Ralph Beckett reports his two Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf contenders, New Mandate and Devilwala, to be in top form ahead of their date at Keeneland next month.
Both horses have some high-class Pattern-race form with New Mandate winning the Group Two Royal Lodge Stakes and the Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes, while Devilwala was fourth in the Group One Dewhurst Stakes at odds of 100-1.
Beckett believes he could not have New Mandate in better shape ahead of his American challenge.
“I’m very happy with him. If anything he’s in as good a shape as he was going to Newmarket and we’re looking forward to it,” told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast.
“We’re seeing at home he’s more relaxed in his work. He’s definitely going the right way the more experience he gets under his belt.
“Frankie Dettori rides. He understands the horse very well now. It’s a good fit.”
Beckett admitted being surprised by Devilwala’s performance in the Dewhurst, although the Kodiac colt had finished second in the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes on the second of his three starts when in the hands of Archie Watson.
“He is a difficult horse to read because he hides his light under a bushel at home,” said the Kimpton handler.
“It was definitely his owner’s call to run him in the Dewhurst. I was going along for the ride there and astonished to see him run as well as he did.
“Devilwala is tough, hardy fellow now. He was a breeze-up horse. I’m his second trainer. He takes it all pretty much in his stride. That’s why he doesn’t knock himself out at home.
“Rossa Ryan is retained by the owner so he rides. He’s been riding well of late and he’s fitted in here very well. He’s been riding out here all year and has ridden a bunch of winners for us, so I have no problem with that at all.
“I’ll be going out next Monday. We look forward to days like this.”
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New Mandate continued his rapid rise through the ranks with victory in the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket.
The Ralph Beckett-trained two-year-old made it a hat-trick of wins for the season as he successfully stepped up to a mile in the Group Two prize.
Having demonstrated his battling abilities when squeezing through a tight gap to land a Listed race at Doncaster last time out, the New Bay gelding was forced to dig deep again before emerging victorious.
Despite Ontario throwing down a late challenge, he could not find a way past New Mandate with three-quarters of a length separating the pair at the post.
Beckett said: “I was always surprised he could do it at seven really, given his pedigree and so on. It is extraordinary I managed to get him beaten twice in maidens. The first time out I hadn’t done enough with him really and I suddenly realised that afterwards.
“The second time, Jack Mitchell kind of got rolling a bit early on the July Course. He has shown up from the first piece of fast work he did. Everything he has done has been very professional.
“He was gelded in January as he was like Warren Beatty on steroids. We had to geld him, but he wouldn’t have been the horse he is if we hadn’t.”
A trip to America could be on the cards for New Mandate, with Beckett eyeing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, for which he was introduced at 10-1 by Paddy Power.
Beckett said: “We will see where we go from here. Obviously he can’t run in anything worthwhile in the spring, so we have to cut our cloth this autumn.
“We will have a discussion about the Bredeers’ Cup Juvenile Turf. It has been great.”
Saffron Beach landed something of a gamble when making a winning debut in the Blandford Bloodstock Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.
Available at long odds on Friday, the Jane Chapple-Hyam-trained New Bay filly, who returned at 12-1, knew exactly what was required on her racecourse bow, running out a four-and-a-quarter-length winner of the seven-furlong prize.
Chapple-Hyam said: “It’s no surprise. We were very happy with her and she had been galloping with the colts Albadri and Prince Of Abington. She has shown a nice attitude. It’s always nice to see her go away from the field.
“It was impressive and it is nice to have a good class filly in the stable.
“I certainly did back her. Prince Of Abington won nicely at Ascot and Albadri ran a blinder the other day in the Tattersalls Stakes. When you’ve got horses working together, you get a guideline.”
A step up in class is now likely for Saffron Beach with the Racing TV Stakes, better known as the Radley, at Newbury identified as a possible target.
Chapple-Hyam added: “I think I’d like to keep her at that trip on her next start. The Sangster and Wigan families are local to Newbury, though I wouldn’t want soft ground for her. We will just have to watch this weird English weather.”
Fledgling trainer George Boughey saddled his first winner at Newmarket as Mystery Angel (13-2) flew late to win the British Stallion Studs EBF “Jersey Lily” Fillies’ Nursery Handicap.
“That’s my first winner at Newmarket. We’ve always thought quite a lot of her, but she takes a lot of hard work to get fit,” said Boughey.
“She is a good moving horse that the guys in Nick Bradley’s syndicate (owners) will have a lot of fun with.
“Nick has done very well putting his horses in stakes company, so we could have a look at the Montrose back here while there is a Group Three over in France as well, but it is still early days.”
The closing Bentley Motors Handicap went the way of Mark Johnston’s Vale Of Kent, who rallied back past Gallipoli for Franny Norton.
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Clive Cox is encouraged by Cobh’s progress on and off the track as the improving juvenile moves up to Group company for the first time in the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket.
Cobh has twice run in Listed company so far, finishing second in the Pat Eddery Stakes at Ascot to Richard Hannon’s Chindit before taking Salisbury’s Stonehenge Stakes.
He takes a significant step up in class in Saturday’s Group Two, over a mile.
Cox said: “He was an impressive winner of the Stonehenge at Salisbury, clearly getting the mile well.
“He’s a big, scopey individual who has continued to physically develop with his progression on the race track.
“We’re really looking forward to him stepping up to Group Two level.”
Among the opposition is Ralph Beckett’s New Mandate, who heads to the Rowley Mile off the back of two successive wins.
