Dakota completes quickfire double with Rous strike

Dakota Gold claimed his second big-race success in the space of five days with a dominant display in the rearranged Rous Stakes at Nottingham.

Winner of the five-furlong Listed contest at Ascot last season, the six-year-old was declared to defend his crown in Berkshire earlier this month, only for the meeting to be called off due to a waterlogged track.

As fate would have it, Ascot’s abandonment worked in Dakota Gold’s favour, as both the Rous Stakes and the Bengough Stakes were saved from the same fixture and the Michael Dods-trained sprinter has ended up winning both.

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Having claimed a first win at Group Three level in the rescheduled Bengough at York last Saturday, the gelded son of Equiano was the 7-4 favourite to give weight and a beating to his rivals in Listed company.

Soon bowling in front under his regular partner Connor Beasley, Dakota Gold completely outclassed his rivals, coming home three and a half lengths clear of Aljady.

Dods said: “That soft ground helps him and five furlongs suits him, so he could really force it today. Over six furlongs, like at York the other day, you have to sort of steady him, but over five you just go.

“I thought he was quite impressive really. He’s a very tough horse and Connor gets on well with him.”

The Darlington-based trainer decided against a shot at Group One glory with his charge in the Prix de l’Abbaye earlier this month, but hopes he might be able to make his mark at the highest level in 2021.

He added: “He has his restrictions as my wife Carole has to load him, so it would have been a bit awkward to take him to France with all the travel restrictions and everything. That is what put us off, but he’s certainly not getting slower with age – he’s improving.

“I’m not sure if he’ll run again this year, I’ll have to discuss it with the owners. He’s had a great season, so even if we don’t run him again this year, we can look forward to next year with him.

“The ground is the key to him. He ran on faster ground earlier in the year and he’s just not the same horse, but his natural speed on soft ground just burns horses off, without actually being pushed to do it.”

Irish Legend delights Palmer with winning start at Nottingham

Hugo Palmer sees Irish Legend as a horse for the future after the two-year-old colt made a winning debut at Nottingham.

The son of Sea The Stars is related to Palmer’s 2015 Irish Oaks heroine Covert Love and the Newmarket handler hopes Irish Legend can develop into a smart performer in his own right after getting his career off to the perfect start.

Sent off the 7-4 favourite for the British EBF Oath Maiden Stakes over an extended mile, Irish Legend joined the leader Royal Touch over a furlong out and was able to assert close home to score by a neck in the hands of Andrea Atzeni.

“He’s a lovely horse and I hope he’s got a bright future,” said Palmer.

“He’s related to Covert Love who was our first top-class horse and we keep dreaming he can be one too.

“He’s very much next year’s horse. We’re running out of year a bit.”

Even so, Palmer will consider whether to give Irish Legend a second outing this term.

“Whether we go again under a penalty or have a look at the Silver Tankard at Pontefract would all be possibilities,” he said.

“The temptation to put him away and give us something to dream about over the winter would be strong too, but we’ll see how he takes the race. He’s done well today in testing ground. We’ll just see.”

He added: “I think he’ll stay well and will get a mile and a half. I know he’s out of an Invincible Spirit mare but her sister stayed well and Seas The Stars is a good influence for stamina, as we know.”

Mishal Star sparkles at Nottingham

Mishal Star may have earned the chance to tackle Listed company after continuing her progression with a ready success in the Download The Star Sports App Jockey Club Nursery Handicap at Nottingham.

Trainer Tom Ward is to choose between either the Radley Stakes at Newbury or the Bosra Sham Stakes at Newmarket for the daughter of first-season sire Mehmas.

She had shown promise on her debut at Newbury when fourth to subsequent Group One winner Alcohol Free, before getting off the mark with a convincing four-length success at Kempton.

Mishal Star (11-4 favourite) showed she was on the upgrade when leading a furlong from home and crossing the line a length and a half clear of Temple Bruer in the hands of Harry Bentley.

Ward said: “We’ve always thought a lot of the filly.

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“She went and did it nicely at Kempton the other day – and she won today, despite the track and the way she did it.

“I don’t think she handled Nottingham too well – but she is a pretty smart filly and couldn’t have done it any easier, despite everything.

“She’s definitely up to stepping up in class now, and I think we’ll have a lot of fun with this filly.

“There are a couple of options in the pipeline – possibly either the Radley at Newbury or the Bosra Sham at Newmarket towards the end of the season.

“I’d like to get a bit of black type for her if we can. She’s worthy of it, and all she is doing is improving every time she runs.”

Bentley completed a double thanks to a spare ride on Mokaatil (16-1) for trainer Ian Williams in the Call Star Sports On 08000521321 Handicap over the same six furlongs.

Replacing Richard Kingscote, Bentley got the five-year-old to assert in the closing stages to land the competitive sprint by three-quarters of a length from Rock Boy Grey.

Fantasy Master was an 80-1 shocker for punters when stepping up considerably on his two previous starts – for which he went off at even bigger odds – as he opened his account in the EBF Slip Anchor Maiden Stakes.

Mick Appleby’s son of Sepoy was slowly away and stumbled on a couple of occasions, yet was still able to get up close home to win by half a length under Tom Marquand.

Appleby had expected an improved performance from Fantasy Master, but admitted he could not visualise him actually winning.

He said: “He did it well – he’s a nice horse but he took a bit of time to come to hand.

“He’s a bit green still, but will be a nice three-year-old.

“I thought he would run well, because he had been working really well. I did think he’d go well, but I didn’t expect him to win.”