Newmarket’s new season got off to a balmy start on the Rowley Mile on Wednesday, the first of two days of racing with mixed fortunes for town trainers.
French Navy flew the flag for Godolphin when he defied his advancing years, swooping late to claim the Weatherbys General Stud Book Earl Of Sefton Stakes on Thursday.
Twelve months after finishing second in the one-mile-one-furlong Group Three contest, the evergreen seven-year-old went one better when delivered by William Buick late inside the final furlong before running out a three-quarters-of-a-length winner.
“That was probably his most impressive win,” said his delighted trainer Charlie Appleby.
“It takes some doing to come right from the back and he could not have won any easier. Hopefully we can have some fun this year.”
The CSP European Free Handicap on the first day of the meeting saw one Classic bubble burst but a home success to celebrate John Gosden’s Faydhan, second favourite for next month’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas before the off, could manage only third, but in winning Home Of The Brave completed the second leg of a double for Snailwell Road trainer Hugo Palmer. Never headed the Starspangledbanner colt found plenty in front eventually crossing the line a length-and-three-quarters ahead of his nearest pursuer.
“We’ll have to sit down and have a long think about the Guineas,” said Palmer. “He might be the perfect type for the Jersey (Royal Ascot).”
Getting the ball rolling for Palmer team was racecourse debutant Gifted Master in the EBF Stallions NGK Spark Plugs Conditions Stakes.
Although slow away and keen early on the 4-1 shot went about his business in the manner of smart horse when called on for an effort by Freddie Tylicki coming with a late burst to take the five-furlong contest by impressive four lengths.
There was some consolation for John Gosden after Faydhan’s defeat when Golden Horn carrying the famous Oppenheimer colours showed he was a colt with promise, possibly even Classi aspirations when winning the Feilden Stakes under Frankie Dettori.
It was Dettori’s second win of the afternoon after Osaila’s success in the Group Three Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes.
“We think a lot of this horse and he won like a good horse although he is still a bit green,” he said.
The race run in memory of one of Newmarket’s most ardent supporters, the former BBC commentator and Burrough Green cricket stalwart, Julian Wilson, was fittingly won by a town-trained colt in Global Force sent out by Saeed Bin Suroor. The win completed a double for Godolphin new recruit James Doyle who had earlier partnered Home of the Brave.