Phoenix Of Spain lands the Acomb Stakes

Phoenix Of Spain powered to an impressive victory in the Group Three Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at York.

The first Group race on York’s Ebor Festival saw a field of eight juveniles vying to win this seven furlong event.

Watan and Swissterious were away well, with the latter leading Ventura Ocean through the first furlong.

Racing into the home straight, Swissterious and Ventura Ocean still led, with James Street to the inside and Persian Moon to the stands side.

The field headed to the stands side and it was Watan who went on at the furlong pole, challenged by Phoenix Of Spain.

Phoenix Of Spain showed plenty of resolve in the final furlong under Jamie Spencer, hitting the front and keeping on well to draw about 1 ½ lengths clear of Watan, with Persian Moon in third.

The Charlie Hills trained Phoenix Of Spain, a son of Lope De Vega, had shaped well on debut when fourth to King Of Comedy at Sandown Park.

He came into this contest off the back of a victory at Wolverhampton and won this race well, having sat towards the rear for quite a while.

The winning trainer said afterwards: “He did well really to come off the pace like that. He hit the line well and took a good time to pull up.

“I am sure a mile is going to be in his grasp this year. Jamie (Spencer) is very keen on Doncaster (for the Racing Post Trophy).”

Old Persian repels all rivals in the Great Voltigeur Stakes

Old Persian

Old Persian demonstrated his stamina credentials with a game effort to win the Group Two Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes at York.

Nine three year olds contested this St Leger trial over 1 ½ miles.

At the break it was Old Persian who went on with Nelson, with the pair racing wide and tracked by Wells Farhh Go.

Settling down, Nelson went on and moved across to the inside rail, setting a good tempo.

Nelson moved into a two length lead from Old Persian and a gap of three lengths opened up to Wells Farhh Go, with Sevenna Star and Cross Counter next.

Nelson turned into the home straight with a three length lead over Old Persian and he headed to the centre of the track, with his rivals quickly swallowing him up on both flanks.

Old Persian went on, with Cross Counter coming to challenge on the stands side. In behind, Kew Gardens was staying on from a long way back.

But Old Persian kept up the gallop and whilst his stable mate Cross Counter closed late on, he held on gamely under James Doyle, to win by a narrow margin, with Kew Gardens a little one-paced but staying on for third.

“The result couldn’t have worked out any better. We’ve got one horse who will head to the St Leger, and the second horse will do what he was always expected to do – go to Melbourne for the Cup,” stated Appleby.


Roaring Lion storms to Juddmonte International Stakes success

Roaring Lion preparing for his Juddmonte International Stakes run

Roaring Lion became the latest 10-furlong specialist to pull off the Eclipse Stakes-Juddmonte International Stakes double, with a dominant performance at York.

A quality field of eight faced-off for what promised to be an exciting renewal, with a Dubai World Cup winner, 2,000 Guineas winner, Irish Derby winner, Eclipse Stakes winner, St James’s Palace Stakes winner and King George winner all in the line-up.

At the off it was Thunder Snow who went into the lead from fellow Godolphin competitor Benbatl, with Latrobe racing wider and then Poet’s Word, tracked by Roaring Lion.

Thunder Snow continued to lead, with Latrobe moving closer to his outside and then Benbatl and Poet’s Word.

The Dubai World Cup winner turned for home first, heading to the stands rail, with Latrobe short of roon and Poet’s Word also momentarily hampered.

Meanwhile, Oisin Murphy and Roaring Lion joined issue.

As Thunder Snow weakened, Benbatl and Roaring Lion were left in front, with Poet’s Word and Saxon Warrior staying on.

But it was the three year old Roaring Lion, who surged clear of his field in the way he had in the Dante Stakes in May.

The son of Kitten’s Joy pulled 3 ¼ lengths clear for a pulsating win.

Poet’s Word stayed on for second. He had been short of room, but it would be hard to suggest that this had cost him his chance given the acceleration Roaring Lion showed.

