Highest Ground earns Derby quotes following impressive debut

Mon 23 Sep 2019

Highest Ground propelled himself into the market for next year’s Investec Derby when making a taking debut at Leicester on Monday.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained son of Frankel overcame a slow start to run out an impressive two-and-three-quarter-length winner of the British Stallion Studs EBF Kegworth Novice Stakes

Highest Ground is now a 33-1 chance with Betfair, William Hill and Coral to give Newmarket handler Stoute a sixth success in the Epsom Classic next June.

James Horton, assistant trainer, said of the 3-1 winner: “He doesn’t jump well at home and being on the wing on that rail just intimidated him.

“Ryan Moore did the right thing and went across to follow the right horses and he ended up doing it smoothly. He has got a very likeable attitude.

“The last couple of weeks he has just shown us at home that he might be all right.”

Another outing before the end of the season could now be on the cards for the Niarchos Family-owned colt.

Horton added: “We will see how he comes out of it, but we might look to get him out on a racecourse again this season. He will have learnt plenty today.

“Judging by how he won over seven furlongs, a mile will be no problem for him. I think he will be a mile-and-a-quarter horse next season, although he showed plenty of speed today.”

Apprentice jockey Marco Ghiani continued his flying form to move within two winners of having his claim reduced to 5lb after getting the Stuart Williams-trained Shamshon (6-1) home by a neck in the feature Racing TV Handicap.

Ghiani said: “It was a great week last week and today we start this week in the best possible way.

“He didn’t feel quite like he did when he won at Newmarket, but he kept on going at the end and I struggled to pull him up. He is a really genuine horse.”

Look Closely appeared to appreciate the step up to a mile and a half when opening his account at the fourth time of asking with a decisive six-length success in the Breeders Backing Racing Novice Stakes.

Mario Gussago, assistant to winning trainer Roger Varian, said of the 4-1 shot: “That was a real surprise, but I think the step up in trip has helped him.

“He thinks a lot and last time at Goodwood he stopped. When Andrea (Atzeni) went clear, he thought he would do exactly the same, but he kept on going. We didn’t expect him to win by five lengths.”

Michael Bell believes there is plenty more to come from Clever Candy, who gained the first victory of her career when prevailing by a length and three-quarters in the Aston Flamville Fillies’ Nursery Handicap.

Bell said of the 16-1 winner: “I thought the handicapper had given her a chance and she has taken it. She ran quite well at Yarmouth and stayed on quite nicely and she ran well on her debut at Ascot for a long way.

“She came from the breeze-up sales so she has taken a bit of time to settle down, but she is coming to herself now. She will give her owners a lot of fun and she will be ideal for fillies’ handicaps next year.”

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