By Graham Clark
Jockey Hollie Doyle believes Passion And Glory could be a “fun horse for the year” for his connections after continuing her fine run of form in the saddle with victory in the feature Davies Insurance Services Gala Stakes at Sandown Park this afternoon.
All eyes going into the 10-furlong Listed race were focussed on William Haggas’ multiple Group One scorer Addeybb (11-8 Favorite) but it was Godolphin’s globetrotting gelding that was to steal the show and spring a surprise, handing trainer Saeed bin Suroor a record-extending fourth victory in the contest.
Not sighted since finishing fifth in Group Two Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan in March the six year old son of Cape Cross, who has also raced in Saudi Arabia and Germany, was sent off a 5-1 chance to make his first start in Britain this year a winning one.
Racing up with the pace throughout Passion And Glory was sent on mid-race by Doyle to ensure he would not be caught for toe late on. Bringing his guaranteed stamina into play, Passion And Glory stayed on determinedly to defeat the slow-starting Regal Reality by a length and a half, with Addeybb another head back in third.
Doyle said: “It was pretty straightforward. He has got some pretty good form this horse as he been to Saudi, Dubai and Germany in the past.
“Today he was stepping right back down in trip. They said the ground might be a bit quick but he seemed to handle it fine.
“He jumped and traveled well. I just let him use himself with it being his minimum trip as the further he went, the better.
“I was bit worried fitness-wise where he was at but he hit the line well and he has had a good blow so he will really come on for the run. He could be a fun horse for the year.
“I did think that it could be on the short side for him and that’s why I went out to make the running. Rossa (Ryan, on Victory Chime) gave me a lead but I took him on early enough before I got headed and done for toe.
“I was a bit worried maybe I committed a bit soon not knowing how the fitness levels were, but he got away with it.
“From my position not a lot got into but it was a good renewal with Addeybb and there was some good horses in there.
“Saeed’s horses are running well and it is great that he is giving me some rides.”
Despite Addeybb tasting defeat connections were far from disappointed with the run.
Maureen Haggas, wife and assistant to trainer William Haggas, said: “We all know that he is at his best on soft ground but we just want to have him ready for when it rains one day.
“He ran well and when it was obvious he wasn’t going to win Tom (Marquand) just looked after him. He is great and he owes us nothing. ”
Golden Voice hits right note
While Haggas and Marquand might have been out of luck with Addeybb the pair teamed up to good effect with Golden Voice who hit all the right notes on to defy top weight in the Jameson Lamb Half Century Classic Handicap.
After bouncing back from defeat at York with victory over course and distance last time out the gelded son of Havana Gold defied a five pound hike in the weights for that success with a length and a half victory in the seven-furlong event.
Maureen Haggas said of the successful 6-4 market leader: “He did well. Going a nice pace suited him. He is getting the hang of it.
“I think the strong pace helps him though I’m not sure he does more than he has to but he is getting better. He showed a much better turn of foot today so he is learning on the job.
“He has never been an over-enthusiastic horse and sometimes it just takes a bit longer for them to cop on but he looked alright today.
“He is a funny little chap who just doddles along. He is getting better and is going the right way. He hasn’t done much wrong recently.
“I think the stiff seven here suits him well. He settles and everything so there is no reason why he wouldn’t get an easy mile.
“I think you would have to see how he goes but at the moment he wouldn’t be running outside of handicaps. He is getting better with every run so you never know. ”
One Nation makes no mistake
One Nation might have tasted an odds-on defeat on his previous visit to Sandown Park but there was no such misfortune for the son of Dubawi on this occasion after leading home a one-two for trainer Charlie Appleby in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Stakes.
Sent off the 11-8 Favorite to make amends for his latest defeat the Godolphin-owned colt duly obliged in the seven-furlong contest when mastering stablemate Golden Speech (10-1) by half a length.
Appleby, speaking away from the track, said: “I’m pleased he got his head in front there. He is a horse that is progressing and he is a typical Dubawi.
“He was a little bit unlucky, and probably met a nice filly to be fair last time, but he was the slowest away and we know Sandown is not the ideal place to be last.
“This time William (Buick) got a nice pitch and he did it well. He is very much learning still. I’d imagine there is a bit more to come and stepping up in trip is going to be one of the ways forward as well.
“I was pleased with the second as well as it was marked improvement from the first to second run so hopefully there is a race in him as well.”
Coltrane fuels Cup dream
Owner Mick Mariscotti saw his dreams of having his silks carried to glory in the Lexus Melbourne Cup move a potential step closer when Coltrane made light work of his opponents to come home the impressive winner of the Coral Marathon at Sandown Park today.
