My Stable Eyecatchers: Weekend
Our team pick out the eyecatchers from the weekend action and there's also the latest news from the gallops.
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Heavy Metal’s victory in the Longines International Stakes will go down as one of the more unusual renewals of the contest.
Instead of the usual two or three groups, the 29-strong field perplexingly opted to race in a line down the middle of the crowd and those attempting to come from off the pace were left facing an unusually tough task as they tried to make up 15 lengths and more in the final two furlongs.
Among those whose efforts are worth marking up are Santefisio and Gabriel’s Lad. The latter was given one smack with the whip but the game was already up by the furlong-pole and he coasted home under hands and heels into midfield without ever looking likely to land a blow.
He’ll be a bigger price next time as a result of this run and may yet, with a little help from the assessor, be able to poach another one of these valuable handicaps.
In contrast third-home Watchable was ridden fairly handily and had no excuss, but he once again looked to be crying out for a return to six furlongs. He must now be at the top of the shortlist for the Ayr Gold Cup after his effort just petered out in the final 100 yards. (WH)
By the time Miss Mullberry took to the stage for the concluding nursery, a large chunk of York’s 25,000-plus crowd was heading away from the winning post rather than towards it in order to claim a good pitch for the post-racing Wet Wet Wet concert.
But although there might not have been a great deal of depth to the Skybet Supporting New Beginnings Stakes, the contest was run at a decent pace and it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see the form working out quite well.
Runner-up Miss Mullberry was fitted with a hood for the first time having proved far too keen for her own good on a couple of her previous starts and it certainly seemed to do the trick.
The combination of the hood and the booking of the excellent Andrea Atzeni certainly produced an improved performance and she can build on this in another run-of-the-mill nursery next time out. Even if her mark goes up a couple of pounds, she wouldn’t be unfeasibly-handicapped. (WH)
In the same contest Golden Zephyr enjoyed little luck in running on her handicap bow.
It would be stretching a point to Pinocchio proportions to describe her as unlucky but she certainly would have finished closer with a clear run.
Her trainer, Barry Hills, is enjoying an excellent run and has proved as adept as he ever was at placing his horses and he should be able to get a win out of this daughter of Tamayuz before the season's out.
Her maiden form is pretty solid and, although she's not a superstar, she certainly has enough ability to land a handicap or two.
She was sent off the 9/4 favourite on her second start at Kempton where she was beaten six lengths behind Accipiter who finished well beaten in the Princess Margaret Juddmonte Stakes at Ascot. (IO)
Explosive Lady could not quite match the fireworks of winner Osaila, a filly talked of as a Classic hope next season, but trainer Karl Burke knows he has a useful one himself.
This was an enormous step up for the daughter of Alfred Nobel after her debut victory in a Nottingham maiden and she moved sweetly through the race before losing some ground when jockey Martin Harley was forced to hunt across the track for space.
Explosive Lady nonetheless stuck on to finish a solid third and would clearly be worthy of staying at Pattern level for the time being as she should continue to improve. (IO)
William Haggas enjoyed a cracking weekend's work with decent winners around the country, but it was one of those that got away that interested me most.
Auspicion was solid in the market before his debut in the opening maiden at Ascot on Sunday, but took a while to get the hang of things in the race itself, losing ground from the stalls and then taking time to pick up when asked soon after halfway by Ryan Moore.
Two furlongs out, he seemed likely to come home well beaten, but he ended up picking up quite stylishly close home, and was fairly flying at the finish to snatch second.
Interviewed on Racing UK after the later success of Redkirk (himself a useful prospect), Haggas revealed that Auspicion had only been entered in the race when he "saw that there were only four horses going to be declared for a £20,000 maiden, which was ridiculous".
The trainer added that the horse he had intended to run had been pulled out with a dirty scope, and that Auspicion had ended up a late substitute despite the fact that he "really needed another couple of weeks".
The colt clearly takes after sire Dansili rather than dam Superstar Leo in terms of trip and will now be stepped up to seven furlongs for his next start. He will clearly win his maiden sooner rather than later, although whether Haggas can find another one worth £20,000 must be doubtful! (WH)
Latest Gallops Report
Sir Michael Stoute hopes he may have a St Leger candidate in SNOW SKY who worked on Saturday ahead of the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
The Lingfield Derby Trial winner put up a good show in the King Edward VII Stakes when fourth to Eagle Top after being ruled out of the Investec Derby with a minor problem.
He looked assured in his subsequent work and galloped out strongly ahead of next week's Group Three assignment.
ESTIMATE is continuing to please ahead of Thursday's Goodwood Cup.
She has done more in her preparation than when running such a bold race in defeat in last month's Gold Cup.
WAILA has her sights on the Lillie Langtry Stakes and she caught the eye in a zestful blow out.
She looks sure to go well in that Group Three contest next week.
INTEGRAL is in good order and adds a fascinating slant to the make up of the week's top contest, the Group One Sussex Stakes.
TOP TUG has done well since opening his seasonal account on the July course and should acquit himself well in a handicap at the Glorious meeting.
STOMACHION, who also holds an entry at Goodwood, came up the strip with plenty of gusto.