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Persian Force books Coventry spot with effortless Newbury win

Sat 14 May 2022

Persian Force booked his ticket for Royal Ascot with an effortless success in the BetVictor Conditions Stakes at Newbury.

Richard Hannon’s charge won the Brocklesby at Doncaster on his racecourse bow in March and was all the rage to follow up as he tried six furlongs for the first time.

Just three runners went to post, with another previous winner, Holguin, setting out to make all while Aidan O’Brien’s newcomer Sierra Blanca raced upsides down the middle of the track.

Rossa Ryan was happy to tuck in behind the Andrew Balding-trained Holguin on the 8-13 market leader until switched out to make his challenge as Sierra Blanca quickly dropped away.

Persian Force swept by the pace-setter in a matter of strides and pulled clear in the closing stages, coming home two and a half lengths clear.

Hannon believes the Mehmas colt compares favourably with former stable star Canford Cliffs, who landed the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot before going on to notch five Group One victories at three and four.

Persian Force is now set to follow the same route to Ascot.

He said: “He is very laid back. If only I had another five like that, I wouldn’t have to work for a living!

“He will go to the Coventry. He is one of the nicest two-year-olds we have had for a long time. He is not a horse who is running around the paddock – he behaves like good horses do. Since Canford Cliffs’ days, he is the most exciting two-year-old we have had.

“I am never really a fan of the Brocklesby – you don’t see a lot of really good horses going there. But I said what is the point of hanging onto them? May as well let him go and it has been a long time from then to now.

“This is a proper race. I know Andrew (Balding) likes his horse and I think he slightly frightened a lot of horses away today. He is a seriously good horse.”

"Progressive" Israr digs deep for London Gold Cup success

Israr repelled all challengers to land a competitive renewal of the BetVictor London Gold Cup Handicap at Newbury.

As a son of Muhaarar out of Oaks winner Taghrooda, Israr had shown plenty of promise in three previous races, winning on debut and placing twice subsequently, and punters were keen on his chances in this 10-furlong event, sending him off the 3-1 favourite.

Israr was anchored at the back of the field by Jim Crowley in the early stages as Luminous Light set the gallop, but he made smooth progress in the straight to grab the lead with a furlong to run.

However, the John and Thady Gosden-trained winner had to dig deep in the closing stages, fending off the late charge of Surrey Mist by half a length while third-placed Zoom and fourth Wineglass Bay also finished strongly, with each beaten a head.

Israr could now head to Royal Ascot and step up to 12 furlongs for another handicap date.

Thady Gosden said: “He is a progressive type of horse and he enjoyed winning one in his turn there. He is so relaxed in his races that a step up to mile and a half should not be a problem and obviously his mother (Taghrooda) stayed it well.

“We will see how he comes out of the race and the King George V would seem an obvious spot for him.”

Crowley is also confident Israr will stay further, adding: “He was pretty straightforward and showed plenty of guts. I think he’ll get a bit further.”

Tiber Flow enters Royal Ascot equation with Newbury success

William Haggas was set for a big afternoon at Newbury with the hotly-anticipated return of Baaeed in the Al Shabaq Lockinge Stakes and it could not have got off to a better start, as Tiber Flow took the Listed Carnarvon Stakes under Tom Marquand.

The Jon and Julia Aisbitt-owned and bred Caravaggio colt made good late headway in the six-furlong contest to collar long-time leader Hierarchy approaching the final furlong, and had to pull out all the stops to deny the late flourish of Rizg, who powered up the stands rail under Marquand’s wife, Hollie Doyle, to score by a short head.

The 15-8 favourite, who won his first three all-weather starts before just failing to get up in a valuable conditions event at Newcastle on Good Friday, is as tough as they come.

His trainer feels he will be able to tackle the hullabaloo of Royal Ascot, given his past history of overcoming adversity, and will next either run in the Commonwealth Cup or over an extra furlong in the Jersey Stakes.

Haggas revealed: “He is getting better and he has got ability. If you look at his near-hind leg, he’s got all those white hairs on it. This horse had four general anaesthetics in six weeks. At the time, we thought we were going to lose him. That was before he ever ran.

“He has knee surgery and then he got an infection in a hock, so he had general for the knee surgery and then they had to flush is clear twice, so he’s a bloody tough horse.

“I just think at Newcastle he just didn’t know how to sprint. They injected pace at the wrong time for him and he was a little bit flat-footed and then he came home. He has been running around the all-weather winning little races and I think he is learning how to sprint.

“Hopefully, if he comes on again, he will be a 12-1 or 16-1 shot but he is the sort of horse who will go well in a race like the Commonwealth Cup.

“Tom thought he went too early today. We will definitely leave him in the Commonwealth Cup and put him in the Jersey and we will run in one of them.

“Tom felt today that he has got the speed. One is a Group Three and one is a Group One and they will both be fiercely competitive.”

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