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Hanagan thrilled to be back in the big time

Paul Hanagan has celebrated bigger winners than Majestic Dawn’s success in the bet365 Cambridgeshire, but few victories will have provided greater satisfaction given the year he has endured.

Having come close to calling time on his glittering career after sustaining a back injury in a fall at Newcastle in February, the two-times champion jockey continued his recent resurgence in the saddle with a breakthrough first victory in the ultra-competitive handicap.

Though one for more muted celebrations, the Classic-winning rider admitted he came close to letting his emotions get the better of him after steering the Paul and Oliver Cole-trained 40-1 shot to a surprise success.

Hanagan said: “That fall was the most difficult time of my life. You just know when it’s a bad one. The scariest moment for me was I couldn’t get up. I struggled to breathe and that’s when I knew it was serious.

“I’m not one for getting emotional, but when I was being interviewed on television after winning, I thought ‘oh no, I’m going to go here in a minute’, which I shouldn’t be ashamed of, but it was a massive thing in my life, that fall. Winning today was pretty emotional.

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“It was very special. I was six months out with the injury and I didn’t think I was going to make it back at all. To bag one like that is quite special. I’m absolutely delighted.”

Recovery was a slow process for Hanagan, but taking inspiration from his close friend and former rider Freddy Tylicki, as well as his own desire to return, has helped him come through those dark days and emerge on the other side.

He added: “I’m best mates with Freddy Tylicki and it kind of hits home how lucky I am, as he wasn’t so lucky after a life-changing fall. It’s people like him that have given me inspiration. The likes of Freddy have been amazing.

“I was in so much pain and just constantly struggling to get out of bed and because of Covid and the lockdown, I couldn’t get any help. Jack Berry House was brilliant doing a video link, but it is not the same as seeing people in person.

“What it really came down to was the operation. The specialist was amazing and it was a flick of the switch after that. It was then a case of do I really want it? But the hunger was there more than ever.”

Returning from any injury requires the support of others, and Hanagan, who is fast closing in on riding 2,000 British winners, is grateful to several people who helped get his career back on track.

He added: “The support I’ve had has been amazing. I can’t speak highly enough of Jack Berry House, which is on my doorstep in Malton. Without the support of them, I don’t think I would have made it.

“My agent Richard Hale never gets a mention, but I’ve been with him since I was 16 or 17 and I turned 40 last week, so it speaks volumes for the guy as he has been there from day one.

“I think the sport we are in is a great sport and everyone comes together when you have a bad time.”

While Hanagan may be in the later stages of his career, he hopes his return to the saddle can act as an inspiration to others that may be struggling for confidence or have been in a similar position to that he faced earlier this year.

He added: “The first couple of weeks were hard, just getting that race and match fitness back again, but once I got over those first two weeks, things have flown.

“To win a race like this maybe shows people who are going through a hard time you have the support out there to get back, and if you really want something, you can do it.”

Dawn delivers with clear-cut Cambridgeshire verdict

Majestic Dawn caused a 40-1 shock as he turned the bet365 Cambridgeshire into a procession under Paul Hanagan.

Fifth in the race 12 months ago, he was back again off just a 3lb higher mark, but he had only had one run this season when last of 10 at Kempton.

Majestic Dawn was wearing first-time blinkers and Hanagan took the race by the scruff of the neck at the halfway point in the nine-furlong heat.

Hanagan kicked into what would prove to be an unassailable advantage and on entering the final furlong, it was clear the leader would not be caught, as Paul and Oliver Cole’s four-year-old maintained his gallop right through the line to win by four and three-quarter lengths.

There was a blanket finish for second, with Lucander just ahead of Bell Rock and 100-1 chance You’re Hired in fourth.

Oliver Cole said: “We always thought he was a very good horse and last year he finished fifth in this race.

“All year we’ve had all sorts of little problems. We ran him at Kempton a few days ago, just to get a bit of work into him really and he came last, but it obviously put him straight!

“I still can’t believe it to be honest, it’s a real shock. I couldn’t be happier for the owners and the staff at home – it’s a great thrill. We’re very lucky.”

Hanagan, who was almost forced to quit following a back injury he suffered in February, said: “I’m lost for words.

“It was a long road back to fitness, so this is a special winner. I owe the comeback to so many people.

“I don’t think you’ll see many Cambridgeshires won like that. He was just very happy. We got the rail, he was a little bit keen, so I took him away from the others then he relaxed.

“After that, I just pointed him.”

Supremacy too good for Middle Park rivals

Supremacy led his rivals a merry dance and held off Lucky Vega to win the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Clive Cox’s youngster had impressed in the Richmond Stakes last time out, but the quality of the race was so deep that Supremacy was sent off a 13-2 chance.

