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Berkshire Shadow seeking Vintage victory on day one at Goodwood

Royal Ascot hero Berkshire Shadow puts his unbeaten record and tall reputation on the line in the Unibet Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.

A narrow winner on his racecourse debut at Newbury in the spring, Andrew Balding’s juvenile successfully stepped up to Group Two level on just his second career start when running out an impressive winner of the Coventry Stakes.

The Dark Angel colt moves up to seven furlongs for his latest assignment on Tuesday, with the rain-softened ground on the Sussex Downs his trainer’s only concern.

Balding said: “The likelihood is he’s going to encounter different ground conditions to what he did at Ascot, which is an unknown, but I’m very happy with the horse – and I think the extra furlong will suit him well.

“It was a very good performance in the Coventry, and likewise first time out he was very impressive.

“He’s obviously a horse with a huge amount of talent. It was always the intention to step up to seven furlongs after Ascot, and I hope if he handles the ground he’ll go very well.”

Berkshire Shadow’s biggest threat appeared to be the Richard Hannon-trained Lusail – but that rival was ruled out when the going turned heavy after an overnight thunderstorm.

Hannon will therefore rely on outsider Secret Strength, of whom he said: “(He) is no mug. He’s got plenty of ability, and if he goes in the ground he could run a big race.”

Eldrickjones (black and white colours) was not far behind Berkshire Shadow at Ascot
Eldrickjones (black and white colours) was not far behind Berkshire Shadow at Ascot (David Davies/PA)

The Nick Bradley Racing-owned Eldrickjones has ground to make up on Berkshire Shadow, having filled the runner-up spot in the Coventry.

“I’d be hopeful we could at least finish a bit closer to Berkshire Shadow, based on the fact I think we were on a less favoured part of the track than the winner at Ascot,” said Bradley.

“I think the step up to seven furlongs will be a help for us, and probably a help for him as well.

“With horses like this, there’s only so many races you can go for – and I’ve had this race in mind for some time for our horse.”

Aidan O’Brien’s The Acropolis, the Ralph Beckett-trained Angel Bleu and Austrian Theory from Mark Johnston’s yard complete the line-up.

Balding considers plans for winning Ascot juveniles

Andrew Balding will take his time as he plots the next targets for his unbeaten Royal Ascot two-year-old winners Berkshire Shadow and Sandrine.

Berkshire Shadow confirmed himself a very exciting prospect when backing up his Newbury debut win with a Group Two success in the Coventry Stakes on Tuesday.

“Berkshire Shadow has come out of his race well,” said Balding.

“He’s obviously a smart horse. I’ve no fixed plans at the moment.”

Sandrine also followed up her successful debut, at Kempton in her case, when winning the Group Three Albany Stakes on Friday.

“Sandrine did it nicely. There was no fluke about it,” said the Kingsclere trainer.

“I thought she was impressive. I haven’t given much thought to what next for her.

“We’re blessed to have two horses like that in the yard.”

Berkshire Shadow powers to Coventry glory

Berkshire Shadow sprouted wings in the closing stages to land the Coventry Stakes for Andrew Balding and Oisin Murphy.

Victorious over five furlongs on his debut at Newbury, despite fluffing the start, he looked sure to be suited by an extra furlong – and so it proved.

Murphy only had one behind him at halfway as they raced in two groups originally, with Wesley Ward’s Kaufymaker and Joe Tuite’s The Organiser putting the pace to the race.

As the groups converged there were plenty in with chances spread all across the track, but the champion jockey safely plotted a route up the stands rail.

Vintage Clarets hit the front on entering the final furlong with big outsider Eldrickjones and Ebro River all getting involved.

But it was the 11-1 chance Berkshire Shadow who quickened up best of all to maintain his unbeaten record by a length and a quarter from Eldrickjones, with Vintage Clarets third.

The winner was given a quote of 25-1 for next year’s 2000 Guineas by Paddy Power.

Owner Paul Spickett said: “It was special, just like at Newbury Oisin wasn’t flustered and took his time.

“To see him come home like that was quite special.

“As the years go by I’m getting more careful about what I think as I used to think every winner was going to go on and win everything, but I did think he was special to do what he did at Newbury and we were hopeful coming here.

“I had my first Royal Ascot runners last year and we were all dressed up at home with nowhere to go, we were second in the Queen’s Vase with Berkshire Rocco and that was amazing, but to have a winner is astounding.

“We backed him at 22-1 so we’ll be able to buy some cheap champagne later.”

Oisin Murphy celebrates
Oisin Murphy celebrates (Steven Paston/PA)

Murphy said: “This is a special horse, he was bought inexpensively by Andrew and his mother and he’s a star.

“That was an incredible performance on his second start. To look at, he’s big and immature

“He’s got a very good future – and look what he’s just done at Royal Ascot.

“He’s done incredibly well, what a massive result for Kingsclere!”

Oisin Murphy celebrates winning the Coventry Stakes on Berkshire Shadow
Oisin Murphy celebrates winning the Coventry Stakes on Berkshire Shadow (David Davies/PA)

Danny Tudhope, rider of the Roger Fell-trained Eldrickjones, said: “On what he’d done at home we thought he might be up to this, but he’s still a real baby and there’s a lot more improvement in him.”

Richard Fahey said of Vintage Clarets: “We do like him very much, he’s run a blinder, and I wish he’d won but as he didn’t he escapes a penalty for the Newbury Super Sprint.”

His jockey Paul Hanagan added: “We would have been disappointed if he didn’t run like he has, he’s done everything we’ve asked him so far.”