Megallan makes most of Sovereign opportunity

Megallan consigned a disappointing run in the French Derby to the history books with a battling victory in the D & N Construction Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury.

John and Thady Gosden’s colt ran an excellent race to fill the runner-up spot behind Hurricane Lane in the Dante Stakes at York in May.

But while the Charlie Appleby-trained winner went on to finish third in the Derby at Epsom before winning the Irish Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris, Megallan trailed home well beaten in the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly.

Having been given plenty of time to get over his exertions across the Channel, the son of Kingman was the 7-4 favourite as he dropped in distance and class for the feature event of the year at the Wiltshire track.

Ridden by Robert Havlin, Megallan travelled strongly for much of the Group Three contest and dug deep when pressed in the final furlong to see off the admirable Sir Busker by a length.

Perotto and Solid Stone were not far behind in third and fourth respectively.

Thady Gosden said of the winner: “We’re delighted. He obviously did well, dropping to a mile at Salisbury, and enjoyed the ground.

Thady Gosden was pleased with the victory of Megallan
Thady Gosden was pleased with the victory of Megallan (Julian Finney/PA)

“He ran a great race in the Dante. He looked like the winner at one stage and was obviously beaten by a very good horse.

“We took him to the French Derby and with all the changes after Brexit, it’s a bit more of a journey over and it’s much tougher on them, so he didn’t necessarily run his race there.

“It’s great to see him back to himself today and winning a Sovereign Stakes.

“He showed he has the speed for a mile, but he also stays a mile and a quarter, so we’ll see where we go from here.”

Megallan on top in Burradon Stakes

John and Thady Gosden’s impressive start to their new arrangement was given another boost by the victory of Megallan in the Listed Burradon Stakes at Newcastle.

Highly tried after winning on his debut last season, Megallan ended his campaign in the Futurity Trophy at Doncaster.

He got bogged down in the heavy ground on that occasion, but was better judged on his fourth to One Ruler in the Autumn Stakes – and the Gosdens are clearly keen to crack on with him this year.

Out early for the Spring Cup over an inadequate seven furlongs at Lingfield where he was a fast-finishing second, he was back over a straight mile on the Tapeta this time.

His presence scared plenty of the potential opposition away – with only three taking him on, but they included Roger Varian’s lightly-raced Legion Of Honour.

The pair had it between themselves for the last two furlongs – and while Andrea Atzeni briefly looked to be going better on Legion Of Honour, Megallan’s depth of experience told close home.

Robert Havlin always looked as if he held the upper hand, and in the final 100 yards Megallan (4-6 favourite) began to pull away to win by half-a-length.

Havlin said: “He ran over seven (furlongs) at Lingfield – which we knew was going to be a bit sharp for him, but it sharpened him up mentally.

“That showed today, and I think you have to give him a lot of credit.

“Last year he was a bit too keen in heavy ground at Doncaster in the Futurity Trophy, but I think he’s grown up a lot. I ride him a bit myself at home, and he’s come on a lot.

“I think he’s better than this (class). It was a good old ding-dong battle with the second, but he was going away at the line.

“I wouldn’t rule him out going over a mile-and-a-quarter later in the season, because his mind is much better now – he used to be really racy.

“He might end up in something like the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket over a mile-and-one (furlong) – that could be an option.”

Paddy Power cut the winner to 20-1 from 33-1 for the 2000 Guineas, while the runner-up is now 25-1 from 50-1.