Tag Archive for: Salisbury

Romantic Time delivers big-race winner for William Stone

Romantic Time found a dream run on the inside to give trainer William Stone his biggest success to date in the Group Three Ire Incentive Scheme Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes at Salisbury.

The daughter of Time Test looked to have compromised her chance by being slowly away – but she recovered under a patient ride by Hollie Doyle to put herself into contention.

The step up to six furlongs for the first time suited Romantic Time, as the 28-1 outsider quickened in the final furlong to win by a length from Pearl Glory.

Stone, who is based at West Wickham in Cambridgeshire, said: “That was super. Hollie gave the horse a great ride.

“The step up to six was great and I think she was a bit unlucky last time (at Newbury). She got going a bit late and met a bit of trouble in running which didn’t help her.

“I don’t know what we’ll do now next because we came here not knowing if she’d stay six, so I couldn’t really look at anything for her until we got today out of the way. We’ll just look at different options and go from there.”

He added: “I’m absolutely thrilled to get my first Group winner. It’s brilliant.”

Chocoya (8-1) got up in the dying strides to snatch victory in the European Bloodstock News EBF ‘Lochsong’ Fillies’ Handicap.

Ryan Moore brought the Hugo Palmer-trained three-year-old to put in a strong finish and get the verdict by half a length from Crazy Luck.

It was her first time in a handicap after several attempts in Pattern races. Palmer is hoping the victory will give her confidence for when she steps back up in company.

“She did great. That was her handicap which is not bad with it coming towards the end of her three-year-old season,” he said.

“She’s got plenty of snow on the roof as far as black type is concerned, but none of the big stuff.

“We’ve been desperately trying to win a Listed race with her and she’s been running with credit most of the year without quite pulling it off. I’m hoping that will give her confidence.

“Ryan was very pleased with her. He felt she’ll win again and if she does she’ll be back close to 100 again and we will continue the search for black type.

“There are races on the all-weather at places like Deauville going into November and December, so that could be a possibility. She was a little bit outpaced over the ridges today. She did very well to stick to it and finish well.

“She’s always suggested that seven would be within her compass. She hasn’t conclusively proved she stays it, but she was only winning in the last 50 yards today.”

Oisin Murphy is closing in on a third jockeys' championship
Oisin Murphy is closing in on a third jockeys’ championship (John Walton/PA)

Champion jockey Oisin Murphy kept up his march towards a third title with a double on Outbreak and Neenee’s Choice.

Outbreak (evens favourite) confirmed the promise of his debut second in tremendous style to take the Byerley Stud Novice Stakes by five lengths from Point Lynas.

Neenee’s Choice (6-5 favourite) had no trouble stepping up from a mile to a mile and a quarter to take her winning run to three in the Molson Coors Handicap.

Andrew Balding’s filly made all over the mile and a quarter and kept pulling out more to score by a length and a half from Lady Reset.

Hughes puts Intelligentsia to the test at Salisbury

Richard Hughes is optimistic that Intelligentsia will be up to the challenge at Group Three level in the Ire Incentive Scheme Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes at Salisbury.

Intelligentsia, who is owned by the Queen, won on her racecourse debut in a maiden at Newbury in July.

The form from that performance has looked increasingly credible, with the runner-up Majestic Glory going on to win her next two starts.

The second of those victories came in the Group Three Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket early last month when Andrew Balding’s filly prevailed by a length from Godolphin’s Wild Beauty.

Reflecting on Intelligentsia’s successful debut, Hughes said: “She couldn’t have done it any easier on the day – we were very pleased.

“She made all that day, and it’s going to be a different ball game on Thursday.

“She might run a bit green, because she didn’t learn a whole lot on the first day, but she’s very professional in everything she does.

“We’re very happy with her and we’re hoping we’ll have fast ground. Drawn 11 of 12 isn’t the best, but hopefully she can overcome that.”

