Newmarket trainer John Gosden tightened his grip on this season’s trainers’ championship and moved within touching distance of the British Flat trainer’s prize money record after enjoying huge success at the Rowley Mile’s three-day Cambridgeshire meeting.
After a golden summer, the Clarehaven stables-based handler is enjoying a sparkling autumn and Shalaa’s victory in the Group One Middle Park Stakes coupled with Foundation’s win in the Group Two Royal Lodge Stakes took him to just under £4.5million for the domestic season and within £400,000 of the record set by rival Richard Hannon last year.
And with some big prizes still up for grabs it will be a big surprise if Gosden does not become the first to breach the £5m barrier before the season ends in November.
Looking to next year’s Classics, it seems unlikely that either Shalaa or Foundation will be lining up for the Qipco 2000 Guineas. The former was declared by both trainer and jockey Frankie Dettori as the fastest two year old they had been associated with.
“He has so much speed and has that sprinter’s build so he reminds of Oasis Dream, who was not only champion two-year-old (in 2002) but champion sprinter at three. He is of that mould. He looks like a pure fast two year old and is not crying out for a mile.”
Dettori added: ‘He got a little bit unbalanced coming into The Dip and changed his legs about three times. On a flatter track, I think I would have won by two or three lengths.”
As for Foundation, whose Highclere Racing syndicate owners include Sir Alex Ferguson, he was made 10-1 favourite for next year’s Derby on the back of a convincing win in the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes. Highclere chairman Harry Herbert said the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster would be his next target.
But if you were looking for a Classic pointer from the Rowley Mile then look no further than Mark Johnston’s filly Lumiere, who lived up to her name and lit up the Rowley Mile with a spectacular win in the Cheveley Park Stakes under William Buick.
“I haven’t been as nervous ahead of a race as I was today,” said Johnston, who sent Attraction out to win the 1,000 Guineas back in 2004. “I thought she was the best horse in the race and I think she is the best I’ve had in a long time. William Buick told me after the York defeat that she was a proper six furlong horse but I’ve already told the owners that she will win the Guineas.”
Malton trainer Richard Fahey bagged yet another big handicap when Third Time Lucky, ridden by Adam Beschizza, won the Betfred Cambridgeshire by a short head from Master of The World at 14-1.
Friday had seen the seemingly unstoppable Gosden chalk up a treble with Solar Magic, Crazy Horse, and the enigmatic Journey, whose impressive eight length demolition of the field in the Princess Royal Stakes suggested bigger things to come for the Dubai filly nicknamed the Angry Ant. “She’s an interesting filly because she did not want much to do with racing early on –she put her jockey on the floor at the starting gate at Kempton, refused to load, and did lots of funny and interesting things. But the more she’s done, the more she has come to terms with it,” said Gosden.
On the same card, Saeed bin Suroor’s Promising Run confirmed herself a fast-improving juvenile as she made a smooth transition to group race company winning the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes and marking herself as a definite candidate for the Fillies’ Mile back at Headquarters later this month.
The three-day meeting also saw a return to racing for three-time champion jockey Ryan Moore following a neck injury which had kept him out of the saddle since July. Friday saw him land a double on Time Test for Roger Charlton and Cannock Chase for Sir Michael Stoute, who will now tackle this month’s Grade 1 Canadian International at Woodbine which the same trainer/jockey combination landed last year with Hillstar.