Umm Kulthum puts down early marker for sprint honours

Umm Kulthum got her season off to the best possible start when winning the Betfair-sponsored British EBF Kilvington Stakes at Newmarket.

The Richard Fahey-trained four-year-old had her last campaign cut short by a setback so she is making up for lost time.

She had, though, shown some smart form in her younger days, finishing third to Alcohol Free in the Cheveley Park Stakes at two and being beaten only a length by Rohaan in the Sandy Lane when last seen.

She was sent off at 100-30 in the Listed contest, largely due to the fact the Simon and Ed Crisford’s Flotus lined up in this in preference to the 1000 Guineas and she was a hot favourite to confirm her second-place finish in the Cheveley Park.

Flotus was soon sending out distress signals, however, and as Christophe Soumillon moved Umm Kulthum into contention, she only had Tenaya Canyon to worry about and she saw off Ed Walker’s filly by a neck.

Fahey said: “She’s always been a smart filly and last year was frustrating as it wasn’t a major problem but enough to keep her off and we just ran out of time.

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“She’d been working well but when they’ve had a problem you are always minding them. It’s only the last couple of weeks she’d come to herself.

“She’s in the York race (1895 Duke of York) and I was keen to get a run into her before that. This was a great race for her, early season against fillies only.

“York will tell us where we go after that. She’s got an entry in the (Platinum) Jubilee at Ascot so we’ll see how we go.”

Paddy Power cut the winner to 25-1 from 33-1 for the Ascot race.

Northern domination continued when the Michael Dods-trained Blackrod shot clear to win the My Odds Boost On Betfair Handicap.

Justanotherbottle took the field along at a fair rattle but running into the dip Connor Beasley brought Blackrod (13-2) through with a run and the race was over.

He came home a length and a half clear of Above who just held off Chairmanoftheboard.

Owner Emma Armstrong said: “He’s obviously progressed again because I looked after him all winter!

“I’m sure Mr Dods and David (Armstrong) will have a few lofty targets in mind but I just go where I’m told.

“He’s by Mayson so everyone thinks he wants it soft but it’s mythical, he likes it good.”

Cap Francais holds off the late thrust of Turntable
Cap Francais holds off the late thrust of Turntable (Tim Goode/PA)

Ian Williams once again proved he is one of the best dual-purpose trainers in the business when the outsider of the whole field, Cap Francais, won the Betfair Daily Rewards Suffolk Handicap.

Sent off at 22-1, the former Ed Walker-trained six-year-old went for home a long way out under James Doyle and held off the late thrust of Hollie Doyle’s mount Turntable by half a length.

“He was bought to run in Dubai but picked up an injury so he couldn’t run out there,” said Williams.

“To be stood here now having won at the Guineas meeting makes up for that and I’m sure there’ll be plenty of options for him in the future, he looked to me like he’d stay a bit further.

“I was a bit worried about the ground today and James did say he was feeling it a bit.”

King Of Time (right) comes away to win well
King Of Time (right) comes away to win well (Tim Goode/PA)

King Of Time (11-10 favourite) maintained his unbeaten record in the Betfair Exchange Handicap for Charlie Appleby and William Buick.

And what Appleby revealed afterwards made King Of Time something of a certainty in hindsight.

“This was the horse who worked with (Guineas winner) Coroebus on the morning of the Craven,” he said.

“He could be a horse for a Britannia or something like that but I’ve just got to be careful that I don’t rush him as he has been very immature and it’s only lately he’s starting to get it together.

“I would just like to see him take another step forward before something like that, though, as you could lose a horse by running them in a race like that.”

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