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King’s Lynn on top in Wentworth Stakes

Andrew Balding’s King’s Lynn capped a successful season with a Listed win at Doncaster in the Virgin Bet Wentworth Stakes.

The four-year-old, owned and bred by the Queen, was previously victorious at the same level in the Achilles Stakes at Haydock in May, and was beaten only a length last time out in the Group Three Bengough Stakes at Ascot.

That form saw him start as the 4-1 favourite on Town Moor, a price he justified when battling all the way to the line under David Probert to prevail by a head from Magical Spirit.

“He’s a lovely horse – I managed to get him to sit behind the pace and the wind early on,” said the winning jockey.

“He’s travelled smoothly, and when I did commit to him a furlong and a half down, the second horse was going with me – and he’s battled all the way to the line. The ground has definitely helped him.

“It really was a strong headwind, and the second (placed) horse has drifted left and put me under pressure. He can wander around a little bit but under the conditions today, (but) I think he’s won well.

“He’s actually been running very consistently throughout and had a real good run at Ascot the last day, so we knew he was coming here in good form.”

There was early drama in the race as Jouska unseated Rob Hornby – before then running loose and chasing home the leading duo, causing the runner-up to drift slightly towards the rail.

“There was a little bit happening, but he’s had a clear passage,” Balding said of his winner.

“It’s great to have won a Listed race with him under a penalty – he’s a high-class horse, and I’m thrilled for his owner and his jockey.

“He’s tough and he likes it here. It’s funny that he’s had a great season, bar two very bad runs at Newbury – he under-performed (there) both times, and I don’t know why that is because I wouldn’t have thought there would be that much difference between Newbury and here.

“Everyone who trains for the Queen loves having winners for her, and it’s a special feeling to win a Listed race for the second time this year with this horse.”

The stewards looked into the incident which led to Jouska’s departure, after clipping heels, and suspended Magical Spirit’s jockey Kevin Stott for 10 days for careless riding. He is stood down on November 20, and from November 22 to December 1.

Valley Forges ahead to take Melrose honours

Valley Forge overcame his inexperience to win the Sky Bet Melrose Handicap at York in battling fashion on only his fifth start.

Having his first run in a handicap, the Andrew Balding-trained three-year-old came out on top in a bunch finish to the mile-and-three-quarter test – with the winner guaranteed a place in next year’s Ebor.

That may be 12 months away to the day, but the way Valley Forge (10-1) stayed on well for David Probert to hold Moshaawer by half a length, with Ravenscraig Castle a nose away in third and Dhushan a neck back in fourth, suggests he could turn up for the big one in 2022.

Balding’s wife, Anna Lisa, said: “It’s nice to have a winner for George Strawbridge. Andrew’s father trained for him as well. It’s a pity the owner can’t be here, but I’m sure he cheered him home.

“I think he’s a really exciting horse. He’s good looking, and I’ve just been reminded if you win this you’re in (the Ebor) next year.

“He’ll go home tomorrow, and Andrew will make sure he comes out of the race all right and then make a plan. I’m so pleased.”

Probert said: “We didn’t have the ideal draw in 16. I just wanted him to get a mid-div position without being too far out of his ground.

“I thought with him being slightly inexperienced he might not be able to do that, but he was brave throughout.

“When the race opened up, he found an extra gear – and he was very tough at the line. The second horse gave a run from a furlong out, but my horse picked up well.

“He has a great attitude at home. He’s not the flashiest in the mornings – but when he’s at the races, he’s very professional. He’d probably have the stamina for a Cesarewitch.

“He’s lightly-raced but he might benefit for another year. He’s potentially very nice for next year.”

Valley Forge was cut to 12-1 from 25-1 for the Cesarewitch at Newmarket.

Attagirl (7-2) made amends for a narrow defeat at Newbury eight days earlier when taking the Listed spoils in the Julia Graves Roses Stakes.

The Karl Burke-trained filly stuck on well to beat Caturra by half a length in the hands of Danny Tudhope to compensate for her head defeat by Tardis in the St Hugh’s Stakes.

“A winner at York – you can’t beat it – and a fast time as well,” said Steve Parkin, executive chairman of owners Clipper Logistics.

“We weren’t going to run her, because she ran last week at Newbury and she should have won. She drifted and got chinned on the line.

