Doncaster racing: Singh books ticket to classic glory

St Leger

St Leger

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Mr Singh booked his ticket for a shot at the Ladbrokes St Leger after providing trainer John Gosden with a record-breaking fifth success in the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket.

 

Although entering the Group Three contest with just a maiden win at Newbury to his name, the 11-10 favourite bossed things from the front to double his tally of victories in the hands of Frankie Dettori and follow up his second in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.

While Future Empire emerged as a threat late on he had no answer to the winner who found plenty when asked the question to post a two-and-a-half-length success, giving Dettori a seventh win in the race.

Following his victory Mr Singh was cut from 14-1 to 8-1 for the final Classic of the season at Doncaster on September 12 by Paddy Power, while William Hill trimmed him from 14-1 to 11-1.

Gosden said: "He's a lovely horse. He's still growing and he's beginning to fill out.

"He got into a muddle at Goodwood, but the winner (Storm The Stars) went on to be third in the Derby and he ran a lovely race at Royal Ascot. He stays well and he changes gears.

"We'll go straight to the St Leger with him, he'll love it at Doncaster. Masked Marvel came here and did the same before winning the Leger.

"It's the right route for this horse. I'm not saying he's a Masked Marvel, but he's a very nice horse.

"He's a horse about next year, really, so one run at Doncaster and then put him away."

Shalaa took his form to a whole new level to complete a quickfire double for Gosden with a dominant victory in the Arqana July Stakes.

Having opened his account with something to spare at the Rowley Mile in May, the two-year-old followed it up with a taking performance in the Group Two event to further banish the memory of his no-show on his debut at Newbury.

Travelling strongly close to the pace throughout the six-furlong contest, the 14-1 shot found an instant change of acceleration when asked to put the race to bed by Rab Havlin.

Although wandering slightly late on, the Al Shaqab Racing-owned colt had enough in hand to register a length victory over the staying-on Steady Pace.

Betfred gave Shalaa an introductory quote of 25-1 for next year's Qipco 2000 Guineas.

Gosden said: "He's a horse that just needs to settle a bit and I'd love to see him relax a bit more.

"Frankie rode him the other day and said he had to ride the horse that was third in the Coventry (Eltezam). Rab knows this horse well at home and they had confidence in each other, which is very important.

"We did plan to have him as a Coventry horse, but he was still a little bit nervous.

"When we ran him first time at Newbury he got stage fright, so we brought him here and schooled him and gave him a stalls test which he passed.

"He's a talented horse and has always been our fastest two-year-old this year. The plan now is to go for the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood, that is where the owners want to go."

ORANGE PIPS NEWMARKET RIVALS

Big Orange handed trainer Michael Bell a timely boost when demonstrating his battling qualities to gain a surprise success in the Princess of Wales's Arqana Racing Club Stakes at Newmarket.

Although looking progressive at the back end of last season the four-year-old had shown little in both his runs to date this term, leaving him with something to find with the principal players in what looked an above-average renewal of the mile-and-a-half Group Two prize.

In a switch of tactics from his last run the 25-1 shot was sent straight into an uncontested lead by Jamie Spencer.

Having dictated matters up front from the outset it looked as though the Bill Gredley-owned gelding was set to be swamped approaching the final three furlongs as a host of challengers lined up with promising looking runs in behind.

Just as Gospel Choir and Second Step were set to go on and fight out the finish, Big Orange pulled out more under a full drive from former champion jockey Spencer in the final furlong to put his head back in front again and claim a hard-fought success by half a length.

The big disappointment was the previously unbeaten Royal Ascot winner Mahsoob, who finished a well-held sixth after appearing to fail to see out the trip.

Bell said: "He was in great form. The cheekpieces just helped him dropping back in trip.

"It was a very good ride from a very good jockey. The modern word is 'fractions' and he got them spot on.

"It's great. He's just a star horse. Mr Gredley bred him, he lives locally and we decided to run him at the July meeting as he loves to have runners here. It's just a great result.