Given a strong wind at the track, Adam Kirby employed the same prominent tactics as he had done when winning the Rockfel Stakes on stablemate Isabella Giles 24 hours earlier and Supremacy was never really headed.

His task was made slightly easier by halfway when Frankie Dettori’s saddle slipped on the keen-going Method and he had to call it a day before the race began in earnest.

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Shane Foley was eager not to give the leader too much rope on favourite Lucky Vega, but Minzaal was dropped right out at the back and ended up making up plenty of ground into third.

Supremacy was not for catching, though, prevailing by half a length, with Minzaal beaten a further two and a quarter lengths.

“It was superb. I’m overjoyed. He has been amazing really. From the Richmond, I think he has continued developing and strengthening all the time,” said Cox.

“He is a complete speedball and likes to get on with it. Adam has ridden him beautifully and got the fractions right. I’m just delighted the way he has finished off.

“I’m really excited about him next year, as he has got more development and strengthening to do over the winter. He is just pure class.

“I don’t think we will be stretching beyond six. I don’t think we need to when he shows gears like that. That is precisely what we will be concentrating on and polishing what we have got.

“(This year’s Commonwealth Cup winner) Golden Horde had a little bit more size and scope at this stage of his career and was second in this race. He is another very good horse, but most importantly they are both talented.

“He has got that speed and that is what he likes to get on and do. We realised at Goodwood it was certainly not the wrong way to ride him. I’m just very happy how it has all panned out.

“I wouldn’t have thought he was overlooked, but some people obviously thought it – people have short memories.

“We’ve had a tremendous season, especially with the two-year-old crop as they have been amazing.

“Any winner is special, but that feeling of standing on that stand, even though there wasn’t a huge crowd around us, it was still extremely satisfying.

“We had a wonderful Royal Ascot as well and it has been a wonderful year for us, in spite of the shenanigans.”

New Mandate rules in Royal Lodge for Beckett and Dettori

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.

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“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.

Alcohol Free sparks Cheveley Park celebrations

Alcohol Free prevailed in a tight finish for the Group One Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Andrew Balding’s filly was less exposed than most of her rivals in the six-furlong prize, but Oisin Murphy gave her a positive ride.

The champion jockey was happy to take up the running from favourite Miss Amulet at half way and she was there to be shot at running up the hill.

The previously unbeaten Dandalla moved into contention briefly, but her challenge petered away and it was Richard Fahey’s Umm Kulthum, a winner at Ayr last weekend, and Ken Condon’s Miss Amulet who gave Alcohol Free the most to do.

Despite having just the third run of her life, Alcohol Free showed a willing attitude and while Umm Kulthum challenged on her far side and Miss Amulet on her inside, Alcohol Free, a sustained late gamble, won by half a length and a head.

The winner was given a 20-1 quote for next year’s 1000 Guineas by Betfair.

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Alcohol Free had finished second behind Happy Romance last time out, but turned that form around with Richard Hannon’s filly who was only fourth this time.

“She didn’t have a great draw at Salisbury and she showed a bit of inexperience and we knew she would come on for that,” said Balding.

“At the end of the day, Happy Romance was likely to be one of the favourites and we only had a couple of lengths to find on her. We had the option to run in the Rockfel, but Jeff (Smith, owner) was keen on going for the Group One and he was dead right.

“She has been on a fast track really, as she only started faster work about three weeks before she ran and we went to the races not knowing quite what to expect as she was the first two-year-old filly we had run.

“She won very easily there (Newbury) and the next logical step was to go for the Dick Poole and she showed enough there to warrant coming here.

“She should stay (a mile) I would have thought. She relaxes well. She acts better with a bit of cover. Oisin was intent that he couldn’t see any pace in the race and he didn’t want to be too far back.

“I’m well past giving him instructions. He did a fantastic job. Just for the yard, it is fantastic, as Jeff has been with us a long time, with dad (Ian Balding) and he has been a big supporter of ours, so it is great to get him a Group One winner again.

“She won’t run again this year. We will see how she does in the spring and we will make a decision nearer the time (whether she runs in a trial). She is obviously good enough to go (to the Guineas), so we don’t need to go to a trial to find out – it’s just whether she would benefit for a run in the spring.”

Oisin Murphy celebrates Alcohol Free's victory
Oisin Murphy celebrates Alcohol Free’s victory (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Murphy added: “Andrew has done a top job with her because he’s had to carefully manage her training regime. She’s very generous at home and he’s kept a lid on her.

“It’s brilliant for the owner and brilliant for the stable. We’ve a class of horse in the yard at the moment that we’ve never had before.

