Sly banks on Eileendover’s stamina for Rose Bowl Stakes

Eileendover will return to a marathon trip as she bids for a first black-type victory on the Flat in the Listed Rose Bowl Stakes at Newmarket.

The four-year-old was hugely impressive as a bumper horse, winning three consecutive National Hunt Flat contests before finishing fourth in the Grade Two mares’ bumper at Aintree’s Grand National meeting.

A switch to the Flat has seen her gradually find her feet, taking a handicap at Newmarket in August and then finishing fourth in the Group Two Park Hill Fillies’ Stakes.

This time, the granddaughter of her trainer Pam Sly’s 1000 Guineas winner Speciosa will receive weight all round as the only filly in Thursday’s race.

Sly noticed too that Eileendover has stayed on with purpose of late at distances up to an extended mile and six furlongs.

“I think the step up in trip will help her a bit,” she said.

“She’s been staying on every time she’s run.

“I know it’s going to be quite competitive, but of course she’s got a 5lb allowance for being a girl against the boys.

“Last time she gave 10lb to the winner (Free Wind) and the third (Yesyes), and that’s a lot of weight.

“I know that the winner is decent. The third-placed horse beat us two and half lengths when we gave her 17lb at Haydock, and she only beat us a length the other day with 10lb, so we’re getting there gradually.

“She should stay, she’s another six months older and she’s gradually improved running on the Flat – I hope she carries on that way.

“She had a few days off after Doncaster, and this will be her last run of the year – there’s nothing else to run her in now. She’ll have a long Christmas holiday and then she should be back to start again in April.”

Island Brave and Silvestre de Sousa (right) winning the Old Borough Cup
Island Brave and Silvestre de Sousa (right) winning the Old Borough Cup (David Davies/PA)

Heather Main’s Island Brave will also step back up in trip after his victory in the one-mile six-furlong Old Borough Cup at Haydock, when he gamely regained the lead three furlongs from home and eventually prevailed by half a length.

Main’s seven-year-old has form over this two-mile trip also, and will appreciate the drying ground.

“He ran a brilliant race at Haydock,” said the Oxfordshire trainer.

“He was really game – his name definitely suits him! The trip will be fine for him – he’s flexible in that way.

“I’m hoping that the ground will suit. It looks like it’s not going to be too soft, so hopefully he’ll have his conditions.”

William Haggas’ Roberto Escobarr is towards the head of the market after his sixth in last month’s Ebor at York – where he previously won the Listed Race To The Ebor Grand Cup and was fourth in the Group Three John Smith’s Silver Cup this summer.

William Haggas' Roberto Escobarr
William Haggas’ Roberto Escobarr (Martin Lynch/PA)

He moves up to two miles for the first time, and Haggas said: “It will be interesting – it looks like he wants the trip, so let’s see if he does.

“He ran a very good race in the Ebor. He’s really solid, and he’s in good form while there are a few out of form in that race, so I hope he’s not one of them.”

Elsewhere in the field of 10 is Emmet Mullins’ Crowns Major, who has been a model of consistency all season since beginning his campaign with a triumphant run in a Punchestown bumper in April.

The four-year-old has since turned his attention to the Flat and won a valuable mile-and-a-half handicap at Galway in July.

Ralph’s Beckett’s Max Vega will run for just the third time this season after a valiant fifth place in the Ebor, with Mark Johnston’s Group performer Nayef Road also in opposition after his third to Stradivarius in the Doncaster Cup.

Stuart Williams’ Rhythmic Intent was a winner last time in a Doncaster handicap – with Andrew Balding’s Morando, Richard Hannon’s Noonday Gun and Roger Charlton’s Sleeping Lion completing the field.

Island Brave battles to Old Borough Cup victory

Island Brave lived up to his name to claim victory in a thrilling renewal of the Betfair Exchange Old Borough Cup at Haydock.

Heather Main’s stable star had not managed to get his head in front in seven previous outings this season, but a change of tactics brought about a change in fortunes on Merseyside.

Ridden from the front by Silvestre de Sousa, the 10-1 shot looked booked for minor honours at best when passed by the strong-travelling 4-1 favourite Noble Masquerade inside the final two furlongs.

But Island Brave was not done with as he battled back tenaciously to retake the lead and he had just enough in reserve to hold the fast-finishing pair of Alright Sunshine and Nicholas T at bay by half a length and a nose respectively.

Winning owner Donald Kerr said: “That was a fantastic – a great result.

“We dropped him back in trip as it was good to firm ground and that’s what he wants.

“I thought Silvestre gave him a brilliant ride. I was a little bit worried when the other horse passed him, but he fought back.

“We usually hold him up. I think this is the first time he’s made the running since he won his maiden at Lingfield (in 2017).

“This is his 11th win. We’ve had him since he was a breeze-up horse and he’s been a great horse for the yard.”

Golden Flame (9-1) benefited from a power-packed ride from Joe Fanning when winning the £100,000 “My Odds Boost” On Betfair Handicap.

Down the field in the Melrose Handicap at York last month, Mark Johnston’s charge bounced back to form in this smaller field – digging deep when pressed by Praiano to prevail by a length.

Fanning said: “It’s nice fast ground and he was able to bowl along there and was happy in front.

“He stayed really well and I was never in danger really – he was always doing enough.”

Paddy Power cut Golden Flame to 20-1 from 33-1 for the Cesarewitch at Newmarket next month.

Golden Flame on his way to victory at Haydock
Golden Flame on his way to victory at Haydock (David Davies/PA)

Johnston’s assistant, Jock Bennett, said: “He was the last one off the bridle there and he just had to stick it out.

“He won early on (this season), we’ve aimed at some of the bigger handicaps and he’s come good to day in a small field and getting his own way from the front.

“He’s only a three-year-old, but like anything of ours, they’re always better when they go up in trip.

“It looked as though he stayed every inch of the mile and three-quarters and looks like he will get further.

“The Cesarewitch will be a different sort of race on soft ground. I think we’re a long way off that, so we’ll just go home and reassess him and take it from there.”