Thundering Blue, supplemented this week, stayed on well for third, with Saxon Warrior somewhat one-paced in fourth.

Winning trainer John Gosden showed plenty of confidence in his charge afterwards and warned that there might be more to come:

“He’d been training exceptionally well and we made no secret.

“Kieran O’Neill is the man who needs a lot of congratulations here, along with Ben, who looks after him, they’ve done a wonderful job with him.”

“I had a difficult spring with him, it was horrible, cold and wet and he wasn’t enjoying it but he’s just got better and better and this wasn’t a fluke. He threw away the Racing Post Trophy and wasn’t really with me at the time of the Craven and the Guineas but my God the Guineas put him right.

“He was the last one off the bridle in the Derby but plainly didn’t stay but he’s won an Eclipse and now the Juddmonte. He’s got a massive middle and has got bigger and stronger as the year has gone on. The curve was upward all the way and this is a much better horse than the one who ran at Sandown. I was expecting a big performance and we got one.”

“There wasn’t a good older horse in the Eclipse and not a single three-year-old in the King George but now they’ve met and, at a mile and a quarter, this horse is the business,.

“He’s a big-framed horse and only a three-year-old, so I see no reason that through the autumn and next year he can’t get better. The truth is they reach their absolute zenith at five if you give them the time.”

Fairyland bags the Lowther Stakes

Fairyland won the Lowther Stakes
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Fairyland dispelled concerns of the well-being of Aidan O’Brien’s string, as she landed the Group Two Sky Bet Lowther Stakes at York.

Nine juvenile fillies lined-up for this prestigious contest.

At the off it was Fairyland who went on from Angel’s Hideaway next to the stands rails.

Fairyland and Ryan Moore continued to lead with The Mackem Bullet to her outside and Little Kim making ground.

At the furlong pole, Fairyland kept on gamely next to the rails, but The Mackem Bullet continued to pressurise her.

At the line it was desperately close and Fairyland got the verdict by a nose. Queen Jo Jo finished third, but Angel’s Hideaway dropped away tamely.

O’Brien said: “We were very happy with her at Ascot (third in Albany Stakes), but she was under the weather in between.

“I’m delighted with her. She did get headed so it was great to see her battle back. Ryan said she had a blow two (furlongs) out, which was understandable.

She’s a lovely filly and that (Cheveley Park) is the way we’ll be heading.

“I would imagine usually if they are good enough they’d get a mile, and she’s a big, rangy filly — she looks more like a three-year-old than a two-year-old.”

Mark Johnston breaks British training record

Mark Johnston holds a strong hand among the juveniles

Middleham-based Mark Johnston has broken Richard Hannon’s record for the number of winners, as Poet’s Society landed the Clipper Logistics Handicap at York.

It was the 4,194th victory of Johnston’scareer in Britain, taking him past the mark set by Richard Hannon snr and making him the most prolific trainer in British racing history.

Ridden by Frankie Dettori , Poet’s Society was in the vanguard from the gates and tenaciously stuck on to land the mile contest.

Johnston began training in 1987, having studied to be a vet beforehand. Hinari Video was his first winner at Carlisle.

Early stars included Marina Park and Branston Abby, both Pattern winners, but his 1993 crop of juveniles took the yard to another level.

Mister Baileys landed the 1994 2,000 Guineas, while Double Trigger went on to become an outstanding Cup horse, winning the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2005 and the Doncaster Cup on three occasions.

Bijou D’Inde was second in the 2,000 Guineas of 1996, beaten by fractions, but went on to win the St James’s Palace Stakes and became a globe-trotter.

In 1998, Lend A Hand also went close in the Guineas when second to King Of Kings.

Fruits Of Love was another popular and successful horse, winning the Dubai Turf and twice landing the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Attraction proved an outstanding filly in 2003 and 2004, winning the 1,000 Guineas, Irish 1,000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes, while in 2004 Shamardal won the Dewhurst Stakes.

