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Change of tactics reap reward as Safe Voyage runs rivals ragged in City of York

Sat 22 Aug 2020

John Quinn will consider top-level targets at home and abroad for Safe Voyage following a thoroughly impressive display in the Sky Bet City of York Stakes.

The likeable seven-year-old won the Group Three John of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock last summer and opened his account for the current campaign with victory in the Listed Surrey Stakes at Epsom on Derby day.

A respectable fourth behind the high-class Space Blues in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood on his latest appearance, Safe Voyage was soon bowling along in the lead in this Group Two assignment under Jason Hart.

Dual Prix de la Foret heroine One Master, the 13-8 favourite, went in pursuit after getting in the clear, but Safe Voyage (4-1) found plenty for pressure in front and passed the post with three and a half lengths in hand.

Hart said: “When Silvestre de Sousa’s horse (Shine So Bright) came out, I knew there might be a lack of pace so I thought it might be an idea (to making the running).

“He’s a very versatile horse. The only thing with him is he wouldn’t want firm ground, so I was happy this morning when I saw the rain.

“It’s my first Group Two winner. When it’s wet, soft ground like that, he thrives on it.”

Safe Voyage rounded off last season by finishing third in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot and an appearance on Champions Day could be on the agenda again.

Jason Hart gives his verdict to Lydia Hislop

Quinn said: “We didn’t see much pace in the race so we thought there was no point faffing about. The jockey gave him a very good ride.

“He’s ground versatile – he just doesn’t want it very quick.

“We’ll look at the QEII again and he’s in a race or two on Arc weekend. He could do both and there’s also a very valuable race at the Breeders’ Cup – a mile on turf round two turns (Breeders’ Cup Mile). You can normally get plenty of cut in the ground at Keeneland.

“That’s just a pipe dream, but it’s something to think about.”

The William Haggas-trained One Master was not disgraced in defeat and will be prepared for a Foret hat-trick bid.

Maureen Haggas, the trainer’s wife and assistant, said: “She ran a good race. She was probably just a bit too far back in a slowly-run race, but it’s one of those things.

“The plan is to go back for the Foret again. She never lets us down – she’s a star.”

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