Newbury report – James Garfierld wins Al Basti Equiworld Supporting Greatwood Greenham Stakes & goes for Classic glory

Newbury Racecourse, Second Day, Dubai Duty Free Sprint Trials Weekend, Saturday, April 21, 2018

Three G3 races and a thrilling £50,000 handicap made sure the Newbury crowd of 8,200 was well entertained today.

The ground was on the slow side, good to soft, soft in places, but the weather was good and potential Classic winners were on show.

Please find below detailed reports on the first five races.

1.25pm Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Maiden, Div I, 1m str

There was no immediate 92nd birthday present for Her Majesty The Queen in the first race for three-year-old maidens at Newbury when Humbolt Current, owned and bred by her, could not justify 5/4 favouritism. The Fastnet Rock colt, trained by William Haggas in Newmarket, broke well towards the far side under James Doyle but was then held back off the pace and struggled to make much headway, staying on at one pace to be fifth of the 14 runners.

An outsider, 50/1 shot Adjutant, seventh of 11 at Haydock Park last year when trained by David O’Meara in Yorkshire, just got the better of the thrilling finish with 20/1 chance Why We Dream (Mick Channon/Silvestre de Sousa), scoring by a head under Jim Crowley in 1m 43.66s, the pair clear.

Now with Brian Meehan at Manton, Adjutant did not surprise the trainer who said about the Pauline Good-owned and bred Champs Elysees colt: “No, he did not surprise me – I thought he would run a big race.

“We did some good work with him last week and I guess the market was formed all around the favourite.

“David O’Meara had him last year and I know he liked Adjutant, who has had a good winter. I thought he would run well. The favourite was so strong that it looked like he would be hard to beat.

“I am very pleased with Adjutant – he battled to the line and I think he will get a little further. I thought he looked good and I couldn’t be happier.

“This was to get him started today, though he could be the type for the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot.

“Pauline Good is an unbelievable supporter and so loyal – she breeds all her horses and has three with me

“All my horses are behind this year – three weeks to a month I would reckon.”

Jim Crowley added: “Adjutant was having his first start for Brian, who was confident and said that he had been going nicely at home.

“I had a nice pitch through the race – he has pricked his ears a little bit when he hit the front – and obviously doesn’t mind a bit of juice in the ground. It’s nice for him to win.

“Mick Channon’s horses are running really well and I thought that I was going to come off second best for a minute but my horse kept finding for me. Hopefully, he can keep progressing.”

2.00pm £60,000 G3 Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes 1m 4f

A 5/4 favourite was successful in the G3 Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes, with Defoe quickening impressively to put to bed this six-runner affair without any fuss.

Held up by Andrea Atzeni, the four-year-old grey son of Dalakhani came through between The Queen’s Call To Mind (William Haggas/James Doyle, 9/4, fourth), closest to the stands’ rail, and What About Carlo (Eve Johnson Houghton/Charles Bishop, 10/1, third) to challenge two furlongs out and hit the front entering the final furlong.

He went clear of the second Danehill Kodiac (Richard Hannon/Sean Levey, 8/1) to score by two and a half lengths in 2m 40.21s for the mile and a half, with What About Carlo a head back in third.

Newmarket-based Varian said: “Defoe was progressive all through last year up until the St Leger. He was sound after the St Leger but as flat as a pancake – he was in his shell for 10 days when beaten after half a mile that day.

“The only consolation about the St Leger was that it wasn’t his running, rather than him not being good enough. He has had a very good winter and has trained well.

“The way he won the Geoffrey Freer here (in August last year), he seemed a real good horse, travelling so strong, and it looked like he would be even better as a four-year-old and hopefully that will be the case.

“We made an entry in the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup (next month) at the Curragh – we will get him home and see he is sound and healthy and see how he trains over the next couple of weeks and speak to the owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum. That might be a race to consider.

“Defoe won two nice races over 10 furlongs last year and Andrea said again today that he would not go beyond a mile and a half. So Defoe might be a horse to be versatile between 10 and 12 furlongs.

“He is one to look forward to. I would be a bit cautious about summer fast ground – he is well balanced and good moving horse and goes well on good and soft ground.

“He trained well going into the St Leger and I liked his chances of being in the shake-up. I watched him with the owner but after four furlongs Defoe was never travelling. He was the first beaten. There was something obviously that he carried into the race without us noticing.”

Betfair priced Defoe up at 6/1 for the Tattersalls Gold Cup.

