Waldenburg earns an early Classic billing

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The Independent Online

John Gosden nominated Waldenburg as his hope for next year's 2000 Guineas after the debutant had caused an upset by short-heading Dubai Destination in the Scottish Life Maiden Stakes at Newbury yesterday.

The runner-up was the subject of much pre-race hype and went off the 1-2 favourite to maintain David Loder's purple patch. There was no fluke however about 10-1 shot Waldenburg's win as he appeared to simply outpoint the favourite, also owned by Sheikh Mohammed, in a driving finish under Jimmy Fortune.

Godsen made no secret of that fact that he holds Waldenburg in the highest regard, saying: "He's a very special horse and if I have a proper horse for next year this is him, as he works better than anything at home. He's my Guineas horse. I've always had a high opinion of him and he'll want a mile in time.

"He was going to be my Coventry Stakes horse for Royal Ascot," Gosden added, "but it's all come about 10 days too soon for him."

Loder was philosophical following the narrow defeat of Dubai Destination and said: "He needs to grow up but he's going to be a nice horse. Unfortunately he went to the start hollering for his mother and came back looking for her.

"He really needs seven furlongs but we thought we might get away with the six furlongs here. However, as usual, these things don't quite work out."

Frankie Dettori, who just missed out on board Dubai Destination, had earlier enjoyed better fortune in a photo-finish when Ben Hanbury's Lake Verdi rallied back past newcomer Six Hitter in the Newbury Conditions Stakes.

Hanbury later doubled up when Nafisah answered all of Richard Hills' urgings to fend off the dangerous-looking challenge of Duchcov by a length and three-quarters in the Listed Ballymacoll Stud Stakes.

The winning filly could make a quick reappearance at Royal Ascot next week according to Hanbury, who said: "She may run in the Ribblesdale Stakes. We'll just have to wait and see, but she should get a mile and a half easily enough."

The Peter Harris-trained Volontiers came from last to first in impressive style to clinch the Newbury Rated Showcase Handicap.

Jamie Spencer bided his time aboard the six-year-old before pouncing a furlong out and thrashing Red N'Socks by five lengths.

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