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A year after winning a modest handicap at Windsor, off a mark of 74, Mabs Cross found herself in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot up against the best five-furlong performers in the world.
It says much for her progression in the intervening 12 months that she should finish an excellent third to Blue Point – typically keeping on well at the finish. In another stride or two, she would have deprived Battaash of second.
Trainer Michael Dods said: “I do think she is still improving – they opened up to the fourth horse. It was a big step up but every time we have asked her to step up, she has answered. I’m delighted with her.”
Mabs Cross had to settle for third again on her next start, in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh, but then ran better than ever in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes when going down by a nose to Alpha Delphini with old rivals Blue Point and Battaash the next pair home.
It took the judge several minutes to determine who had prevailed.
“She’s run a super race. Obviously, we’d rather have won, but what can you do?” Dods said. “As I said to Bryan Smart waiting for the result, I would have settled for a dead-heat and he said the same.
“When it’s that close you’re disappointed to get beat, but I’m very pleased with her.”
Mabs Cross gained a well-deserved Group 1 triumph on her next start in the Prix de l’Abbaye.
Dods’ decision to call on veteran French jockey Gerald Mosse because both Paul Mulrennan and Tom Eaves were sidelined through injury was rewarded with a last-gasp verdict over Gold Vibe and Soldier’s Call.
“That will be it now for this year and I’m looking forward to her coming back and going for all the top sprints next season,” said Dods.
The homebred had won the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket in May.
Last season she reeled off four successive victories and, having had only 11 starts, still seems very much on the up.
BCS Career statistics
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