Reality strikes for Hannon

It was not quite the one Richard Hannon expected to strike, but the two-year-old master still managed to claim the Louis And Valerie Freedman Maiden Fillies' Stakes at Newbury today.

With three in the race, jockey Richard Hughes plumped for the once-raced Poppy, who was only 10th, leaving Ryan Moore the winning ride on apparent second-string Face Reality (12-1).

It was a pleasing debut for the daughter of More Than Ready, who defeated the 100-30 favourite Wiqaaya by a neck, while Hannon's 25-1 shot Super ran well alone on the stands rail to be third.

Hannon confessed: "It thought Poppy was the one he should have ridden, but she has hung today, which she has not done before. You never know, do you?"

Giant chestnut Norse Blues became his sire Norse Dancer's first winner in division one of the Heaton-Ellis Trust EBF Maiden Stakes.

A sometimes maligned horse during a career which yielded nearly £730,000 in prize money, Norse Dancer stands at his owner Jeff Smith's Littleton Stud, just outside Winchester in Hampshire.

The Sylvester Kirk-trained Norse Blues (50-1) showed little on his debut at Sandown but was a different proposition here, beating Above All by three lengths.

David Bowe, representing the stud, said: "He was a little lit-up at Sandown and he's still green.

"He's a lovely, scopey sort and the type to make a better three-year-old."

Another to have shown significant improvement for a debut airing was Mantoba (11-2), in division two of the maiden.

Brian Meehan's colt, carrying the famous Sangster colours but registered under the Manton Racing Partnership, was driven away from the strong-travelling Red Lover by Kieren Fallon.

In second was Dean Ivory's Sirius Prospect, beaten just half a length.

Guy Sangster said: "I'm very pleased for the partnership, who have four horses with us.

"Brian has always thought a lot of him. He was fourth at Salisbury and has obviously come on for that.

"Frankie Dettori, who rode him last time, said he might need two runs, so he was wrong by one!"

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