“Karl said she was bouncing and she is a big filly. I thought she did it very well.

“We’ll get her home and let Karl and the team see how she is. It was important to get black type because we own the mare.

“I haven’t had a drink all week, with sponsoring and having guests here, but we’re having a big party tonight, so I will have a drink. We’ll celebrate tonight.”

Migration (3-1 favourite) gave William Buick a double in the Sky Bet Handicap, following the jockey’s win on Space Blues in the City Of York Stakes.

David Menuisier’s five-year-old was adding to his success at Glorious Goodwood on what was only his third start since returning from 641 days sidelined through injury.

Menuisier said: “When they come out after an injury like he did you always hope they are going to come back to their level.

“When they do that and improve by God knows how much in their next stride it is so special. We do love him. He’s in the Cambridgeshire. He will carry a lot of weight, I suppose – so as we speak, I’m not sure.”

Trainer Michael Dods took the concluding Sky Bet Apprentice Handicap for a fourth time when Blackrod (5-1) finished strongly under Billy Garritty to beat Digital by a neck.

“Fair play to David Armstrong (owner). We had him in at Newmarket last week, and he said ‘is there anything at York’? I said there was only the three-year-old race over five furlongs,” said Dods.

“I said I couldn’t see him being sharp enough for five, especially if we didn’t get any rain. Fair play to him, he said let him take his chance.

“This horse is better over six. But his class has saw him through, and we had the strongest apprentice available.

“This a horse with a massive future. He could be anything in another year.”

Probert looking to Sandrine to extend his winning streak

David Probert bids to continue his sensational run of form with victory aboard the unbeaten Sandrine in the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes at York on Thursday.

It has been quite a week for the Welsh-born rider, having claimed his 100th winner of 2021 aboard Typewriter at Nottingham on Tuesday before riding a remarkable five-timer back on home soil at Ffos Las the following evening.

Probert returned to the Welsh circuit to ride a treble on Thursday before a double at Newbury on Friday made it 10 winners in three days.

His tally of 110 for the year is just two short of the personal best he achieved in 2019, while he sits fourth in the Flat Jockeys’ Championship table with 65 winners since the season began at the start of May.

“It’s been a great week,” said Probert.

“Ffos Las is a lovely course and it was great to do it back home at a Welsh track like that.

“Everything kind of fell right. I knew I had some nice rides going to the meeting and everything fell into place.”

By his own admission, Probert was not an overnight success, having to work hard for opportunities after progressing from riding ponies in Wales to joining Andrew Balding’s yard as a teenager.

Andrew Balding with David Probert
Andrew Balding with David Probert (Bill Selwyn/PA)

He said: “My father had horses and had two ponies for myself and my sister Laura, who works for Charlie Appleby in Newmarket.

“We enjoyed riding the ponies early on and were lucky enough to do some pony racing at the local Welsh tracks and the flapping tracks at young ages and picked up a bit of experience doing that.

“At the age of 16, I then went to the Racing School in Newmarket on a nine-week course and was then allocated to Andrew Balding’s yard.

“I started there at the age of 17 and by the time I was 18 he applied for my licence. It took me a while to get rolling and get my first winner and make things work, but from 2008 everything started moving pretty well.

“It’s been hard to work to get to where I am right now, but things have progressed nicely and over the last year I’ve had some nice chances, so hopefully we’re getting there.”

The star horse of the year for Probert has been the Balding-trained Sandrine, whom he steered to a debut success at Kempton before partnering her to win both the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket.

The rider is thankful to both Balding and Sandrine’s owner-breeder Kirsten Rausing for keeping faith in him when dual champion jockey Oisin Murphy, who also rides regularly for the Kingsclere handler, could easily have been called up.

“I know exactly how hard this industry can be and it’s all about being in favour,” said Probert.

“Oisin has been champion jockey for the last two years and because he’s part of the yard it’s easy to look at him for the rides.

“I’m very grateful that I get the opportunities that I do get – to get on this very special filly and to be stuck by and have the faith in me to ride a filly of her class, I’m very grateful.

“It’s a bit demoralising at times (losing rides), I’m not going to lie, but that’s racing for you.

“They (owners) are looking for the best results and when you can get a jockey with better stats, you’re going to look elsewhere.

“It’s all about having a chance and it’s nice to have someone that believes in you.”

