Promising Lead looks set for a successful campaign in Pattern races after making an impressive reappearance in the totepoolscoop6 Special Middleton Stakes at York.
The victory set up a big-race double for trainer Sir Michael Stoute and jockey Ryan Moore, who took the totesport.com Dante Stakes with Tartan Bearer – in which Promising Lead’s owner Khalid Abdullah suffered defeat with odds-on Twice Over.
However, it was smiles all round when Promising Lead landed the Group Three race, with connections having the Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp as the long-range target after she was just touched off in that Group One last October.
The 2-5 shot sailed past Under The Rainbow with the minimum of fuss in the hands of Ryan Moore to win by three and three-quarter lengths, with Flying Clarets another seven lengths back.
“We’ll have a look at the all the mile-and-a-quarter races open to her and she may stay a mile and a half,” said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Abdullah.
“We’ll look at a combination of them. It’s nice that she’s got this Group win. She was only beaten a nose in the Prix de l’Opera last year. It was agonisingly close and we’ll try to put that right. She’s done it nicely.
“She likes fast ground. There’s a race in Ireland – the Pretty Polly – a bit later on which we’ll also consider.”
Stoute and Moore were denied a hat-trick when Lang Shining was beaten by Mia’s Boy in the Bank Of Scotland Corporate Hambleton Stakes.
The writing looked on the wall when the 8-11 favourite kicked on over a furlong out but Jimmy Quinn brought Chris Dwyer’s 15-2 chance with a powerful run on the outside to win by three-quarters of a length.
“That’s the best way to ride him – to settle him in. He’s got a lovely turn of foot,” said Dwyer, who has a string of only five horses at Newmarket.
“He’s won four weak races but he’s improved as he’s gone along. I was slightly concerned about the ground but they’ve done a marvellous job here with watering.
“Maybe I’ll have to enter him for Royal Ascot for the Hunt Cup. I was going to give him June off and wait for the easier ground at the back-end of the season but I might make an entry now.”
Royal Ascot’s Coventry Stakes could be Lord Shanakill’s next race after Karl Burke’s youngster floored the well-fancied newcomer Awinnersgame in the Constant Security EBF Maiden Stakes.
Up with the pace throughout, Lord Shanakill (13-2) kept up the gallop to win by two and three-quarter lengths from the 6-4 favourite.
“I was quietly confident, he’s improved a lot since Thirsk and has been working very well,” said Burke.
“We bought five from Keeneland last year and he’s the first we’ve run. He’s from a real Group-winning family.
“I suppose the Coventry is the obvious one. We’ll see how the form of the race works out and we’ve got plenty of time to think about it. If he did go there I doubt if he’d have another run again.”
Sprint king David Nicholls is eyeing a fifth victory in the Epsom “Dash” after Tournedos exploded back to form.
The six-year-old was only ninth on Derby Day last June but had a wind problem then which has now been rectified – as he showed by covering the minimum trip at York in 58.46 seconds to win the Enter The Flat totetentofollow Stakes.
The 33-1 shot flew home towards the far side to beat the fast-finishing River Falcon by half a length, with Bertoliver a head away third.
“He gets a 4lb penalty and he’ll probably go up by more than that so he’ll go to Epsom,” said Nicholls.
Charlie Farnsbarns showed he still retains plenty of ability with a game victory in the Ralph Raper Memorial Stakes.
Brian Meehan’s four-year-old has been restricted to just one run since finishing second to Authorized in the Racing Post Trophy 19 months ago but produced a sterling effort under Frankie Dettori to hold Benandonner by a short head.
“He’s a very good horse and he’s just coming back now. They should have fun with him this year and he deserved that,” said bloodstock agent Johnny McKeever, who bought the horse as a yearling.
A two-mile Flat handicap at the Galway Festival is on the cards for Mighty Moon, who won the stamina test for the ripleycollection.com Stakes.
Held up by Paul Hanagan to get the two and a quarter miles, the grey stayed on strongly to beat the pacesetting Mister Arjay by three and three-quarter lengths.
“He was bought to run at Galway, which is where he will probably go next,” said trainer Richard Fahey.
“Last night I went through the formbook and found some form he had on fast ground, so I ran him.”