The gelded son of New Bay shed his maiden tag at Sandown, before going on to win the Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster two weeks ago.
“Both New Mandate and the jockey (Frankie Dettori) were impressive at Doncaster to go through a tight gap and win the Flying Scotsman,” said Beckett.
“He was the only horse to come up that far rail and win all meeting.”
New Mandate is set to run over a mile for the first time, having so far been campaigned over seven furlongs, but Beckett has no doubts about the suitability of the trip.
“I’m really looking forward to the Royal Lodge, and the mile will be no problem,” he said.
“He is out of an Authorized mare and is by New Bay, so he should handle some juice in the ground.
“He was a nightmare early on – that is why we gelded him back in January. He is a good work horse, and that is why we took the jump into Listed class on a mark of 89 last time.”
Mark Johnston’s Acomb Stakes winner Gear Up is also in the line-up, having won his first two starts.
Aidan O’Brien is represented by Ontario, the only runner with existing Group Two form having been beaten a length when third in the Futurity Stakes at the Curragh last month.
Roger Charlton’s Pleasant Man makes up the field of five in what will be just his second racecourse appearance, after winning on his debut at Haydock at the start of this month.
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New Mandate needed to be brave under Frankie Dettori to gain a narrow verdict over Laneqash in the bet365 Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster.
Ralph Beckett’s youngster was trapped on the rail as Jim Crowley brought Laneqash with what appeared to be a race-winning run on his outside.
Dettori held his ground, however, and New Mandate’s greater experience proved vital as he battled back tight against the rail to win by a head at 17-2.
“It was very tight,” said Dettori, who rides Irish Derby hero Santiago for Aidan O’Brien in the St Leger on Saturday.
“I’m delighted, because Marc Chan is a new owner and a friend of mine from Hong Kong.
“This is his first year in racing. I was second (short-head, on Valeria Messalina) at Glorious Goodwood for him, and (now) I’ve managed to get my first winner for him – so I’m delighted.
“I know he’s watching in Hong Kong – well done, good start.
“He’s a very tough horse and it was a good race – he did it the hard way, but we’ve done it.”
He added: “He showed a lot of courage. Ralph said he was very pleased with him at home – I’m delighted for connections. Well done, Ralph.”
Roger Varian’s Apparate (5-1) returned to his best form, and continued a fine St Leger Festival so far for winning jockey David Egan, in the bet365 Mallard Handicap.
Egan, twice a winner on day two of Doncaster’s big meeting, outgunned 2-1 favourite Alfaatik by three-quarters of a length.
“The boss gave me free rein – he said there was going to be no pace, don’t take him back,” said Egan.
“Riding for Mr Varian, he fills you with lots of confidence beforehand.
“He got a lovely run through, and picked up the last furlong. Then he really stuck his head down and stuck it out well – which was nice to see.
“Fitness-wise, he’ll probably come on for that, and he’s definitely a progressive horse with a nice future.
“He won a Lavazza Handicap at Ascot last year, so he’s a top-class horse, and I hope he can go on from here.”
Ray Dawson is another jockey currently in prime form, and he extended it with a fine ride to win the bet365 Handicap on David Loughnane’s Tranchee.
The 7-2 second-favourite was always prominent and led inside the final furlong, beating Sunset Breeze and favourite Ghalyoon by half a length and a neck.
Dawson made good use of his reconnaissance, having found the long Doncaster straight testing his own stamina when he ran the track before racing.
On four legs, however, he had the necessary reserves.
“Watching his last few runs, the races collapsed on heavy ground, and he got left out in front a little bit long,” he said.
“I ran (the track) earlier on, and I thought the last furlong felt long. But it’s even longer when you’re on a horse and you’re hitting the front – it’s a long way home, with a headwind and a crosswind as well.
“But I didn’t feel it too much today, thank God.”
Sorrel just got the better of her tussle with Albaflora in the opening British EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap, for Sir Michael Stoute and William Buick.
Stoute’s Almareekh, chasing a four-timer, was sent off the 5-4 favourite but was well held in fourth of five as her stablemate instead came out on top by a head at 2-1.
Buick expects continued improvement, perhaps up in trip, after Sorrel’s second successive victory.
“She’s a lovely, staying filly – and she’ll get further,” said the winning jockey.
“She’s really put her head down, she’s tough.
“I liked her – she feels like she’s still learning, and there’s still improvement in her.”
Buick, who sat off the pace before hitting the front in the last furlong, was always confident he had things in hand.
“She went through the gears nicely,” he added.
“When she came off the bridle, she always kept picking up.
“She didn’t win by far, but I always did feel I was going to hold on.”
Stoute completed a first and last-race double – and Crowley warmed up with a victory before his big-race ride on Hukum in the St Leger – when 11-10 favourite Tawaareq prevailed by three-quarters of a length in the Gary Reid Memorial Maiden Stakes.
Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s well-bred colt was one of only three in the 10-strong field of juveniles with previous race experience, having finished fifth on his Sandown debut last month.
Tawaareq was still very fresh, but Crowley’s patience was eventually rewarded with a decisive success from 9-1 shot Cordouan.
The winning jockey said: “He got a bit warm before the race. He owed me that (win), because he dropped me at the start!
“But he’s got plenty of ability – he just needs to settle down.”
The rangy Tawaareq has an early 2021 Derby entry, and Crowley confirmed he is a long-term project.
“We went steady, then sprinted, so he could be okay,” he added.
“It will be all about next year really.”
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