After a year in exile, during construction of a new grandstand, the belles of Doncaster returned to their local racecourse with unabated glee. But they were soon reminded that Ladies' Day can be a depleting environment. The course announcer gravely alerted them to reports of pickpocketing, and an insolvency lawyer promptly made the podium in the best-dressed lady competition. The betting ring and bars were crammed; only a forlorn coffee stall stood neglected. But the fastest lady on Town Moor stood out radiantly from the crowd.
It was not, as many had hoped, Turbo Linn. Sad to report, the fairytale mare ran more like Turbot Linn in one of the two big races reserved for fillies, but the favourite had little difficulty living up to her billing in the other, the Frenchgate May Hill Stakes. True, Spacious ultimately had to be ridden fairly severely by Jamie Spencer to hold Kotsi by half a length, with Celtic Slipper also breathing down her neck. But you very seldom see a horse travel so much better than the rest at this level, and Spencer ascribed their mutual labours, once finally committed, to inexperience. After all, she had learned very little in cruising past two subsequent winners on her debut at Leicester. Until the final furlong, she found this more exacting company just as easy, observing her rivals with disdain in last place. In learning how to battle, however, she slightly hampered the runner-up, earning Spencer a day's suspension for careless riding.
Spacious is trained for Cheveley Park Stud by James Fanshawe, who will now put her away. "She has a big frame to fill out," he noted. "There's a lot of physical improvement in her and she's a very exciting prospect for next season. I'd love to train her for the 1,000 Guineas – she has the mentality to cope with spring training, she eats, doesn't worry. Jamie said she really travelled – he was still sat up her neck with a furlong to go – and that she was just a bit green in front."
Totesport's offer of 25-1 for the Guineas was by no means parsimonious. This was a notable result, incidentally, for Nayef, the young stallion responsible for both the first two. Pedigree, of course, has counted for nothing in the dizzy rise of Turbo Linn, but she was plainly not herself in the Goffs/DBS Park Hill Stakes, trailing in tenth behind Hi Calypso. The winner was one of three on the card for Ryan Moore. Hi Calypso, whose neck defeat of All My Loving extended that filly's luckless run, was nearly withdrawn after bruising her foot, and her owner, Philip Newton, paid tribute to the overnight toil of Sir Michael Stoute's team. She, too, has now earned a break.
No winner was received with more enthusiasm than Kirklees, thanks to his escort, albeit Frankie Dettori was required to do little more than sit there and look pretty. This was a striking debut for Godolphin from Kirklees and he may now join their strong team for Arc weekend at Longchamp next month.
The stable's star juvenile, Rio De La Plata, meets Myboycharlie and New Approach in the best race of its type this season at the Curragh on Sunday.
In what must be counted a most edifying decision, connections of New Approach declined the opportunity of instead going for the gross rewards offered in today's Goffs Million. Spencer and his championship rival, Seb Sanders, have both been tempted to Ireland by the dough, but Johnny Murtagh flies the other way to ride Septimus (2.40) in the GNER Doncaster Cup. The depredations of Yeats has exposed a certain stagnation among British stayers and his stablemate looked poised to follow his example when stepped up in distance at York last month. This race looks at his mercy, with no Sergeant Cecil to offer resistance – after a third consecutive disappointment that day, he will not run again this season. The sole reservation is the drying ground, as Septimus disappeared last season after jarring a shoulder in the Derby, but he handled similar conditions serenely on his comeback in the spring.
The other Group race, the Polypipe Flying Childers Stakes, also has an obvious favourite in Fleeting Spirit (3.10). The form of her first meeting with colts, in the Molecomb at Goodwood, was lavishly advertised by both placed horses at York last month. Her own defeat there should not deceive supporters that one of them, Captain Gerrard, can gain revenge. For she shaped as though six furlongs probably stretched her, and will be hard to beat back over this trip.
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