By Nick Seddon
Owen Burrows admitted he was taken a little bit by surprise by the rapidly-improving Anmaat (11-4), who produced a devastating performance to win the Group Three Betfred Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock Park today.
The four year old was having his first try in Group company after winning the lucrative John Smith’s Cup on his seasonal reappearance at York last month but he certainly didn’t look out of place at this level, cruising into contention under Jim Crowley before pulling clear of 13-8 Favourite Grocer Jack for a four-length success.
Impressive! Watch a full replay of Anmaat's impressive Rose Of Lancaster win
And while he didn’t have any immediate plans for the son of Awtaad, Burrows felt that his charge may be stepping up in class once again in the near future.
He said: “It was a big performance to win at York first time out and he’s pleased me since, so obviously this was a natural progression for him. He was rated 109 there and I think he’ll go up a bit for that!
“That’s what surprised me - just how far he travelled on the bridle for. He’s obviously really improving and he’s caught me by surprise just how quickly he is improving.
“Honestly I don’t have anything in mind for him yet, we thought we’d get today out of the way as he was stepping out of handicap company. Interestingly Jim thought he relished a little bit of juice in the ground, so we’ll have a look. Things like the Irish Champion Stakes are great discussions to have, so we’ll see how he comes out of it and make a plan. There’s a few discussions to have now.”
A delighted Owen Burrows tells us more about Anmaat
Winning jockey Jim Crowley was equally as taken by the performance. He commented: “He gave me a great feel. The performance worked out well from York and I think he loved the slower conditions today.
“He really enjoyed getting his toe in a little bit more and he’s clearly improved again from York, so he’s exciting. It was a good race with plenty of strength and depth in it and he’s done it well. I was amazed how well he travelled into the race, he’s very nice.”
Saturday’s card is an excellent one, with more than £220,000 on offer in prize money across the seven races. A significant chunk of that will remain on Merseyside too, after Mr McCann (100-30) produced a game performance to win the second race, the Betfred "Play Fred's £5 Million" Handicap over a mile.
The Hugo Palmer-trained three year old is owned by Liverpool footballers Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Brighton star Adam Lallana and he showed an excellent attitude to return to winning ways back in calmer waters.
The son of Kodiac was touted as a potential Cazoo Derby contender earlier in the campaign and held some lofty engagements in the spring, before ultimately disappointing on his most recent start at Royal Ascot in June. However he was right back on song here, responding well to jockey Tom Marquand’s urgings to hold on for a half-length success – much to the delight of his jockey.
Marquand commented: “Obviously he’s won here before and as ever with Haydock, when you go forward you can just get that bit of a fill up and he was tough as he got headed at one point and had to really fight back. He’s a nice horse and it was a really game performance, it’s Hugo’s local track now so any winner here is more than welcome!
“He had a couple of tough tasks and they were justified off what he’d done, but he can come down into this kind of level and really knock around competitively. He’s going to be a fun horse but it’s tough bridging that gap to the next level. Who knows he might get back there but this is him for now.
“I’m not a big football fan but apparently Liverpool haven’t had too great a result today, I’ve been keeping an eye on it in the weighing room and at least they’ve had a winner now!”
Andrea Atzeni joked that he was relieved to earn some redemption on the smart Rising Star (13-2) at Haydock Park today, having had a rather luckless time of things on their last encounter.
The jockey was on board the Marco Botti-trained four year old for her debut at Haydock in August 2020 and was forced to pull her up on that occasion, suspecting that his charge had sustained an injury.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then and Atzeni was on hand to guide her to a breakthrough success at Listed level in the British Stallion Studs EBF Dick Hern Stakes (1m), when the daughter of Fast Company showed a good attitude to fend off a three-strong challenge to score by half a length in a tight finish.
It was a performance which impressed Atzeni, who admitted he was relieved that things had gone more smoothly this time around. He said: “That was very gutsy, we had a very good draw in stall one and the pace wasn’t overly strong, which probably didn’t suit her.
“We travelled into it going into the dip but to be honest with you I thought we were probably going to finish fourth, but once we levelled up she really dug deep and really wanted it. The ground was probably a bit dead and she’s a top of the ground filly really.
“It’s great for the owners (Mamba Racing), she gave them a Royal Ascot winner (in this year’s Kensington Palace Handicap) and to win again today is fantastic. It’s funny because I rode this filly on her first start here and I actually pulled her up because I thought she went wrong. I haven’t sat on her since then but she’s come a long way since!”
Meanwhile, jockey David Probert feels that Harry and Roger Charlton could have a nice prospect on their hands in the form of Whitebeam (7-4 Favourite), who completed a hat-trick when battling to victory in the penultimate Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Handicap (7f).
The three year old arrived here on the back of completing a double at Newbury in June and she still looked to be learning on the job here, with Probert having to coax his filly to the line after she travelled strongly into the race.
Whitebeam has a nice pedigree as a daughter of Caravaggio and having piloted her for each of her three wins, Probert feels that he still hasn’t seen her best just yet. He said: “She’s still learning and she’s a very difficult filly to get to the bottom of, we’ll probably only know how good she is next time out when she steps up in grade.
“Mr Charlton was keen not to rush things with her, she got a little bit worked up on her first and second starts while last time over a mile she was a little bit keen.
“It looked as though a step back to seven would suit her and she was very smooth today and she just had a little look around at the end – so I’d say her performance was a little better than it looked. She’s very well bred and I haven’t yet asked her a serious question, so she’s exciting.”
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