Lingfield round-up: Headway 33-1 for Guineas after living up to name in style

Sat 3 Mar 2018

By staff

Headway is 33-1 for the Qipco 2000 Guineas after staging a scintillating performance to land an unlikely victory in the 32Red Spring Cup at Lingfield.

Headway - James Doyle - Lingfield - Racingfotos Headway ate up ground to overhaul Rufus King under the returning James Doyle (PA)

William Haggas' colt was at the rear of the field and still had plenty to do with a furlong to go, but the 11-10 favourite found a staggering turn of foot to lift the Listed prize.

The long-time leader Rufus King was still well clear turning for home, while James Doyle had to deliver Headway on the wide outside to challenge.

Yet the complexion of the race changed within a matter of strides as Headway cut down Mark Johnston's charge to run out an impressive one-length winner.

The acceleration was so decisive that Doyle was even able to ease his mount down a few strides from the line.

Haggas' wife and assistant, Maureen, said: "Turning in I'd have been happy finishing second, but it was gob-smacking how he picked up because they'd gone a nice pace.

"For a first run back it was great. I was really pleased with him.

"When they haven't run for a long time, they can be a bit gassy. It's important they settle, especially when they're going up in trip, which none of us thought was going to be a problem.

"They need to relax and finish the race which he did quite well.

"He didn't seem to mind the track or the surface. There are plenty of options for him. It's a nice start.

"He's worth trying at a mile, for sure. I don't see any reason why he shouldn't get it. William will talk to Harry (Herbert, owners' racing manager) and we'll see where we go from here but it's a nice start."

Headway earned a first show of 33-1 with Bet365 and William Hill for the first Classic of the Flat season on May 5.

Encore D'Or (2-1 joint-favourite) won the Betway Handicap for the second year running with a power-packed finish in the hands of Ryan Moore.

Brother Tiger took the field along at a brisk pace until Moore set his sights on the leader and pounced on Robert Cowell's the 2-1 joint-favourite to stamp his authority in this five-furlong dash.

Leading just inside the final furlong. Robert Cowell's six-year-old scored by a neck from fellow joint-favourite Atletico.

Moore said: "He had a very smooth run round. It all went nicely. He has plenty of talent and is well suited to these surfaces."

Attain (7-1) gave leading all-weather trainer Archie Watson his 29th winner of the winter campaign when getting up close home to claim the Betway Handicap.

The nine-year-old got up close home to pip Widnes by a neck under 7lb claimer Pierre-Louis Jamin.

"We claimed this horse out of a race here about 15 months ago now and he's won four for us now," said Watson.

"For him to keep doing it in the afternoons for us and contributing is just great. He's a legend."

Constantino (7-1) made a triumphant return after an 154-day absence to take the Play For Free At Handicap for trainer Richard Fahey and jockey Paul Hanagan.

Owned by Sir Robert Ogden, the Richard Fahey-trained five-year-old had not been seen since September, but he showed no signs of ring-rustiness as he knuckled down for a deserved victory.

Paul Hanagan had Constantino (7-1) tucked away nicely in midfield in the early stages as Poet's Society and Sea Fox set the pace before unleashing him with his run in the straight.

The Danehill Dancer gelding quickened in good style and kept on gamely to score by half a length from Humbert, with Chevallier another three-quarters of a length away in third.

Hanagan said: "He's done absolutely nothing wrong. He's travelled all the way through and when the split came he wanted more.

"I just liked the way when he got challenged in the last furlong he put his head down and wanted it even more."

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