Defoe wins the G3 Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes

2.35pm £60,000 G3 Dubai Duty Free Stakes 7f str

Mick Channon’s horses are running well and, following a close second in the first race, 10/1 chance Dan’s Dream, running for a partnership that includes Ian Botham, showed an impressive turn of foot to win the G3 Dubai Duty Free Stakes over seven furlongs in good style.

The trainer’s first instinct was to advocate a supplementary entry for Dan’s Dream, having just her third start, in the first British fillies’ Classic, the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket ion May 6.

He said: “We have always thought a lot of Dan’s Dream and she’s just a smashing filly. She’s a little bit of a freak, but I have sent a couple of mares to Cityscape because I thought that this was a very good filly last year.

“We are thrilled – it’s all the boys putting a syndicate together and having a bit of fun. I think that she will go to the Guineas, but I have to speak the owners. She’s not got an entry, but she will have one in a minute!

“The question now is do we go back to six furlongs or do we try a mile in the Guineas. I need to speak to Steven (Smith) of Hunscote Stud (the breeders and part-owner) and the rest of the boys. It is a lovely problem to have – I wish I had a few more problems like that.

“She settles so well and I had her a bit fresh today – she is just a smashing filly. I have never been afraid of anybody and I would have a go (at the Guineas), but someone has to come up with £30,000.

“I would love to have a go at the Guineas – everything has gone wrong in the race in the past but this filly would not mind the ground – it could be firm or soft – there would be no excuses. Whether she will get the trip is the question, but if you don’t try, you won’t find out.

“Silvestre said she has bags of speed and you could go back to six or try a mile. He could not say, but he reported she picked up lovely. The plan was to ride her like a good thing today. I know it sounds flash – give her a chance and ride a race on her.

“Last time she jumped out, sat up the front and bolted up – she has had no experience. She needed the race today. The ownership was put together for charity.”

Silvestre De Sousa declared: “Dan’s Dream won over five and a half furlongs (at Bath on March 30) and was going up to seven so we discussed the tactics earlier – the key was riding her from the back and seeing how she got home.

“She is a nice filly and I think she will go on any ground. The going today certainly didn’t stop her.”

Dan’s Dream captures the Dubai Duty Free Stakes 

Dan’s Dream won by a length and quarter from the Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned Tajaanus (Richard Hannon/Jim Crowley, 9/2), with Dance Diva (Richard Fahey/Tony Hamilton, 14/1) a short-head back in third. The winning time came to 1m 27.09s.

Gavota (Roger Charlton/Ryan Moore) started the 7/4 favourite but disappointed in ninth of the 11 runners.

3.10pm £60,000 G3 Al Basti Equiworld Supporting Greatwood Greenham Stakes 7f str

James Garfield (George Scott/Frankie Dettori, 3/1) showed a good turn of foot to win the seven-runner G3 Al Basti Equiworld Supporting Greatwood Greenham Stakes, a trial for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas on May 5.

Newmarket trainer George Scott, 29, was delighted with the effort of the Exceed & Excel colt who will now go for the 2000 Guineas (G1, 1m, May 5 at Newmarket), with Dettori again on board.

Scott remarked: “I am delighted with that performance.

“Frankie is keen to go to Guineas and he is the man who knows the most about that. I don’t see why not, as James Garfield finished out his really race and was tough again.

“It is his attitude that sets him apart – he has this will to win in everything he does. At home, if he is picking the grass, he wants the whole paddock or in the box, he wants the whole box.

“He is just so tough – a lot of credit goes to the team back home, because he takes plenty of managing, and to Bill and Tim (Gredley) for breeding him. It is just a great story for of all of us including my wife Polly – we married in September. It is just a dream for me – I feel very lucky.

“He will be my first Classic runner. This is a trial so he will come on for the race – he is quite a stuffy horse – he was fit enough and now will freshen him up with a couple of weeks to the Guineas.

“He is just so tenacious – he has a wonderful attitude. Frankie is so perfect for this horse – and these big days – he is so cool, while I am shaking and charging around the place.

“I would hope Frankie would be free for the Guineas. He is a great friend of mine, a great friend of the Gredleys – he lived next door to the Gredleys for many years – he terrorised them so he owes them!

“I would imagine Expert Eye (the 7/4 favourite who was second) will come on a lot for the race. He was ridden with a future in mind. He was beaten fair and square today and we were going away again at the line.

“We will enjoy today and go for the Guineas. I love trying to compete at the top – we are fortunate enough to have a horse like this so early on (in my training career). I don’t want to mess it up.

