Doncaster wrap: All roads to Dewhurst for Iberian

Sat 16 Sep 2023
 Iberian wins the Champagne Stakes (Photo: Mark Cranham /
Iberian wins the Champagne Stakes (Photo: Mark Cranham /

Iberian gave a glimpse of his star potential with a taking victory in the Betfred Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

Charlie Hills’ youngster went into plenty of notebooks when making an impressive debut at Newbury, but inexperience took its toll at Goodwood when immediately thrust into Group Two company in the Vintage Stakes.

A length second to Haatem on that occasion, connections retained the faith in the exciting son of Lope De Vega, who had another Richard Hannon-trained runner in his way on Town Moor in the shape of the unbeaten Rosallion.

Tom Marquand was keen to shadow the 5-6 favourite up the Doncaster straight, but whereas Rosallion was unable to land a blow when push came to shove, Iberian demonstrated his class, and once hitting the front a furlong out he surged clear to come home two lengths ahead of runner-up Sunway.

Last year’s winner Chaldean went on to land the Dewhurst Stakes before returning at three to claim the 2000 Guineas and this year’s 3-1 scorer is likely to have similarly lofty aspirations, with both Betfair and Paddy Power going 8-1 from 16s for Newmarket’s end-of-season juvenile Group One and 20-1 for the opening Classic of 2024.

Hills said: “That was just what the doctor ordered, perfect. He’s a very exciting horse.

“Listening to Tom when he came back, he said he gave him some feel, he’s got an electric turn of foot and put the race to bed very well.

“His work had been unbelievable at home so we just wanted him to show that on a racecourse and I think he’s done that today.

“He learned plenty at Goodwood, where he was unlucky as he was drawn one. I think William (Buick) was conscious to teach him how to do things properly, but he was probably just a bit far out of his racing ground that day and inexperience caught him out. But he did finish well.

“The ground is still pretty soft today, but when the ground is quicker I think you’ll see a better horse.

“It will be the Dewhurst next. Why can’t he be a Guineas horse, he’ll get a mile no problem, his dam stayed really well.

“He’s a straightforward horse with a great attitude, he’s so professional.

“Distant Music won this for my dad so it’s nice to win it.”

Murphy times it to perfection on Sandrine

 Sandrine strikes in the Park Stakes (Photo: Mark Cranham /
Sandrine strikes in the Park Stakes (Photo: Mark Cranham /

Sandrine relished conditions to run out a convincing winner of the Betfred Park Stakes.

A Royal Ascot scorer at two, Andrew Balding’s filly had been without a victory since taking the Lennox Stakes at last year’s Qatar Goodwood Festival.

However, she got the perfect tow into this hotly-contested seven-furlong event and as the front-running Audience and 5-4 favourite Spycatcher got duelling a long way from home, Oisin Murphy switched out the 11-2 winner who came cruising by the two market leaders just inside the final furlong and galloped on gamely to hold off the rallying Audience.

Sandrine has now secured Pattern-race triumphs in all three seasons she has been in training and Anna Lisa Balding, representing her husband, was thrilled to see Kirsten Rausing-owned four-year-old back to winning ways.

She said: “What a star. It is up to Kirsten (if this is her last season), but she owes us nothing. To come back and run as well as she did in the City of York Stakes and then two weeks later run like that in this ground, she has a massive heart.

“Oisin said he was keen not to go too soon and they seemed to go pretty steady early and no one wanted to go on. He got it spot-on.”

Both Paddy Power and Betfair went 12-1 for the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot on October 21, but Balding was in no rush to name a next target, with the Prix de la Foret at ParisLongchamp on October 1 another possible option.

She added: “I think we will see how she is when she gets home as it can sometimes take quite a lot out of them on this ground. It is important with breeding prospects ahead of her to look after her.”

Annaf prevails in thrilling Portland

Annaf put his class came to the fore as he carried top-weight to a game victory in the Betfred Portland Handicap at Doncaster.

Mick Appleby’s four-year-old has been a regular in Group-race company this season and made the podium at Royal Ascot when third in the King’s Stand Stakes.

However, the 7-1 shot was remarkably still a maiden on turf prior to making his 23rd overall career start in the hands of Rossa Ryan.

Ridden with supreme confidence by the in-form jockey, the duo picked their way through a stacked field and pulled out all the stops to prevail in a photo-finish over Julie Camacho’s Significantly.

The victory continued a fine week on Turf Moor for Oakham-based Appleby who enjoyed Flying Childers success with the Breeders’ Cup-bound Big Evs on Friday.

Watch every race live from 62 British and Irish racecourses on TV, online and mobile, including The Cambridgeshire Meeting and Dubai Future Champions Festival from Newmarket, QIPCO British Champions Day from Ascot and more!

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