As consolation prizes go, a pot a shade short of £100,000 is not a bad one but the connections of Temple Meads, winner of yesterday's Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury, seemed remarkably underwhelmed by the colt's success. The trouble was the five-furlong dash, restricted to animals sold relatively cheaply at auction, offered a lot of cash but, as merely a Class Two event, little of the kudos so desired by those involved in horsetrading.
"These sales races that give a decent prize for a small outlay are great," said owner John Fretwell, "but I'm a commercial operator, I buy and sell, and it's Group-race wins that make people more interested."
Temple Meads will be given the opportunity to get that all-important commercial lure on his CV in the Gimcrack Stakes at York next month. He has always been regarded as a cut above yesterday's company – he was in the field only because a series of problems, including a throat infection, ruled him out of Royal Ascot – and won as if he was.
Though the least experienced in the 24-strong line-up – his only previous outing had been his maiden win at Newmarket in May – the chestnut started 5-1 second favourite and, after travelling strongly in the pack, emerged to cut down trailblazing Bold Bidder readily inside the final furlong, scoring by a decisive length. "I was never worried about his lack of experience," said his jockey Richard Mullen, "as he rides like an older horse at home. I thought he might be physically ring-rusty after so long off, but his class told."
The son of high-class sprinter Avonbridge, trained by Ed McMahon near Lichfield, cost just £16,000 as a yearling. "We knew before he won his maiden that he was good," said McMahon. "This was not supposed to be a port of call but he had to have time off. York will be next; the track should suit him and the step up to six furlongs should be no problem."
Richard Hannon has a fine record in the race with seven wins but the best any of his six challengers could do this time was 7-2 favourite Reckless Reward's 10th place.
Rosanara, who had been one of the market leaders for today's Irish Oaks, will miss the Classic after suffering a panic attack while boarding her flight in France yesterday. Her defection leaves 15 runners with three British raiders, the Oaks one-two Snow Fairy and Meeznah and Ribblesdale Stakes winner Hibaayeb, heading the betting. Oaks third Remember When is perceived as the best of the home defence.
One who did make it across the Channel was Olivier Peslier, in Newmarket in the morning to get acquainted with his mount in Saturday's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Harbinger. The Sir Michael Stoute-trained four-year-old, second favourite to his Derby-winning stablemate Workforce for the all-aged middle-distance showpiece at Ascot, duly sparkled for the new hands on his reins.Reuse content