“She’s a Group One winner now and certainly fits into the 1000 Guineas category for next year because she hits the line well and she also relaxes. She’s a super filly.

“I don’t win enough Group Ones for Andrew and he’s supplied me with two this year. Hopefully we can continue to add to the tally.”

Haggas launches double assault on Cambridgeshire

William Haggas has two runners in his bid to win the bet365 Cambridgeshire for the first time at Newmarket on Saturday.

Seven days on from combining to land the Ayr Gold Cup with Nahaarr, Haggas and in-form jockey Tom Marquand team up with Sinjaari, who won the John Smith’s Cup at York on his only previous start this season in mid-July.

Haggas also saddles Montatham, who reverts to handicap company under Jim Crowley after finishing second in a Listed contest at Sandown recently, however, Ilaraab, the scheduled mount of Cieren Fallon, does not run.

Haggas said: “It might be asking a bit much of Sinjaari to win a John Smith’s Cup and a Cambridgeshire, but he’s very well and I’m very happy with him.

“He’s down in trip so there’s always a concern, but there aren’t many options for these good handicappers – they can run in Listed races and win £15,000, or wait for big pots like this. They may as well run for the big money.

“Montatham is going up in trip a bit, but he will love the cut in the ground and he’s very well, he’s been running well all year.

“They’ve both got decent chances, but I’m not convinced they are drawn on the right side. You’d hope with two to be spread across the track, but they are in two (Montatham) and six (Sinjaari) and having walked the track, the draw could scupper them, but there’s nothing I can do about that.”

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The Roger Charlton-trained Tempus bids to make it three from three for the year in the hands of Jason Watson.

A winner at Newbury in August on what was his first appearance in 10 months, the Kingman colt readily followed up at Ascot three weeks ago and carries a 4lb penalty for that victory as he goes in search of the hat-trick.

“He was a nice horse last season, but he has progressed really nicely,” said Watson.

Tempus (left) has been progressing nicely for Roger Charlton
Tempus (left) has been progressing nicely for Roger Charlton (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He had a long time off before running at Newbury and we were expecting him to need the run. He was mightily impressive at Ascot the last day and I believe he will come on for that again.

“My only concern would be the track as it is unique and not to the liking of every horse. That’s going to be the test for him as he has only really raced on nice, galloping tracks so far.

“I do think he has the class to hopefully overcome that. To me, he still has improvement left in him and the more rain that falls, the more it will help him.”

Ralph Beckett believes the demands of the race will bring out the best in Lucander, who won three times last season and opened his account for the current campaign at York last month.

Beckett said: “It was a good effort to win at York and he seems to like these big-field handicaps.

“I was always keen on the idea of the Cambridgeshire for him. The nature of the race will suit him really well.”

Sir Busker was narrowly beaten by Montatham on his penultimate start at York, before chasing home Century Dream in the Group Two Celebration Mile at Goodwood.

William Knight’s stable star must carry 9st 11lb on his return to a handicap, but connections are nevertheless hopeful he will run another big race.

Sam Hoskins, racing manager for owner Kennett Valley Thoroughbreds, said: “We’re really pleased with him at home and he’s a big horse, so he should be able to carry the weight.

Sir Busker won the Silver Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot
Sir Busker won the Silver Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“Obviously there are a lot of young improvers who we’ll have to give weight to. We’re hopefully weighted to reverse placings with Montatham from their York form. Sir Busker has since run second in a Group Two, and Montatham was second at Sandown.

“He’s in great form. It’s a big task to try to win such a prestigious handicap off a mark of 111, but you never know. He’s a highly progressive horse and we’ll keep our fingers crossed – he’ll love the fast pace.”

Other hopefuls include Roger Varian’s Fifth Position, the Andrew Balding-trained Bell Rock and Al Rufaa from John Gosden’s yard.

Of the latter, Frankie Dettori told his Sporting Index blog: “I’ve won the Cambridgeshire three times and all three times I think I had Group horses in Halling, Wissahickon and Lord North.

“We don’t know if Al Ruffa is quite as good as those yet, but I certainly hope so. He’s a three-year-old who could improve further, but he’s got plenty of weight for what he’s done so far.

“He didn’t give his best running last time and it’s a wide-open race, but he’s still lightly-raced so fingers crossed.

“We’re drawn 22 and hopefully that’s the side that’s up with the pace, because sometimes you can win your half of the race and still finish 10 lengths behind!”

Burrows puts Minzaal to test in ‘red-hot’ Middle Park

Owen Burrows is eager to discover just how good Minzaal is when he runs in a high-class renewal of the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

A hugely impressive winner of the Gimcrack at York last time out, the Mehmas colt has been a bit of a buzz horse since.

