Best Of Days leaves in-form trainer Hugo Palmer dreaming of the Derby
Lady Aurelia and Fair Eva provided much of the pre-Cambridgeshire meeting talk, but by the end of an absorbing three days, Best of Days and Eminent were the names on everyone’s lips.
Best of Days landed trainer Hugo Palmer with the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes on the Saturday while The Martyn Meade-trained Eminent was an impressive winner after becoming the first of Frankel’s progeny to run on the Rowley Mile on the Thursday.
Brilliantly ridden by James Doyle, Best Of Days fully justified favouritism to leave his trainer dreaming of the Derby.
Palmer, who also had a winner with Via Serendipity on the Friday, said: “The horse was gorgeous from the moment he arrived. He was home bred by his previous owner, who sold him to Godolphin.
“It is impossible to overplay the part that James (Doyle) has made here. Not that William (Buick) did anything wrong at York, but we all learned from that, in the respect that he flattered to deceive.
“I was terribly worried about the ground as he was a little jarred up at York.
“I said to James that as he hit the rising ground, he would have to get him in top gear and then just believe he will stay, as he is by a King George winner in Azamour and out of a mare by High Chaparral, who obviously stayed a mile-and-a-half as well. James did that absolutely to the letter.
“I would not be surprised if he is not a little bit jarred up in the morning. It is beautiful ground and Michael Prosser always does a wonderful job.
“It is fast ground, but we haven’t had any rain and it should be fast ground. But it is perfectly nice, safe ground. They always do a great job here.
“We can dream of the Derby now.”
Racing’s headquarters were lit up by Eminent, given a faultless ride by Jim Crowley, in the opening race of the three-day meeting.
The juvenile stormed clear in the mile maiden to win by two-and-three-quarter lengths.
A delighted Meade said: “The pressure is off now. He could not have done it any better. Luckily Jim managed to pull him up before he ran to the high street.
“He had cover for the first couple of furlongs and I was a little worried that he was out on his own, but by that time the penny had dropped and he brought him to the rail. It was a great ride – just perfect.
“He was a relatively cheap purchase for a Frankel – and now he looks very cheap.”
Meade added: “I don’t know what we’ll do now, but obviously he would have a bit of a future, I would have thought. This is the only Frankel we have, but if we can have one like this, it fulfils our wildest dreams.”
Saeed bin Suroor and the Godolphin team saw both Carry On Deryck and Very Talented run huge races in second and third in the feature Betfred Cambridgeshire,
Thursday also saw the trainer-jockey partnership of Charlie Appleby and William Buick enjoy a double with Fly At Dawn, who may have earned himself a crack at the UAE Guineas, in the TurfTrax Nursery Handicap Stakes and Frontiersman in the Weatherbys General Stud Book Handicap Stakes.
But there was final-day disappointment for Appleby’s Blue Point, who was beaten by The Last Lion in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes.
American superstar Lady Aurelia was defeated by the Aidan O’Brien-trained pair of Brave Anna and Roly Poly in the Group One Connolly’s Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes and there was no fairytale story for Fair Eva in the Group Two Shadwell Rockkfel Stakes on the Friday.
Elsewhere on the cards, Frankie Dettori steered progressive filly Justice Belle to victory in the Listed Jockey Club Rose Bowl for Ed Walker, Laugh Aloud left John Gosden smiling with an all-the-way success in the Listed Muhaarar Rosemary Stakes and Time Zone was an efficient winner of Division One of the Derrinstown EBF Stallions Maiden Stake for Peter Chapple-Hyam.