"This was a nice surprise. He'd get a penalty in the Goodwood Cup, so where he will go next I don't know. I'd love to go to Melbourne with him one day, but that's another conversation."

Although headed momentarily by Gospel Choir, winning rider Spencer felt his mount still had plenty left in reserve.

Spencer said: "He did well. We went a nice even gallop, I stepped it up from the five and kept stretching and stretching.

"When Ryan (Moore, on Gospel Choir) came to me he didn't get away from me. He only went a head or a neck up.

"We were in good shape then because I hadn't gone for everything. In fairness, he knuckled down well in the final furlong.

"Michael was very happy with the horse. We were tilting at windmills a little bit looking at the form, but when a horse is telling the trainer he's happy then you've got to take a chance and have a go and it worked out well."

As for future plans, winning owner Gredley said he is likely to be kept over a mile and a half.

Gredley said: "We always thought he'd have a chance over a mile and a half and he's got a lot of stamina. He's a big, gangly horse.

"I think we'll keep him at that trip. Why change a winning team? We'll just see what's around.

"I think he lost the race at Chester (the Ormonde Stakes) in the first couple of furlongs as he had something take him on."

LUMIERE LIGHTS UP NEWMARKET

Lumiere saw her name added the to mix for next year's Qipco 1000 Guineas after turning in a scintillating performance in the second division of the John Deere EBF Stallions Maiden Fillies' Stakes at Newmarket.

Breaking smartly from the stalls, the Mark Johnston-trained two-year-old was soon settled and relaxed out in front in the hands of William Buick as she opened up a gap she was not to relinquish.

Although Sharja Queen momentarily looked to come out of the pack and bridge the gap, there was to be no catching the 6-5 favourite as she produced a lighting turn off foot to cruise to a six-length victory, providing the second leg of a double for the winning trainer and rider.

Lumiere was given quotes of 25-1 with Paddy Power, 20-1 with William Hill and 16-1 with Boylesports for the Guineas.

Johnston said of his dashing grey daughter of Shamardal: "She's done nothing wrong at home, but she's not worked with anything of note. What she has done was kick everything out of the way.

"We were hopeful she'd be that good and William Buick was very enthusiastic about that.

"We'll go home and have a think where we go next.

"Looking at her pedigree there is no reason why she shouldn't get a mile.

"The hype partly comes from a piece of work she did under Russ Kennemore last week, where Russ came back in saying she was the fastest thing he had ever sat on.

"I haven't thought about anything further than today but she is bred to go further and she is learning to settle now so a race like the Guineas would have to be a possibility."

Resonant initiated the pair's double after marking his return to form with an emphatic front-running victory in the Unibet Handicap Stakes.

Although setting a furious pace, the 14-1 shot had many of his rivals off the bridle a long way out in the mile-and-a-quarter contest, registering a three-and-three-quarter-length success and adding to wins gained at the Rowley Mile and Goodwood earlier in the season.

BOLGER IN NO DOUBT OF AQUAM CLASS

Jim Bolger was full of praise for Sanus Per Aquam in the aftermath of his impressive success in the Racecourse Of The Year Race at Leopardstown.

The youngster was taking his record to two wins from as many starts - and in the process earned comparisons with his sire, Teofilo.

Racing in second behind his stablemate Gleine, Kevin Manning's mount swept to the front inside the two-furlong marker.

Odds-on favourite Port Douglas tried to give chase under Joseph O'Brien, but was no match for the imposing winner, who had four and three-quarter lengths in hand at the line.

Bolger said of his 11-8 winner: "I would have liked another week or 10 days, but he ran tonight as I wanted another run into him before the Futurity. He can go anywhere.

"I didn't do anything with him since the Curragh. I took it on trust and let him look after himself.

"He's the oul fella (Teofilo) reincarnated. He does everything he does and does it the same way. That's where he's at at the moment except he's two weeks ahead of the father."

Teofilo finished his career unbeaten, numbering the Futurity, National Stakes and Dewhurst among his five victories. He did not race as a three-year-old.

