Coronet earned herself a 20-1 quote for next year’s Investec Oaks after leading home a one-two for trainer John Gosden in Saturday’s Zetland Stakes at the Rowley Mile.
Setting a new track record for juveniles over the 10-furlong trip, Coronet held off stablemate Cunco by a neck in a fine finish on the second day of the Dubai Future Champions Festival.
“The Musidora will be the obvious place to go, but she is an Oaks filly. She has a little filling out and growing to do. The winner is still unfurnished and the runner-up is a tough cookie,” said Gosden, who earlier in the afternoon had seen Seven Heavens, his runner in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes, blow any chance he may have had by running far too freely in the early stages.
The race, almost inevitably, went to Churchill, who led home a one-two for Coolmore and trainer Aidan O’Brien recording his sixth Group 1 of the year at Newmarket, a new record, and his 20th Group 1 prize of the season — just five shy of the record of 25 held by the late American trainer Bobby Frankel. In Churchill, jockey Ryan Moore seemed convinced racegoers had seen a future Classic winner: “He was always going to win. He never felt anywhere close to his limit. He’s a beautiful athlete and has a good racing brain,” he said.
Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin racing operation, which has had to make do with being in Coolmore’s slipstream for most of the season, took the Group 3 Vision Autumn Stakes with Best Solution, ridden competently by Willie Carson’s grandson William. The colt now looks likely to head to Dubai for a tilt at either at the UAE 2000 Guineas or UAE Derby.
Newmarket trainer David Simcock spoke of his delight after champion jockey-elect Jim Crowley steered Island Vision home in the Dubai Business Internships Fillies’ Nursery Handicap Stakes. “She was very strong through the line and Jim said another furlong won’t be a problem. She is very honest, and was tough there — every time Jim went for her, she responded. She came off a strong pace as well, which helped,” he said.
Newmarket-based Silvestre de Sousa landed the Betfred Cesarewitch for Hughie Morrison, whose Sweet Selection landed a gamble in the big handicap. Apprentice Hollie Doyle,rider of runner-up the eight-year-old First Mohican, once trained by the late Sir Henry Cecil, went close to another big payday just 24 hours after winning the £140,000 Old Rowley Cup on Scarlet Dragon. Sir Mark Prescott, who saddled beaten favourite St Michel, fared better with Sea Of Heaven, who was third. “He hasn’t many miles on the clock and will be a lovely horse next year,” he said.
On Friday, there was one of the genuine success stories of the season. Bargain basement filly Mrs Danvers landed a five-timer in the Newmarket Academy Group 3 Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes, smashing the five furlong course record for juveniles in the process.
It had been more Group 1 success for Aidan O’Brien when Rhododendron led home stablemate Hydrangea in the Dubai Fillies’ Mile, earning herself an 8-1 quote for next season’s QIPCO 1,000 Guineas.
And town trainer Martyn Meade landed his first Group race winner when Aclaim, ridden by Frankie Dettori, made it a hat-trick in the Group 2 Dubai 100 Challenge Stakes.
“He has improved all year, although he had to improve a fair bit to do this, but he has never been in better form at home, so I was confident he would be able to give a good account of himself,” he said.
Dettori made it a double when winning the seven furlong fillies’ maiden on the John Gosden-trained Astronomy’s Choice, who looked a star in the making and pleased her trainer. “She will make up into a mile-and-a-quarter filly. She did well to win over seven furlongs today, looking at the size and scope of her,” he said. “All being well, we will see you next year for the Pretty Polly, she strikes me as that type and class of filly.”