John Gosden’s Enbihaar gave weight and a beating to Aidan O’Brien’s Delphinia in a terrific renewal of the Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster on Thursday.
The only four-year-old in the race, the Sheikh Hamdan-owned Enbihaar has won four of her five starts this season. Having scored twice at Group 2 level already, she was sent off the 6/5 favourite to make it a treble.
Settled in the rear by Jim Crowley, Enbihaar moved up smoothly into a challenging position, but she had to work reasonably hard to see off Vivid Diamond, before Ryan Moore challenged on Delphinia.
For a moment it looked like the concession of 13lb might catch Enbihaar out, but she just had enough in the tank to hold on by a short head.
Crowley said: “I was delighted about that. I just wanted to get her rolling into the straight and there was quite a strong headwind. When she got there she probably thought she’d done enough. Giving away that weight, it was great.”
Richard Hills, assistant racing manager to Sheikh Hamdan, said: “She slipped badly on the turn. That’s unlike her. Obviously it’s windy and perhaps it’s a bit greasy there, I don’t know. She’s a lovely filly and has done nothing but improve. She won at Haydock which is why she was here today.
“John has 100 lots out in a morning and you can pick her out having a canter. She’s got the most beautiful action. Obviously, as for plans, you’ve got Ascot (Fillies And Mares on Champions Day) and then Longchamp (Prix Royallieu).”
OVER THE TOP
Ed Walker’s Dame Malliot was the main rival to the winner in the betting beforehand, but could only finish sixth of the eight runners.
Her owner Anthony Openheimer blamed himself for her lacklustre display, saying: “I’m afraid it’s my fault entirely. A couple of days ago she looked a bit thin and Frankie (Dettori) said she’d gone over the top. She had three hard races and this was one too many.
“She wasn’t pushed out today because there was no point. She’ll go back to the stud for a break and come out racing next year, which will be nice.”
Powerful Breeze maintained her unbeaten record with a cosy success in the William Hill May Hill Stakes.
A surprise 20/1 winner on debut, she was nothing like those odds this time around as the 6/1 second-favourite for the Group 2 affair.
She settled nicely for James Doyle as some of her rivals, most notably the favourite Cloaks Of Spirits, were keen early on.
At halfway Doyle asked his mount to take closer order and in a matter of strides she quickened smartly, hitting the front a long way out.
To her credit Powerful Breeze kept up the gallop and while Boomer and Alpen Rose attempted to close the gap, the Hugo Palmer-trained filly was eased down at the line and still won by a length.
Palmer said: “James gave her a peach of a ride. There’s a really strong headwind today – a powerful breeze. James got her covered up beautifully and produced her just at the right moment.
“We’ve seen at home what she might lack in experience she makes up for in heart, so we’ve got some plans to make now. It’s a nice position to be in.
“I’m absolutely delighted. I just thought she might have got there a bit soon, but she saw it out really well. It was only her second start and stepping up in trip and all those things.
“We haven’t had the easiest of seasons. The three-year-olds haven’t turned out to be what we thought they were going to be. To get a Group 2 on the board with one of the two-year-olds is thoroughly exciting. I think she’d go on most grounds, except maybe soft.”
Asked about future plans, Palmer said: “We’ll see how she is – I suppose we’ll have to think about supplementing for the Fillies’ Mile, but she will grow and develop and fillies can go off and we don’t have to make that decision until five days before. We’ll see how we go.”
Tom Dascombe was understandably thrilled with the effort of Boomer in second.
He said: “She’s run a great race, I’m thrilled with her. Obviously the winner is very good. We’re a very good filly as well, but today we got beat. Well done to them. Let’s hope we can go on and do something else with her in the future. I’ll have a chat with the boss (Andrew Black) and we’ll go from there.”
READ RORY DELARGY'S BRITISH RACING REVIEW & WEEKEND TIPS IN THE IRISH FIELD