Aidan O’Brien fined £4,000 following Fillies’ Mile mix-up

Aidan O’Brien was given a £4,000 fine following a hearing into the confusion which surrounded his runners in last year’s bet365 Fillies’ Mile.

The Ballydoyle handler was doubly represented in the Newmarket Group One in October, and it was initially thought his 50-1 shot Snowfall had finished a close-up third in the hands of James Doyle, with stablemate Mother Earth eighth of the 10 runners under William Buick.

However, posts on social media soon questioned the outcome – and it became evident the horse that had passed the post in third was in fact 18-1 chance Mother Earth, the darker of the two fillies, with the lighter Snowfall back in the field.

While Doyle was correctly sporting the pink cap and the number nine saddle cloth assigned to Snowfall, he was in fact riding Mother Earth.

O’Brien was not at Newmarket – and on viewing a recording of the race he immediately contacted the British Horseracing Authority to alert them to the mistake and that his on-course staff, based in Britain as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, had saddled the horses incorrectly.

The BHA later amended the result, with Mother Earth placed third and Snowfall eighth.

O’Brien – who was quick to apologise for the incident – was handed his fine following an independent disciplinary panel hearing on Thursday, while the ruling body confirmed it was taking steps to try to prevent a similar situation arising in the future.

A BHA spokesperson said: “Since the incident at Newmarket, additional ID checks have been in place at major Flat fixtures to minimize the risk of a reoccurrence.

“A longer-term piece of work has been ongoing since October to look at the additional resource, technology and funding required to implement a further ID check once horses are saddled.

“It is particularly challenging in the current environment due to the additional resourcing requirements that the BHA’s Covid-19 protocols already place upon staffing levels, but additional checks are being carried out on a discretionary basis.

“We will continue the work looking at the feasibility of implementing an additional check following saddling permanently and communicate any changes to participants and the public as necessary.”

Diamond sparkles to land Listed contest at Newmarket

Ventura Diamond capped off her season in style with a tenacious success in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Bosra Sham” Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket.

The Richard Fahey-trained Dandy Man filly, who was making her seventh appearance of the campaign, saved her best until last by striking gold in the six-furlong Listed prize to form the opening leg of a double for Silvestre de Sousa.

Hitting the front approaching the final quarter-of-a-mile, the 7-2 joint favourite showed plenty of heart to get the better of a sustained late battle with Meu Amor before scoring by a neck.

Tom Palin, spokesman for winning owners Middleham Park Racing, said: “She has got a wonderful attitude and there are plenty of times she could have thrown the towel in there and wanted to quit.

“Going down, Silvestre didn’t feel the same at Leicester, so you can mark that run up massively as she still managed to do that and show that willing attitude.

“We’ve been quite hard on her in the last two months going to Doncaster, Redcar, Leicester and here and they were all in soft ground, but she has got that attitude and she keeps going, but I think we’ve now seen enough of her.”

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A return to the Rowley Mile could be on the cards for Ventura Diamond next season, with Palin earmarking the Group Three Nell Gwyn Stakes as a possible target.

He added: “We will pop her away and dream of something sexy in the spring.

“We’ve not tried her over seven yet and whether we keep her to sprinting, we will see, but it is a lovely problem to have in six months time, working out what Group Three we go for.

“She could be the type for a Nell Gwyn or Fred Darling, and she deserves being pitched into something like that.”

Hughie Morrison who was on the mark with Whitehaven in the Proud To Support British Racing Handicap
Hughie Morrison who was on the mark with Whitehaven in the Proud To Support British Racing Handicap (Mike Egerton/PA)

Whitehaven (11-10) followed up back-to-back wins at Yarmouth to complete De Sousa’s brace when prevailing by five and a half lengths in the Proud To Support British Racing Handicap.

De Sousa said of the Hughie Morrison-trained winner: “He did really well with the low weight. From a mile out I let him stretch and he loves this ground.

“I was going the speed I wanted to go and the horse responded well.”

Roger Varian celebrated a winner with his first runner for owners Opulence Thoroughbreds thanks to the debut success of Beau Jardine (4-1), who landed the Follow MansionBet On Instagram British EBF Novice Stakes by three-quarters of a length.

The Newmarket handler said: “He has done a couple of bits of work on the soft turf and he has gone well through the ground, so I didn’t think that would be a problem for him.

“Eoin Walsh said he was a bit green early on from the gates, but apart from that he tracked into the race well and did it nicely, so I’m pleased with him.

“I’m very pleased for the owners, Opulence Thoroughbreds, who are run by George Gill and he is the first horse they’ve had with me, so I’m delighted they have got off to a winning start.”