Johnston’s horses are renowned for their toughness and never-say-die attitude.

Glorious Goodwood would not seem right without a clutch of Johnston winners on a Southern raid.

So many handicappers have proved redoubtable, consistent and have kept Johnston’s prolific run of victories going. Horse like Fire Fighting, Watersmeet, Lake Volta and Rainbow Rebel are easily recalled.

But the team at Middleham should also be acknowledged.

Johnston, wife Deirdre, son Charlie and the whole team have a huge squad of horses to train and travel.

It only works well with the finest of precision organisation. Long may it continue.

Johnston said: “It’s a relief to get it out of the way and on to the next one. I’ve been wishing we could switch it all off and pretend it never happened.

“People keep saying, what does it mean? I don’t think anyone has tried to belittle it, but sometimes I think, how important is it? At the same time I do have to pinch myself and ask how I could get to 4,194 from where we started. It’s unimaginable.

“I nearly wasn’t here at York. Deirdre and Charlie aren’t here. An owner was coming to see some yearlings we bought in France and phoned to say he would arrive at 2pm. We had to decide who would stay behind and it was nearly me. We only had two runners today, both in the same race, at 20-1 and 33-1. We couldn’t expect it to have happened in this race.

“It was getting very frustrating. It wasn’t as if we had loads of odds-on shots beaten, and we had plenty of horses running well, but, sod’s law, it took quite a well to get from four to one and again from one to now.

“It’s great it has happened with a horse like this and it hadn’t even occurred to me he was carrying my own colours. If we could have written the result we would have had Joe Fanning on the horse, and of course it would have been great if it had been one of our regular jockeys, but I did say before the race that at least if it was Frankie no one would forget it!”


Sea of Class outclasses Knavesmire rivals

Sea Of Class was crowned the Queen of York with an imperious performance in the Group One Darley Yorkshire Oaks.

Eight fillies ran in this race, with the Prix de Diane winner Laurens, well away.

However, Magic Wand went on from Flattering and Bye Bye Baby, as Ballydoyle runners dictated the earlier pace.

Magic Wand continued to lead, with Laurens pulling hard on the outside.

The order was relatively unchanged as they turned for home, with Magic Wand and Laurens still leading the field and turning wide, heading to the centre of the track.

Laurens travelled well and joined Magic Wand, while Horse Play and Coronet threatened to get involved.

However, James Doyle and Sea Of Class, ridden patiently, began to close in ominous style.

Just as she had in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh, Sea Of Class smoothly made headway from the back to hit the front.

She swept clear in brilliant style to beat the four year old Coronet, by 2 ½ lengths, to give her trainer William Haggas, the perfect birthday present. Eziyra took third.

Haggas said: “She really was impressive, really impressed me today.

“For me they weren’t going that fast and I was hoping Laurens would take Magic Wand on down the back.

“But the first three came from the back so maybe they did go faster than I thought.

“She has won a proper race and I don’t think he (Doyle) had to resort to the whip at all and she showed a really smart turn of foot today.

“She’s not in the Arc yet and I stress it’s a yet. Mrs Choi will have to pay the supplementary fee if she chooses to do that but I’m pretty sure she’ll be keen. She tells me that her son has been to the Arc twice before – Urban Sea when she won and Sea The Stars when he won.

“A lot will depend on whether she stays in training at four. The plan was always to keep her in training as she’s still young but if she wins everything this year it might be different.

Lah Ti Dar turns Galtres Stakes into a procession

Lah Ti Dar

Lah Ti Dar, not seen since winning the Pretty Polly Stakes on 1,000 Guineas Day, showed that she retains all her old ability by annihilating her rivals in the Listed British EBF & Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes at York.

Shailene was withdrawn, leaving seven fillies to contest this 1 ½ mile race.

