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Bangkok digs in for narrow success in York Stakes

Bangkok surprised some better fancied rivals to win the Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes.

Starting at 14-1 under David Probert, Bangkok raced in mid division and threw down his challenge in the last furlong, locking horns with race leader Juan Elcano before Mohaafeth became involved after covering ground late on.

Andrew Balding’s bay crossed the line a head in front of the former horse, with William Haggas’ 4-5 favourite Mohaafeth a further neck behind in third.

The victory is a first Group Two success for Bangkok, who is something of a globetrotter having run in a string of valuable races in the Middle East.

Probert said: “The pace of the race wasn’t overly strong early on and he likes to have a little bit of cover and he got into a nice rhythm.

“We got racing from three and a half and I couldn’t see where Jim (Crowley on Mohaafeth) was or the O’Brien horse (Armory), so I had to read the race on my own accord.

“About a furlong down, he dropped back to third, but he responded very well for pressure and got back up on the line. I’m delighted with him as it shows he has the ability.

“He’s probably been the forgotten horse as he’s shown his true form on the all-weather. He probably needed his best to win and hopefully he’ll take a big step forward.”

Speaking away from the track, Balding said: “I’m really pleased. David gave him a lovely ride and the horse deserved that. He’s so tough and consistent, talented at the same time so it’s lovely to win a nice race with him.

“Unfortunately, he’s not in the Juddmonte International so we would have to supplement him, but we’ve got some overseas targets in the autumn anyway to take on board. We’ll put everything into the mix and come up with a plan.”

Haggas said of Mohaafeth’s performance: “I thought he ran a very nice race. A disappointing result but he ran a good race.

“I learnt a bit today. I thought it was as far as he wants to go. Absolutely not a criticism but the rail was put out 43 yards and if it hadn’t been he’d have lasted. I don’t want to bring that into it at all. The winner won fairly.

“I thought our horse ran a very good race and he’s going to be fine.

“I’ve no idea where we go next. I’ll talk to the owner.”

Bangkok digs in for narrow success in York Stakes

Bangkok surprised some better fancied rivals to win the Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes.

Starting at 14-1 under David Probert, Bangkok raced in mid division and threw down his challenge in the last furlong, locking horns with race leader Juan Elcano before Mohaafeth became involved after covering ground late on.

Andrew Balding’s bay crossed the line a head in front of the former horse, with William Haggas’ 4-5 favourite Mohaafeth a further neck behind in third.

The victory is a first Group Two success for Bangkok, who is something of a globetrotter having run in a string of valuable races in the Middle East.

Probert said: “The pace of the race wasn’t overly strong early on and he likes to have a little bit of cover and he got into a nice rhythm.

“We got racing from three and a half and I couldn’t see where Jim (Crowley on Mohaafeth) was or the O’Brien horse (Armory), so I had to read the race on my own accord.

“About a furlong down, he dropped back to third, but he responded very well for pressure and got back up on the line. I’m delighted with him as it shows he has the ability.

“He’s probably been the forgotten horse as he’s shown his true form on the all-weather. He probably needed his best to win and hopefully he’ll take a big step forward.”

Speaking away from the track, Balding said: “I’m really pleased. David gave him a lovely ride and the horse deserved that. He’s so tough and consistent, talented at the same time so it’s lovely to win a nice race with him.

“Unfortunately, he’s not in the Juddmonte International so we would have to supplement him, but we’ve got some overseas targets in the autumn anyway to take on board. We’ll put everything into the mix and come up with a plan.”

Haggas said of Mohaafeth’s performance: “I thought he ran a very nice race. A disappointing result but he ran a good race.

“I learnt a bit today. I thought it was as far as he wants to go. Absolutely not a criticism but the rail was put out 43 yards and if it hadn’t been he’d have lasted. I don’t want to bring that into it at all. The winner won fairly.

“I thought our horse ran a very good race and he’s going to be fine.

“I’ve no idea where we go next. I’ll talk to the owner.”

Sandrine puts down Classic marker with Newmarket victory

Sandrine looked a filly right out of the top drawer when following up her Royal Ascot victory in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket.

Andrew Balding’s youngster caused something of a surprise when winning the Albany Stakes at 16-1 last month on soft ground – but she was even more impressive on this occasion on a quicker surface.

In taking her career record to three from three, Sandrine was given quotes around the 16-1 mark for next year’s 1000 Guineas – with Coral making her their 14-1 favourite.

Like at Ascot ridden by David Probert, the daughter of Bobby’s Kitten raced on the far side group, tracking Ellade on Hello You.

