Shine So Bright wins Free Handicap at Newmarket on return to action

Shine So Bright pictured at Newmarket
Shine So Bright pictured at Newmarket

Shine So Bright continued Andrew Balding's good start to the season when making all the running to win the bet365 European Free Handicap at Newmarket.

Placed in such races as the Richmond Stakes, Gimcrack and Mill Reef last term, he was sent off at 5/2 to begin his season with a win.

Silvestre de Sousa was able to dominate after grabbing the rail early and racing into the dip, Shine So Bright took four lengths out of the field. Space Traveller closed to within a length and three-quarters, but the result was never in doubt.

Balding said: "They always looked a nice bunch of horses last year and they are all working well. Things are falling into place and I'm really pleased with that.

"He is a really solid horse. He was a bit unlucky in the Gimcrack and the ground went against him in the Mill Reef. He is a very handy horse.

"The big question mark would be whether he stays a mile. He has got a Guineas entry and it is a possibility, but it would be a question mark whether he gets the extra furlong.

"Silvestre was undecided (over getting the mile). He was non-committal. We have probably got nothing to lose by trying. We might have a look at it, but there is still plenty of time to make decisions.

"He could be a Jersey Stakes horse, or dropping back a furlong on a stiff track wouldn't bother me, so he could go for a Commonwealth Cup. He has got plenty of options."

William Haggas celebrated his first winner on the turf in 2019 after Investec Oaks entry Maqsad opened her account at the third time of asking when defeating Twist 'N' Shake by a short-head in division one of the bet365 European Breeders' Fund Fillies' Maiden Stakes.

Haggas said of the 6/4 winner: "That is our first winner on the grass. She is a a nice filly but she disappointed last year.

"The question is whether we go up to a mile and a quarter or stick at a mile. She is out of a Galileo mare and I think she will be better over further. She is in the French Guineas and that is an option and she is in the French Oaks. There are lots of other options at a mile and a quarter."

Maqsad (left) gets the better of Twist N Shake
Maqsad (left) gets the better of Twist N Shake

Flavius Titus made his first start since undergoing a gelding operation a winning one after prevailing by a neck in the Weatherbys TBA Handicap.

Roger Varian, winning trainer, said of the 8/1 winner: "He goes on this ground and a stiff six furlongs is just about right for him. He has been training nicely.

"I think there is a nice race back here on Guineas weekend then we will see after that (about Royal Ascot).

"He is a handy horse to have around this summer. He might not mix it in Group races, but he ought to be competitive in handicaps."

Flavius Titus (yellow and black silks)
Flavius Titus (yellow and black silks)

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