Well-fancied for the six-furlong contest is Kevin Philippart De Foy’s Pearl Glory, who has an unblemished record of two runs and two narrow victories.

Her first triumph came at Lingfield in July, after which she was successful again when taking another novice against the colts at this track two weeks ago.

“She is a course-and-distance winner,” said Philippart De Foy.

“She won over there 13 days ago, so we know she handles the track. She’s won her first two – and she beat quite a nice horse on her last outing.

“It’s a step up in class, but we’ve been happy with our filly since the last run and we are expecting her to run a good race.

“She beat what she had to beat in her first two races, and the form of both horses that she beat was pretty good – so it’s quite logical.

“She’s been sold to an American client who was keen to run in the Group Three.

“We are going there, we think she is in the right race and she is entitled to be there.”

Clive Cox’s Crazyland will take her chance too after finishing sixth in the Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot – with Tom Dascombe’s Delmona in the mix as well, having finished third in the same race and then gone on to be placed in Listed contests over the minimum trip at Deauville and Newbury.

Balding’s Dubai Jewel steps up in grade and is seeking a hat-trick, having won six-furlong novice contests at Windsor and Newbury.

Mick Channon’s Minnamoolka has also been triumphant on her last two runs, including over this course and distance last week, and takes on Group company for the first time – whereas Keith Dalgleish’s Misty Ayr makes the long trip south after already running in black-type races on three occasions, most recently when seventh in the Lowther Stakes at York.

Michael Bell’s Tardis is another bidding for a third consecutive win, stepping up in trip after taking the Listed St Hugh’s Stakes at Newbury on her last outing and a Bath maiden the time before that.

William Haggas runs Carlisle maiden winner Perfect News; Robyn Brisland is represented by Porsche Cavalier, and William Stone’s Romantic Time and Richard Spencer’s Unfinishedsympathy complete the field of 12.

Albasheer seeking Salisbury success on seasonal bow

Last year’s Champagne Stakes runner-up Albasheer makes his first appearance of the campaign in the British Stallion Studs EBF Conditions Stakes at Salisbury on Tuesday.

Trained by Owen Burrows, the Shamardal colt won by over six lengths on his debut at Doncaster and returned to Town Moor for the Group Two.

Sent off favourite, he was beaten a length by Richard Hannon’s Chindit, with Joseph O’Brien’s State Of Rest – who recently won a Grade One in America – back in third.

Albasheer went on to run in the Dewhurst and was not disgraced in finishing sixth, just over four lengths behind leading three-year-old St Mark’s Basilica.

“He looked a really nice horse on his debut when he won so well and was just beaten in the Champagne,” said Angus Gold, racing manager for owner Shadwell Estate.

“He then got hurt so we’ve taken our time with him.

“He’s an interesting horse because physically he looks like a sprinter or a seven-furlong horse rather than a mile plus, he’s got stronger and stronger so we’ll see where we are.

“It will be good to get him back on track so we can see what we’re dealing with.”

In opposition are Eve Johnson Houghton’s Jumby, the Archie Watson-trained Mighty Gurkha, Prop Forward from Clive Cox’s yard and Roger Varian’s Saint Lawrence.

Megallan makes most of Sovereign opportunity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lilac Road foils Technique in Salisbury feature

Lilac Road lunged late to deny one-time Classic hope Technique victory in a thrilling renewal of the British Stallion Studs EBF Upavon Fillies’ Stakes at Salisbury.

Down the field in the Oaks at Epsom in early June, the Martyn Meade-trained Technique had since finished a close second in the Group Three Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle and an honourable fourth in the Group One Nassau Stakes at Goodwood just a fortnight ago.

Dropping down to Listed class in the hands of champion jockey Oisin Murphy, the daughter of Mastercraftsman was the 2-1 favourite to get back on the winning trail, but again had to make do with minor honours.

The market leader travelled strongly for much of the 10-furlong journey and looked likely to prevail after moving to the lead.

