Six years to the day after Mehmas, his sire, took the Group Two July Stakes at Newmarket, Persian Force ran out an easy winner of the same raceand while Mehmas was retired to stud at the end of his juvenile career, Richard Hannon, who trained both colts, is already thinking ahead to the Classics next spring.
Thursday’s race lost a little of its sparkle when Little Big Bear, the winner of the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot, was scratched due to concerns about the ground and Persian Force, the runner-up in the Coventry Stakes the previous day, was sent off as the 1-2 favourite as a result. There was not a moment when his backers had much doubt that they would collect, as Rossa Ryan hit the front a quarter of a mile out and crossed the line nearly two lengths in front of Show Respect, a 33-1 outsider.
“We deserved that,” Hannon said. “He’s done exactly the same as Mehmas in finishing second in the Coventry and then winning the July Stakes and this horse, I think, will get seven furlongs. We might look at the National Stakes in Ireland and the Prix Morny next.
“My dad [former champion trainer Richard Sr] rang me after the Coventry and said he’s a Guineas horse and I thought that was a little bit out of the blue … but because he’s so sensible he gives himself every chance of getting that trip. He’s one of the best two-year-olds we’ve had for a long time. I’m sure he’s a Group One winner waiting to happen.”
Later in the afternoon, Frankie Dettori rode his first winner for John and Thady Gosden since his brief post-Royal Ascot “sabbatical” from the stable as Mighty Ulysses came home a comfortable winner of the Sir Henry Cecil Stakes.
“Maybe John was right that I needed a sabbatical,” Dettori said. “I’d be the first one to say I had the worst Ascot in my 35-year career. I’m 51 and John is 71. We sat down and had a chat and we are not kids any more so we sorted things out. What is past is past, it is about going forward and I’m glad to have a winner on the first day.”
Yibir, who took the Breeders’ Cup Turf in California in November, returned to the winner’s enclosure for the first time since after quickening up well from last place to beat Living Legend by two-and-a-quarter lengths in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes.
The four-year-old was a beaten favourite on his first three starts this year, including a defeat by Living Legend at 1-4 at Newmarket in April, but had little trouble reversing the form once William Buick got him rolling two out.
Dettori set for winning Group One return
Frankie Dettori’s “sabbatical” from his role as John & Thady Gosden’s stable jockey turned out to be more of a long weekend, perhaps because some of the yard’s most significant owners had a quiet word in the trainer’s ear and the first Group One win of their patched-up relationship is highly likely to arrive when Inspiral (3.35) contests the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket on Friday.
Inspiral supplied the one positive moment for the stable during an otherwise difficult and frustrating week at Royal Ascot last month, when she charged past a field which included two Classic winners to take the Coronation Stakes by nearly five lengths.
That was her first start for 252 days and the form puts Inspiral around a stone clear of her four rivals on Friday, when she will take on older horses for the first time. At around 1-4, the Gosdens’ filly will not be a worthwhile betting proposition for most punters but we should be able to watch and admire as she extends her unbeaten record to six races.
Newmarket 1.50 New London was the second-favourite for the Derby before his defeat in the Chester Vase in May and could be thrown in off 99 for his handicap debut but this race is full of progressive types and his price makes little appeal. Reelemin has had a little more racing than some but he is 3-3 on on turf and was value for more than his narrow margin of victory on his seasonal debut at Sandown.
York 2.05 My Little Queens has an impressive strike-rate and continued to progress when going down to a narrow defeat at Carlisle last time. She remains unexposed at a mile-and-a-half and should be able to cope with a further 2lb rise in the weights.
Newmarket 2.25 Three of the six runners here could conceivably set off as favourite but a course-and-distance win tips the balance towards Lezoo, who showed a good turn of foot to go nearly two lengths clear of a decent field at Listed level last time.
York 2.40 Zain Claudette had a very stiff task in the Commonwealth Cup last time on her first start for 265 days but a return to the track and trip at which she won the Lowther last year could be just what she needs.
Newmarket 3.00 Candleford left Contact seven lengths behind at Royal Ascot last time but is 13lb worse off here and the step back up in trip should also work in favour of David and Nicola Barron’s colt.