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Five big Champions Series clues at the Craven

20 Apr 2017

We select a handful of horses who ran at Newmarket this week set for a fruitful time over the months ahead

Frankel colt Eminent impressed when landing the Craven. Picture:

With the three-day Craven meeting over, we consider five horses in action at the meeting who enhanced their chances of making a mark in this year’s QIPCO British Champions Series

The Martyn Meade-trained son on Frankel was a decisive winner of the bet365 Craven Stakes on Thursday and is now third favourite with most bookmakers, at between 8-1 and 10-1, for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas on Saturday fortnight. He was also cut to a best price of 14-1 for the Investec Derby.

“He doesn’t quicken too much but he’s a magnificent striding horse who stays,” Meade said. “At home he doesn’t look like he’s doing anything at times. He just lollops along and you think ‘how fast is this horse really going’ but now he’s proved he can do it with those good horses.

“This is the thing we’ve been waiting for for six months and did the bubble burst? No, it didn’t and the dream is still alive.”

Jockey Jim Crowley was equally delighted and said: “I’ve never had a horse take so long to pull up. The further he was going the better he was going. He relaxed and travelled into it, and was only hitting top gear at the line.”

The Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum-owned filly impressed in a workout before racing on Thursday and could be a live contender in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas on Sunday fortnight.

The daughter of Dansili impressed when winning on her debut at Newmarket in September and champion jockey Jim Crowley is keen on her.

“She a lovely, sweet filly and I really like her,” he said. “She loves fast ground, has a nice turn of foot and is bred to get further. She’s very uncomplicated and hopefully she ticks the right boxes. I’m really looking forward to riding her.”

Trainer Owen Burrows added: “We are taking a bit of a punt but her work at home excites me. She’s bred to be an Oaks filly and we’ve got her in the Oaks – her mum stayed well and her whole demeanour is going help her to get her get further, but she’s not short of speed, either. She’s got a bit of boot.”

The Kevin Ryan-trained five-year-old has developed into a tremendous specimen and did well to land the Group Three Abernant Stakes on his return on Thursday.

It looked like Ryan Moore might have stolen the spoils on front-running Ornate but Tom Eaves did not panic on Brando and the combination ended up winning snugly by a length.

The Duke of York Stakes will be next for Brando and then you suspect he will be a regular player in the sprint category of the Champions Series. He signed off last year by finishing third in the Sprint on Champions Day.

Owner Peter Bailey said: “We’ll take a look at the Diamond Jubilee after next month’s Duke Of York. We’ve never had a Royal Ascot winner before.”

Daban lined up in a hot renewal of the Nell Gwyn Stakes on Wednesday with only a maiden win at Kempton to her name but she made light of her inexperience – keeping on stoutly to take the spoils.

A tilt at the QIPCO 1000 Guineas on Sunday fortnight now looks on the cards.

“I was expecting a good show from her,” John Gosden, the trainer, said. “She’s a sweet, lovely filly and is very relaxed at home.

“She does have that cruising speed and ability to quicken, which is what a good thoroughbred has. I asked Frankie [Dettori] whether she would stay the mile and he felt she would.”

He added: “The owner has another filly, Dabyah, running in the Fred Darling [at Newbury on Saturday] so we want to see how they go. Dabyah has been to France and maybe this filly can come here and Dabyah can go to France.”

Hugo Palmer’s filly looks a name to remember – even if it is missing a “t” because of the 18-character rule when it comes to naming horses.

After she had finished runner-up to Daban in the Nell Gwyn, Palmer was quick to point out she was more backward in her coat than her rivals. As such, he believes a sunny spell could lead to plenty of improvement and she will take her chance in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas.

“She has run a lovely race,” he said. “I am delighted she has reversed the form with the Oh So Sharp winner from last year [Poet’s Vanity, who was third). I just felt she got a tiny bit tired going to the line.

“You probably noticed in the paddock she was by far the furthest backward in her coat. She is still quite wintry and that will bring her on a lot.”