Glorious Journey was described as a “dude” by jockey James Doyle after collecting the third Group Three Close Brothers Criterion Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday 26th June.
The seven-race programme also featured two Listed contests with System giving connections a pleasant surprise when taking the Maureen Brittain Memorial Empress Fillies’ Stakes and Outbox recording his first Listed success in the Close Brothers Fred Archer Stakes, claiming the notable scalp of 2019 St Leger winner Logician.
We sent Graham Clark along to speak to the winners on the day.
CLOSE BROTHERS CRITERION STAKES GOES TO “DUDE” GLORIOUS JOURNEY
James Doyle had nothing but praise for seasoned campaigner Glorious Journey, who he described as “a dude” following his victory in the feature Close Brothers Criterion Stakes.
Four years on from making a winning debut on the July Course the Charlie Appleby-trained son of Dubawi showed a clean pair of heels to his younger rivals to land the fifth pattern race success of his career when opening his account for the campaign in the Group Three contest at odds of 9-2.
Having finished second in the 2019 renewal of the seven furlong prize the six year old gelding added his name to the roll of honour when going one better in the hands of Doyle after proving a length too strong for last year’s Bunbury Cup winner Motakhayyel.
Doyle said: “I love him to bits. He is a dude and he just turns up. I was a little bit concerned with the going being pretty quick but he is moving better than ever and he floated going down to the start.
“There was a nice even pace on which he loves and we were able to stalk it and pick up late on and he hit the line good. He is solid year in year out and he keeps producing performances like that.
“He is quite versatile, I don’t think there is any reason why (he likes the July Course) as he likes Newbury to. He has won on pretty quick ground there and won with plenty of ease.
“We’ve tried Group Ones before but we are pretty realistic with him and he punches away solidly at Group Three level and he can produce a proper Group Two performance when it all goes well.”
OUTBOX RECORDS FIRST LISTED SUCCESS IN CLOSE BROTHERS FRED ARCHER STAKES
Outbox took his form to new heights after securing his biggest success since joining trainer Archie Watson with a tenacious success in the Close Brothers Fred Archer Stakes.
Purchased for 16,000 guineas out of the Simon and Ed Crisford yard at the Tattersalls Horses In Training Sale in October the gelded son of Frankel continued to look like money well spent by connections Hambleton Racing Ltd judging by his victory in the Listed prize.
Making his ninth start since the turn of the year the 6-1 chance demonstrated the best of battling abilities in the mile and a half contest when staying on in game fashion under Hollie Doyle to defeat 2019 St Leger hero, and 5-6 favourite, Logician by a length.
Charlie Turner, spokesman for the owners, said: “He was picked up at the sales for a very reasonable price by Hambleton Racing. I think this is a testament of Archie Watson and Hambleton Racing combining together. He has been solid all year and run some solid races and he deserved this Listed race today. He loved the ground. He is quite versatile, though I don’t think he has run on ground this quick.
“After running him on soft ground at Ascot and Newbury Hollie (Doyle) said he needed it a bit quicker. We were confident today even though we were up against Logician.
“He is a tough horse. I’m not sure where we are going to go from here. I was hoping we might look at the Ebor or something like that but Archie will make that decision where he will go.”
As for the John and Thady Gosden-trained Logician, retirement could now be on the cards following his second successive defeat of the campaign.
John Gosden said: “He was desperately ill. His life was saved by the Newmarket Equine Hospital as he nearly died of peritonitis so it is probably slightly a miracle he has come back to racing. He won his comeback race last year then he lost his action at York in very heavy ground.
“He has run third the other day and done nothing wrong. I’ve been happy with him coming into the race. He has lost that speed and turn of foot he had. He could just turn it on in a race and that is no longer there. Where he could have sat and gone and taken three or four lengths out of the field that is not there. We will consider what we want to do. That is (retirement) is obviously a possibility. He has done nothing wrong here but the old Logician would have won this for fun.
“He has come back and tried hard and I like the way he was closing at the end and I’ve no doubt a little bit further he might have got there but that is not the point. We will re-group on him.”