But Tom Marquand conjured a late rattle out of the William Haggas-trained Lilac Road (11-2) – making her first appearance since finishing sixth in the Hoppings Stakes – and the judge confirmed she had passed the post a head in front.

Haggas said: “I’m delighted with that. We decided to change tactics and it’s worked out well.

“We’ve been riding her differently at home. She’d been making the running a long time now and we thought she gave up quite quickly at Newcastle last time. We gave her a short break and she’s come back really well.

“That was really pleasing today – a career-best. Tom is riding brilliantly at the moment and gave that filly a lovely ride today.”

Considering future plans for Lilac Road, the Newmarket handler added: “I would think we’ll probably step back up to a Group race. I was just thinking actually where to go, but we’ll find somewhere.

“I think she likes quick-ish ground, so we’ll see.”

Jamie Osborne saddled a 100-1 winner at Salisbury
Jamie Osborne saddled a 100-1 winner at Salisbury (Simon Cooper/PA)

Proceedings got under way with division one of the Byerley Stud British EBF Novice Stakes, which saw 100-1 shot Boafo Boy make a winning debut under Shane Kelly.

Despite his huge odds, the victory came as no great surprise to trainer Jamie Osborne.

He said: “There was a time when I probably paid more attention to the markets than I do at the moment. I suppose if I had been paying attention to the market I would have been tempted to have a few quid on him at that price, just because it was so wrong.

“Oisin Murphy has ridden the horse work a few times and liked him. Oisin was actually quite keen to ride him today, but he had to ride Andrew Balding’s horse (War In Heaven, finished third). If Oisin had been riding, he would have been a 10-1 chance.

“The way I do the two-year-olds, they’re trained to improve for their first run. Our first time out strike-rate is poor and our second time out strike-rate isn’t too bad.

“He’s a nice horse and just because he’s won it doesn’t mean he isn’t going to improve.”

The Marcus Tregoning-trained Ribhi made a big impression in division two of the six-furlong contest.

Making his racecourse introduction in the hands of Jim Crowley, the 20-1 winner quickened up smartly to leave 10-11 favourite Buoyant trailing in his wake.

“He’d been working well. The only reservation I had was how green he’d be,” said Tregoning.

“He’s quite a big, immature horse, but he’s always shown plenty.

“He hasn’t got any big-race entries. You’d be sort of thinking you’d go for another novice or something, we’ll see.”

First Pattern-race success would be well deserved for Sir Busker

Group One-placed Sir Busker goes all out for a first Pattern-race triumph in the D & N Construction Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury on Thursday.

The five-year-old, trained by William Knight, may not have graced the winner’s enclosure since landing a handicap at Royal Ascot 14 months ago but he has run creditably several times in the interim.

His most notable performance was when he finished third to Palace Pier in the Queen Anne Stakes at this year’s Royal meeting.

“It looks a good race for him. It is very competitive, but we think the track should really suit him and there should be plenty of pace in the race,” said Sam Hoskins, racing manager for owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds.

“We feel he’s versatile in terms of ground these days. The ground at Royal Ascot was rattling quick and he was third to Palace Pier so we’re not concerned about that. We’re really looking forward to it.

“He’s a hard horse to win with because he needs things to go right. But I think this race will be much more suitable for him than the Summer Mile last time.

“It’s a really interesting race. You’d probably have John Gosden’s horse (Megallan) as the favourite, but there are some legendary older horses in it as well.

“It would be so special to win. He hasn’t won a race for over a yearm but obviously being placed in Group Ones you feel like a winner. He deserves a win. It would be really great.”

Oh This Is Us (far side) is one of two runners for trainer Richard Hannon
Oh This Is Us (far side) is one of two runners for trainer Richard Hannon (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Richard Hannon saddles two stable favourites in Oh This Is Us and Mums Tipple.

“Two good old campaigners,” he said.