Ainsdale made light work of testing conditions on his return to six furlongs to open his account for the campaign in the MansionBet Watch And Bet Conditions Stakes.

Clifford Lee, winning rider, said of the Karl Burke trained 11-8 shot: “He loves these conditions.

“We didn’t go quick early doors which suited him as he does run over five, but he has done it well in the end. “

British Horseracing Authority amends Fillies’ Mile result

The result of the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket has been amended in the wake of the confusion surrounding Aidan O’Brien’s runners in the Newmarket Group One on October 9.

O’Brien’s Snowfall was named as the third-placed finisher on the day, when it was in fact her stable companion Mother Earth.

A field of 10 runners went to post on the Rowley Mile, with victory going to 5-2 favourite Pretty Gorgeous, trained by Aidan’s son Joseph O’Brien, by half a length from John Gosden’s Indigo Girl.

It was initially thought 50-1 shot Snowfall had finished a further half-length away in third in the hands of James Doyle, with Mother Earth back in eighth under William Buick.

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However, posts on social media soon questioned the outcome – and it subsequently became evident the horse that had passed the post in third was in fact 18-1 chance Mother Earth, the darker of the two fillies, with the lighter Snowfall back in the field.

While Doyle was correctly sporting the pink cap and the number nine saddle cloth assigned to Snowfall, he was in fact riding Mother Earth.

O’Brien was not at Newmarket – and on viewing a recording of the race at home, he quickly contacted the British Horseracing Authority to alert them to the mistake and that his on-course staff, based in Britain as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, had saddled the horses incorrectly.

The BHA has now confirmed it has used its powers under Rule (G)7 of the rules of racing to amend the result, with Mother Earth placed third and Snowfall eighth.

The BHA said in a statement that the result had been amended rather than the horses disqualified because “the grounds for potential disqualification are set out in the rules of racing, are specific and do not include horses starting from the wrong starting stalls or carrying the wrong jockey.

“Because the horses that ran in the race were duly entered and carried the correct weight, the only possible disqualification ground would be if the horses were the subject of fraudulent practice. Therefore the rules provide no grounds for disqualifying the horses, pending the result of the ongoing investigation.

“However, as a result of this case the rules will now be reassessed to determine whether there should be additional grounds for disqualification.”

The statement added: “The saddling of the correct horses for a race is the responsibility of the trainer. An investigation remains ongoing in relation to the incorrect saddling of the horses, and as such the BHA will make no further comment at this time. Any updates will be communicated in line with usual procedures for disciplinary matters.”

The BHA also said that it is considering the implications of the incident to assess whether further changes to the relevant raceday procedures may be brought in, utilising the new raceday officiating structure, as an additional safeguard against trainer error and to minimise the risk of such an event recurring.

Act Of Wisdom continues progression at Newmarket

Act Of Wisdom continued on an upward curve as he initiated a double for Charlie Appleby at Newmarket.

The Galileo colt – who is a full-brother to Appleby’s former Grade One winner Line Of Duty – made it a hat-trick of wins for the season with a tenacious success off top-weight in the British EBF Future Stayers Nursery Handicap.

Having looked booked for a place, the 100-30 shot followed up victories at Goodwood and Nottingham when picking up well late on to pass Rewired close to the line, going on to score by a nose.

Appleby said: “William (Buick) said every time I asked him he kept responding. James (Doyle), who had won on him on his previous two starts, said the same – that he is never going to win by far, you are always confident you are going to get there but it just looks hard work.

“He is one of those characters that doesn’t look the most willing of partners, but he goes out there and knows where the line is.

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“He will be a nice horse next year. You could work back potentially from something like the Queen’s Vase.”

Royal Touch was sent off as if defeat was out of the question in the British EBF Future Stayers Novice Stakes, but the 8-15 chance was upstaged by his stablemate Hurricane Lane (3-1), who claimed the mile prize by two lengths to complete Appleby’s brace.

The Newmarket handler said: “He is a big, scopey horse. We’ve always liked him at home. He travelled well. As Adam (Kirby) said, they got a bit tired in front of him and he picked them up quite comfortably in the end. He is a nice horse to look forward to next year.”

Jim Boyle only has a small two-year-old team but he could have a potentially smart one among them in Entwine, judging by her four-and-a-quarter-length victory in the Watch And Bet At MansionBet Fillies’ Novice Median Auction Stakes.

Boyle said of the 4-1 winner: “She has shown us a good bit at home, but you are never quite sure of the opposition. We knew she would handle the ground as she handled it well at Salisbury.

“We’ve not got too many two-year-olds to compare her against so we were a little bit feeling in the dark. but we were hopeful she would improve.”

He added: “That was always going to be her last run. We will put her away now and she could easily be a black-type filly. She is a good-moving filly with plenty more to come, she has got a nice bit of scope about her.”

