THE revised weights suggested that recent John of Gaunt winner Pogo (Charlie Hills/Kieran Shoemark) would struggle to confirm form with the unlucky Sunray Major (John & Thady Gosden/James Doyle) in the Group 3 Criterion Stakes, especially as it was considered that Pogo had enjoyed the run of the race from the front at Haydock, with the first four home separated by just half a length.
That was the theory, but in practice Pogo simply repeated the Haydock tactics, and although Sunray Major tackled him earlier this time, the son of Zebedee responded gamely to prevail by two lengths, a bump between the first two proving incidental, for all it may have exacerbated the winning margin. Ever Given (Hugo Palmer/Danny Tudhope) was a further two lengths behind in third.
Pogo was well backed late on, and returned at the unusual SP of 18/5, with Laneqash starting favourite but running poorly. The winner now has the Group 2 Lennox Stakes at Goodwood on his agenda.
It was lovely to see Clive Brittain in attendance at Newmarket, and the retired trainer – wheelchair bound, but still with a hint of mischief in his eye – was there to present the trophy for the race named in honour of his late wife.
This listed race for two-year-old fillies went the way of Ralph Beckett’s Lezoo in the colours of Marc Chan and provided Frankie Dettori with a winner on what was his only mount of the day.
Lezoo looked very promising on her debut at Bath and was again doing all her best work late as she got up to beat Malrescia (George Boughey/Kieran Shoemark) by a length and three-quarters. Like Pogo, she was returned at 16/5.
Lezoo looks a most promising filly, and according to Chan’s racing manager Jamie McCalmont, she is due to return to Newmarket to contest the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes (formerly the Cherry Hinton) at the July Meeting.
I’m losing count of the number of times Charlie Appleby has saddled first and second in blacktype events at Newmarket, and he did it again on Saturday when 9/4 favourite Rebel Romance (Will Buick) got the better of stablemate Kemari (James Doyle) in the Listed Fred Archer Stakes.
The winner scored by an impressive three and three-quarter lengths on what was a belated first race on turf, and Buick reported that the son of Dubawi – who had struggled on dirt at Meydan earlier in the year – was suited by the sound surface.
He has no big-race entries on home soil but will be placed to advantage by his astute handler.