“Mums Tipple didn’t run very well there last time. He’s had a break and we feel the mile will do him good and we think he has a chance.

“Oh This Is Us has a chance in any race he runs in. He’s been the best.”

Royal Ascot winner Perotto will try to add this Group Three prize to his Britannia Handicap spoils.

“He’s in very good form. Hopefully he’ll run very well. We’re very happy with him and the ground is drying up nicely,” said trainer Marcus Tregoning.

“It looks a very open race, but we’re hoping for the best.”

Eve Johnson Houghton’s 2018 Queen Anne victor Accidental Agent and Duke Of Hazzard, trained by Paul and Oliver Cole, are among other popular performers in the line-up.

Technique out to regain winning thread in Upavon heat

Martyn Meade gives Technique the opportunity to record a “confidence building” victory in the British Stallion Studs EBF Upavon Fillies’ Stakes at Salisbury on Wednesday.

Narrowly beaten in the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom on her three-year-old debut, the daughter of Mastercraftsman has been set some stiff tasks since without managing to get her head in front.

While she was unable to land a telling blow in the Oaks in early June, she was only narrowly denied by Zeyaadah in the Group Three Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle, before finishing a creditable fourth in the Group One Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

Technique has far less on her plate in Listed company on Wednesday and Meade hopes she can make the most of the opportunity.

He said: “This is a confidence building exercise really.

“She’s had a hard sort of season in some difficult races without conditions necessarily being ideal for her.

“I think a track like Salisbury will suit her. There are no easy races, but hopefully she can build on what she’s done.”

Technique might not have things all her own way at the Wiltshire venue, with the Roger Varian-trained Lady Hayes also bringing strong form to the table.

The Kodiac filly was last seen filling the runner-up spot in the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock behind Sir Mark Prescott’s Alpinista, who struck Group One gold in Germany over the weekend.

“She’s an improving filly who is versatile between 10 and 12 furlongs and a stiff 10 furlongs at Salisbury should suit her,” said Varian.

“It’s a competitive Listed race, but she comes into it off the back of a very good run at Haydock. The winner won the Group One in Germany on Sunday, so there is nothing wrong with that form.

“We’d hope she’ll run a good race. She likes to get her toe in, so we’d be quite happy if the ground didn’t dry out too much.”

John and Thady Gosden’s Gloria Mundi is another dropping in class after finishing seventh in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, while Invite has her first run for Andrew Balding after switching from Marco Botti’s stable.

Busker camp eye Sovereign Stakes

Sir Busker is to seek a first Group success in the Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury next month, after connections decided not to supplement the five-year-old for the Qatar Sussex Stakes.

The William Knight-trained gelding put up a career-best display when third in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot behind Palace Pier.

When that horse was taken out of this week’s Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, the temptation was there to add Sir Busker at the confirmation stage – but owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds decided the fee was too high.

Sir Busker will instead head for Salisbury’s Group Three on August 12, with the Group Two City Of York on the Knavesmire on August 21 another possible target.

Sam Hoskins, Kennet Valley’s racing manager, said: “He’s really well. We’d love to run him in the Sussex – with Palace Pier out – but the supplement was too expensive, so we didn’t

“He’s going for the Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury.

“He’s in at York in the City Of York, so he could run in both races. The long-term target is the QEII at Ascot in October.”

Title-chasing Marquand bags Salisbury treble

Tom Marquand took the riding honours at Salisbury as the title-chasing jockey celebrated a treble.

Marquand currently sits in third place in the championship, behind title holder Oisin Murphy and William Buick.

His first winner came via Michael Bell’s above-average juvenile Dairerin (13-8 joint-favourite) in the Sergei Prokofiev Standing At Whitsbury Manor Auction Stakes

And he then teamed up with his boss William Haggas to win the feature Showcasing Standing At Whitsbury Manor Handicap on Johan and the Adaay Standing At Whitsbury Manor British EBF Maiden Stakes with Kolisi (7-2).