When the field bunched up with just over a furlong to go, Sandrine quickly shot clear and put the race to bed in a matter of strides.

Desert Dreamer made up plenty of ground from the rear to chase her home, but was beaten a length and three-quarters by the 11-5 favourite. Hello You was third, having been second to the winner at Ascot.

Balding said: “That was very good. She got a little bit lonely in front, I think, but she’s got a lot of ability, which is exciting.

“She’s so relaxed, which I hope bodes well for her chances of staying a mile next year.

“She’s got physical scope – she’s not a compact, two-year-old type. She’s got a bit more length and depth to her, I think. Hopefully she’ll make up into a nice three-year-old.

“It’s good she’s proved Royal Ascot wasn’t a fluke. There was a little bit of nerves going into this as she’d looked so good at Ascot and it’s nice to see that confirmed on different going today.”

Asked about future plans for the Kirsten Rausing-owned winner, Balding said: “We’ve loosely discussed it. I don’t really want to travel her at this stage and the only Group One options are in France and Ireland.

“I think we’ll just have to sit it out, give her a little break and try to gear her up for the Cheveley Park.”

Probert said: “She had to prove herself on that quick ground today, but she travelled great, she’s got a great temperament and was in a great rhythm throughout the race.

“When we split away from the main pack, I was lucky enough to be able to follow the Ralph Beckett filly (Hello You) through into the race – and when the pace lifted, she’s done it with such ease and found many lengths.

“She hit the rising ground really well and galloped out. It took me a while to pull her up, so it’s not out of the question that she could stay further.

“She’s very exciting. I haven’t had a Group One winner in this country yet – hopefully she could be it.”

Of Desert Dreamer, trainer Stuart Williams said: “I’m very pleased with her. It was slightly unfortunate that the winner was on the other side of the track.

“If we could have followed the winner through we might have given it a better race, but the winner is a high-class filly and we are improving. I’m delighted with the filly and with Oisin’s (Murphy) ride. We live to fight another day.

“She has got a good turn of foot and she is settling very well, so I’m very pleased with her.”

He added: “I will probably head to the Lowther (at York) now, where the winner would have a penalty if she wanted to take us on again. I think that is probably the logical route.”

Sandrine rules supreme in Albany Stakes

Sandrine maintained her unbeaten record in the Albany Stakes to provide Andrew Balding with his second two-year-old winner of the week at Royal Ascot.

In very contrasting conditions to the first three days of the meeting, the ground had turned extremely testing and the fixture had to survive a lengthy inspection before being given the go-ahead.

Running in the famous Kirsten Rausing colours, Sandrine is by the American sire Bobby’s Kitten so it was a surprise how well she handled the deep ground.

A winner on the all-weather on her debut, Sandrine was sent off a 16-1 chance but she stayed on powerfully under David Probert.

The majority of the field stayed down the middle of the track with only Oscula and Hellomydarlin staying on the rail, and with a furlong to run Oscula – who was third to the winner first time out – still held every chance.

But Sandrine took up the running from Hello You inside the final furlong to come away and win by a length and a half, with Oscula back in third.

Probert said: “She was super fit and hardy for an inexperienced filly, and quite relaxed in the early stages which helped her for the finish.

“We had such a deluge, the ground is loose and they are galloping through it.”

Balding won the Coventry Stakes on Tuesday with Berkshire Shadow.

The Kingslcere trainer said: “I felt it was sure to be off driving here – we were only coming because we were having lunch, I thought it was certain to be abandoned!

“But I’m so pleased for Kirsten and all the team at Lanwades who are great supporters, she thoroughly deserves a win like this.

“She was impressive when she won, we thought it was a low-class race at Kempton, but the form worked out well.

“She worked well last week and we felt we were entitled to run. We were a bit concerned about the ground because there were mixed messages in the pedigree, but Kirsten told me Bobby’s Kitten only raced in Ireland on soft ground, so it was worth a go and David gave her a beautiful ride.

“She did it nicely today, there was no fluke about it. She travelled liked the best horse in the race and I thought she was impressive.”

Of Hello You, trainer Ralph Beckett said: “She hit the boxes and was quite free, but she saw it out well.

“Her programme will speak for itself with the likes of the Cherry Hinton and the Lowther amongst possible targets.”

La Lune reaches the summit in Pinnacle Stakes

La Lune graduated to Group Three company in style with a clear-cut victory in the Betway Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock.

Henry Candy’s five-year-old has been lightly raced so far, with this 12-furlong heat just her ninth start, but she had been making strides – securing a Listed win in the Nottinghamshire Oaks on her seasonal bow last month.

