Posts

Saffron Beach takes Atalanta spoils

Saffron Beach made the most of dropping back to Group Three level as she regained the winning thread in the Betway Atalanta Stakes at Sandown.

The New Bay filly was a Group Two winner as a juvenile and has been highly tried by Jane Chapple-Hyam this term, finishing second in the Nell Gwyn Stakes on her seasonal bow before again filling the runner-up spot in the 1000 Guineas in May.

She then switched up to 12 furlongs for a crack the Cazoo Oaks, where she finished a distant eighth behind Snowfall, while a return to a mile in the Falmouth Stakes again yielded little joy.

Off the track since that run at the beginning of July, Saffron Beach was sent off a 9-2 shot to get back on track in this mile heat – and Hollie Doyle had her tucked in behind early leaders Auria and Maamora before making her move in the straight.

Saffron Beach showed a nice change of pace to take it up with two furlongs to run – and she was well on top in the closing stages, with Doyle keeping her up to the task to win by two and a quarter lengths.

Waliyak finished with purpose to take second, while outsider Ville De Grace was back in third.

Chapple-Hyam is now planning to return to the top level with Saffron Beach, either in Britain or further afield.

She said: “She tried hard and it was a great ride from Hollie. She really enjoyed coming up the hill the last two furlongs.

“We had our hiccup in the Oaks and a hiccup in the Falmouth, where she scoped dirty afterwards, and she has come back here as the filly we know she is.

“It was important today just because we believe in the horse and I had to drop her back to a Group Three, just to get the horse’s confidence back as much as anything.

“It was great that Hollie came and rode her on Wednesday to get to know her. I’m thrilled she has been able to do it today in a dominant fashion. Hollie said she had a lot of horse underneath her.

“She is in the Sun Chariot obviously, but would one have a little go at the EP Taylor (at Woodbine in Canada on October 17)? As you know, I love to travel.

“I made my decision in the Oaks and it was wrong, so I think I have to leave it to the owners.”

Doyle was teaming up with Saffron Beach for the first time and she was full of praise for the winner.

She said: “I was very impressed. I was surprised she went off the price she did, as on form figures she had the best in the race if she turned up, and she did.

“I got to know her Wednesday and she gave me a great ride then. It is just good to get to know what you have got underneath you before you ride in a big race like this.

“She settled beautifully today and that ground probably slowed her down a bit and she dropped her head.

“I knew she would get a bit further so I committed two down and she ran through the line. I just wanted to get her a lead and get her switched off. Jane said this stiff mile would suit her.

“I think she would get 10 furlongs but ridden like that, I don’t see why she can’t stay at a stiff mile. You would like to think somewhere along the line she could be competitive at Group One level.”