Doncaster Friday

Betfred Doncaster Cup

(Group 2)

WHAT a difference a year makes. Trueshan (Alan King/Hollie Doyle) was sent off at 2/9 when beaten in the 2022 Doncaster Cup by Coltrane, but on the back of two defeats and a wind operation this year, the seven-year-old was allowed to start at 10/3 against his old rival, and this time he gained revenge despite giving Doyle an uncomfortable ride for the first half of the race.

The early pace set by Broome was slow, and while the others settled well enough, Trueshan showed his freshness by throwing his head around and generally making Doyle’s life a pain as she attempted to get him to drop the bit.

Eventually, she decided that she could fight him no longer and allowed him to circle the field just before the turn for home.

Charting a deliberately wide route early in the home straight, she kicked for home, and quickly had Broome and Coltrane in trouble with the injection of pace.

Sweet William (John and Thady Gosden/Rab Havlin) loomed up over a furlong out, however, looking likely to mow the leader down, but no sooner had he hit the front than he faltered, and Trueshan rallied to regain the lead inside the final furlong, with a length and a quarter separating the pair at the line.

Broome (Aidan O’Brien/Ryan Moore) plugged on for third, three lengths further away, with Coltrane finishing last.

“The wind op has definitely helped,” said Hollie Doyle after the race. “At Ascot earlier this year, we hacked around and he curled up a furlong and a half out whereas today he proved he’s back to his best.

“I dread to think what Alan was saying on the way round, he was probably cursing, but thankfully it all worked out.”

Gemini stars for Teal

Roger Teal manages to punch above his weight as a flat trainer despite lacking big owners, and he gained a second success in the Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes when Dancing Gemini (Lewis Edmunds) proved much too strong for his rivals in the seven-furlong event.

Always travelling sweetly on the heels of the leaders, the 5/1 shot was produced to lead at the two-furlong marker, and quickly put his race to bed, scoring by four and a quarter lengths from Gushing Gold (Andrew Balding/Oisin Murphy) with favourite War Rooms (Owen Burrows/Richard Kingscote) running on late for third, having been taken off his feet in the early stages.

Dancing Gemini had finished only fifth behind Rosallion in the Pat Eddery Stakes before landing a Newbury maiden, but Teal explained that he has been growing constantly and was “bum high” when running at Ascot.

He improved to win his maiden but took a significant step up in form terms to take this listed contest, a race won by the same stable’s Tip Two Win in 2017.

Flying Evs is electric

The soft ground saw four defections from the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes, but the race still produced an outstanding winner in the shape of Big Evs (Mick Appleby/Tom Marquand), who put a disappointing effort in the Nunthorpe behind him by blitzing his opponents for pace in the five-furlong contest.

The 9/4 favourite showed astonishing speed from the stalls to steal a two-length lead in the opening 50 yards, and Marquand was content to let his mount roll along for the first few furlongs; when the time came to find out what was left in the tank, the answer – in contrast to York – was instant and impressive, with the son of Blue Point stretching clear for a second time to put the matter beyond doubt.

Flora Of Bermuda (Andrew Balding/Oisin Murphy) closed from the rear to get closest to the winner, but the margin was still two and three-quarter lengths at the line. Rosario continued Roger Teal’s good day by snatching third at 33/1 under George Rooke.

“We just had to put a line through the Nunthorpe,” said Mick Appleby of his flop at York. “I think he just had a very hard race at Goodwood and it took its toll on him. I don’t think one race makes him a bad horse.

“He’ll go straight to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint - it’s five furlongs at Santa Anita and should be ideal for him.

Burke doubles down with classy Darnation

Doncaster Thursday

KARL Burke’s Fallen Angel shot to favouritism for the 2024 1000 Guineas when landing the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes last weekend, and he strengthened his hand for the classic when Darnation (Clifford Lee) ran out an authoritative three-length winner of the Group 2 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster on Thursday.

Winner of Goodwood’s Prestige Stakes late last month, the 11/10 favourite had no difficulty building on that success, relishing the mile trip as she pulled clear of See The Fire (Andrew Balding/Oisin Murphy).

Impressive Salisbury winner Romanova raced much too freely in front before dropping away, which made the winner’s task easier, but this was still a taking performance which saw her odds for the 1000 Guineas clipped to 10/1 by Coral.

“She’s a classy filly,” was the understated reaction from Karl Burke.

“On that ground she’s very good. We’ll have to see how she is on quicker ground but she’s tough, she stays and she’s just very good.

“She’s not in the Fillies’ Mile but she is in the Prix Marcel Boussac. I haven’t spoken to the owners, but she’d be more likely to get her ground in France. Who knows about next year?

“She’s not the biggest in the world, but she should strengthen up even if she doesn’t grow much and if she bumps into soft ground, she could be anything.”

Sumo shows a fighting spirit

SUMO Sam (Paul and Oliver Cole/Rossa Ryan) was a surprise winner of the Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood last month, and while heavy ground aided her cause there, she proved there was no fluke about that win by again making all and battling back to follow up in the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes.

The 4/1 joint-favourite built up a lead of three or four lengths before the home turn, but her rivals were close enough to strike as the field straightened for the line, and the writing appeared to be on the wall when Lmay and One Evening moved up strongly to challenge a quarter of a mile from home.

The daughter of Nathaniel had proven that stamina was her strong suit at Goodwood, however, and she responded to being tackled by digging in gamely.

Finding plenty for pressure, she turned away her challengers through superior staying power, passing the post a length and a half ahead of One Evening (John and Thady Gosden/William Buick), with her stablemate Lmay (Kieran Shoemark) a neck away in third.

“She got a bit lonely out in front and then dug deep,” said joint-trainer Oliver Cole. “She’s a very classy filly - very, very tough, and very, very game. It was seriously impressive, wasn’t it? Two furlongs out you thought she might fall in a hole, but she was ultra-fit and in very good form and very fresh.

“That ground seems to be important to her. It’s not as soft as it was at Goodwood, but nothing much is. She’s potentially a Cup horse for the future.”

Asked about whether she might take up an entry in the British Champions Fillies And Mares Stakes, he added: “She could potentially, or there’s the Prix de Royallieu in France. She’s entered in that, and you normally get soft ground, so that’s a definite possibility.”