Tom Marquand riding Dairerin to an easy success
Tom Marquand riding Dairerin to an easy success (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Of Dairerin, who finished fourth in the Woodcote Stakes last time out, and on whom he made all the running, Marquand said: “It was a nice performance. Realistically I think the sticky ground played to his strengths and it helped being able to get on the speed.

“It was a pretty nice performance because what I liked was that the more I got into him the more he found which is always nice.”

Johan has been a solid performer for a number of seasons now and having dropped down to a mark of 100 he returned to winning ways, seeing off Variyann by half a length.

“He’s a lovely horse, but he just needs that bit of give in the ground to be really be seen at his best,” said Marquand.

“He had that today and being up with the pace really helped – it made him tough to beat.”

When asked if Johann was up to winning in Listed company, which he has been tried in before, the championship-chasing jockey replied: “I suppose on the right ground on the right day the form that he can run up to at his best isn’t a mile off, but he would probably have to find a bit more.”

A son of Derby winner Harzand, Kolisi seems to have made an impression on Marquand, getting off the mark at the third time of asking on the step up to 10 furlongs.

“He’s improved with each run and I was really happy with him, getting that extra couple of furlongs under his belt really played to his strengths,” said Marquand.

“He probably bumped into not a bad horse (Ranchero) at Nottingham (when second) but having the extra trip, he showed a nice bit of toe and wasn’t doing an awful lot in front.

“I think he’s a really nice horse who had progressed. He should be a decent handicapper and one to look forward to.”

No chance of the jockeys at Salisbury forgetting to weigh in
No chance of the jockeys at Salisbury forgetting to weigh in (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Another decent winner on the card was Roger Charlton’s Pleasant Man (7-1) who bounced back from a below-par display in the Chester Vase to win the Whitsbury Manor Stud Bibury Cup Handicap for Jason Watson.

Ralph Beckett’s Seattle King (100-30 favourite) was a well-backed winner on debut in the Due Diligence Standing At Whitsbury Manor British EBF Blagrave Maiden Stakes.

Departure claims Cathedral honours on seasonal debut

Line Of Departure made a sparkling return to action in the British Stallion Studs EBF Cathedral Stakes at Salisbury.

Roger Varian’s charge won three times as a juvenile last season, including a valuable sales race success at Doncaster in September.

The Mehmas colt disappointed on his final start of 2020 in the Mill Reef Stakes, but bounced back to his best on his seasonal reappearance in what looked a strong renewal of this Listed contest.

Khaadem, who finished fourth in both the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot and the July Cup at Newmarket last summer, was the favourite at 11-8, with 7-2 chance Mums Tipple rated his biggest threat.

However, 8-1 shot Line Of Departure travelled strongly throughout in the hands of David Egan and showed a smart change of gear against the far rail to pull two and a quarter lengths clear of Khaadem with relative ease.

“We’re thrilled. He’s a nice colt to look forward to for the summer ahead,” said Varian.

“I’d like to thank connections for being patient. We would liked to have run him in a Commonwealth Cup trial, but we had heavy ground that weekend when there were suitable races at Haydock and Newbury and he’s a fast ground horse, so we had to change our focus a little bit.

“It’s great that he’s come and won as he did today – I thought he was very impressive.”

When asked whether the July Cup at Newmarket could be a realistic target, the trainer added: “We won’t make any plans today, but I think he’s a colt that on summer conditions we ought to be quite ambitious with.

“He’s a half-brother to Golden Horde, who was a very good sprinter, and now he’s a winner at Listed level we’ll have to consider ambitious options, I should think.

“He’d be deserving of his chance in some nice races after today’s performance.”

Alflaila finished with a flourish to make a winning debut in the Byerley Stud Peter & Virginia Walwyn Memorial Novice Stakes.