Snow Wind was the early leader from What A Home and Alwaysandforever.

Snow Wind pressed on and moved into a three length advantage over Alwaysandforever, with What A Home travelling well and Lah Ti Dar next.

Turning for home, Snow Wind led but with three furlongs to run, Lah Ti Dar took off under Frankie Dettori, shooting clear.

The race was over at the furlong pole, with Lah Ti Dar six lengths clear and going further clear for an emphatic comeback win.

Second home came Light Of Joy, some 10 lengths adrift of the runaway winner.

The John Gosden trained daughter of Dubawi, out of the brilliant Dar Re Mi, could be St Leger-bound, if jockey Frankie Dettori has his way.

Gosden said: “She did everything right. She was very ill and very down with herself with a virus, but she’s come back in great order.

“Frankie was emphatic she should run in the St Leger, we’ll have to speak to the management and we’ll see. I’ll always listen to what the jockey says, I always do.

“We’ll consider that, there’s other routes but it’s an appealing race for her — a filly fresh in the autumn — and she certainly wasn’t having any trouble with the distance there.

“She was very sick, but she now comes very fresh into the autumn.

“There’s every reason to suggest she’ll stay in training.”


Stradivarius lands a million in the Lonsdale Cup

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Stradivarius completed the Yorkshire Cup, Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Group Two Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes to land a million pound bonus.

A field of nine lined-up for this two-mile contest, with all eyes fixed on Stradivarius, as he made his bid to land a £1 million bonus.

At the break it was Idaho who broke best, but Petitioner soon went on from Count Octave, as the field passed the winning post with a circuit to race.

Petitioner continued to take the field along from Count Octave and Idaho, with Max Dynamite out wide.

The leader gradually wound-up the pace, but Count Octave nipped through on the inside to lead on the home bend, with Idaho and Reed Verdon for company.

Count Octave led to the two furlong pole and had seen off his closest rivals, but Stradivarius, under pressure some way out, stayed on under Frankie Dettori.

He collared the leader with a furlong to run and went clear on the stands rail to win by about a length, with a wide gap back to Idaho in third.

Trainer John Gosden said: “I wouldn’t say he was at his sparkling best but the pace was key. We’re better with a stronger pace but we’re not going to complain because he won.”

Emaraaty Ana lands the Gimcrack Stakes

Emaraaty Ana was always up with the pace and found more reserves to land the Group Two Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes.

Nine juveniles ran in this six furlong event.

Emaraaty Ana led with Chuck Willis in the early stages.

Semoum came to join Emaraaty Ana at halfway, with Chuck Willis and Shine So Bright next.

Heading to the furlong pole, the front two were still dominating, but Legends Of War picked up well to the stands side.

Semoum faded but Emaraaty Ana kept up the gallop and Legends Of War could only inch closer and never quite got to the long-time leader. Shine So Bright finished third.

Emaraaty Ana was giving trainer Kevin Ryan a fourth victory in the Gimcrack Stakes.


Alpha Delphini inches to Nunthorpe Stakes glory

Alpha Delphini
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Alpha Delphini recorded his biggest career success as he won by inches from Mabs Cross, in the Group One Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes.

One of the season’s big sprint contests attracted a field of fifteen, over the five furlongs.

From the gates it was Havana Grey who led with Take Cover and Alpha Delphini, while Caspian Prince and Battaash were also prominent.

At halfway, Take Cover led, while Havana aGrey raced on his own.

With 1 ½ furlongs to race, Battaash went on, next to the stands rail.

However, his lead was short-lived as the action focused on the centre of the track, with Mabs Cross and Alpha Delphini sailing past Battaash, engaged in their own private battle.

The two moved clear and flashed past the post with inches separating them. Well behind in third came Blue Point, just ahead of Battaash and the gallant Havana Grey.

After a long delay, the Judge called the seven year-old Alpha Delphini and Graham Lee the winners.

