I was disappointed by the performances of Abel Handy and Jaaneh at Doncaster on Friday with both horses looking in trouble some way from home. Thankfully, the horses featured in the Maidens In Waiting section of Ahead On The Flat enjoyed a much more productive day.
Evening Sun (8/11) shaped with plenty of promise in his two starts last year and confirmed that view with a convincing win on his reappearance at Newmarket. Roger Charlton's colt didn't have the clearest of runs entering the final quarter of a mile but once seeing daylight Jason Watson's mount quickened up smartly to win by three and a half lengths. A son of Muhaarar, he will have no trouble staying a mile and is an interesting prospect for valuable handicaps this summer and beyond. The Beckhampton team are in good form at present.
Magical Morning (11/8) is by the same sire and he made it two out of two this season with an all the way win at Town Moor. Partnered by Frankie Dettori, he followed up his win at Yarmouth earlier this month under a penalty. Scoring by three parts of a length, he had the highly regarded debutant Hyrdos back in second. His rider said afterwards that the ground was quick enough for John Gosden's colt and he is likely to be at his best on good ground in future. Rated 92 here, it is not unrealistic to think the Lady Bamford owned three year old could be tackling Pattern races at some stage.
The Ballydoyle Juveniles had a few reversals at Royal Ascot but normal service resumed at the Curragh with Merchants Quay (6/4) winning the six furlongs maiden. A son of No Nay Never from the family of Hermosa and Hydrangea, he had chased home stablemate Admiral Nelson on his debut over five furlongs and appreciated the step up in trip here. Held up early on, he stayed on strongly to beat stablemate Irish Chief by a length and a quarter. He has a bright future and should stay further.
In other news, it was announced that the unbeaten colt Highest Ground will miss the Epsom Derby next week in preference for the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York the following week. An impressive winner at Haydock earlier in the week, my Racing TV colleague Niall Hannity spoke to Ryan Moore afterwards and he was taken by the enthusiasm in which the former champion jockey spoke about the son of Frankel. He looks top drawer and his trip to the Knavesmire is one to look forward to.
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