Meeznah means plenty to Lanigan

Whatever riches await David Lanigan, he will forever be indebted to Meeznah.

Whatever riches await David Lanigan, he will forever be indebted to Meeznah.

The emerging Newmarket handler, a former right-hand man to Henry Cecil, was again left in quiet amazement by his four-year-old filly in the DFS Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster.

Softly-spoken Lanigan had already experienced quite a journey with his flag-bearing thoroughbred, even before she snared Group Two honours on Town Moor.

Runner-up in last year’s Oaks, only to be disqualified for testing positive for a banned substance, her finest hour before the Park Hill was victory in the Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood in July.

Then followed an uncharacteristic no-show in the Geoffrey Freer at Newbury, in which she perplexed connections by finishing seventh.

But with Frankie Dettori having retained the faith in South Yorkshire, Meeznah turned in an all-action display which rightly provoked chatter of a possible trip to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup.

“I gave her an easy week and she had two pieces of work coming in here,” explained Lanigan.

“She’s a difficult filly – the day she goes five lengths clear in a piece of work is probably the day she’s gone over the top, but she did her work fine.

“This has been the plan all year.”

Sent on her way a 9-2 chance, Meeznah fulfilled Lanigan’s long-term ambitions to the letter, taking the lead from off a generous pace two furlongs from home.

Set To Music, who was unbeaten on her last four starts, gave chase along the straight, but was overwhelmed by three and a half lengths.

Lanigan added: “She could run at Ascot (Qipco British Champions Fillies And Mares Stakes), she could go to France, and she’s in the Melbourne Cup.

“There is a lot to decide, there will be no rash decision on plans.”

Michael Bell also has plenty to consider with Set To Music, who could be supplemented for the aforementioned Ascot race on October 15.

Irish challenger Sense Of Purpose, trained by Dermot Weld, holds an entry on Champions Day, in the Long Distance Cup, but finished last after making most of the running.

Weld’s compatriot, John Oxx, had a far greater degree of success when the rapidly-improving Alanza (11-4) won the Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes.

The Aga Khan-owned filly arrived on Yorkshire soil unbeaten in two starts, both at Listed level, and was delivered with near-surgical precision by Johnny Murtagh to surge between last year’s winner Dever Dream and Chachamaidee, beating the former with more authority than a neck might suggest.

For Oxx, who has found keynote triumphs hard to come by since the Sea The Stars glory days, this was a most satisfying outcome as she was his first runner in England this season.

Jimmy O’Neill, assistant to the County Kildare handler, said: “That’s it for the season, but hopefully she’ll stay in training.”

Murtagh added: “She’s just getting the hang of things and could be a Group One filly in the making.”

A good day for Ireland was further embossed by Reply’s triumph in the Weatherbys Insurance £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes.

Although the son of Oasis Dream still has some way to go to justify his €500,000 price-tag, the Coolmore team will be most content by pocketing a first-prize kitty of over £207,000.

Despite having looked ill at ease in the Gimcrack and the Phoenix Stakes, Aidan O’Brien’s colt (20-1) impressively streaked half a length clear of a high-calibre field under the trainer’s son, Joseph.

Paul Smith, representing the Coolmore triumvirate, said: “Something like the Middle Park (Newmarket, October 8) would now be under consideration.”

It would hardly raise an eyebrow were Perennial (12-1) to similarly make a leap in class following his bloodless debut success in the EBF “Green Desert” Maiden.

Trainer Charlie Hills said of the Khalid Abdullah-owned Motivator colt: “He’s shown a good turn of foot so hopefully has a nice future ahead of him.”

Elusive Flame (13-2) can also expect to be seen in more exalted company following her resolute victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Carrie Red Fillies’ Nursery.

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