“PLEASANT SURPRISE” FOR CONNECTIONS AS SYSTEM LANDS MAUREEN BRITTAIN MEMORIAL EMPRESS FILLIES’ STAKES AT 22-1
System appears to have a bright future in store after providing her connections with a “pleasant surprise” when opening her account in the Maureen Brittain Memorial Empress Fillies’ Stakes.
Having finished second on her debut at Salisbury 13 days ago the Richard Hannon-trained daughter of Galileo Gold went one better in the six-furlong Listed prize, which was being run in memory of former trainer Clive Brittain’s wife Maureen, who passed away in June last year.
Getting a perfect run up the stands side rail the 22-1 shot forged on under Pat Dobbs past Albany Stakes fifth, and favourite Cachet, before holding off the fast finishing Desert Dreamer by a neck.
Martin Hughes, joint owner, said: “That was a pleasant surprise. She ran well at Salisbury behind what they think is a good one there. We thought we had a chance and the yard didn’t ignore it but the market did. I’m quite pleased with that outcome.
“The idea we said to Dobbsy is to convince Richard to put her away and not worry about it.
“I think the Galileo Gold’s are coming out quite nicely. I’ve got my mother and mother-in-law here as well so it has pleased them as well.
“She looks like she will get further as she finished well and was staying well. She is a lock away for three.”
Six-time Classic-winning handler Brittain, who saddled the winner of the race on two occasions with Ivanka in 1992 and then Jira in 2009, was on hand to present the trophies, and although not picking the winner he admitted it was good to be back on the track.
He said: “It is fantastic to be back. I’ve had some very good winners here and some very good memories. I didn’t pick the winner as I went for Najat but the winner looks very good and is in the hands of a genius.
“Maureen always loved this race and it was easy for me to support it. If I could have given her anything this is what she would have wanted.”
Although Brittain retired from training in 2015 he claims still keeps a close on the sport that he worked in for 70 years.
He said: “I do still watch the racing on television. After working in racing for 70 years you sort of get addicted to it.
“It is nice to see so many young jockeys coming on and young trainers who are really enthusiastic and skilled.”
INSPIRAL SO IMPRESSIVE ON DEBUT
Inspiral followed in the hoofprints of her illustrious sire Frankel by making a winning debut at Newmarket’s July Course after powering to glory in the Close Brothers Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.
It will be 11 years in August since 10 times Group One winner Frankel made a winning start at the July Course and though Inspiral, homebred by Cheveley Park Stud, has a way to go to match those heights she made the perfect start to her career when hitting the ground running in the seven-furlong contest.
Making the most of her giant stride the John and Thady Gosden-trained 2-1 joint favourite made rapid late headway under Robert Havlin before hitting the front deep inside the final furlong to go on and score going away by a length and a half.
Thady Gosden, joint trainer, said: “They went steady enough early on then luckily Rab came down the outside. He didn’t panic and kept a very cool head and he let her use her big Frankel stride.
“She is a Frankel out of a filly that was second in a 1000 Guineas (Starscope) so she should stay a mile. I think for experience we will probably take another small step before going up in grade.”
MASAR’S HALF-SISTER GOING THE RIGHT WAY
Sayyida has a long way to go to emulate the achievements of her Derby-winning half-brother Masar but a step up to Listed company could be next on her agenda following her victory in the Close Brothers Fillies’ Handicap.
The Dubawi filly added to her last time out victory on the Rowley Mile length when prevailing by a length in the mile and a half prize to secure an 11-1- double for both jockey James Doyle and trainer Charlie Appleby following the earlier success of Glorious Journey.
Doyle said of the 6-5 favourite: “She has taken another good step forward. She has potentially found the ground a little bit lively. She has got a fantastic pedigree and is progressing nicely. She was under the pump a little while the last day as well but she has got plenty of stamina. I like the way the second drew up to me and how she knuckled down well.
“I would guess that something like the Aphrodite or Chalice Stakes (both Listed races) could be a possibility as with pedigrees it is important (to get Black Type). I’m sure Charlie will make the decision but I’m sure those races will be on his mind.”