who narrowly came out on top under William Buick.

“He’s a lovely horse and he needs things to fall right for him,” said Buick.

“I thought he did well there to come off a slow pace.

“He had a lot of ground to make up, but his class saw him through. You just have to conserve him over a mile a little more, but this is a flat track.”

Summer Romance benefited from a good front-running ride by James Doyle to provide Appleby with a double in the Group Two Balanchine.

Winner of the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom’s Derby meeting last summer, she had clearly come forward from her first run at the Carnival in the Cape Verdi – when she was behind stablemate Althiqa.

The tables were well and truly turned, with Doyle allowed to dictate at his own tempo. Roger Varian’s Stylistique was second, as she was in the Cape Verdi.

“She’s very talented, and it’s easy to forgive her first run because she was very keen,” said Doyle.

“Charlie and his team tinkered with a few things, like mounting her in the pre-parade and headed out after all the runners and wearing a hood, which also helped.

“I was gifted the lead and I wasn’t going quick. I was hopeful she’d hit the line well, and she stuck to her guns.”

Appleby said: “Those fillies will have a little break now. We’ll look at races at Royal Ascot, the Falmouth, and there might be some in France that suit.”