A step up to Listed company could beckon for the Mark Johnston-trained Freyja (11-2) who gained her second win of the campaign when taking the Best Odds Guaranteed At MansionBet Fillies’ Handicap by a length and three-quarters.

Assistant trainer Charlie Johnston said: “She is a tough little filly. She won in soft ground at Hamilton two starts back so at least she seemed to handle the conditions.

“We are very pleased – she has only had nine starts in her career, winning four of them. She is now probably nudging into a rating in the one hundreds.

“I would not rule out running in the Fleur De Lys at Lingfield next week. For her pedigree, black type is important.”

Commonwealth Cup long-term goal for Method

The Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot will be the chief objective next season for Martyn Meade’s high-class colt Method.

The son of Mehmas appeared every inch a top-class juvenile in the making in winning his first two starts – comfortably dispatching of Fev Rover at Doncaster before landing a Listed prize at Newbury.

His tilt at Group One glory in last month’s Middle Park was a non-event after Frankie Dettori’s saddle slipped and he was well fancied to get back on the winning trail on his return to the Rowley Mile for Friday’s Cornwallis Stakes.

Method ran a creditable race over an inadequate five furlongs to finish second to Winter Power and connections are looking forward to seeing what he can achieve in 2021.

Reflecting on his latest performance, Freddie Meade, assistant to his father, said: “We achieved what we wanted as what happened in the Middle Park was so frustrating.

“Having had no sort of race in the Middle Park, we were desperate to give him another race and let him enjoy himself. The ground conditions were not ideal and we didn’t know how he would handle them and the trip was a bit on the sharp side.

“The speedier horses maybe got away from him, but he finished like a train. He will go back up to six furlongs next year, so we will aim for the Commonwealth Cup and work back from there.

“We were happy to get a nice race into him and we can put him away for the winter now and start again, when maybe we will see some people back on track cheering him on.”

Great White Shark snaps up Cesarewitch prize

Great White Shark secured the most significant success of her career to provide trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Jason Watson with back-to-back victories in the Together For Racing International Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket.

Having teamed up to take the race prestigious two-and-a-quarter-mile prize 12 months ago with Stratum, the pair combined to good effect once again as the well-supported 9-2 favourite made light work of testing conditions.

Buried among runners for much of the contest, the grey mare, who finished 10th in last year’s race, steadily worked her way between rivals before being produced by Watson to mount a challenge approaching the final quarter of a mile.

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As those around her toiled, Great White Shark galloped on in resolute fashion to defeat top-weight Summer Moon by three lengths and complete a hat-trick of wins in the race for Closutton handler Mullins.

Watson said: “I couldn’t go early on in the race. It’s always tough as everyone is trying to get in a position they want to be in and I was a bit worried I was a bit too far back. There was so many horses in front of me I wasn’t too sure where I was.

“I spoke to the boys back home in Ireland, Willie and Paul Townend, and they just said keep her travelling as she loves being pushed along into the bridle and passing horses. They said keep her where she is happy as she will stay all day, and you know coming from Willie Mullins they will be fit and go through this ground and I had the horse for it.”

Though Great White Shark had plenty on her plate with half a mile of the contest remaining, Watson was confident his mount was always doing enough.

He said: “I was off the bridle going into the four and it was quite a gruel and she hit a flat spot, but in the end I was the one going forward and though it was a long way from home I was confident I was going to get up and she finished off really impressively.

Great White Shark hits the front under Jason Watson and the race is over
Great White Shark hits the front under Jason Watson and the race is over (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“She didn’t have the nicest of runs last year, but she still managed to finish 10th running on. They were very confident with the weight she had today. She had a big chance on paper, but it’s a 34-runner field and you never know what is going to happen – I was grateful I had the luck.”

Although Watson has ridden for Mullins on numerous occasions in the past, he still feels privileged to get the call up.

He added: “It is always nice to ride in these big races as they are tough to win. I’m lucky to get on one for a big stable and have a good chance on a good horse.

“Willie is a top-class trainer, you don’t need me to tell you that, and when you ride them you know they are not going to be short on the day and that is what every jockey wants.”

St Mark’s Basilica too good in Dewhurst for O’Brien and Dettori

Aidan O’Brien dominated the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, as St Mark’s Basilica and Frankie Dettori held off stablemate Wembley and Ryan Moore.

The Ballydoyle pair had finished behind Thunder Moon in the National Stakes at the Curragh last time out – but this time the form was turned around as Joseph O’Brien’s colt, the 11-4 favourite, could only manage third behind the 10-1 winner.

The principals came down the centre of the track, while several of the other fancied runners made a dash for the rail, which had been favoured in earlier races.