Following his win on the Knavesmire, Burrows stated he felt Minzaal was all about speed and that – rather than try to stretch him into a Guineas horse – the Commonwealth Cup would be his likely target.

“It looks a red-hot race, the best of the crop really, and it was always going to be,” Burrows said of Saturday’s Group One.

Trainer Owen Burrows has enjoyed a good season
Trainer Owen Burrows has enjoyed a good season (Simon Cooper/PA)

“Fingers crossed, we are going there with every chance.

“We knew straight after York this would be his race – I wasn’t tempted by anything else, and timing-wise it has been perfect.

“Having won his Group Two at York, this was the next obvious place to come.

“There was plenty of rain before racing on Thursday, and the jocks are saying it is riding a bit dead. I’d imagine it will be very similar ground to what it was in the Gimcrack, just on the soft side of good – no excuses for anybody, I shouldn’t think.

“The nerves are not too bad, and I’m looking forward to it. We’ll learn a bit more about him and we’ll see how good he is.”

Lucky Vega is the only Group One winner in the field
Lucky Vega is the only Group One winner in the field (PA Wire)
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Unusually, the Irish challenge is not led by Aidan O’Brien – whose Lipizzaner will be one of the outsiders – and Jessica Harrington instead fulfils that role.

Her Lucky Vega is the only Group One winner in the field, having scorched clear in the Phoenix Stakes, but it all then went wrong last time in the National Stakes when he met all sorts of trouble in running.

Harrington said: “It would be fair to say his last race didn’t go to plan, but we don’t need to say any more about that.

“Prior to that, he was very impressive in the Phoenix Stakes – and on that form he should have a good chance.

“I wouldn’t imagine we’ll be using the ground as an excuse – he’s pretty versatile, and it shouldn’t be bottomless.

“We haven’t done much with him since the National, just kept him ticking over, (and) we’re looking for a big run.”

Another major contender is Clive Cox’s Supremacy, hugely impressive when coming home four lengths clear in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood.

“He was an exciting winner of the Richmond, and he’s had a healthy break in between there and here,” said Cox.

“He’s shown us plenty of class, but has physically progressed since Goodwood and we’re very much looking forward to seeing him perform here.”

Martyn Meade’s Method is defending the only unbeaten record in the race and will be ridden by Frankie Dettori – with Oisin Murphy claimed by Qatar Racing to ride The Lir Jet – but the trainer is watching the skies.

Meade said: “Everything that we can control I’ve been delighted with, but the one thing we can’t – the weather – may scupper us.

“I really want to run him, because there’s nothing else for him – he’s not in the Dewhurst, and I’d want to keep him over six furlongs anyway – but I wouldn’t want him pulled about on heavy ground.

“I’ve been pleased watching most of the others have hard races while we were always coming straight here – so he’s had a lovely break, been freshened up and hopefully we get to run him.

“Newmarket can dry quickly, and it is very windy – I just hope they don’t have any more of those downpours.

“He’s got lots of speed, so I wouldn’t want to run him if it went bottomless. This has always been the plan, and earlier in the week I thought the ground would be perfect for him. This is the one we’ve been aiming at, but I just don’t want to risk him on extreme ground.”

The Lir Jet was second to Lucky Vega in the Phoenix Stakes, but had earlier beaten Wes Ward’s speedster Golden Pal at Royal Ascot.

“It’s a cracking race and a very deep renewal of the race, I think,” said jockey Murphy.

The Lir Jet (left) edged out Golden Pal at Royal Ascot
The Lir Jet (left) edged out Golden Pal at Royal Ascot (Julian Finney/PA)

“I’ve obviously got off Method, and Frankie has jumped on in my place. He’s a very exciting horse who won his Listed race well.”I thought Minzaal was a very impressive winner of the Gimcrack, and I was impressed with Supremacy at Goodwood.

“The Lir Jet has to step up a bit on ratings, but he’s a big, scopey horse who I hope is still improving.

“I’m open-minded regarding the trip, and any dig in the ground won’t bother him.”

Joel joy for Kameko at Newmarket

Classic hero Kameko made a triumphant return to Newmarket with a comfortable success in the Shadwell Joel Stakes.

Andrew Balding’s stable star has raced over a variety of different trips since his career-defining victory in the 2000 Guineas – finishing fourth over a mile and a half in the Derby, over a mile in the Sussex Stakes and over a mile and a quarter in the Juddmonte International.