The five year old Mastercraftsman gelding landed the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot last month and took the step up to Listed company in his stride this afternoon. Dropped back to two miles, the well-supported 5-2 Favorite appeared in a league of his own when putting his assured stamina to good use under Rob Hornby to secure the fifth victory of his career.
Moving into contention midway down the home straight, Andrew Balding-trained runner soon put matters to bed once sent on by Hornby after resolutely galloping out to defeat Rodrigo Diaz by 10 lengths, with Calling The Wind a further three-quarters of a length adrift in third.
Mariscotti, who owns Coltrane with his wife Janice, said: “The horse just continues to surprise all of us. He has come out of Ascot, which was a really tough race, well and he has run a fantastic race today.
“He has got an entry in the Ebor and an entry in the Goodwood Cup, so we will take it one race at a time.
“It would be high on the list to go to Australia and we would love to go down there but we will be guided by Andrew.
“He lost a year through injury but he has come back incredibly strong.”
Before a potential trip Down Under to contest the Melbourne Cup, which is often described as the “race that stops a nation” an appearance in the Group One Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup, for which he was trimmed from 33-1 into 12-1 by Coral, could be next on the agenda according to Balding.
Balding added: “He is a great horse and he has been threatening to get his confidence back as he obviously had an injury. It took a couple of runs on the All-Weather to find his confidence but since the Chester Cup he has not looked back.
“That was the horse that won the Melrose, and he was very impressive that day. He looked back to his best there.
“He has had joint surgery and he seems sound now and he will certainly have an entry in the Melbourne Cup but it is something we will have to assess nearer the time.
“He is in the Goodwood Cup and that is a possibility. There is also the Lonsdale Cup and Doncaster Cup, so there are lots of nice races for him. ”
Rocket Rodney zooms home
Trainer George Scott believes Rocket Rodney‘s defeat at Royal Ascot “made a man of him” after watching the talented juvenile deliver a stylish victory in the Listed Coral Dragon Stakes at Sandown Park today.
Having seen his number of winners appear to plateau in recent seasons the Newmarket based handler admitted he has emerged from a “tough period” and is now enjoying a solid campaign.
Rocket Rodney raced prominently throughout the five-furlong dash and the Evens Favorite soon quickened away once sent on by Daniel Muscutt before passing the post two and a half lengths clear of Cuban Mistress.
The son of Dandy Man was gaining compensation for his defeat in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot in the Listed prize and Scott said: “He is a horse that has shown plenty at home from day one.
“We went to Royal Ascot thinking we had a chance of running a big race. To go and bump into Aiden’s horse (Little Big Bear) was obviously frustrating but he got beaten by the better horse on the day.
“Ascot made a man of him. Sometimes when they go through that maiden novice system even though they are nice horses they don’t learn that much. He came back from Ascot a different horse and that has reflected in his run today.
“I think at Royal Ascot winning is everything but if you have got a young horse to look forward to you can walk away excited as well. I think he will be a better horse with something to aim at. He is one of the most laid back horses I’ve ever trained. He will walk on to the canter in the morning.
“He doesn’t do too much unless he is really asked so a strong pace and something to shoot at in the last furlong and a half will suit him better. He had to do a lot of the donkey work today but he finished off his race really well. He put the race to bed quickly. It was a really pleasing performance. ”
Reflecting on his stable’s results, Scott added: “It has been a pretty tough period professionally and at home. I’ve been able to really reset and focus over the winter and that is our 19th winner. We’ve got a great team and my assistant Alex helps keep the show on the road.
“People like Sheikh Nassar come in and showing belief in buying this horse and keep him in training with me. He was straight on the phone with such enthusiasm. I’m loving it. These days make it really worthwhile.
“I think every trainer needs a horse to put them in the headlights but I think it is important that we have gone out winning day to day races. That is what we have concentrated on doing this year. I’ve just tried to rebuild my career and we are having a great season. ”
A return trip to Goodwood is now on the cards for Rocket Rodney with Scott earmarking the Group Three Molecomb Stakes as his next target ahead of a potential end of season trip to the Breeders’ Cup.
He added: “Of course he will go to the Molcomb providing he is in good order. He has always shown a liking to the track and he nearly broke the track record on his second start there. We will look forward to Goodwood and make plans from thereon.
“That was a bit of a trial for him (for the Breeders’ Cup). As Dandy Man is not a nominated stallion we had to pay something like £ 20,000 to get him in the Breeders’ Cup and I said if he won like that today he would be nominated for the new five furlong race on the undercard. ”