It was a seventh Dewhurst for O’Brien, while it was a second in three years for Dettori after Too Darn Hot in 2018.

In a race traditionally seen as the juvenile championship with countless champions produced down the years, this season’s field looked well up to scratch.

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Richard Hannon fielded two unbeaten contenders in Chindit and Etonian, while Marcus Tregoning had supplemented Mill Reef winner Alkumait.

None of those could get involved, though, with the result in stark contrast to the fortunes of O’Brien on Friday, when it emerged his two runners in the Fillies’ Mile had carried the wrong saddle cloths and were ridden by the wrong jockeys.

O’Brien had also been forced to pull out all his runners at ParisLongchamp on Arc day last weekend due to issues surrounding contaminated feed.

O’Brien said: “We’re delighted with both of them.

“The plan was that St Mark’s Basilica would run in France and then Wembley would run in the Dewhurst, that’s the way we were going.

“We’ve always liked St Mark’s Basilica a lot, and Wembley, we’ve always thought they were very smart colts.

“The first three were were the same three as in the National Stakes. Every year it’s a great race and the form always stands up.”

On future plans, O’Brien added: “The Breeders’ Cup is possible for the winner, but we’re thinking Battleground (Royal Ascot and Vintage Stakes winner) will go to the Breeders’ Cup, so he doesn’t have to go.

“We’ll see nearer the time, but at the moment we’re thinking Battleground will go.”

Frankie Dettori was jumping for joy after the Dewhurst
Frankie Dettori was jumping for joy after the Dewhurst (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Dettori – who won the St Leger for O’Brien aboard Scorpion in 2005 – said: “They went fast. I was in the middle of the group and I got all the splits. In fairness when I asked him to go he went and he never stopped.

“He didn’t put a foot wrong. His form is good and he didn’t have much to find on the second and third and it all worked out well.

“He would get a mile no problem.”

One Ruler supreme for Appleby and Buick in Autumn Stakes

One Ruler resumed his progression with a decisive success in the Emirates Autumn Stakes at Newmarket.

After finishing third behind subsequent Royal Lodge scorer New Mandate in a Listed contest at Doncaster last time out, the Charlie Appleby-trained Frankel colt bounced back to winning ways in the Group Three prize.

Racing over a mile for the time, the 5-1 winner showed a smart turn of foot in testing conditions to cross the line a length and three-quarters clear of Van Gogh.

Following the race One Ruler was introduced at 25-1 for next year’s 2000 Guineas by William Hill and 20-1 for the Derby with Betfair and Paddy Power.

Winning rider William Buick said: “Charlie was always adamant he would want the mile, but at the end of the day he has got a turn of foot. The combination of stepping up to a mile and running in this ground for the first time was always a bit of a worry, but he saw it out very well.

“I think it was a real good performance as he was last off the bridle and showed a real turn of foot in that ground as well. We know he is better on better ground so it is a lovely performance.

“It was the right race for the horse so you are hoping it goes well, but a lot of the horses have never been on that ground before.

“I think he will get further, but for the moment he is a miler. I think he will get a mile and a quarter.”

Lone Eagle forges to Zetland Stakes success

Lone Eagle fuelled Derby dreams for the Martyn Meade team with victory in the Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes at Newmarket.

The Galileo colt demonstrated the best of his battling abilities in the Group Three contest, making his first attempt over a mile and a quarter a winning one.

Racing in the front pair throughout, the 16-5 shot showed stamina is very much his forte when forging clear late on to defeat his Sandown conqueror Recovery Run by a length and three-quarters, completing a hat-trick of wins for the season.

Assistant trainer Freddie Meade: “He showed a great attitude to knuckle down and get the job done. With the ground the way it is you don’t want to be too far away.

“He has been headed in the past over shorter trips and battled back so I was always positive he would have enough to get on top in the end. We spoke back at Goodwood and we thought this might be a target so I’m glad it has come off.

“I think we have to dream of a Derby campaign first and see where we go on the way to that. Whether we look at a Derby trial and then we can always rethink if things change.

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“I think that will be him for the year as he has progressed nicely and will have a well-deserved break.”

Winning jockey Silvestre de Sousa – who enjoyed a Group-race treble at the track on Friday – believes Lone Eagle could develop into a contender for the Derby, for which he was introduced at 50-1 by Betfair.

He said: “It was a nice performance as it is not easy for a two-year-old on that kind of ground. He is really tough, he’s not very big but he gallops with his heart out. I’m just pleased he has won three.

“Next year you could look at a Derby trial and then possibly the Derby if he keeps improving through the winter.”

Henry Candy’s Jouska ended a lengthy drought stretching back more than a year when opening her account for the campaign with a hard fought victory in the Dubai British EBF Boadicea Stakes.