Back over the Rowley Mile for this Group Two assignment, Kameko was being niggled along by Oisin Murphy at the halfway stage, but displayed courage and class to respond to the champion jockey’s urgings and take over the lead from last year’s winner Benbatl.

Just as the 85-40 chance looked to have victory sewn up, Regal Reality finished with a flourish, but Kameko always appeared to have matters in hand and passed the post half a length to the good.

Benbatl was not disgraced in finishing third on his first start since the Saudi Cup in February.

Balding said of the winner: “It was not easy giving weight to good horses. He always hits a flat spot in his races and he stops a little bit in front. I thought he might hit the front a bit too soon.

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“It was going to be a long wait until Ascot and/or the Breeders’ Cup, if the ground is bad at Ascot, and he is a horse that could have done with a run in between.

“One hundred per cent that was as good as his Guineas win. There was no hiding place today with the penalty and proper, good older horses in the race.

“I don’t think we have had a fair crack of the whip with him this year. The horse has not had the campaign that we really wanted.”

Kameko (right) saw off Benbatl (centre) and Regal Reality to win the day
Kameko (right) saw off Benbatl (centre) and Regal Reality to win the day (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Kameko is likely to make his next appearance in either the QEII at Ascot on October 17 or at the Breeders’ Cup.

Balding added: “I think there is no doubt he is a miler and that was a really good effort. He has done it on slightly slower ground today, but full credit to the horse – he is very decent.

“I’d like to go to Ascot, personally. At some stage it would be interesting to see what he could do on soft ground and the likelihood is it will be slower at Ascot than it was today, but that is the unknown.

“It will be the owner’s decision. He is a very valuable horse as a stallion and I don’t want to take the risk that might effect his appeal to breeders at stud.”

On whether Kameko will stay in training next season, he said: “I think that is a decision the owner and the Qatar Racing team will take shortly. I don’t have a final answer, but I think the likelihood is that he will be at stud next year.”

Murphy said: “I’m delighted for Sheikh Fahad (owner) and everyone. To give weight away to older horses is a very difficult task and he stuck his head out and did everything right in the race.

“He ran straight as a die. He is so tough and consistent and, on ratings, I think that will rate higher than his Guineas win as to give weight away to older horses shows what a top horse he is.

“He is a very intelligent horse. I took him down in a hack canter and I had him really quiet at the gate. If I lit him up at all, he would have travelled really on the bridle. I was happy for him to race a little lazily today.”

Saeed bin Suroor was satisfied with Benbatl’s run and an Ascot rematch could be a possibility.

He said: “Frankie (Dettori) said he needed the race. He will improve for the race. He is entered at Ascot in the Champion Stakes and the QEII and we will have a look at both and see. He will be ready for both of those races, but he doesn’t want soft ground.

“It is unlikely that he would go to America. I would say after Ascot he will go back to Dubai.”

Isabella Giles is emphatic Rockfel winner

Isabella Giles continued her progression with a decisive victory in the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket.

Successful on her first two starts at Leicester and Newbury respectively, Clive Cox’s filly came up a little short when bidding to complete the hat-trick – finishing fourth in the Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot.

However, a step up to seven furlongs for the first time saw her claim Group Three honours in impressive style in last month’s Prestige Stakes at Goodwood – and she was an 11-5 chance stepping up to Group Two level on the Rowley Mile.

Aidan O’Brien’s even-money favourite Monday was sent to the front from the off by Ryan Moore, but it was clear from the halfway stage that she was struggling – and Isabella Giles took over the lead with relative ease in the hands of Adam Kirby.

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The result was scarcely in doubt from that point, with the daughter of Belardo finishing strongly to prevail by two lengths from Nazuna.

Cox said: “It was on better ground today, and more rain wouldn’t have been a concern.

“She put up a very classy performance and has got a wonderful temperament. She settles into a lovely rhythm and she can find her own way in a race.

“She doesn’t have to lead, but she is so relaxed that finding a rhythm and setting your own fractions worked perfectly. Adam got his fractions right, and she made a good job of it.

“I think she is definitely a filly to get a mile next year, which is really exciting. I’m delighted for Clare and Paul Rooney to have such an exciting possibility as a Classic contender. I’m over the moon.”

Isabella Giles after her latest victory
Isabella Giles after her latest victory (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The Lambourn-based trainer confirmed a return to Newmarket for the Fillies’ Mile as an option.

He added: “She is very well balanced. She has won at the track. She is a filly that has a little bit of scope, that is well balanced and has got a wonderful mind and clearly a big level of ability.

“She is in the Fillies’ Mile, but she has done pretty good this year. She wouldn’t have blown a candle out there, but we will see how she comes back.

