Natagora is as short as 10-1 for next year’s Stan James 1000 Guineas but rider Christophe Lemaire is unsure whether the grey will stay the trip following her victory in the six-furlong skybet.com Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.
The Group One was a long-awaited first British winner for her French trainer Pascal Bary after some unlucky defeats, most notably with Six Perfections in the 2003 renewal of the Guineas.
Natagora burst out of the stalls to make every yard and although the 7-2 shot only had a neck in hand over Jeremy Noseda’s rallying Fleeting Spirit at the line, she always seemed to be doing just enough.
Lemaire said: “She has a lot of speed but it will be difficult for her to stay a mile. It is up to the trainer to see if he can make her stay, but I think he has a hard job.”
Bary was beaming, adding: “I don’t think she will run again this season – she has run seven times now and deserves a break – and hopefully she will be back here for the Guineas.
“I hope she gets a mile – that’s as far as I am thinking.”
Natagora shared top billing on the card with the Barry Hills-trained Dark Angel, who bagged the Shadwell Middle Park Stakes.
The 8-1 chance was well in command before halfway in the six-furlong contest and found plenty to see off Noseda’s Strike The Deal by half a length.
Hills was also responsible for third-placed Tajdeef, but he indicated a Guineas preparation for the winner is unlikely with the grey colt poised to stick to sprint trips next season.
He said: “I don’t know if he will run again this season but if he does it will be in the Dewhurst.
“Next year I think he will be a sprinter as I can’t see him getting a mile, but who knows.”
River Proud confirmed himself as a 2000 Guineas candidate with a game success in Newmarket’s Somerville Tattersall Stakes.
Paul Cole’s handsome colt was never going in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster after getting upset in the stalls and banging his head.
But he travelled well at Headquarters and picked up impressively for Richard Quinn before resisting chief rival Iguazu Falls to land odds of 11-4 by a neck.
Cole said: “I have Luck Money in the Dewhurst and Moynahan will be supplemented, so we’ll look at races such as the Racing Post Trophy and the Criterium de Saint-Cloud for this horse.”
Brian Meehan pulled off a plan hatched several months ago when the lightly-raced Exclamation (13-2) proved too strong for Anosti and Copywriter in the £250,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes.
The Manton trainer said: “We have a lovely bunch of two-year-olds but this is a good horse, make no mistake.”
Almajd proved far too hot to handle for 2-1 favourite Virtual in the second division of the NGK Spark Plugs EBF Maiden.
Sir Michael Stoute’s 11-4 winner received a quote of 20-1 from Ladbrokes for the 2000 Guineas after landing the odds by a length and a quarter.
Galactic Star (11-8 favourite) initiated a double for Stoute when he held the persistent challenge of Munsef in the Newmarket Equine Security Godolphin Stakes, while Peter Chapple-Hyam’s 5-6 favourite Fireside short-headed Slam in the first division of the juvenile maiden.
Free Offer took a definite edge entering the final furlong of the Greene King IPA Handicap, only for Clive Brittain’s Habalwatan (9-1) to take the spoils by a rallying head.