Without a win to her name since Sandown last July, the daughter of Cable Bay set the record straight in the Listed prize when getting up late on to defeat Sunday Star by half a length.

Candy said: “It was very like the Cornwallis last year when Shane Foley rode her.

“She was stone last coming out the Dip and I thought it was going to be seriously embarrassing – thinking she was going to be 100 yards last – but she wanted another 50 yards to win as she finished a close third.

“She just loves coming up that hill and it’s a question of getting to the bottom of it first.

“She is very gutsy and she will make the owner a lovely broodmare eventually as she is a lovely, big filly with a lovely temperament. We will take her home and give her two or three months in the paddock and hopefully she will be bigger and better next year.”

Fozzy Stack got more than he bargained for after Lady Wannabe gained a breakthrough first Pattern-race victory in the Darley Stakes.

The daughter of Camelot built on her Listed win at Listowel last time out when prevailing by a length and three-quarters in the Group Three contest under Jamie Spencer.

Stack said of the 28-1 winner: “She had won two Listed races at home and we came over hoping to get a little bit of Group form on her page and we ended up getting a big bit of Group form.

“She is not very big but she is very tough. It is great for Jamie as we go back a long way and he has had a tough year.

“I’ll talk to Tom (Gaffney, joint owner) about whether she will run again there is probably not much left for her to be honest.”

Aidan O’Brien runners in Fillies’ Mile mix-up

Confusion reigned at Newmarket on Friday after Aidan O’Brien’s Snowfall was named as the third-placed finisher in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile, when it was in fact her stable companion Mother Earth.

A field of 10 runners went to post for the Group One feature on the Rowley Mile, with victory going to 5-2 favourite Pretty Gorgeous, trained by Aidan’s son, Joseph O’Brien, by half a length from the John Gosden-trained Indigo Girl.

It was thought 50-1 shot Snowfall had finished a further half-length away in third in the hands of James Doyle, with Mother Earth eighth of the 10 runners under William Buick.

However, it subsequently became evident the horse that had passed the post in third was in fact 18-1 chance Mother Earth, the darker of the two fillies, with the lighter Snowfall back in the field.

While Doyle was correctly sporting the pink cap and the number nine saddle cloth assigned to Snowfall, he was in fact riding Mother Earth.

O’Brien admitted his on-course staff had mixed up the two fillies.

He told the PA news agency from his Ballydoyle base: “I didn’t see the race, I just listened to it. Someone brought it to my attention then afterwards – that someone had tweeted that they were the wrong fillies.

“I went straight away to look at the race and the minute I saw them coming out of the stalls I knew that they were the wrong fillies.

“Obviously I rang the BHA (British Horseracing Authority) straight away and said it to them.

“What happened was that our lads put the wrong saddles on the wrong fillies.”

The BHA will hold an enquiry before racing at Newmarket on Saturday.

A BHA spokesperson said: “The stewards have been made aware of a potential issue regarding the Group One Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket today which have resulted in the incorrect rider and number cloths being carried by the two horses trained by Aidan O’Brien.

“A stewards enquiry will be held on the racecourse tomorrow to consider all of the relevant evidence and determine the course of events and what action needs to be taken.”

Shane Crosse thrilled to get Group One on the board with Pretty Gorgeous

Feelings of frustration turned to ones of joy for jockey Shane Crosse, who celebrated the first Group One success of his career aboard Pretty Gorgeous in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.

Having been forced to miss the winning ride on Galileo Chrome in last month’s St Leger following a positive test for Covid-19 before travelling from Ireland, the 19-year-old enjoyed a deserved change of fortune thanks to the Joseph O’Brien-trained daughter of Lawman.

Though Crosse will now be dreaming of glory in next year’s 1000 Guineas back over course and distance aboard Pretty Gorgeous, he admits that watching Galileo Chrome triumph on Town Moor from the comfort of his own home was tough to take.

Crosse said: “Of course it hurt and I had a great partnership with the horse. To be sat at home on your own watching it on the television with no one around you was a bit of a head wrecker.

“I’m delighted the horse won though and for Tom (Marquand) who is a lovely guy. Hopefully I can look forward to him next year.

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“This takes a lot of the edge off what happened. I suppose no one would wish it on their worst enemy, but I was the unfortunate one.

“Luckily there wasn’t a hair turned on me which was probably the main thing, but I missed out on the Leger. Hopefully there are more big days ahead and this has topped things off.

“She has loads of speed and I wouldn’t be going past the mile so hopefully that (1000 Guineas) is the aim.”

While the winning margin may have only been half a length, Crosse was confident that Pretty Gorgeous was always doing enough, despite not being totally at ease on the track.

