Salisbury report: Happy Romance continues to climb ranks for Hannon and Levey

Thu 3 Sep 2020

Watch a full replay of Thursday's featurer race at Salisbury, the Shadwell Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes, plus Lydia Hislop's interviews with the winning trainer and jockey

Happy Romance continued her remarkable campaign as she gained the first Group-race success of her career in the Shadwell Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes at Salisbury.

The Richard Hannon-trained daughter of Dandy Man added to recent victories in the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury and in the Goffs UK Premier Yearling Stakes at York to make her return to Pattern-race company a triumphant one in the Group Three prize.

Held up among rivals early on the 11-4 favourite gradually worked through the gears under Sean Levey during the closing stages of the six-furlong prize, before defeating the previously-unbeaten Alcohol Free by three-quarters of a length.

Hannon said: “She has been an amazing filly all year and has done that very well. By Sean’s own admission he thinks he got there a little too soon as she picks up so quick.

“She is very quick and very good. She will have no problem going further and she will get it, as she has no problems relaxing.

Hannon and Levey give their verdict to Lydia Hislop

“The owners have had a ball, but they’ve not come into the winner’s enclosure once the poor people.

“I took her out of Goodwood (last weekend) because of the ground, as she was going a furlong further there This was a nice spot for her just up the road and she has won very well.”

The Marlborough handler will tread the same path he did with last year’s winner Dark Lady, earmarking the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket later this month as the next port of call for Happy Romance.

He said: “We will probably go straight for the Cheveley Park now. She is a proper filly. She has won the money and she has now won the black type. They are having a ball.”

Despite runner-up Alcohol Free tasting defeat for the first time in her career, her trainer Andrew Balding was satisfied with her effort. Balding said: “I was very pleased, as it was tough from that draw. She has run really well.”

Jack Mitchell partnered the promising Lady Hayes

Roger Varian made the perfect start to his association with owner George Bolton as Lady Hayes made a winning debut in the British Stallion Studs EBF Quidhampton Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.

Sent off at 9-1, the Kodiac filly ensured the Newmarket handler’s first runner for the Royal Ascot-winning owner was a successful one when defying her inexperience to emerge triumphant in the seven-furlong contest.

Despite showing signs of greenness late on, Lady Hayes demonstrated a willing attitude to defeat long-time leader Light Refrain by a length.

Varian said: “She is a lovely filly and I’m delighted to get my first winner for her owner George Bolton. George has had winners in the past, but that is the first I’ve had for him and I’m delighted to do it with his first runner.

“She will improve from today, as she ran a bit green under pressure, while she will stay a mile.”

While plans remain fluid for Lady Hayes, who was introduced at 33-1 for next year’s 1000 Guineas by Paddy Power and 50-1 for the same race by Ladbrokes, Varian expects her to step up in class before the season is out.

He added: “I’m not quite sure where we go next yet, but she has Pattern potential. It’s the time of year when you have got to look at stakes-race options and see.

Hector Crouch tells Lydia about Star In The Making's relish for softer ground

“We will see how she comes out of it, but I would think she deserves to be racing at stakes level at some point in the autumn.”

Star In The Making (16-1) made it two wins from as many appearances at the Wiltshire track when prevailing by half a length in the European Bloodstock News EBF “Lochsong” Fillies’ Handicap.

Winning trainer Clive Cox said: “To be fair to her she has won on the track before, but she has just struggled a bit on the firmer ground. She is a good filly on her maiden form from here and it was good to just produce that kind of run.

“It was perfect for her today as it is soft without being too demanding. She is a very light-framed filly, but she has clearly got a bit of talent.”

Dobbs partnered Longlai to success

He added: “When conditions are right she is very honest and she has got a wonderful pedigree and if she could get some black type it would be marvellous.”

Longlai (8-1) confirmed his superiority over Golden Flame, whom he had behind him at Goodwood last month, when striking gold by a neck in the Shadwell Novice Stakes to initiate a double for Hannon.

The Marlborough handler said: “He doesn’t need to do a lot more this year now he has won one. He could be a nice mile or mile-and-a-quarter horse next year. The step up to a mile has definitely helped and he is still unfurnished.”

Nasraawy went one better than on his three previous outings on his first start since being gelded with a three-and-a-half-length success in the Racing TV Handicap.

Rider Kieran O’Neill said of the John Gosden-trained 4-1 shot, “He probably didn’t like the ground, but he has shown a bit of class at home. The further he went the better he got. He is a bit of a boy, but he has got ability.”

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