“It was a ‘win and you’re in’ race for the Breeders’ Cup, but I’m not sure. Next year beckons over a mile, and I think we will be looking that way.”

Roger Varian was delighted with the performance of the runner-up Nazuna.

He said: “She is a lovely filly, and we were not here just to make up the numbers. I really like this filly and I’m delighted she has run up to our expectations.

“Andrea (Atzeni) thinks she will stay a mile, and there are lots of nice options – there’s the Oh So Sharp Stakes back here in a couple of weeks or there is the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf, which is a race we were second in with Daahyeh last year after winning this.”

Antonia De Vega reigns in Princess Royal prize

Antonia De Vega set up a return to Group One company with victory in the Princess Royal Muhaarar Stakes at Newmarket.

The Ralph Beckett-trained four-year-old put her recent injury problems behind her to make it two wins from as many starts this season with a resolute success in the Group Three prize.

Appearing to appreciate the rain that fell at the track earlier in the day, the lightly-raced daughter of Lope De Vega galloped on strongly all the way to the line in the mile-and-a-half contest to defeat Yorkshire Oaks runner-up Alpinista by half a length.

Beckett said of the 16-5 shot: “She was only having the eighth start of her career today. It has not always been easy with her as she had problems with her splints.

“It has been hard work with her and she had a problem with her splint (which kept her out of the Princess of Wales’s Stakes) and it grumbled away for too long. Her recent work was very good.

“The ground was a bit quick at Pontefract (in June) and she was a bit undercooked, but we just about got away with it. I’m delighted she got her head in front today.

“The obvious race for her is the Fillies & Mares on Champions Day.”

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Cloak Of Spirits (4-1) made the most of a drop in grade to gain a deserved first success of the season in the Tasleet British EBF Rosemary Stakes.

Having finished second in the 1000 Guineas on her previous start at the track, the Richard Hannon-trained daughter of Invincible Spirit, whose five previous starts all came at Pattern level, proved a cut above her rivals on her return to a mile in the Listed contest.

Up with the pace throughout, the 4-1 shot found plenty late on to hold off favourite Bounce The Blues by half a length to score for the first time since making a winning debut at Ascot last year.

Hannon said: “I don’t think anyone would begrudge her winning that. It was lovely to see her win a black type race as she has been second in a Classic.

“Sheikh Mohammed Obaid has been very good to let me give her one more run this year. He will decide if we carry on, or if she goes to stud this year.

“She is a fine, big filly with a lot of scope. She would make a lovely broodmare, but she would also make a lovely four-year-old. She has been a star for me.

“I think she just loves this track. She has done it the hard way again. She was so brave in the Guineas, where she ran a super race and she deserved that.”

Rainbow Fire (11-2) continued to make up for lost time when getting off the mark at the second time of asking by a length in the Derrinstown Irish EBF Maiden Stakes.

Trainer John Gosden said: “He came up here in the first week when they were running the two-year-old races. My good friend Richard Hannon got one loose and he cannoned straight into this horse. He was lame and lost a lot of time.

“He has developed well since and had a run at Newbury. I think it was a nice sort of race today. He has been pleasing us and has shown a great attitude and he will get a mile.”

Walton Street (6-1) produced a career best to secure his first victory in more than two years after prevailing by a length and a half in the Listed Eqtidaar Godolphin Stakes.

Charlie Appleby, trainer, said: “That run at Lingfield would have brought him forward as he had a long lay-off going into that race.

“He is a solid, old horse and I’d say that was probably a career best. He is likely to be heading back to Dubai again and going round Meydan to see if he can pick up one of the pots out there, as there are not too many opportunities at his level here.”

Injury may have prevented Breath Caught from being given an entry in the bet365 Cambridgeshire, however he gained compensation with a decisive two-and-quarter-length success in the Shadwell Farm Handicap to complete an across-the-card treble for Beckett.

The Andover handler said of the 4-1 winner: “I should have put him in the Cambridgeshire, but he had time off with some bone bruising in a hind leg and we weren’t sure when we were going to get him right.

“He is in the horses in training sale, so I’m not sure if he will run again before that.”

Dandalla camp confident in Cheveley Park

Trainer Karl Burke is full of confidence as Dandalla returns to Newmarket for the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes.

A winner on her racecourse debut at Newcastle, the daughter of Dandy Man turned in one of the most impressive performances of this year’s Royal Ascot meeting with a six-length demolition job in the Albany Stakes.

She was given a fright by fellow Nick Bradley Racing-owned juvenile Fev Rover in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes on the July Course the following month, but clung on grimly by a head – and the runner-up has since won in Listed and Group Two company.