He added: “Coming down the hill she probably didn’t handle it as well as most fillies do, but she is just so big and plenty green still.

“I found myself in a pocket between Ryan (Moore), but once I got down out of the dip and met the rising ground she just levelled off and she was very game. I think the best filly won.

“I felt I was there plenty soon and it is a lonely half-furlong there, but I felt if I wasn’t going to go when I did something might have flashed by. She had her ears back though and she was all over them.”

With racing continuing to take place behind closed doors, being greeted by near empty grandstands following such victories is now accepted as normal – but the moment was not lost on Crosse.

He said: “It’s unbelievable, it has just flashed by there. I can’t believe it has just happened.

“There is no crowd or atmosphere, but that doesn’t make a difference once you are on the horse’s back. I’m going to take it in like a normal day.”

To succeed at the highest level requires backing from the best, and Crosse is thankful to have exactly that from former Classic-winning rider turned trainer O’Brien.

He said: “Without Joseph and the team of horses we have I couldn’t do it. Especially this filly today as she has already given me a few great days and she has now just made this the biggest one of my life.

“She will be a three-year-old and her best days are ahead of her, I hope.”

Thunder Moon leads all-star cast for Dewhurst

Thunder Moon bids to double his top-level tally in a mouthwatering renewal of the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

A runaway winner on his Curragh debut in early August, Joseph O’Brien’s juvenile then rocketed to the head of ante-post lists for next year’s 2000 Guineas after displaying a blistering turn of foot to land last month’s National Stakes at the Curragh.

O’Brien managed to win the Dewhurst as a jockey aboard his father Aidan’s War Command in 2013, and has high hopes of getting his name on the roll of honour as a trainer on Saturday.

“We’re looking forward to the race. Hopefully the ground dries out as much as possible and we’ll see what happens,” said O’Brien, who took the Fillies’ Mile on Friday with Pretty Gorgeous.

“We were delighted with him at the Curragh and he’s been in good form since.

“The Dewhurst is always a very good race and I’m sure it will be again.”

Wembley (right) is one of two for Aidan O'Brien
Wembley (right) is one of two for Aidan O’Brien (PA)

Aidan O’Brien saddles National Stakes second and third, Wembley and St Mark’s Basilica, in a bid for a seventh Dewhurst success.

He said: “Both ran very nice races last time out in the National Stakes, obviously St Mark’s Basilica was supposed to run in France last week and they would have been kept apart, but that’s the way it is.

“Both have been in good form since their last runs.”

Poetic Flare after winning at Naas
Poetic Flare after winning at Naas (Gary Carson/PA)
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Jim Bolger also has a fine Dewhurst record with five victories and is represented by an interesting outsider in Poetic Flare, who has not been seen since making a winning debut in the very first race of the Irish Flat turf season at Naas in March.

Bolger said: “He hasn’t run because he started to grow – he’s grown two inches since March and I didn’t want to push him.

“That’s all settled down now. He’s been fine since the beginning of August and we’ve had an uninterrupted preparation since.

“I thought it would be good to get him away before the end of the year. I think he’ll go on any ground.”

A formidable Irish challenge is headed by Jessica Harrington’s Group Two winner Cadillac.

Richard Hannon is excited about the chances of Chindit
Richard Hannon is excited about the chances of Chindit (Steven Cargill/PA)

The home team is headed by the Richard Hannon-trained Chindit, who extended his unbeaten record to three in the Group Two Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last month.

The Marlborough maestro also saddles a second unbeaten colt in Etonian, who has won twice at Sandown, most recently claiming the Group Three Solario Stakes in August.

“Both horses are fit and well and good to go. We’ve not managed to win the Dewhurst yet, so let’s hope this is our chance,” said Hannon.

“Chindit’s last bit of work with a couple of older horses was very good for a two-year-old. He seems in very good form.

“Etonian has done nothing wrong either. It’s a shame we have to run them against each other really, but this is the right race for both horses and the Dewhurst is always the best two-year-old race of the year.”

Leading owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum has a strong hand after Marcus Tregoning’s impressive Mill Reef scorer Alkumait was supplemented to join the Owen Burrows-trained Albasheer. The owner’s retained rider Jim Crowley has sided with Alkumait.

Tregoning said: “I think he’ll stay seven furlongs fine. I suppose seven furlongs in soft ground makes it more of a test, but Showcasing’s progeny are versatile.

“He’ll give himself every chance of getting the trip because he settles well, or at least he did at Newbury, and if he settles as well again, I can’t see seven being a problem

“I think Chindit might be the one to beat. He looked tough at Doncaster, he had to battle but came through it well.

“It’s the right race for us, though, and I’m pleased he’s running.”

