Chelsea Lad set for Royal Ascot after horse’s troubled Newmarket victory

HES A LAD: Chelsea Lad, trained by Martyn Meade and ridden by Fergus Sweeney, wins The Westmere Farms Handicap Stakes; pictured left, Clear Water, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by James Doyle, was a comprehensive winner of The CJ Murfitt Maiden Fillies Stakes
HES A LAD: Chelsea Lad, trained by Martyn Meade and ridden by Fergus Sweeney, wins The Westmere Farms Handicap Stakes; pictured left, Clear Water, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by James Doyle, was a comprehensive winner of The CJ Murfitt Maiden Fillies Stakes
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Trainer Martyn Meade is targeting the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot for Chelsea Lad following the horse’s troubled victory at Newmarket on Saturday.

The Clodovil colt, carrying a 5lb penalty for a maiden win last time out, displayed a blistering turn of foot to collar Sir Michael Stoute’s Barleysugar close home.

But his passage to victory in the Westmere Farms Handicap was far from straightforward after suffering a couple of knocks before going on to score by three-parts-of-a-length.

Sefton Lodge handler Meade said: “He certainly didn’t get the clearest of runs. He got two bad bumps but managed to fight back.

“It is the sign of a good horse that’s prepared to be knocked twice so badly but still regain his stride and get into a winning rhythm.

“Although I thought he would go well, the ground was also a bit of a worry but he has coped with it well.”

Chelsea Lad’s participation in the race had been in doubt until 20 minutes before post time due to concerns over the ground, and the handicapper has raised him a further 7lb following Saturday’s success.

Meade missed the race as he was at The Curragh with Irish Rookie, who competed in the Group 2 Lanwades Stud Stakes over a mile.

His filly was beaten into second by the Willie McCreery-trained Devonshire.

“The ground really went against us in Ireland and it’s a shame as I thought we had a good chance, admitted Meade afterwards.

“Because it was so soft it blunted that bit of speed which we saw when she ran at Newmarket last time.”

Godolphin recorded a timely double on the Rowley Mile.

Yattwee provided the stable with their first winner in the Fred Murfitt Handicap over six furlongs.

The horse made it two wins in three races after edging out Sir Robert Cheval, making his first start for Newmarket trainer Robert Cowell, by just a neck.

Winning trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: “He showed a good attitude.

“Physically, he is improving all the time and needs further – seven furlongs or perhaps even a mile.”

Godolphin’s second success on the card came courtesy of Clear Water who romped to victory in the CJ-Murfitt sponsored fillies’ maiden over seven furlongs.

James Doyle, on his way to a treble on the afternoon, steered the filly a comfortable four-and-a-half length victory.

Doyle said: “Yattwee handled the undulations fine but probably needs an extra furlong now.

“Clear Water liked the ground and she could be a nice handicapper.

There was also a double on the card for Richard Hannon.

In the feature Fairway Stakes, Hannon’s Steel Of Madrid all but ended Linguistic’s Derby aspirations with an impressive showing.

After the race, Linguistic’s trainer John Gosden confirmed that his horse would be better over a mile-and-a-half and on better ground.

Earlier in the afternoon, Nibras Bounty shrugged off the attentions of Hugo Palmer’s gutsy Evergate in the Andrew Fleet EBF Stallions Novice Stakes.

Other races saw Darryll Holland guide John Reel to victory in the Galicuix Handicap, while Mark Johnston’s Revolutionist took the honours in the concluding Mainstay Handicap.

Lester Piggott’s £1.2m Eve Lodge yard in Newmarket is set to be taken on by George Peckham.

Peckham has already moved his horses to a temporary yard in the town in preparation for the move, which should be all done and dusted for next season.

Tattersalls, Europe’s leading bloodstock auctioneers, is to sponsor the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket’s prestigious Moët & Chandon July Festival.

To mark the 250th anniversary of Tattersalls, the Group 1 contest will be named the Tattersalls 250th Year Falmouth Stakes and will take place on Friday, July 8, coinciding with the final day of the Tattersalls July Sale.

Paymaster General, Matthew Hancock MP will be riding in the 350th Newmarket Town Plate - the oldest, continuously run, horse race in the world.

The race, on July 7, will mark the 350th anniversary of both Newmarket and modern horse racing – the history and founding of both the town and the sport are entwined.

Hancock has begun training and will lose a stone in weight to pass an intense fitness test, and qualify as an amateur jockey.