Gretchen knuckles down to her task

John Gosden’s Gretchen lived up to her stout breeding with a game-staying performance in the DFS Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster.

Gretchen knuckles down to her task

Having opened in 1997, Philippa Cooper’s Normandie Stud is still in its infancy compared to some of the powerhouse breeding operations, but has managed to become an increasingly significant player in flat-racing circles.

A half-sister to Samuel and Duncan and a Listed winner over a mile-and-a-half at Newmarket in early August, Gretchen was a 5-1 shot stepped up in grade and distance.

Robert Havlin’s mount was never too far off the speed and knuckled down to her task admirably as the post loomed to get the better of Melodious by a neck, with Asyad close up in third.

Gosden said: “Rab [Havlin] is very good. He’s ridden all our good horses in work and in quite a few races. He’s a top-class man and part of the team.

“It’s great when these horses come off the stud. She’s out of that wonderful mare Dolores, who has produced winners of the Yorkshire Cup and now the Park Hill.”

Gosden and Havlin doubled up in the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Fillies’ Handicap as 5-2 favourite California made two from two in impressive fashion.

Realtra was the 25-1 winner of the Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes, but the result came as no surprise to trainer Roger Varian.

The three-year-old, a course and distance winner when trained by Richard Fahey, made a successful debut for Varian at Haydock a month ago and despite hanging right across the track in the hands of Jack Mitchell, she passed the post two and a quarter lengths ahead of Pelerin.

Varian said: “I never come to the races thinking they’ll win like she did, but if someone had asked me beforehand, I’d have said I would have been disappointed if she wasn’t in the first four.”

Mitchell was found guilty of careless riding by the stewards and handed an eight-day suspension (September 24-October 1 inclusive).

Mr Lupton had to survive a nervy stewards’ inquiry before being confirmed as the winner of the lucrative Weatherbys Hamilton £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes. Jamie Spencer produced the 10-1 shot with a well-timed challenge to get up and beat favourite Humphrey Bogart and though the two came close together and there was just a head in it at the line, the placings remained unaltered. Spencer was given a one-day (September 24) careless-riding ban.

Spencer also steered Luca Cumani’s Blue Waltz (10-1) to her second Doncaster success in the Margaret And Derrick’s 50 Golden Years Handicap.

Jeremy Noseda is eyeing a trip to the Breeders’ Cup with Nemoralia (7-4 favourite) following a facile win in the British Stallion Studs “Carrie Red” EBF Fillies’ Stakes under Frankie Dettori.

“I thought the handicapper had given her a big chance. I’ve always felt she was a Stakes filly,” said Noseda. “She goes on the turf, but I think she is probably a real dirt filly. That [Breeders’ Cup Fillies Juvenile] has been in my mind for three or four months.”

Saeed bin Suroor’s Very Talented (4-6 favourite) confirmed the promise of two previous efforts with a comprehensive triumph in the DFS British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes.

The concluding This Is The Ladbrokes Life Handicap went to the David O’Meara-trained Rex Imperator (13-2 favourite), who travelled powerfully in his cheekpieces before showing a smart turn of foot and then just hanging on to hold stablemate Regal Dan.

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