Canonized takes Rockingham prize to cap busy campaign

Canonized signed off her busy season with a Listed victory in the Coral Beaten-By-A-Length Free Bet Rockingham Stakes at York.

William Haggas’ filly was last seen finishing a neck runner-up in the Group Three Firth Of Clyde Fillies’ Stakes at Ayr in September, when she was running for the second day in succession, and has gone close in a string of black-type contests throughout her 2021 campaign.

This time she was not for beating, battling up the centre of the track under Tom Marquand to prevail by three-quarters of a length at 7-2 from Witch Hunter.

“She’s a consistent filly and she deserves to have a good race next to her name,” said Marquand, who became York’s leading jockey for the season following the success.

“She had to be very tough there, but of course she went to Ayr on the Friday and the Saturday and justified that when she only just got beat in a Group Three.

“It’s very well deserved – and she’s done well to win because it’s quite testing ground, and she’s not a big filly.”

William Haggas' Canonized
William Haggas’ Canonized (PA)

“I was looking forward to riding her because she’s so consistent, and Mr Haggas loves having a winner at York.”

Bay Bridge returned from a lengthy absence to score an impressive victory in the Play Coral Racing-Super-Series For Free Handicap, for Richard Kingscote and Sir Michael Stoute.

The three-year-old was an easy winner of two early-season contests, taking a novice by five lengths and a handicap by four before a 147-day break during the height of the season.

Starting as the 15-8 favourite despite this spell away from the track, the colt showed he had lost none of his ability when triumphing by half a length on the Knavesmire.

“He’s been progressing very well,” said Kingscote.

“He’s had a bit of a break and he had a nice smooth run round there – that was good, and he’s done absolutely nothing wrong.”

Oh Herberts Reign made a winning handicap debut when taking the Watch Racing Free Online At Coral Nursery Handicap for Dane O’Neill and Richard Hannon.

The Acclamation colt was a novice winner earlier in the season but was well beaten when 10th in the Weatherbys Scientific £200,000 2-Y-O Stakes at Doncaster.

This step up to a mile saw him triumph at 16-1, crossing the line two and a quarter lengths ahead of Caio Shark.

Richard Fahey’s Blenheim Boy was then announced the winner of the Coral Novice Stakes following a photo finish.

Starting at 25-1 under Tony Hamilton, the Churchill colt ran keenly and was eventually able to hunt down The Cookstown Cafu and get the better of the long-time leader by just a short head on the line.

Fergal O’Brien’s Gumball produced a winning Flat performance when taking the Coral Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap as 9-4 favourite under Hollie Doyle.

The grey gelding is better known for his jumps exploits and was previously trained to Graded level by Philip Hobbs before joining O’Brien.

Partnered by Doyle, the seven-year-old was given a bold, front-running ride and held off a challenge from Buriram to ultimately triumph by a head.

Gumball after his York success
Gumball after his York success (PA)

“It was a great training performance there from Fergal,” said Doyle.

“He settled beautifully, he had it easy enough on the front end – and he went through the gears nicely.

“He had to dig deep that last furlong or so. I thought I might just have got pipped on the line, but he was very tough when he needed to be.

“I love riding these old stayers. He’s such a gentleman of a horse.”

Doyle then sealed a double when Something Enticing took the concluding race of York’s 2012 season, the Coral Proud Sponsors Of British Racing Finale Handicap, aboard 9-1 chance Something Enticing for David Elsworth.