Sandrine is likely to be a hot favourite to make it four from four on the Knavesmire.

The daughter of Bobby’s Kitten will have to concede 3lb to each of her rivals, but having proved herself on heavy ground at Ascot and good to firm on the July course, Probert is expecting her to be hard to beat.

Sandrine winning at Newmarket
Sandrine winning at Newmarket (Tim Goode/PA)

He said: “She’s quite a light filly and I didn’t know how she was going to handle the ground at Ascot, but pure ability got her through.

“She had to prove herself then at Newmarket on faster conditions and pretty much did it the hard way as she was away from the field and I had to challenge wide.

“I had a sit on her last week and she seems in great form. She loves her work and loves going out with the string – she has no downfalls.

“Obviously she’ll have to carry a penalty in the Lowther, but she’s a classy filly and looks the best one in the race.

“Fingers crossed, she’ll give a good account of herself.”

Tardis out of this world for Bell at Newbury

Tardis looks a filly on the up after flying home late to win the Listed BetVictor St Hugh’s Stakes at Newbury.

Michael Bell’s charge was a winner over five and a half furlongs at Bath last time out, and back down at the minimum trip she needed every yard to get up and win by a neck.

With a furlong to run the 11-1 chance looked to face a stiff task as a handful of horses were still in front of her, with Oisin Murphy on the far side of the track.

However, as Attagirl, who was attempting to make all, began to drift to her right, a gap opened up and Murphy did not need asking twice, as Tardis quickened smartly and began eating up the ground, eventually prevailing by a head.

The 2-1 favourite Delmona was a length away in third.

Bell said: “She’d been going well into the race and we’d been very happy with her preparation since Bath.

“Obviously she didn’t have the ideal passage through, but she showed a really good attitude and a turn of foot to get the job done.

“It was trainer error that she was beaten on her second start. She made a nice debut behind Ed’s (Dunlop) filly (Bellarena Lady, 10th on this occasion) but then I ran her back too quick at Haydock, only 10 days later.

“I then gave her a break and brought her back for Bath and gave her another break before bringing her back for this, she’s not a filly you can bounce into races.

“She’s got black type now. My son Nick (assistant) bought her and I’m sure he’ll have his own idea about plans and the Flying Childers might be an option, but she’s not a filly you’d run on autumn ground, she must have a decent surface as she’s not very big.

“I could see her making up into a decent little sprinter next year. Margot Did wasn’t very big and she trained on to win a Nunthorpe at three. Size doesn’t always matter.”

Spanish Star (right) was part of a double for the red-hot David Probert
Spanish Star (right) was part of a double for the red-hot David Probert (John Walton/PA)

Bell was among the winners at Goodwood with Prince Alex, who was making his stable debut. He holds an entry in the Sky Bet Ebor, but is highly unlikely to make the cut.

“The race I’ve got in mind for him is the Old Borough Cup at Haydock. He must have some cut in the ground and they usually get it there,” said Bell.

Murphy later doubled up on Andrew Balding’s Neenee’s Choice (100-30) in the Christopher Smith Associates Handicap. Balding had already taken the opening six-furlong maiden with Dubai Jewel (5-1).

The red-hot David Probert secured another double which took his tally to 10 winners in the past three days following his exploits at Ffos Las – which included a five-timer on Wednesday and a treble on Thursday.

He struck first on Patrick Chamings’ Spanish Star (17-2) in the Download The BetVictor App Handicap and was then seen to great effect on Rod Millman’s Amazonian Dream (13-2).

On a horse who had thrown away races at the start in the past, he was nurtured into contention by Probert before nabbing Russelinthebushes right on the line.

Island Bandit was a 125-1 winner for Heather Main
Island Bandit was a 125-1 winner for Heather Main (John Walton/PA)

Earlier, Heather Main’s Island Bandit was a 125-1 winner of the first division of the BetVictor EBF Maiden Stakes.

With representatives from the Gosden, Haggas and Balding yards it looked an up-to-scratch maiden and there was no fluke about it as Jack Mitchell brought him through to beat Park Street by three-quarters of a length.

Irresistible run for Probert sees eight winners in two days

David Probert is looking forward to continuing his rich vein of form after enjoying a highly-successful stint on home soil in Wales with eight winners over two days at Ffos Las.

