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Billesdon Brook back to brilliant best to land Sun Chariot

5 Oct 2019

Last year's QIPCO 1000 Guineas winner proved too strong for four Group One rivals under Sean Levey.

Billesdon Brook and Levey surge ahead. Picture:

Billesdon Brook bounced back to her best to claim the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes under Sean Levey at Newmarket.

Richard Hannon’s charge was a 66-1 winner of the 1000 Guineas last year, but she failed to strike again in 2018, finishing down the field in this race last October.

The road back to the top has been a long one for both Levey and Billesdon Brook but after working their way up the ladder this season, the pair gained their just rewards in the Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Series contest.

In what looked like a fine renewal of the mile prize, the pair left a number of high-profile rivals toiling when producing a performance of the highest order to defeat Falmouth Stakes heroine Veracious by a length and a half.

Levey said: “I can’t put into words how special that was to me. The owners kept her in training and they didn’t have to as after winning the Guineas, there was no necessity of keeping her in training.

“I’m glad they did and she has rewarded everyone for doing so. I think it was 100 per cent better than her Guineas victory as she had to find the best of her form to win. She has not just won, but won decisively and I thought that would have to be her best performance.

“It is my first Group One since the Guineas.”

While Levey is now an established member of the weighing room, he hopes his latest big-race triumph can help open up more doors, just like how he expected his career to develop before suffering a broken collarbone in a fall at Salisbury less than two months after his Guineas win.

He added: “She was nearly my stepping stone as she was my first Group One winner at a perfect time of year in the Guineas. It looked like it was going to be one of my best years, then I had a setback and missed part of the season.

“I’ve slowly been getting back into it and thankfully Richard (Hannon) has given me these opportunities. I’ve had plenty of winners, but I’ve just been looking for that good horse and I hoped it would be Billesdon Brook.

“Winning big races gives people more confidence in using you, if you have been there and done it. You know this game, if you take your foot off it keeps going, but hopefully we can keep kicking now.”

Although Levey was the man responsible for doing the steering aboard the daughter of Champs Elysees, he was quick to praise both Hannon and weighing room colleague Luke Catton for the roles they have played in returning her to her best.

He added: “It was a great training performance by Richard in helping her get back to the top stage and I want to mention Luke Catton, who is one of our apprentices that rides her out every day at home.

“I was helping to teach him how to settle her and it has got to the stage where he rides her out in all her work. He has done a great job.

“He rode her work last week and I wasn’t there with the racing starting earlier, so I rang him up and he said she worked brilliantly he couldn’t be happier with her. I’m glad she ran the way she did.”