Muraaqaba could be pitched up into Group One company before the season is out after taking first place in Saturday’s Sweet Solera Stakes.
Although one of the first off the bridle, the Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned two year-old responded well to pressure to come through runners and post a one-and-three-quarter length victory in the seven-furlong Group Three contest, sponsored by German-Thoroughbred.com, at Newmarket’s July Course.
“I thought she was in trouble half-way in as she has never been in among horses before but once Dane (O’Neill) pulled her out away she went. The step up in trip has probably helped her,” said winning trainer Mark Johnston.
“We will wait and see what Sheikh Hamdan wants to do, but the long-term aim for this season would be the Fillies Mile and, of course, you would be dreaming of next year’s 1000 Guineas.”
Silvestre de Sousa identified Clon Brulee as his best ride on the card, and so it proved with the five year-old brushing aside his rivals in the 1m2f handicap to register his first win of the season.
“Clon Brulee is a really nice horse and he didn’t mind the ground here.
“He picked up very well considering he was carry top-weight. The trainer (Saeed bin Suroor) has done a very good job with him,” said de Sousa.
It is not too often you hear a jockey commenting on a first-time out maiden runner giving the feel of a more experienced horse, but that is exactly how James Doyle felt after picking up a winning spare ride aboard Marsh Hawk.
“Marsh Hawk was very professional,” he said. “She travelled very sweetly with her ears pricked and picked up well.
“She was so straightforward it was almost as if she had run 10 times.”
The conclusion to the Buy German, Race German, Win German handicap was appropriately won by the German-bred Rene Mathis.
Victory for the Richard Fahey-trained four year-old was his second at the track this season, with the son of Monsieur Bond having previously scored over six furlongs back in May.
“Rene Mathis seems to like it here and he enjoyed the ground.
“He won here in May and as they say it is horses for courses and this is definitely one of his,” said winning jockey David Nolan.
While Dream Spirit may have proved somewhat reluctant to enter the stalls, he certainly knew his job when leaving them after maintaining his unbeaten record in the mile handicap to form part of an across-the-card treble for trainer William Haggas, completed by wins for Squatts and Token Of Love at Haydock.
Trainer Henry Candy suggested the winner of the 1m4f maiden Pennine Panther is likely to be seen in a much better light when returning to a sounder surface.
“Fergus (Sweeney) said he hated the ground and that it was just guts that got him home today,” said Candy. “He will be much better next year as he is just a big frame at the moment.”
Twenty-four hours earlier, the John Gosden-trained Water Hole proved a topical winner on a rain-soaked July Course when registering her third successive win with a victory in the feature mile fillies’ handicap.
Sent straight into the lead by William Buick, the 525,000 guineas purchase repelled the challenge of Fray to score by two lengths.
“Water Hole is a filly that has done nothing wrong in her life, but this year she has taken a lot of time to come to herself, however, she has a great attitude,” said the Newmarket handler.
While fellow town trainer Denis Quinn may not have the armoury Gosden has at his disposal, the Old Station Road handler made it three winners from as many runners at the course when Giantstepsahead landed his third win of the season when taking the 1m2f handicap.
“Giantstepsahead is a lovely horse and I am very lucky to have him. If he was a human he would be a boxing champion he is that tough,” said Quinn.
After missing his first two rides at the track when getting stuck in traffic, jockey John Egan’s perseverance to make the journey up to the track paid off when booting home Forest Edge in the concluding six-furlong handicap.
“Forest Edge is a tough sort and David Evans’ horses find the line well, so I knew he would keep going for me,” said Egan.