After riding the last five winners on Wednesday evening, the Rhymney Valley-born jockey chalked up a treble on Thursday afternoon’s card.

Probert, who is enjoying his best-ever season, reached 100 winners for the fourth time in his career with victory on Typewriter at Nottingham on Tuesday and has been almost invincible since.

“It’s been an amazing 48 hours. It’s great and I’m just trying to sink it all in now,” he said.

“Ffos Las is my home track and I knew I had some good rides going there last night. When the first few won it was unexpected, but I was on the right horses at the right time and it all fell into place.”

He carried on where he had left off at the Carmarthen track when making it six winners in a row on Hey Teacher in the opening Cazoo Search Drive Smile Novice Median Auction Stakes.

Hey Teacher lived up to his prohibitive price of 1-4 favourite when running his three rivals into submission.

Leading from the start, the Andrew Balding-trained three-year-old pulled away in the closing stages to score by nine and a half lengths from Scherbobalob.

Probert had to settle for third place on Damned Elusive in the Wasdell Group Handicap behind Summer’s Knight – but he was back in the winner’s enclosure in the very next race on the Balding-trained Great Havana.

The 100-30 favourite was challenged on both sides by Whispering Winds and Showmedemoney but shrugged both off to beat the latter by half a length in the Carol Vorderman Loves West Wales Nursery Handicap.

After going close with a second place on Red Walls in the Owens Group Handicap, Probert ending the meeting on a high when steering L’Operateur (3-1) to victory for trainer Sir Mark Todd in the concluding foreverpuppy.co.uk Maiden Handicap.

“Andrew’s horses are in great form. The first winner today just cantered round and the two-year-old was very game in the nursery,” he said.

“The last winner was excellent for Sir Mark and his team who work extremely hard. He’s pretty new to this racing game so every winner counts for him.”

Probert has six rides at Newbury on Friday before teaming up with Todd again for Tasman Bay in the Group Two Prix Guillaume d’Ornano at Deauville on Saturday.

“I’ve got a few nice rides at Newbury tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have a bit of luck there. They look competitive fields so hopefully one or two of them can run well,” he went on.

“Then I’m off to France on Saturday to ride Tasman Bay in the Group Two for Sir Mark. He’s in great form. He came out of his race at Goodwood very well so hopefully he’ll have a really good chance over there.”

David Probert is set to continue his association with Sandrine in the Lowther Stakes at York
David Probert is set to continue his association with Sandrine in the Lowther Stakes at York (David Davies/PA)

Probert already has one eye on York next week where his rides include the unbeaten Sandrine in the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes.

“It looks the obvious target for her to go there,” he added.

“Obviously she’ll carry a penalty, but she seems in great for at home and she was pretty impressive at Newmarket having taken a step forward from Ascot. I’m really looking forward to riding her.”

Red-hot Probert makes it six in a row at Ffos Las

David Probert carried on where he left off at Ffos Las on Thursday when making it six victories in a row on Hey Teacher in the opening Cazoo Search Drive Smile Novice Median Auction Stakes.

The Welsh jockey rode the last five winners at the Carmarthenshire track on Wednesday evening and continued his winning sequence with the minimum of fuss.

Hey Teacher lived up to his prohibitive price of 1-4 favourite when running his three rivals into submission over a mile and a half.

Leading from the start, the Andrew Balding-trained three-year-old pulled away in the closing stages to score by nine and a half lengths from Scherbobalob.

“It’s been going good. I’ve been lucky enough to have been riding some nice horses over the last couple of days,” Probert told Sky Sports Racing.

On his latest winner, the rider, who is in sight of beating his best seasonal tally of 112 set in 2019, said: “It was just an easy canter for him.

“He took a step forward the last day and two of the horses there (at Bath) were behind him so he was entitled to do that today.

“He’s a galloper. Ideally he wants a lead because he doesn’t do much out in front and he doesn’t do anything quick.”

Probert had to settle for third place on Damned Elusive in the Wasdell Group Handicap behind Summer’s Knight – but he was back in the winner’s enclosure in the very next race on the Balding-trained Great Havana, for his seventh success in his last eight rides.

The 100-30 favourite was challenged on both sides by Whispering Winds and Showmedemoney, but shrugged both off to beat the latter by half a length in the Carol Vorderman Loves West Wales Nursery Handicap.