Burke remains adamant his filly was not at her best on that occasion, having spiked a temperature during preparation – but having since sidestepped a possible tilt at the Prix Morny, the Spigot Lodge handler believes she is back at the top of her game.

Karl Burke (right) with Dandalla following her latest victory at Newmarket
Karl Burke (right) with Dandalla following her latest victory at Newmarket (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“We couldn’t be happier with her. She’s ready to run and hopefully she’ll do herself justice,” said Burke.

“It took her a little while to come to herself (after the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes), but the last month has been very good.

“I think the bit of rain they’ve had will help, although she is a good-actioned filly and we were surprised how well she handled the ground at Ascot. I don’t think she’s ground dependent.

“It’s going to be an exciting race, with some nice Irish fillies coming over, but you want to be taking on the best in these races.

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“We’re looking forward to running our filly – hopefully she can prove us right.”

Nick Bradley is similarly optimistic about Dandalla’s chances, saying: “I think she’ll be four from four by Saturday evening.

“There’s nothing better in my eyes – we go there full of confidence in her.”

The highest-rated filly in the field is Ken Condon’s Lowther Stakes winner Miss Amulet, who will carry the colours of Coolmore powerhouse Michael Tabor’s wife Doreen for the first time.

“She’s a very progressive filly. I thought it was a good performance at York, and she’s done very well since,” said Condon.

“She needs to step up again, but all the signs are good.

“She deserves to take her chance in a Group One now, and we’re looking forward to it.”

The Richard Hannon-trained Happy Romance has produced one of the feel-good stories of the season.

Bought for just £25,000 for first-time owners the McMurray Family, she has won four of her six starts to date – including the Super Sprint at Newbury, another valuable sales race at York and, most recently, the Group Three Dick Poole Stakes at Salisbury.

Happy Romance has been a real money spinner for connections
Happy Romance has been a real money spinner for connections (David Davies/PA)

Happy Romance had the option of running in the Group Two Rockfel Stakes on Friday, but Hannon decided to bid for top-level honours.

He said: “Happy Romance is in great form. She has run well and improved all year. She has not run a bad race yet, and this is the logical next step up.

“What she has done has not surprised us, because she has always shown us a lot. She did well at Salisbury as she did travel wider, but she picked up well.

“This is a much harder race than the Rockfel, but you would rather be winning a Cheveley Park. There are only certain opportunities to win a Group One, and this is one of them, so we have to try to take it.

“It would be lovely to see her win a big one, with the season she has had – she deserves it.”

James Ferguson hopes Zoetic can make her presence felt
James Ferguson hopes Zoetic can make her presence felt (Steven Cargill/PA)

The William Haggas-trained Sacred would not be winning out of turn, having finished second in the Queen Mary Stakes, the Lowther and the Flying Childers this season.

Richard Fahey’s Umm Kulthum turns out seven days after winning the Firth of Clyde at Ayr, while Andrew Balding’s Alcohol Free was less than a length behind Happy Romance at Salisbury a few weeks ago and re-opposes.

The Mick Channon-trained Illykato and Zoetic from James Ferguon’s yard complete the field, with the latter bidding for a third straight win for her fledgling trainer.

“She’s been progressing with every single run of her life – she’s grown up and developed mentally and physically,” said Ferguson.

“She might not be one of the favourites, but I think she’s done enough to earn her chance at this level.”

Cobh on upward curve for Royal Lodge bid

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.

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“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.

Master to skip Dewhurst

Charlie Appleby has ruled Master Of The Seas out of the Darley Dewhurst Stakes following his defeat in Ireland earlier this month.

Having followed up a debut victory on the Rowley Mile with an impressive display in the Group Two Duchess of Cambridge Stakes on the July Course, the Dubawi colt was well fancied to provide his trainer with a third straight win in the Group One National Stakes at the Curragh.

However, he ultimately came up a little short in his bid to follow in the hoofprints of Quorto and Pinatubo, finishing a close-up fourth behind Joseph O’Brien’s Thunder Moon – who now heads ante-post lists for next year’s 2000 Guineas.

Master Of The Seas emerged with plenty of credit, but is currently on a break before a potential French assignment later in the autumn.

Appleby said: “He won’t be going to the Dewhurst. He didn’t come out of the National Stakes as well, and he had a hard race there.

“We felt we would give him a small break. I think we will go later in the autumn, and he has options in France.”

Ranch Hand outbattles Withhold for Rose Bowl glory

Ranch Hand ended a lengthy losing streak when showing his battling abilities to secure a tenacious success in the Jockey Club Rose Bowl Stakes at Newmarket.

The Andrew Balding-trained Dunaden gelding stuck to the task well over two miles in the Listed contest to gain his first victory in more than a year.