Albasheer was beaten just a length into second place by Chindit at Doncaster four weeks ago, having run out an impressive winner on his debut on Town Moor. With Crowley opting for Alkumait, Dane O’Neill takes the ride.

Burrows said: “I’ve been happy with him since Doncaster. He did his last proper piece of work on Saturday and had a breeze midweek.

“He is inexperienced and this will be different for him. I’d like to think wherever Chindit finishes, we would be bang there with him – whether or not that is good enough to win, time will tell.

“On his pedigree he should get a mile next year and we will look to go down that route. God willing he is good enough to be talked as a Guineas horse, but we will learn a lot more on Saturday.”

Tactical won the July Stakes earlier in the campaign
Tactical won the July Stakes earlier in the campaign (Francesca Altoft/PA)

Andrew Balding has two chance in the shape of Mill Reef runner-up Fivethousandtoone and the Queen’s Tactical, who was fourth in the Middle Park having earlier won the July Stakes at Newmarket and the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot.

Balding said: “Both horses have shown a good level of form and seem in good form.

“Ground conditions could be different to what they’ve encountered before and that is going to play a part, but they’re both in good shape.”

A stellar field is completed by Decisive Edge (Brian Meehan), Devilwala (Ralph Beckett) and Devious Company (Tom Dascombe).

Pretty Gorgeous sitting pretty in Fillies’ Mile

Pretty Gorgeous toughed it out at Newmarket to give Joseph O’Brien his second victory in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile as a trainer.

Ridden by Shane Crosse – who should have been aboard the yard’s St Leger winner Galileo Chrome last month, only to miss the ride after a positive test for Covid-19 – the Lawman filly got the better of Indigo Girl by half a length.

Pretty Gorgeous had missed her own intended target last weekend, as she was caught up in the contaminated feed issue that led to the O’Brien family runners being withdrawn at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.

The chief threat came from John Gosden’s Indigo Girl, winner of both her previous outings including an impressive success in the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster.

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Indigo Girl made ground seamlessly from the rear – but Pretty Gorgeous, who had been closer to the pace, then quickened away.

It was to Indigo Girl’s credit that she made a second challenge, but she could only get to within half a length of the 5-2 favourite, with 50-1 chance Snowfall in third.

O’Brien had previously taken the race in 2018 with Iridessa.

He said: “It’s fantastic and I thought Shane gave the filly a great ride.

“He was patient on her and committed when he had to. Shane is a young man, but he is a very good rider – strong and cool in a finish, and he doesn’t panic. She was fighting them off at the line.

“She has got a great constitution. She went to France last weekend and came back. The lad that rides her out at home said she had taken the journey well and was in good shape, and all credit goes to them as they said she would come here with every chance.

“I was quite worried myself and I had a good conversation with Mr (John) Oxley during the week and he was keen enough that if she was in good shape that we would take the chance and let her run.

“The way it worked out the French race looked a tough race and the ground was nicer here. She has won her Group One and whether that was here or France, I wouldn’t be fussy. It has worked out well in the end.”

Pretty Gorgeous (second left) saw off all-comers at Newmarket
Pretty Gorgeous (second left) saw off all-comers at Newmarket (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

He went on: “She is an exciting filly going forwards. I would think (the 1000 Guineas) is the obvious target now. She has the options of the Breeders’ Cup, but we will probably decide to put her away for the season.

“She is a Lawman, so she would not be bred to go very far. I think Lawman’s can get 10 furlongs and I see her more as an eight to 10-furlong filly rather than an Oaks-type filly at this stage.”

Of Indigo Girl, Gosden said: “It was a great run and I’m very happy with her.

“Her mother won the French St Leger and her sister won a Group One over a mile and a half. She will be trained more for a mile and a quarter and middle-distance races. She won’t be trained as a Guineas filly.”

Power too strong for Challenge rivals

Happy Power streaked clear of Pogo up the hill to win the Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes at Newmarket.

Silvestre de Sousa, already on the scoreboard with Winter Power in the Cornwallis Stakes, was keen not to let Pogo get loose on the front end.

That looked a wise decision as the front two dictated the race throughout, with De Sousa always looking confident on Andrew Balding’s grey.

The 7-2 chance arrived at HQ on the back of winning his two most recent races, at Salisbury and a Group Three at Goodwood.

Up in grade again to a Group Two, he assumed control from Pogo with over a furlong to run and streaked clear up the hill to win by a length and a half.

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Glorious Journey stayed on from the rear to claim third.

De Sousa said: “I was really disappointed with him at the beginning of the year as I thought I had a really good horse for this year, but he has just taken a long time to get going. He now feels like he is flying and is in top form.