SPRINT STARS ALINE FOR CUP CRACKER

Muhaarar, impressive winner of the Commonwealth Cup, heads a field of 15 declared for the Darley July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday.

The Charlie Hills-trained three-year-old bids to become the first of his generation since Dream Ahead in 2011 to beat his elders in the six-furlong championship.

His rivals include Australian speedster Brazen Beau, who found only American ace Undrafted too good in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot.

Trainer Chris Waller told At The Races: "His run at Ascot was very good and he's come through it with no problems.

"He's just had a couple of nice gallops and been to the July Course, so we've just done everything we possibly can just to conjure that bit of improvement out of him.

"We hope he can improve that little bit more in terms of fitness. It's hard for us to gauge where he is exactly.

"He was close to being perfect for Ascot and if that race does bring him on he is going to be hard to beat."

Muhaarar's owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum is also represented by the William Haggas-trained Muthmir, a close third in the King's Stand at the Royal meeting.

Eddie Lynam won last year's July Cup with Slade Power and fires a twin assault in a bid to take the prize back to Ireland once more.

The County Meath handler saddles multiple Group One winner Sole Power and younger stable companion Anthem Alexander.

There is a third Irish challenger in Aidan O'Brien's Due Diligence, who was last in the Diamond Jubilee after finishing second in the same race 12 months earlier.

Betfred Sprint Cup hero G Force needs to bounce back from a disappointing run in the King's Stand for David O'Meara.

The Dean Ivory-trained Tropics, second 12 months ago, is back for more and is accompanied by stable companion Lancelot Du Lac.

Completing the list are Astaire, Caspar Netscher, Danzeno, Eastern Impact, Jack Dexter and Steps.

The two withdrawals at the 48-hour final declaration stage were Maarek and Mattmu.

SPEAR THROWN IN AT DEEP END

Trainer Olly Stevens has decided to run his unbeaten colt Lightning Spear in the Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile at Ascot from a choice of four entries on Saturday.

Connections of the highly-promising four-year-old, owned by Qatar Racing, have opted to step the son of Pivotal up to Group Two company instead of giving him one last run in a handicap as he bids to take his 100 per cent record to five.

"We've decided to take him to the Summer Mile at Ascot," said Stevens.

"He's a horse that has shown great talent and huge potential so we have decided to grasp the nettle and find out how good he is.

"We had a lot of discussions with the owners and we all decided now is the time to go for it.

"He could run a very good race in the Bunbury Cup or something but get a bad draw or a bad trip.

"Oisin Murphy will ride."

Lightning Spear faces a tough baptism in Pattern company after nine horses were declared.

They include Arod, also owned by Qatar. Trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam, the four-year-old was third in the Lockinge Stakes before winning the Diomed Stakes at Epsom.

Lockinge runner-up Toormore, from the Richard Hannon stable, is also in the line-up along with the fifth that day, Cable Bay, who has since won the Group Three Jury Stakes at Haydock for trainer Charlie Hills.

Complete the list in a strong race are Bow Creek, Calling Out, Hors De Combat, Moohaarib and Wannabe Yours.

KARAKONTIE NEARS RETURN

Karakontie is set to make his belated seasonal reappearance in the Prix Jacques le Marois on August 16.

The Breeders' Cup mile hero has not run since his victory at Santa Anita last November, with a foot problem ruling out races like the Lockinge and the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot.

The Prix Messidor at Maisons-Laffitte last weekend had been a possibility, but he will now wait for Deauville.

Alan Cooper, racing manager to Karakontie's owners, the Niarchos family, said of the Jonathan Pease-trained colt: "He is being aimed at the Marois, that is the plan, all being well.

"We just ran out of time to get him ready for the Messidor.

"He had a quarter crack and it's taken a little time come right.

"A mile is his optimum, as he has proved.

"The long-term aim is go back to the Breeders' Cup to defend his crown, but we'll take it step by step."

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