Having raced in the last pair for much of the race, Ranch Hand forged on just outside the furlong pole before defeating last year’s winner Withhold – who was in front of him last time out – by half a length, to complete a double for champion jockey Oisin Murphy.

Balding, speaking away from the track, said of the 15-2 winner: “He is a home bred and I’m delighted to have won a Listed race with him.

“He was beaten by Withhold last time, but in fairness it is probably the first time he has had his conditions this season. Two miles with give in the ground is what he wants.

“He has shown a fair level of form on the Flat and I think we will now go jumping with him as he will be a lovely hurdler.

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“We used to keep the odd jumper in the yard, we’ve not had one for a little while now, but it was something everyone was keen to do.”

Lost In Space initiated Murphy’s brace and a double for trainer John Gosden when completing a hat-trick of victories with a four-length success in the Bentley Motors Nursery Handicap.

Gosden said: “He is a lovely little horse that has knocked up a hat-trick. He has done nothing wrong.

“He will be going to the sales in October at Tattersalls. He is a lovely horse to race in Hong Kong or America.”

Grand Bazaar (4-7) returned to winning ways to make it two for Gosden, and provide the concluding leg of a double for William Buick, when running out a two-length winner of the Federation Of Bloodstock Agents Handicap.

Gosden said: “He has been running well in big races and this one rather cut up, which I was surprised about. They just went a bit hard at Ascot last time. He is a genuine horse that tries hard. He might well come back for the Old Rowley Cup, but he could go further.”

Buick got the ball rolling aboard the Charlie Appleby-trained La Barrosa (4-7), who claimed the Group Three Tattersalls Stakes by a length.

Royal Champion earned quotes of 33-1 for next year’s Derby with William Hill and Betway following an impressive length-and-a-quarter debut success in the Rossdales EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes.

Roger Varian, winning trainer,said of the 100-30 shot: “He travelled into it nicely today and I think he got to the front plenty early enough for his first run. He probably got tired up the hill and a bit lonely, but I thought he did it pretty well.

“We expected good things from him and he has made a nice start. Hopefully it’s a start he can build on and be one of our nice three-year-olds to look forward to next year.”

Atzeni was also successful aboard Zoran (6-4 favourite) in the Newmarket Challenge Whip Handicap.

Lady Of Aran provided trainer Charlie Fellowes with his first winner in 47 days when opening her account for the campaign by a head in the British Stallion Studs EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap.

Fellowes said: “I’ve been on the cold list for a long time – too long. They’ve been running so well, they’ve just been unlucky.

“She always gives 120 per cent and Georgia (Dobie) gets on with her brilliantly and she really runs for her, so that was lovely to see. I’d love to get some black type with her.”

La Barrosa takes Tattersalls triumph

La Barrosa survived a scare to maintain his unbeaten record in the Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket.

Sent off the 4-7 favourite after impressing on his debut at Ascot, the 750,000 guineas yearling found himself very short of room a furlong out.

Charlie Appleby’s youngster was travelling beautifully in the hands of William Buick coming down the hill behind the pace-setter, Dark Lion.

But as push came to shove, Qaader was on his outside under Jim Crowley, leaving Buick to look for racing room.

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To La Barrosa’s credit, he knuckled down and when the gap was big enough, he was good enough to go through it.

La Barrosa eventually went away to win by a length from Dark Lion, with Betfair cutting his 2000 Guineas odds from 25-1 to 16s.

Appleby said: “It was a nice, educational run on his first start at Ascot. He travelled through the race very well and picked up well. Even then he came through horses that day and James (Doyle) gave him a nice educational ride.

“The plan was always to get cover today and watching it I was quite comfortable and I was quite happy where he was, but William wasn’t quite as comfortable as he felt he needed a bit of an out.

“His class has prevailed there, once he got that bit of a gap. He showed a bit of courage and a bit of class, as picking up late on here can be quite hard.

“He hasn’t got an entry in the Dewhurst. Coming into today, we felt we would see what kind of performance he put up (before deciding) whether we contemplate supplementing for a Dewhurst and from what we have seen today, it is up for discussion.

“I feel he has learnt again today and he is entitled to come forward a bit more. He travels very well and I wouldn’t want him to be doing it the wrong way round yet.

“I think seven is his trip for the moment, though I’m not saying he won’t get a mile in time. While he is learning, I think this is his right trip for the moment.

“This horse is a work horse, whereas Master Of The Seas (Superlative Stakes winner) is not a work horse. Master The Seas just goes about his work and he would go past you in the string and you wouldn’t take much notice, whereas this horse has got a bit of presence about him and spring in his step.”