Owen Burrows won with newcomer Alflaila
Owen Burrows won with newcomer Alflaila (Simon Cooper/PA)

The Owen Burrows-trained juvenile was a 4-1 shot for his racecourse introduction in the hands of Jim Crowley.

Richard Hannon’s System looked sure to prevail after battling his way to the lead, but Alflaila found top gear late on and got up to score by half a length.

Burrows said: “He’s worked nicely at home, to be fair, so I’d have been disappointed if he hadn’t ran a race of promise.

“It was a good performance as I think it was Ralph Beckett’s horse (Cardinal Rouge) who came across us coming out of the stalls, they didn’t go very quick and I thought the front two had got away from us. He’s done well to pick them up.

“It was very pleasing, but we won’t make any plans just yet.”

Beyond Equal registered his third win at Salisbury with a comfortable success in the Yew Tree Inn Handicap.

Running over five furlongs for the first time in almost two years, the 9-4 favourite proved two lengths too strong for Lomu in the hands of Rob Hornby.

Winning trainer Stuart Kittow said: “That was very good – he deserved that.

“He’s very consistent and the race worked out well for him because they went a nice, fast pace. They go that bit quicker over five furlongs and it’s suited him well.

“We’ll stick to five furlongs now, I’d have thought.”

Khaadem bids to bounce back in Cathedral Stakes

Khaadem bids to get back on track in the British Stallion Studs EBF Cathedral Stakes at Salisbury.

The Charlie Hills-trained sprinter has been out of luck since the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood in August 2019, but has taken on the best at Group One level.

He was fourth in both the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and the July Cup last season.

Khaadem returned to action at Meydan in March but was below his best in the Al Quoz Sprint won by Extravagant Kid, who represents America in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

His first run back in the UK did not go to plan on heavy ground at Haydock – where he was third of four to Cape Byron, another horse with Royal Ascot aspirations in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

However, Hills is expecting a much better performance from the five-year-old on Sunday.

“It looks the right spot for him,” he said.

“It was desperate ground at Haydock. He couldn’t act on it, so we put a line through the run.”

Andrew Balding is hoping a break has done Shine So Bright good.

The grey was last of four to Pogo in a Listed contest at Leicester, and returns after a 50-day absence.

“He’s been a little bit below par the last couple of runs – but he’s had a break, and I’ve been pleased the way he’s been working,” said Balding.

“He’s a talented horse on his day, and these are his optimum conditions, so he wouldn’t be without a chance.”

The other older horse in the line-up is the four-year-old Mums Tipple, from Richard Hannon’s yard.

The other three runners are three-year-olds, headed by the Mick Channon-trained Cairn Gorm.

A Group Three scorer at Deauville in August, the Bated Breath colt tackled even stronger company and contested the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at ParisLongchamp in October.

Roger Varian’s Line Of Departure, winner of a valuable sales race at Doncaster, plus Hugo Palmer’s Chocoya, complete the sextet.

Talbeyah’s Salisbury victory delights Burrows

Owen Burrows was delighted to see Talbeyah rediscover the winning trail at Salisbury.

The Lope De Vega filly looked a high-class prospect when getting off the mark in impressive style at Chepstow in April, earning herself a place in Listed company in last month’s Height of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood.

The Owen Burrows-trained three-year-old ultimately came up short on the Sussex Downs, but was not disgraced in finishing fourth – and had her sights lowered for Salisbury’s MansionBet Bet 10 Get 20 Margadale Fillies’ Handicap.

Talbeyah was one of two runners for the Shadwell team, with Richard Hannon’s Anghaam narrowly preferred in the market as the 13-8 favourite.

However, ridden by the owners’ retained rider Jim Crowley, it was the Burrows runner who saw out the 10-furlong contest best to score a shade cosily by a half a length.

Burrows said: “She ran well enough at Goodwood in the Listed race. It was tough conditions on the day, and Jim just felt physically she wasn’t quite able to show her best.