Connections duly opted to move up again in class, and the decision paid dividends as she saw off Cabaletta by a length and three-quarters in the hands of David Probert.

Oisin Murphy set out to make all on favourite Oriental Mystique, but the distress signals were evident with a couple of furlongs to run, as both Cabaletta and La Lune moved on to her heels after she set just a steady pace.

Cabaletta was the first to strike for home, but Probert was clearly travelling the better and La Luna lengthened in style to stride comfortably clear at the line.

Oriental Mystique stuck on again at the finish after seemingly hitting a flat spot, but Cabaletta secured second by half a length.

Candy expects to tackle even bigger things in due course, but has no definite target in his sights.

He said said: “She’s so genuine and straightforward. She’s just wants to please and you don’t get many like that. She’s absolutely tiny, but she’s got a huge stride and a huge heart.

“I was worried about the ground, but (clerk of the course) Kirkland Tellwright was brilliant and said it would be good to soft. It wasn’t ideal, but she’s coped with it. When they want to do it, it makes a big difference.

“I haven’t got anything in mind at all – I’m taking it very much step by step.

“I’m delighted she’s been able to win a Group race. Now she’s won a Group Three we might step up – it’s the logical thing to do.”

Probert was similarly thrilled and said: “She’s got a heart of gold and has really excelled this season.

“I was a little bit doubtful about the ground not drying up enough. She has form in heavier conditions, but in defeat. She was really relentless at Nottingham in the Listed race and that was on very quick ground.

“She really relished the mile and a half today. She enjoys passing horses and she’s a warrior.

“The way she’s done it today is pretty exciting.”

Opera Gift on song at Salisbury

Opera Gift signalled his potential as a staying handicapper this summer after handling lively ground to record a promising victory at Salisbury.

Andrew Balding’s Nathaniel gelding cruised into contention and then buckled down well under David Probert to beat Midnights Legacy by more than two lengths – with early pace-setter Gumball a nose further back in the AJN Steelstock ‘Delivering Steel Expertise’ City Bowl Handicap.

Salisbury’s chairman Jeff Smith and Balding had to settle for fifth with their 1000 Guineas hope Alcohol Free a little later at Newmarket.

But the Group One-winning filly nonethless ran well again – and in Opera Gift, they have a home-bred who looks sure to improve too.

Probert said: “His work has been OK, and we thought the ground might be a bit quick for him.

“We got racing a long way out, but in truth I never felt the outcome was in any doubt. He’s a very nice, progressive type for Andrew and Mr Smith, and showed his ability today.”

Walls Of Kano emerged a neck victor over Aesthete for Brian Meehan and Martin Dwyer in an incident-packed AJN Steelstock ‘Success Breeds Success’ Novice Stakes.

State Secretary was pulled up, and favourite Hamoudi unshipped his jockey after putting his foot in a hole, but Walls Of Kano then stretched out willingly to open his account at the second attempt.

Meehan said: “He needed his run at Newbury, and I was really pleased with him today.

“It made sense with his pedigree to drop him back (in trip) a little bit. He hasn’t come in his coat but is a good, straightforward individual who loves doing his work every morning. I think he’s got a bright future.”

Ralph Beckett’s Oman had to work under Hector Crouch for his all-the-way triumph in the British EBF AJN Steelstock ‘Supporting UK Construction’ Maiden Stakes.

The 7-4 favourite was the first to come under a ride, a long way out, but he responded to pull a length and a quarter clear of Mellow Magic.

Beckett said: “He’s not a horse who knocks himself out, and was flicking his ears, so Hector decided he wasn’t doing enough and kicked on.

“The Rowley Mile didn’t suit him in a back-end nursery last year, but I always thought he would get a mile and a half and also a mile and threequarters.”

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Samoot made a fine impression when rewarding support into 10-11 by winning the AJN Steelstock ‘Your Perfect Partner’ Handicap.

Under Richard Kingscote, the Shadwell Estate filly comfortably held the late challenge of Rosemary And Thyne.

Kingscote said: “She’s still only learning, but was much more professional today.

“They’ve done a lot more work with her at home. I got a lovely smooth run through – she has a very good attitude and has done the job well.”

There was a minor shock in the opening AJN Steelstock ‘Real Steel’ Fillies’ Conditions Stakes when 5-4 favourite Out In Yorkshire was unable to resist Silver Bullet Lady.

The 7-1 winner came from last to first under Hollie Doyle to land the spoils for trainer Roger Charlton.

In a tight finish to the AJN Steelstock ‘The Winning Team’ Handicap, Alan King’s 5-4 favourite No Recollection clung on by a nose under Martin Harley to get the better of Farhan.