Probert said: “He was very tough. He’s progressed well after his first two starts.

“He probably wants a mile – he stuck it out well at the end.

“Andrew’s horses are in great shape. There’s a massive team effort that goes into it. They deserve it back home.

“It’s great when everything is going right. This game has its ups and downs. When you’ve got so many owners and trainers supporting you and you’re going out there with a live chance it gives you so much confidence.

“The last couple of days, the way it’s gone, your confidence is on a high.”

Probert took his tally over the two days at the track to eight when steering L’Operateur (3-1) to victory for trainer Sir Mark Todd in the concluding foreverpuppy.co.uk Maiden Handicap.

Majestic takes Glory in Sweet Solera Stakes

Majestic Glory continued her progression with victory in the 100% Racingtv Profits Back To Racing Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket.

A winner on her third career start on the July Course just last week, Andrew Balding’s filly was a 5-1 shot stepping up to Group Three level for her latest assignment.

Market principals Value Theory (3-1) and Wild Beauty (5-2 favourite) raced on the speed throughout, with the latter eventually getting the better of that particular argument.

But Charlie Appleby’s charge had no answer when Majestic Glory picked up between the pair to hit the front under David Probert.

Wild Beauty did her best to fight back, but was a length down at the line.

Winning owner Gearoid Costelloe said: “It doesn’t get much better racing up in this class.

“She did it well – to come through the gap she had to go through as well. I’m very happy.

“Andrew (Balding) kept saying she keeps improving – and he was very confident this morning. Thankfully he was right.”

He added: “She was bred to go over further, so to win over six furlongs last time was a bonus. Hopefully she will go on from this.

“We’ve not got a plan – we will do whatever Andrew tells us. He is doing a very good job, and we will just follow him. Thankfully it has all worked out today.

“It is fantastic to have a winner here. It was very important getting the black type – and she is by Frankel, who is one of the best sires around.”

Pagan powers to stylish Brighton victory

Pagan looks a sprinter bound for bigger and better things judged on an impressive display in the Harry Bloom Memorial “Brighton Bullet”.

After filling the runner-up spot on his first two starts of the season at Doncaster and Yarmouth, the William Haggas-trained gelding made it third time lucky in a first-time tongue-tie at Pontefract in June.

He again had to make do with second place on his most recent appearance at York, but was backed as if defeat was out of the question in the feature event on the third and final day of Brighton’s Festival of Racing meeting.

After looking a little uneasy on the undulating course during the early stages, Pagan was switched to the far side of the track to launch his challenge in the straight and found a quick change of gear to run down his rivals in a matter of strides.

Endowed finished best of the rest, but the 10-11 favourite was well on top and passed the post with two and a half lengths in hand under David Probert.

“There’s a bit of a strong headwind and I wasn’t sure how he’d handle the track. I just wanted to get a nice lead into the race and we’ve done that with a strong pace in front of us,” the jockey told Sky Sports Racing.

“He was able to get into a nice rhythm and once we got racing up the middle I was able to get a nice split up the inside and away he went.

“It felt as though he went through the gears quite nicely and when he hit top gear he felt pretty smart in the last half-furlong.”

Pagan’s victory was the middle leg of a treble on the card for Probert, who also rode two winners for Mick Channon.

The rider’s first success came aboard 13-8 favourite Wonderful World, who opened his account in the EBF Restricted Novice Stakes.

Runner-up to the high-class Chipotle in the Brocklesby at Doncaster in March, the Bungle Inthejungle colt was a narrowly beaten on third on his second start at Bath.

Making his first appearance since that April outing, Wonderful World showed his class with a four-and-a-quarter-length win – leaving connections considering a possible tilt at the Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury next month.

Jack Channon, assistant to his father, said: “He’s a nice horse and we thought quite a bit of him – we ran him in the Brocklesby and actually thought he’d probably win that day, but bumped into Chipotle.

“He had a little setback during his run at Bath, which is why he’s had a little bit of time off, but he’s come back in great form.

“He was entitled to do that (win today) and we’re just pleased to get him back on the track and enjoying himself again.

“We’ll see what the handicapper does. If he gives us a chance, we might look at a nursery and then maybe on to the Mill Reef after that.”

Probert and Channon were soon on the mark again, with Adace a 9-1 winner of the following vickers.bet Bet 10 Get 20 Handicap.

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.