“They gave us a mark of 88 for today, and we’ll work our way back up through the handicap system and hope to see if we can get some black type later in the year.

“I’d like to think she’ll be able to go back into Stakes company before the end of the season. She’ll strengthen and mature now through the summer – and I thought today, certainly on that faster ground, she looks like she’ll get further.

“As we know, she goes on soft ground as well. So she’s a nice, versatile filly and one who will hopefully keep progressing.”

Groom was a clear-cut winner at Salisbury
Groom was a clear-cut winner at Salisbury (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Hannon had earlier caused a minor upset in the opening Best Odds Guaranteed At MansionBet EBF Restricted Novice Stakes, with 16-1 shot Groom making it third time lucky.

The Aclaim colt had finished fifth and third on his first two career starts, but raised his game significantly to see off 6-4 favourite Cashew by almost four lengths.

Papacito made a winning debut for Roger Varian in the MansionBet Watch And Bet Novice Stakes.

Seemingly well fancied as the 2-1 market leader, the three-year-old picked up well to get up and beat West Side Glory by a length.

Papacito made a big impression on debut
Papacito made a big impression on debut (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“We were hoping for a good run – he’d worked nicely at home,” said Varian.

“I thought it was a good performance, because there were a lot of traffic problems and he had to switch and change and stop and start again and nearly clipped heels. He pricked his ears after crossing the line, so I should think it was the performance of a horse with ability.

“The owner has been very patient with him. He had a few problems last year and the early spring of this year. I’m always grateful for an owner’s patience and I’m very pleased the horse has got off to a winning start.

“He’s just won a novice, so we won’t get carried away. We’ll go back into novice company under a penalty, I should think. Then we’ll get a mark and see where we go.”

Opera Gift on song at Salisbury

Opera Gift signalled his potential as a staying handicapper this summer after handling lively ground to record a promising victory at Salisbury.

Andrew Balding’s Nathaniel gelding cruised into contention and then buckled down well under David Probert to beat Midnights Legacy by more than two lengths – with early pace-setter Gumball a nose further back in the AJN Steelstock ‘Delivering Steel Expertise’ City Bowl Handicap.

Salisbury’s chairman Jeff Smith and Balding had to settle for fifth with their 1000 Guineas hope Alcohol Free a little later at Newmarket.

But the Group One-winning filly nonethless ran well again – and in Opera Gift, they have a home-bred who looks sure to improve too.

Probert said: “His work has been OK, and we thought the ground might be a bit quick for him.

“We got racing a long way out, but in truth I never felt the outcome was in any doubt. He’s a very nice, progressive type for Andrew and Mr Smith, and showed his ability today.”

Walls Of Kano emerged a neck victor over Aesthete for Brian Meehan and Martin Dwyer in an incident-packed AJN Steelstock ‘Success Breeds Success’ Novice Stakes.

State Secretary was pulled up, and favourite Hamoudi unshipped his jockey after putting his foot in a hole, but Walls Of Kano then stretched out willingly to open his account at the second attempt.

Meehan said: “He needed his run at Newbury, and I was really pleased with him today.

“It made sense with his pedigree to drop him back (in trip) a little bit. He hasn’t come in his coat but is a good, straightforward individual who loves doing his work every morning. I think he’s got a bright future.”

Ralph Beckett’s Oman had to work under Hector Crouch for his all-the-way triumph in the British EBF AJN Steelstock ‘Supporting UK Construction’ Maiden Stakes.

The 7-4 favourite was the first to come under a ride, a long way out, but he responded to pull a length and a quarter clear of Mellow Magic.

Beckett said: “He’s not a horse who knocks himself out, and was flicking his ears, so Hector decided he wasn’t doing enough and kicked on.

“The Rowley Mile didn’t suit him in a back-end nursery last year, but I always thought he would get a mile and a half and also a mile and threequarters.”