“I was confident when I saw James Garfield in the pre-parade ring, while Frankie just exudes confidence. It worked out well.

“All my horses run in a black noseband – I just like it – when I turn on the television I can see one of ours!”

Part-owner Tim Gredley commented: “It’s like déjà vu with the Mill Reef Stakes (G2, 6f, September, which James Garfield won at Newbury last year). He has put up a great performance and beat some lovely horses.

“We were hopeful beforehand and I think he is a very exciting colt. He never got much of a run in the Breeders’ Cup, but has had a great winter. He has produced the goods today and we are very happy.

“We will have a chat with George Scott, who has done a great job in getting him here, and I suppose we will go to Royal Ascot and maybe drop him back to six, or maybe go for the Guineas. Knowing dad, it will probably be the Guineas, but let’s see how he comes out of the race.”

Frankie Dettori, who performed a flying dismount, remarked: “I was a neighbour of Bill (Gredley) for 18 years and he had to put up with me. I am a good friend with Tim and George

“James Garfield is a lovely little horse with a massive heart, who tries really hard. When he gallops, he gets his head down like a Jack Russell and he has got a lot of courage, handles any ground and also any sort of undulations.

“Because of the way he won, he is entitled to take his chance in the Guineas – I am not saying he is going to win but he deserves to be in the race. I am available and will ride him.

“I had James (Doyle on front-running Hey Gaman) within range but I was a bit worried when Ryan (Moore – Expert Eye) came on the bridle.

“James Garfield is ultra-consistent. Forget his run in the Breeders’ Cup, when we got squeezed and never actually saw any daylight.

“He likes a straight course – he hasn’t grown a lot, but God he has got a heart.”

James Garfield, with Frankie Dettori up, takes the  G3 Al Basti Equiworld Supporting Greatwood Greenham Stakes

Sir Michael Stoute, trainer of Expert Eye, who drifted from Evens this morning to 7/4 this afternoon, remarked: “Ryan (Moore) said they went very, very slow in the race.

“Expert Eye has come a long way because we have had difficulty in the stalls during the spring and Gary (Wideford) and his son have done a really good job with him.

“The horse was pretty calm today – he just needed a little shove in. He wants better ground than this – quicker ground.

“We will see how he comes through this race – we are in no hurry to make a decision about which Guineas to go to – we are going to take our time.

“He is smart, but we have had trouble with the stalls – he is improving all the time – this is a lot better than when we schooled him last time at Newmarket on the racecourse side. Today was pretty good.”

Expert Eye (Sir Michael Stoute/ Ryan Moore) was beaten three quarters of a length in second, finishing a short-head in front of the third Hey Gaman (James Tate/James Doyle, 3/1). The winner’s time was 1m 26.98s.

3.45pm £50,000 Elite Racing Club Supporting Greatwood Spring Cup Handicap, 1m str

Most of the riders of the 22 runners thought that the stands’ side was the place to be and crowded over towards it.

Dettori on Taqdeer (John Gosden) was drawn in stall 17 and decided that there was no way through the field so he came around it towards the centre of the course, getting a good late run out his mount who got up to win by a neck close home, beating 11/1 chance Humbert (Hugo Palmer/Josephine Gordon), with Keyser Soze (Richard Spencer/Jamie Spencer, 25/1) a head back in third.

The result was a popular one, with Dettori completing a double on the 4/1 favourite.

The jockey said: “Taqdeer is a mile and a quarter horse. All the horses went to the stands’ side and I thought I did not have enough gears to go through them so I got him out, got him going and just got there.

“I found myself a little bit further back than I wanted to be but, when I found some clean air, he really motored.”

Gosden commented: “He looks a mile and a quarter horse and the slower ground today suited him.

“Frankie knew from where he was drawn that he was never going to get through and took him all the way round the back of the field which was a pretty wise move – otherwise he might have ended up being a very unlucky horse. Frankie got it right.

“Taqdeer is a grand horse who has had two years off, so he is a brave horse as well. His three-year-old form was good and Sheikh Hamdan is a very patient owner.

“I shall step him up to a mile and a quarter and we maybe will look at a Listed race, something like the Wolferton (at Royal Ascot) if we get a bit of rain. He is that type.”

Angus Gold, racing manager to Sheikh Hamdan who attended in person, added: “Taqdeer is an amazing horse – he had two years off after a bad injury. He was going for the Hampton Court at Royal Ascot as a three-year-old when he broke down.”