It was another big sprint success for trainer Bryan Smart, who commented: “It’s fantastic. This horse… all week it’s been building up… and to wait that long for that third Group 1. His half-brother [Tangerine Trees] has done it and he’s done it on the best course in the world.

“He has back problems. He gets massaged, gets looked after like he’s a king. Today I just knew he was so well. He was more relaxed than I’ve ever seen him. Beck [Edmunds] the head girl led him up and we just knew. We’ve landed the one I’ve always wanted.”


Lord Glitters wins the Strensall

Lord Glitters showed good battling ability to outdo Mustashry in the Group Three Sky Bet and Symphony Group Strensall Stakes.

Eight ran in this contest over just short of nine furlongs.

Threading burst quickly from the stalls, but to the inside, it was Chief Ironside who went on.

Chief Ironside and Fran Berry moved a couple of lengths clear of Threading, with a length back to Master The World and Chilean, with Lord Glitters next.

Chief Ironside turned for home and took his pursuers to the centre of the track.

Threading was first to lay down a challenge, while Mustashry came to collect the leader with a furlong to race, with Lord Glitters to the inside also improving.

Both horses flanked and passed Chief Ironside, before settling down to a good tussle in the final furlong.

It was Lord Glitters and Danny Tudhope, who got up to beat Mustashry by about ¾ of a length, with Chief Ironside keeping on well for third, ahead of Master The World.


Expert Eye confirms his class in the City Of York Stakes

Expert Eye
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Expert Eye showed his class in spades to hold off the spirited challenge of Gordon Lord Byron, in the Group Three Sky Bet City Of York Stakes.

Nine horses took part in this seven furlong race.

There was an even break at the gates and it was Arbalet who went on with Donjuan Triumphant, with Gordon Lord Byron tracking these.

Turning into the home straight, the order remained the same, with Donjuan Triumphant and Arbalet in the front rank.

Gradually the front pair came back to their rivals, with Expert Eye hitting the front on the inside.

With a furlong to race though, he had not put things to bed and Gordon Lord Byron challenged, while Arbalet came back for more.

However, Sir Michael Stoute’s three year old kept on for Frankie Dettori and found more to repel the veteran Gordon Lord Byron – who had won this race back in 2012.

At the line, the Jersey Stakes winner, Expert Eye, was maybe 1 ½ lengths clear, with Arbalet keeping on well for third.


Muntahaa leads home a Gosden one-two in the Ebor


Trainer John Gosden crowned a terrific week by saddling the first two home in the Sky Bet Ebor Handicap at York.

Twenty lined-up for one of the year’s biggest handicaps.

As the stalls burst open, it was My Reward and Dylan Mouth who led early on, with Crowned Eagle soon joining these, while Muntahaa raced out wide.

My Reward and Crowned Eagle disputed the lead as they settled down, with Weekender and Teodoro tucked in behind these.

Turning for home, Crowned Eagle went on, with Weekender travelling powerfully and Sea The Lion next.

Weekender and Frankie Dettori hit the front with two furlongs to run, with Muntahaa travelling well and then Sea The Lion.

Muntahaa and Jim Crowley picked it up with a furlong to race and streaked clear impressively to win well from Weekender in a John Gosden one-two.

Back in third came Sea The Lion, with Mustajeer coming home fourth.


Crowley outfoxes rivals in the Roses Stakes

Jim Crowley and Well Done Fox showed the most speed to land the Listed Julia Graves Roses Stakes.

Eleven juveniles went to post for this five furlong dash.

From the start it was Little Legs and Deia Glory who led with Street Parade and World Order, to the centre of the course.

Little Legs, on the stands side, led from Deia Glory.

With a furlong to run, Little Legs still had plenty of momentum, but Deia Glory and Well Done Fox became embroiled in a battle which took them into the lead.

In a fine scrap, Well Done Fox and Jim Crowley got up narrowly to defeat Deia Glory, with Sabre rattling home for third.