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Samoot made a fine impression when rewarding support into 10-11 by winning the AJN Steelstock ‘Your Perfect Partner’ Handicap.

Under Richard Kingscote, the Shadwell Estate filly comfortably held the late challenge of Rosemary And Thyne.

Kingscote said: “She’s still only learning, but was much more professional today.

“They’ve done a lot more work with her at home. I got a lovely smooth run through – she has a very good attitude and has done the job well.”

There was a minor shock in the opening AJN Steelstock ‘Real Steel’ Fillies’ Conditions Stakes when 5-4 favourite Out In Yorkshire was unable to resist Silver Bullet Lady.

The 7-1 winner came from last to first under Hollie Doyle to land the spoils for trainer Roger Charlton.

In a tight finish to the AJN Steelstock ‘The Winning Team’ Handicap, Alan King’s 5-4 favourite No Recollection clung on by a nose under Martin Harley to get the better of Farhan.

Apollo One victory may launch European adventures

Apollo One can look forward to being sent on his travels next season after returning to winning ways in the Weatherbys TBA Conditions Stakes at Salisbury.

Campaigned at Group Three and Listed level on his last two starts, the Peter Charalambous-trained Equiano colt took advantage of a return to calmer waters to make his first start over six furlongs a triumphant one in the feature contest.

Although one of the first off the bridle, Apollo One (9-4) – who is out of the Newmarket handler’s 11-time winner Boonga Roogeta – picked up well to deny last-time-out Ascot scorer Dark Shift by three-quarters of a length.

Charalambous said: “I don’t know what happened last time at Doncaster, but Martin (Harley) said he gave him one beautiful feel out there and that he is definitely a Group horse.

“He said he loved the soft ground. That is his last run of the season, and next year we will probably have some fun in France on soft ground.

“As he has got stronger he has felt like he is a six-and-a-half-furlong horse, so I thought we will drop him in here. He was always going to take a bit of a tank, (then) I knew he would pick up.

“It would be nice for his mum if he could win a Listed race in France, or a little Group Three.”

David Menuisier celebrated a two-year-old double, initiated by newcomer Belloccio (11-1), who got up by a neck in the opening division of the PKF Francis Clark British Novice Stakes.

The Pulborough trainer said: “He had been working really well, but I don’t train them to win first time out – and they have to be good to do that.

“If he does come out of it well and runs again it is likely to be in France. There are two Group One races at Saint-Cloud at the end of the season we could look at.”

Autumn Twilight (20-1) completed Menuisier’s haul, and formed the first leg of a double too for jockey Kieran Shoemark, getting the better of Ensyaaby by a head in division one of the Byerley Stud British EBF Novice Stakes.

Menuisier said: “This one works with Belloccio – and when I saw him win, I thought he might run well, and he did. He is very professional.

“He was bred by Kildaragh Stud and was sent to the breeze-ups – but they couldn’t sell him, so they asked if I wanted to train him, and I said ‘let’s give it a go’.”

Shaun Lycett celebrated his first Flat winner in 293 days when The King’s Steed (22-1) prevailed by a neck under Shoemark in the opening division of the Consign With Byerley Stud Handicap.

Champagne Piaff (7-2) built on a solid Ascot debut behind subsequent Group Three scorer La Barrosa, turning over odds-on favourite Fundamental by three-quarters of a length in the second division of the seven-furlong novice.

Winning trainer Gary Moore said: “He was just a bit green today, but he is just a big baby – and whatever he does at two is a bonus.

“I’ve got something in the back of my mind for him, but it might be ambitious. I will see how he comes out of it.”

James Doyle had a fair idea of what to expect from the Hugo Palmer-trained The Rosstafarian (6-1), who ran out out a four-and-a-quarter-length winner in division two of the mile novice.

Doyle said: “I galloped him at home and I thought he would improve a bit for a run, but that last bit of work definitely sharpened him up.

“He was a bit green but he quickened up well in the end.”