Long Lashes off the mark for Godolphin

HIGH-PROFILE Godolphin recruit Long Lashes finally gained her first victory of the season on a wintry afternoon at Leicester yesterday.

Bought with a Classic campaign in mind after winning her first start at two for Jessica Harrington, the powerful filly’s career tapered away after taking the Sweet Solera Stakes on her debut for Saeed Bin Suroor and she did not even return to competitive action in 2010 until Glorious Goodwood.

The Wreake Fillies’ Conditions Stakes is one of a handful of sympathetically-placed events at the Midlands track for smart horses in need of confidence and Long Lashes will now return to stakes company after brushing Seradim and Super Sleuth aside under a hands-and-heels ride from Frankie Dettori.

“She had been getting sweaty and upset before, but today she was nice and relaxed,” said Bin Suroor of the 5-2 joint-favourite.

“We’ll keep our options open now and look for another Listed race somewhere.”

Godolphin landed the race a year ago with Moonlife, who went on to win the Listed Fleur De Lys Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield a fortnight later.

There is bound to be expectation for promising winners of a race named after a Derby hero but both Marden and Naqshabban could be names for the future after divisions one and two of the Reference Point Maiden Stakes.

Most of the experienced juveniles were in the first of the seven-furlong heats, with Brian Meehan’s runner chalked up at 5-6 favourite after finishing fourth in a Newmarket maiden which has produced plenty of winners, notably Utley and Fulgur.

Marden was slowly into stride and wandered a little but came three and a half lengths clear of Muffraaj without jockey Shane Kelly needing to get particularly serious.

Luca Cumani’s newcomer Naqshabban (9-1), a gelded son of Street Cry, was particularly badly behaved in the preliminaries but he consented as soon as Kieren Fallon was aboard.

One smack of the whip from Fallon in the closing stages was enough for him to accelerate right away from the better-fancied Moonscape and Long Awaited.

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