Maria Branwell maintains unbeaten record with tenacious Listed success to set up Royal Ascot


Trainer Mike Murphy might not have too many runners from his own yard heading to Royal Ascot next month but he looks set to experience an outing at the meeting as an owner after Maria Branwell landed the Coral National Stakes (5f) at Sandown Park this evening. The Bedfordshire-based handler, who is member of the winning syndicate Bronte Collection 1, watched on with delight as the David O’Meara-trained daughter of James Garfield added to her debut victory at Thirsk in the Listed prize. 

Working her way into contention the 3-1 chance drew level with 10-11 Favourite Crispy Cat deep inside the final furlong before prevailing by a neck to earn an 8-1 quote for the Group Two Queen Mary Stakes at the Royal meeting with William Hill.

Murphy said: “The Bronte Collection is a group of Steve Parkin’s mates and if I remember rightly the genesis of it was the Champions Day weekend last year and he, Steve, said he was going to put together this syndicate for a group of friends. “There are 15 or 20 horses in total and we train one, and it is great fun. “According to Danny (Tudhope, jockey), yes Royal Ascot will be on the agenda but we will leave that to the trainer!

“She has a super temperament and I watched her around the parade ring and you wouldn’t think she was a filly. “She went to the start well and she didn’t mind that little bit of cut in the ground. She probably got taken off her feet in the first furlong but the further she went on in the race the better she was going.  “She wandered across the track a little bit and you would think she would want six furlongs.”

Equally delighted was winning rider Danny Tudhope, who also believed she would have no problem stepping up in trip He said: “That was only her second start but she is still learning. She was up against the boys today. I sat on her a few weeks ago at home but she has taken a nice step forward and she gave me a nice feel. 

“She has got a great attitude with a nice temperament. She is a very likeable filly and done her best work in the final furlong. She would get six furlongs.

“I was a little bit outpaced and off my feet the first few furlongs but she came good half way and picked up great. I was always confident I was going to get there.”  

Warren Jupp, syndicate spokesman for The Golf Partnership, described watching The Whipmaster follow up his recent success at Lingfield by three and three-quarter lengths in the opening Coral “Beaten-By-A-Length” Free Bet Handicap (1m 2f) as like a “10 foot putt” going in  Jupp said: “He is home bred out of Birdie Queen, who was our first mare. We had Silver Cliffs as well and hopefully we have a two year old out in a few days’ time.  

“We were very confident as he had run well at Lingfield and Gary (Moore, trainer) said he had been in great form at home. We had Ryan on board and he rode him perfectly as he said he would and we got our just rewards. It was like a 10 foot putt going in.  

“We’ve all known each for years and tend to go on golfing holidays and that is where the name The Whipmaster came from as that’s the person who looks after the kitty on our evenings out.  

“He is two wins out three this season. He started off well last season and we will leave it in Gary’s hands to see where we go next. He is a decent horse as he won that quite well.”

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