“Andrew’s horses are running well and he is just following the wagon. We’ve always liked him and Andrew had found a couple of easy options for him, but today he has proved he is a nice horse.

“We thought we had him right at the beginning of the year, but he is a horse that has probably taken a long time to get 100 per cent fit. He ran really well first time, then his next couple of runs were disappointing. He wasn’t tailed off, but he wasn’t good enough to win – since Salisbury it looks like he has found his way.

“He likes the ground. It is soft and on the slow side and it maybe just tired the other horses out. That race at Salisbury made you realise there was a little more in the tank than what he had been giving.

“Mentally there is always huge improvement when a horse wins their first race easily. When they come home and enjoy the race, you know there is improvement.

“He is in top form and he probably shouldn’t miss the chance to go there (Champions Sprint at Ascot on October 17).”

Balding believes a swift return at Ascot next week is a “possibility”.

He said: “I’m delighted with that. It has just taken him a little bit of time to find his feet at the beginning of the season, but that is three excellent wins now and he has really got his mojo back.

“He got stuck in the ground at Haydock first time out and we probably ran him a bit quick back on his third start, but he has come right now and is high class.

“He was fourth in the Sussex Stakes last year and he won a Ganton very well, so we knew he was a talented horse – he just had that slow start to the year.

“We will confirm him for the Champions Sprint on Monday and make a decision later in the week, but it’s a possibility. I think a stiff six on soft ground would be fine for him.”

Saffron Beach enters Breeders’ Cup frame following Newmarket victory

Saffron Beach set up a potential outing at next month’s Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland with victory in the Godolphin Lifetime Care Oh So Sharp Stakes at Newmarket.

Having run out an impressive winner over course and distance on her debut 13 days ago, the Jane Chapple-Hyam-trained filly took a step up in class in her stride in the seven-furlong Group Three.

Moving into contention approaching the final quarter of a mile, the 9-4 favourite found plenty for pressure to hold off the attentions of Thank You Next by half a length.

Following the race, Saffron Beach was introduced at 10-1 for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf by Paddy Power.

Chapple-Hyam said: “That was very good and the staff at home have done a wonderful job. She is a quick learner and I’d love to have a crack at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland, if the owners will allow me.

“We know she is good. I had Annie Skates who was second in the Juvenile Fillies’ race at the Breeders’ Cup and this one is probably a quicker learner than Annie.

“For what she has done at home, we thought this was a suitable step up in grade. She has got a good lead horse in Suzi’s Connoisseur, so thank God for him. The old nine-year-old dog came good!”

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Winter Power showed no signs of a busy campaign catching up with her after making virtually all to claim the Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes.

The Tim Easterby-trained daughter of Bungle Inthejungle secured her fourth victory from nine starts this season with a clear-cut success in the Group Three prize.

Although briefly headed midway through the five-furlong dash, the 10-1 shot, who claimed Listed honours at Ayr on her last outing, quickly pressed on once regaining the initiative to cross the line three lengths clear of runner-up and favourite, Method.

Winter Power was too good for her rivals in the Cornwallis Stakes
Winter Power was too good for her rivals in the Cornwallis Stakes (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Winning jockey Silvestre de Sousa said: “She won quite well at Ayr and has bounced back in great form. She has done really well and won very easily. She just ran in a very competitive race (Flying Childers) at Doncaster where I got beat on her.

“She has shown me plenty of encouragement today to travel very handy and when I asked her the question coming down the dip she handled it well and put the race to bed very nicely.”

Despite Winter Power – who was introduced at 25-1 for the Commonwealth Cup with William Hill and 33-1 by Betfair – being campaigned exclusively over five furlongs this season, De Sousa believes that with time she might get a bit further.

He added: “This year five is as far as we want to go, but we are nearly at the end of the season and with another couple of months on her back six furlongs will be suitable.

“I think when she fills up over the winter she might just strengthen up. I don’t know how good she will be, but she will always be in the mix in good races.”

The Ian Williams-trained Kingbrook (14-1) sweated up badly before the start of the valuable bet365 Old Rowley Cup, but it certainly did not slow him down.

Richard Kingscote stole a march on his rivals running and managed to hold off the fast finish of Hollie Doyle on Louganini by half a length.

Angel Power (100-30 favourite) continued her progression to give De Sousa a treble in the Darley Pride Stakes, following his earlier win in the Cornwallis and his success in the Challenge Stakes on Happy Power.

Trainer Roger Varian said: “I will have to speak to Alastair Donald (King Power racing manager), but I think she has got maybe another run in her this year.

“Let’s see how she comes out of this race. We quite like the E.P. Taylor (Woodbine) as we won that a couple of years ago with Sheikha Reika and we’ve had fillies placed in that race before.”