Caspar captures Greenham Stakes

Alan McCabe continues to be peeved by Caspar Netscher's underdog status, but the Nottinghamshire trainer can have another attempt at confounding the experts in the Qipco 2000 Guineas after the colt came out on top in Newbury's Aon Greenham Stakes this afternoon.

Alan McCabe continues to be peeved by Caspar Netscher's underdog status, but the Nottinghamshire trainer can have another attempt at confounding the experts in the Qipco 2000 Guineas after the colt came out on top in Newbury's Aon Greenham Stakes this afternoon.

It is fair to say Caspar Netscher (3-1) does not have the typical profile of a Classic winner, as he appeared 10 times as a two-year-old and does not hail from a major stable, but he performs well on the track when it counts and collected his third Group race.

The soft ground prompted leading fancies Top Offer and Tales Of Grimm to be withdrawn, leaving last year's Dewhurst Stakes fourth Bronterre as the 8-11 favourite for the in-form Richard Hannon.

Bronterre and Spiritual Star rather helped to set up the race for Shane Kelly and Caspar Netscher, who swept into the lead with a furlong remaining and came a length away from Boomerang Bob.

"I'm surprised by his price as he had the best form in the race," said McCabe.

"Shane said he didn't relish the ground but he wanted to win. He improved all through last year and he's still improving on what we've seen.

"He has to go for the Guineas now, and (owner) Charles Wentworth has a gentleman's agreement with Shane to ride."

Bookmakers have not changed their minds about McCabe's star just yet, with Betfred offering 33-1 for the Guineas and William Hill 25s.

Ralph Beckett's Moonstone Magic earned herself a Classic mission of some sort when coming well away in the Dubai Duty Free Stakes.

The 1000 Guineas trial, better known as the Fred Darling, had not attracted a high-profile field but no-one had even set eyes on Moonstone Magic until just over a week ago when she won a maiden at Leicester.

Jim Crowley dropped the well-backed 7-2 shot to the rear of the field but gradually began to mount a challenge on the wide outside, helping her to quicken three and three-quarter lengths clear of Radio Gaga, who was nine lengths clear of Beckett's third-placed Electrelane.

"She was too big to run last year and her dam (Woodcock Moon) had such bad knees I never even ran her," said Beckett.

"She needs some give in the ground. She's not in anything but she'll have to run in a Guineas - maybe the Irish will be most suitable."

Harris Tweed (6-4 favourite) proved again to be an immensely difficult horse to pass from the front when punched home by Liam Jones in the Group Three Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes.

"He thoroughly deserved that - he drew a blank last year and it's hard to believe that's his first Group win," said trainer William Haggas, who produced the gelding's half-sister and possible Oaks contender Vow, to win on Friday's card.

"I'm going to try to draw up a plan to have a crack at the Melbourne Cup and we need to prove he stays two miles," Haggas said.

"He is in the Yorkshire Cup and he might run if it's soft."

Captain Bertie (7-1), who left it all too late in the Spring Mile at Doncaster, made amends by holding off Fury in the Berry Bros & Rudd Magnum Spring Cup.

Trainer Charlie Hills said: "We'll see what the handicapper does but I'd like to go for the Royal Hunt Cup as I think Ascot will suit."

Noble Mission has an impossible task to live up to the feats of his brother Frankel but showed in division one of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Maiden Stakes that he may be a decent racehorse in his own right.

The 3-1 favourite, who wore a hood, finished nicely clear on only his second start.

Trainer Sir Henry Cecil said: "He's a bit like Frankel in that he's bubbly. He won't wear the hood forever and he's getting more relaxed. He's a mile and a quarter horse, so it was good to see him win like that over a mile."

Division two went in assured fashion to the Clive Cox-trained Forest Row (9-2) with William Buick and Stand To Reason (4-1) polishing off the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire Handicap.

Andrew Balding's Minimise Risk (15-8 favourite) survived a stewards' inquiry after a narrow defeat of Uriah Heep in the Bathwick Tyres Maiden Stakes.

"Jamie Spencer felt he had a hard enough race but he's a horse with a good future," said Balding.

"He is in the Derby and we were thinking of the Lingfield trial if he won."

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