Vintage performance from Marbaan promises much

The progressive Marbaan and Jamie Spencer came with a wet sail to land the Japan Racing Association Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.

The Charlie Fellowes-trained son of Oasis Dream had won two novice races after a promising Newbury debut third, and confirmed his eyecatching Salisbury win as he stepped up into Group Two company.

Mysterious Night took them into the turn in the seven-furlong event under William Buick and it looked like Chesham winner Holloway Boy and Danny Tudhope had every move covered.

However, after he swept to the front half a furlong out, the 11-8 favourite was immediately challenged by Marbaan, who was still full of running, with the 14-1 chance going on to win by a cosy half a length.

Betfair introduced the winner at 20-1 for the 2000 Guineas, and Spencer said: “I knew down by the three-furlong pole that I was running away and Danny on Holloway Boy was starting to squeeze so I just timed my run. He is a gorgeous looking horse and I’m sure he’ll stay a mile.”

Newmarket-based Fellowes spoke of his relief afterwards, admitting: “I didn’t enjoy a huge amount of it if I’m completely honest.

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“We’ve always thought a lot of Marbaan and it was a real boost over the winter to be sent horses by Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum. He has stood out from the get go.

“He was a really good looking yearling who has just progressed and progressed. We put him in at the deep end today and I loved it when we got drawn nine of nine which is exactly what you want to see!

“We’ve had a rough season, but to have a winner at Goodwood for such an important owner on a wonderful day of racing is phenomenal and means a huge amount to me and the team who have worked unbelievably hard and it was a wonderful ride from Jamie.

“Training at the moment is as difficult as it ever has been. There is a lot of competition as well and a lot of talented young trainers coming through as well. This for some reason has been a hard year for us, but all credit to the team who have kept on delivering and hopefully we can have a big second half of the year.”

Looking to future plans, Fellowes added: “I’ve genuinely got no idea where we’ll go, I’ll sit down and take a breath. He was a novice winner just half an hour ago. We’ve always thought a lot of him, making any further plans was always going to be difficult.

“I put him in the Champagne (Stakes, Doncaster) this morning, he’s in the National Stakes in Ireland. There are lots of lovely options for him. He now warrants a trip anywhere.

Holloway Boy winning at Royal Ascot
Holloway Boy winning at Royal Ascot (David Davies/PA)

“I’ll speak to Sheikh Ahmed and his team. He’s a wonderfully straightforward horse, which makes my life easier. You can ride him any way, we dropped him in today but you don’t have to ride him like that. Hopefully he’ll make my life easy going forward.

“I’ve got three for him (Sheikh Ahmed) and to have to have one as good as him is huge, it really is.”

Holloway Boy, meanwhile, was proving there was no fluke about his 40-1 win at Royal Ascot.

His trainer Karl Burke said: “He ran really well. He got messed around a little bit in the run early doors, which didn’t help. He has pulled a front right shoe off as well, which again wouldn’t have helped him. But from three out, no excuses, the winner just had a little bit more turn of foot.

“Danny says he feels like a top-class horse. He has a great cruising speed, he just lacks that little bit of speed at the important end of the race. But he’s run a great race and all credit to the winner for cutting us down.”

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