Trainer Ralph Beckett and jockey Rob Hornby, who combined to win yesterday’s Group One Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes with Prosperous Voyage, enjoyed further success today at Newmarket’s Moët & Chandon July Festival when Jimi Hendrix (5-2 Favourite) landed the bet365 Handicap.
Racing the silks of Chelsea Thoroughbreds, the three year old New Bay colt still had plenty to do entering the final furlong but came with a strong run to overhaul long-time leader Positive Impact (11-1) and score by a short-head.
Ralph Beckett said: “He’s a grand horse and went asleep a bit today, which was the opposite to Ascot. I felt he’d done very well since Ascot physically and he’s going to be going up in grade at some point – whether it’s next time or down the line. It was a good effort today and he’s a horse with plenty of size and scope so I expect him to get better.
“He’ll get further ridden like that, he just went to sleep a bit today, but it shows how versatile he is and I think he’ll handle a bit of juice in the ground as well. There will be plenty of options with him.
“He’s a very versatile horse and I think he’ll get a bit further probably. He’s a big tall horse and has got a lot of size and scope about him so I’d say he’ll develop and we’ll work out what we’ll do next. It’s a good problem to have.
“We don’t have anything in mind yet and today was what I was thinking about. He was actually in over a mile and a quarter yesterday and we thought long and hard about that but I’ll have a think about it. It’s great to have a winner on the July Course for the syndicate owners.
“Both York and Goodwood would suit him well. He’s a well-balanced horse so he’d handle Goodwood no problem and York would suit him well as they go a good clip, so the world is our lobster as they say.
“The mood was great last night, we had Richard Gibson (French-based trainer) staying who I hadn’t seen for a long time and we’ll certainly be celebrating tonight as well I’d think.”
Simon Crisford, who trains runner-up Positive Impact alongside his son Ed, commented: “It was a great effort – he was just outrun on the line. Last time out at Brighton it was like a piece of work. He has run a huge race and will stay at a mile.”
Top-weight Miss Carol Ann (6-1) got back to winning ways when successful in the Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa Fillies’ Handicap (7f). Partnered by Jack Mitchell, the three year old Kingman filly took the lead entering the final furling and kept on gamely in the colours of Staghawk Stables to score by a neck from Silken Petals (11-1).
Bill Crager, who owns Staghawk Stables with the rest of his family and Paul Hondros, made the trip over to Newmarket from Saratoga, USA, to see his filly run today.
He said: “It is our first horse with Roger (Varian, trainer). We met Roger here in Newmarket when The Jockey Club sponsored a lunch for us. We love him and Hanako (wife of Roger Varian).
“She is our first homebred. We owned the mare (Miss Katie Mae). She won in North America and at The Curragh. That is her first foal. Miss Katie Mae is my youngest daughter and Miss Carol Ann is my mum who passed away. She was holding this (a ceramic heart memento) when she passed away. I remembered to bring it with me today.
“It is a thrill for us and quite an honour to be here. Roger is such a thoughtful person and is such a gentleman and a great horseman. We found there is such a comfort there. His track record is wonderful but he is so thoughtful and we were able to spend time with him and become close friends. They are a great family.
“Unfortunately Roger has got Covid and I’m going to tell him not to make the next race! There were question marks for here. She won very easily here (Rowley Mile) in the fall and we had here on the trail for the Guineas. She had been training very well and the weight today didn’t worry us it was whether she had the heart. I think we will run her at Newmarket over and over again now. We will look at stakes races now. She has got a Sea The Stars brother who is in book one at Tattersalls, so we will look to try get some black type with her.”
Charlie McBride, trainer of runner-up Silken Petals, commented: “We’re absolutely delighted. We had our doubts as to whether she got seven furlongs but she’s proven that she gets it I’d think on that run today, so we’re thrilled. There’s nothing more I can say, we’re just a bit gutted that we were second again!
“She likes it here and she likes fast ground, so we’ll look for something that suits. We haven’t planned anything, we’re just playing it by ear. We’d hope to eventually have a crack at black type one day with her but whether that’s beyond her I don’t know.”
There was much to like about the debut performance of Alseyoob (9-1), who looked very professional when making all to win the Rossdales British EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes (7f), the opening contest on Darley July Cup Day, under Sean Levey.
Despite facing several challengers entering the final furlong, the Lope De Vega filly kept finding more and at the finish had half a length to spare over the staying-on Luckin Brew (6-1).
Winning trainer Ismail Mohammed, who is based in Newmarket, said: “She showed us at home that she was quality and she has run very well. We will see how she comes out of the race as regards to her next run. Sean was very happy with her.
“She will stay more. We started at seven but she will get more whereas Zain Claudette was a sprinter. I was really confident with her. I was a little bit quiet and I didn’t want to talk too much (about her chances). How she had worked she had really been showing something.
“The plan was to hold her but Sean said ‘Ismail, all the others were very slow away’ but I said that is good as after the gate opens I can’t say anything!”