Hawkbill claims victory in the Princess of Wales’s Arqana Racing Club Stakes at Newmarket
- Credit: PA
Having a good understudy can often reap rewards and Hawkbill emphasised that in leading home a one-two for trainer Charlie Appleby in the Princess of Wales’s Arqana Racing Club Stakes at Newmarket today.
After failing to fire last time out in France, the four-year-old bounced back to the level of form that saw him capture last year’s Coral-Eclipse with a tenacious success from the front in the Group Two contest.
Despite being given an easy time up front, the son of Kitten’s Joy looked set to be collected by his stablemate Frontiersman inside the final two furlongs of the mile-and-a-half prize, until a late wander cost him momentum at a vital stage.
Although William Buick straightened the 5-4 favourite up to renew his challenge, it was too little too late, with Hawkbill finding more to prevail by three-quarters of a length and complete a double for jockey James Doyle.
Appleby said: “Hawkbill was out there on his own merits, but we felt he might help the other horse bring some stamina into play. If you let Hawkbill free on the front end he has proven time after time he is a dangerous horse left alone.
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“I said to James don’t be frightened, we are looking forward to seeing what Frontiersman can do but ride your own race and let him lengthen. He gave him a peach of a ride.
“Frontiersman has run a solid race. He has wandered about a bit. He is still a bit inexperienced and hopefully he will get better with racing.
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“I don’t think we should run away from taking a look at the King George with Frontiersman. With Hawkbill, at the end of the day, he’s an Eclipse winner and multiple Group winner and I am delighted for him.”
Appleby completed a double when the Buick-ridden Spring Cosmos (9-2) made a winning start to her career in the six-furlong British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.
Appleby said: “She’s done well and knew her job. She’ll probably get a bit further in time.
The dilemma trainer Mark Johnston had over which trip Cardsharp is best suited to looked to be answered following his battling victory in the Arqana July Stakes.
Having finished a staying-on third in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, the battle-hardened son of Lonhro showed the step back up to six furlongs to be in his favour when wearing down U S Navy Flag to take the Group Two affair by a length and three-quarters. Coventry Stakes winner Rajasinghe had to settle for third.
Following the race the 8-1 winner, who formed the first leg of Doyle’s double, was introduced at 33-1 by Coral for next year’s 2000 Guineas.
Johnston said: “We’ve been umming and ahhing and chopped and changed with him. Watching him at Beverley he showed so much speed he just looked like he was tiring at the end.
“He was going to go for the Coventry then we switched him to the Norfolk and clearly we were wrong in doing that. As we’ve seen today he is better for the six furlongs and he was certainly not stopping at the end.
“When I was putting the jockey on I thought what a tall rangy horse this is and that he doesn’t look like a sprinter. We will get him home and have a think about it.”
While Classic contenders may have been thin on the ground in recent seasons for Brian Meehan, he looks to have an outstanding candidate for this year’s William Hill St Leger after Raheen House showed stamina to be his forte in the Bahrain Trophy.
With favourite and Royal Ascot winner Atty Persse trailing home last, the son of Sea The Stars saw his odds for the final Classic of the season cut from 20-1 to 10-1 by Paddy Power after finding plenty for pressure late on.
Meehan said of his 7-2 scorer: “He wanted that extra furlong. He has always been progressive and really deserved this, especially after his last run at Ascot. I was really pleased with that, it was top drawer.
“I don’t know that I want to be going back to a mile and a half and I would be quite happy to leave him for the St Leger. I imagine we will go straight there as that will suit the horse. That’s the sensible place to go.”