Saturday 21st July proved to be a memorable day for William Haggas and everyone at Somerville Lodge with the Newmarket handler being responsible for 5 winners, including Sea of Class in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh. The daughter of Sea The Stars has been brilliantly campaigned by Haggas winning two Listed events at Newbury en route with his connections resisting the temptation to fast track her to Epsom in early June. Given a terrific ride by James Doyle, she stayed on strongly to wear down the Epsom winner Forever Together close home and prevail by a neck. Races such as the Yorkshire Oaks and Prix Vermeille are likely to feature on her agenda, although she doesn't want slow ground.
At a much lower level, she stablemate Alexana, a beautifully bred filly by Al Kazeem, made a winning start to her career in the extended one mile three maiden at Lingfield on Saturday evening. Bred and owned by Normandie Stud, she is related to the likes of Duncan and Samuel and looks a filly of considerable potential. Despite only scoring narrowly, she impressed in the way she went through the contest and was value for more than the winning margin of a neck. While improvement is necessary, it wouldn't be a surprise to see her contesting Pattern races before the end of the season. Her family invariably improve with age and she could develop into a cracking four year old next term. She is featured in the Unraced Three Year Old section of Ahead On The Flat.
Batts Rock (7/2), who is featured in the Significant Sales section of AOTF, made it two out of two since joining Gordon Elliott by winning the Ladies Derby at the Curragh. Purchased out of Michael Bell's yard for 68,000gns last Autumn, he was a workmanlike winner at Bellewstown earlier this month but improved upon that performance here under Lisa O'Neill. The gelded son of Fastnet Rock won by three parts of a length off a mark of 90 and he looks set to take his chance in a premier handicap between now and the end of the season. It will be interesting to see if Elliott has hurdling in mind for the lightly raced five year old.
I interviewed Philip Hobbs on Friday for One Jump Ahead. The Minehead handler is usually my first port of call and Philip was in fine form discussing the thick end of 70 odd horses for this season. I am working at Cartmel tomorrow but then plan to carry out more interviews later next week. I will keep readers posted over the next few days.
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