Roger Varian and David Egan combined with Rasima to win the Listed Ladbrokes Home Of The Odds Boost EBF Fleur De Lys Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield Park this afternoon, the second Fast-Track Qualifier of the 2018/19 All-Weather Championships.
The three-year-old Iffraaj filly is now guaranteed a free start in £150,000 Ladbrokes All-Weather Fillies & Mares Championship over seven furlongs back at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, April 19th, 2019.
Dropping back in distance today from 12 furlongs to a mile, the 14/1 shot was ridden positively from her draw in stall 11, while Move Swiftly (William Haggas/James Doyle) was anchored at the rear of the 12-runner field.
Rasima travelled nicely behind the leaders before challenging between rivals entering the home straight and readily put two lengths between herself and front-runner Akvavera (Ralph Beckett/Joe Fanning).
Move Swiftly made eye-catching progress down the outside to grab second inside the final furlong, but never looked like getting to the winner who had a length and quarter in hand at the line and clocked a good time of 1m 34.63s under Egan. Summer Icon (Mick Channon/Charles Bishop,) was a length and a half further back in third.
Rasima came into today’s race on the back of a below-par fifth in the Princess Royal Nayef Stakes over a mile and a half at Newmarket on September 28th.
The Nurlan Bizakov-owned and bred filly had previously finished second to stablemate and subsequent Grade 1 EP Taylor Stakes scorer Sheikha Reika in the 10-furlong Listed John Musker Stakes at Yarmouth on September 19th and in June was runner-up over the same trip in the Hoppings Stakes on Tapeta at Newcastle.
Newmarket-based Roger Varian said: “Rasima showed very good form when second to Sheikha Reika at Yarmouth.
“It was probably a mistake backing her up quite quickly over a mile and a half at Newmarket, where she didn’t quite get home.
“I am really delighted as she has been twice stakes-placed and it is lovely she is now a stakes winner. She is the first foal and home-bred, so it is important to get this win on the board.
“If you break well from a wide draw and not use up too much horse, you can get into position A and David Egan did a great job.
“Whether she stays in training is a nice discussion to have.”
David Egan added: “I got a lovely run round. I knew our other horse [Shenanigans, fifth] was going to be prominent and I felt it was important to get Rasima out the gates because she ran over a mile and a half the last day.
“I think the race could have been won in the first furlong by getting a nice position. I think that’s vital in a race with 12 runners around here.
“Rasima showed a great turn of foot to put the race to bed around the bend. She is a filly on the improve – she started the year rated in the high 70s and now she has won a Listed race and will probably be rated over 100.
“She maybe didn’t stay a mile and a half the last day. She travelled well into the race and just struggled in the last two furlongs up the hill at Newmarket.”
Of the runner-up, rider James Doyle said: “It was a bit sickening on Move Swiftly and it was one of those races. We have taught her to miss the break slightly and drop in because she can be on her toes a bit early but it was just the undoing of us today.
“She didn’t break on terms and they were across quickly. I ended up sitting last, got stuck behind the dead wood in the race and had to circle the field. She was the best filly in the race but was undone by the track and tactics unfortunately.”
Doyle made amends in the following race as Dramatic Queen (William Haggas) was the length winner of £40,000 Listed Ladbrokes Bet £5 Get £20 EBF River Eden Fillies’ Stakes (3.05pm, 11 runners) over a mile and five furlongs.
Remarkably, Dramatic Queen was returning to the track less than 24 hours after recording a comfortable success in a 12-furlong handicap at Kempton Park last night, October 31st.
Maureen Haggas, assistant trainer to her husband William, reported: “William was dead keen to run – none of the rest of us were that sure, but he was very keen to run in both. They looked fairly open races, she hadn’t run for a bit before last night and has got all winter to get over it.
“She stayed at Kempton last night and came down here this morning. I had a look at her when I got here – she had eaten everything, looked fine and was as sound as a pound. She’s a big, strong girl.
“She has not been overworked and looks fine. She will have a nice holiday now, which she deserves.”
Doyle remarked: “It was obviously a good call by William, Maureen and everyone. It is not the normal route you see William take, but Dramatic Queen did it very well last night and everyone was happy with her today, so why not?
“She had a tough enough race yesterday – I was able to dictate on her last night and we only got racing from four out, so that probably helped.
“They went a hell of a pace today, which I was pleased about because I was hoping for a good pace if I wasn’t in front. She can be a little bit eager, but settled very well off the back of a quick pace.”
Earlier on the card, Never Back Down (Hugo Palmer/James Doyle, 9st 4lb), a Listed winner over six furlongs at Newbury in May, came with a well-timed run to land the £19,000 sunracing.co.uk Handicap (2.00pm) over seven furlongs.
Never Back Down captured a Fast-Track Qualifier at Wolverhampton in December, but hung his chance away on Finals Day when trailing home last of 10 in the 32Red All-Weather Three-Year-Old Championship.
Doyle said: “Today was a slower tempo of race than what he is used to, given that he has been running over five and six furlongs.
“It was tricky as they did not go much of a pace and he was a bit aggressive through the first couple of furlongs.
“He got a bit lost when the pace quickened – he wandered around the turn a little bit – and I did not think I would get there, but his stamina then came into play.
“I suppose the mile race on Finals Day is in the back of our minds as they usually go a good pace in that, which would suit him.”
Doyle went on to complete a treble on Listen To The Wind, in the seven-furlong Ladbrokes Bet £5 Get £20 / British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes.