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Article 19th April 2023 Newmarket

By Graham Clark

Dominic ffrench Davis continued his flying start to the season after Surely Not provided him with his first success on the Rowley Mile since taking out a trainer’s licence in 1994 when landing the Connaught Access Flooring Handicap at Newmarket today, day two of the bet365 Craven Meeting.   

Winless with his previous 33 runners at the track the Lambourn handler finally ticked trainer a winner at the course from his to do list after gelded son of National Defense sprouted wings late on under Hollie Doyle to score by two and a quarter lengths.

Ffrench Davis said: “I’ve never had a winner on the Rowley Mile. I’ve had lots of placed horses here. I’ve been placed in a Group Three and Listed races.

“I had a nice winner on the July Course called Indeed and he was placed in Group races here. It is nice to (have my first winner here) and hopefully there will be many more. We could do with a Guineas winner!”

A trip to Royal Ascot could now be on the agenda for Surely Not, who was registering the third success of his career and first start since undergoing a gelding operation over the winter.

He added: “Our plan was to drop him in. Silvestre (de Sousa) when he was in the country rode him at Goodwood last year and he wrestled him back to last and switched him off for a bit then came with a super run.

“Hollie rode him at Newbury next time out and settled him last and he came through with a good run that day. I ran him once too often last year.

“The ground was very heavy at York and he got a little bit above himself. We picked his pockets over the winter and he has really settled down and that has made a man of him. I think he is a lovely horse.

“He is a half-brother to a horse William Haggas had called With Thanks who was a Group winner. We thought he might be a 90 horse and he was off 79 today so I think he had a few pounds in hand.

“There are lots of good handicaps for three year olds and we would obviously have to think about Royal Ascot if we are going to be good enough to go there and we may have to have another run in between depending on what the handicapper does.”

Charlie Hills intends to work back from the Royal meeting with Orazio who secured his first success since making a winning debut at Windsor almost two years ago when coming from the rear of the field to land the Weatherbys Digital Solutions Handicap.

Having missed all of last season with a setback the four year old son of Caravaggio, who signed off his juvenile campaign in the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes at York, rewarded his connections perseverance when prevailing by a length in the six furlong event.

Hills said of the 9-1 winner: “We had to miss the whole of last season. It was always the plan to give him a run in the winter to try and get a bit of freshness out of him and then bring him back to the turf.

“He was placed in the Rose Bowl (at Newbury) and his last run was in the Gimcrack, where he was one of the fancied runners.

“Then he had something wrong afterwards but now we are here. He had a setback at this time of year last year which needed a bit of time.

“I’d like to work back from the Wokingham (at Royal Ascot) really." 


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