Zeyaadah back on track with Hoppings success

Zeyaadah put her Oaks disappointment behind her as she produced a telling late challenge to win the William Hill Hoppings Fillies’ Stakes at Newcastle.

Roger Varian’s Shadwell Estate filly could finish only a distant 13th of 14 behind the impressive Snowfall when sent off a single-figure price in the Epsom Classic at the start of this month.

But she put her career back on track in this Group Three, down to 10 furlongs on Newcastle’s Tapeta surface.

Jim Crowley held Zeyaadah up well towards the rear, and still had just one horse behind entering the straight. But she quickly made ground and overhauled eventual runner-up Technique in the final furlong to win more comfortably than the official margin of a head suggested – justifying her status as 15-8 favourite.

Crowley told Sky Sports Racing: “It just didn’t happen (for her at Epsom) – the rain tipped down that day, and she’s obviously a top-of-the-ground filly.

“She did win on it (heavy ground) one day at Newmarket, but I think she’s better on a better surface.

“Obviously today, I just had to sit a little bit. I was drawn eight, and didn’t really want to go three wide the whole way.

“They went a nice pace, and the horse in front was a nice target to aim at.

“She won pricking her ears. I thought she was going to go and win well, but she was probably just keeping a little bit up her sleeve as well.

“It’s a nice confidence-booster for her today, and I hope she’ll take a step forward again.”

Earlier on the card, Caspian Prince proved yet again that age is no barrier to him as he won the William Hill Gosforth Park Cup Handicap for the second successive year – at the age of 12.

Mick Appleby’s veteran sprinter showed his customary early dash, and the necessary determination too, to get to the front from the equally speedy Ornate and then hold off all challengers for a popular 12-1 victory under 3lb claimer Theodore Ladd.

Caspian Prince was winning for the second time in succession, and 23rd in all, on his 114th appearance – resisting the late thrust of May Sonic by a neck, with outsider Blue De Vega another three-quarters of a length back in third.

Ladd said: “It’s the biggest winner of my career so far.

“Last year, he actually sat second – which is unlike Caspian Prince. But that Ornate (third 12 months ago) has such early toe, so if you take each other on you burn each other out.

“Mick said to me ‘if that Ornate wants to go on, don’t get in a battle with him – and he’ll come home strong at the end’.

“I’m absolutely over the moon.

Stephen Louch, who co-owns Caspian Prince with Rutland trainer Appleby, added: “Words can’t describe him really – he’s taken us to some fantastic places.

“He’s 12 years old, and he’s still running like he’s four. He’s coming up against some cracking horses today – that was a really tough race.

“We won it last year. But to come back and win it twice, against good opposition and 12 years old, he is amazing.

“He just loves racing. A horse will fall out of love with racing at one point in his life – (but) he just seems to love it, and thrives on it.”

There was drama in the opening Three Mile Handicap, in which Ben Curtis suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder while riding a finish on Henry Spiller’s Crack Regiment.

The 5-1 shot collared favourite Tarroob to be first past the post by a head  – and he kept the race after a stewards’ inquiry, despite carrying the runner-up right in the closing stages with Curtis unable to take corrective action.

The winning jockey was clearly in pain and dismounted on pulling up, however, and had to give up his three remaining rides on the card.

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