Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse
Andrea Atzeni conjured a driving finish out of Breton Rock to get up on the line in the Group 2 Saint Gobain Weber Park Stakes at Doncaster this afternoon.
A field of eight went to post for this seven furlong contest.
Toormore was away well along with Kentuckyconnection, with The Happy Prince racing third, out wider.
Toormore, next to the stands rail, continued to lead from The Happy Prince and Kentuckyconnection racing between horses, but it was the Irish horse that went on at the two furlong pole.
The Happy Prince took a couple of lengths out of the field and was chased by Buckstay.
However, the final furlong told on The Happy Prince, as Breton Rock and Adaay began to battle towards the centre of the track.
It was Breton Rock and Andrea Atzeni who got up in the shadow of the post to deny The Happy Prince, with Adaay a close third.
The David Simcock trained 6 year old Breton Rock was giving his trainer a second Group 2 in consecutive days, following the Doncaster Cup triumph of Sheikhzayedroad yesterday.
Conditions did not appear perfect for Breton Rock, a son of Bahamian Bounty, who had won in heavy ground and monsoon conditions at Newmarket in late June.
“He’s an absolute star,” said the trainer. “He’s a pleasure to train and gives his owner (John Cook), who is a really good man, a lot of pleasure. He finished sixth in a Lockinge (at Newbury) on good ground so he’s quite versatile. That little bit of rain we’ve had has helped – it’s just loose on top now and a lot of horses can’t handle that.
“When Roderick Duncan (Clerk of the Course at Doncaster) said it was Good, Good to Firm in places this morning and there wouldn’t be much more rain, I wasn’t a happy man. I wasn’t too happy after last week (when Breton Rock was beaten at Haydock) but he’s made up for that here. I love these old horses. They come good for you and he is another that is a pleasure to train – he is so straightforward and very simple. Last week’s run would have put him absolutely spot on for this.
“Andrea said that he came off the bridle after three and a half furlongs, so he gave him a squeeze and he came back on it. He said that he was pretty confident from there and all he needed was a gap. Last week – he had never won over a mile, had a 4lb penalty and was coming back from a break, so there was plenty against him. The little rain we had here at 11 o’clock has made a huge difference as it has loosened the ground. Some horses don’t like racing on loose ground but he enjoyed it.”
Atzeni, registering a double on the day, following Rivet’s success in the opening Group Two At The Races Champagne Stakes, said: “As soon as the gaps appeared, he was always going to get there. He was very game for me and it was great to get the ride on him really.
“I’d say that some of the rain which has fallen helped him. I thought he needed soft ground but he is obviously very versatile.
“David Simcock was pretty confident about him before the race and he was a different horse today.
“He picked up well. I have never ridden him before and David told me to let him enjoy himself early on and hopefully he would pick up well. It was just waiting to get the gaps really – he was always going to get there.”
Atzeni who recorded back-to-back successes in the Ladbrokes St Leger aboard Kingston Hill  and Simple Verse , doesn’t have a ride in this year’s race but was delighted with his week’s work so far.
He said: “It’s been a special week for me. I’ve been very lucky in the past at Doncaster so let’s just hope it continues.”
Seamie Heffernan said of his O’Brien-trained ride The Happy Prince: “He ran very well, he is getting there now. His last run was good and today was a notch up again, I am happy with him.
“I hope I can go one better in the next one (aboard favourite Idaho)!”
Paul Smith, son of part-owner Derrick Smith, commented: “He ran a great race.
“He is by Rip Van Winkle and it is great seeing them coming to the fore. He did that well, Seamie said it was his ideal trip and he ran a big race.
“We are hopeful about the Ladbrokes St Leger. All the horses are in great form, Aidan is really happy with them, they travelled over well. We didn’t get the rain that we were expecting, which is probably a good thing for us. There is probably a little bit of cut in there which you expect – we have a big chance.
“We are going to try and get back in time for the Irish Champion Stakes.”
Paul Hanagan, on board third home Adaay, said: “He ran really well.
“He just hung most of the way. Maybe the ground was a bit too slow for him, they are getting into it now.”