Tag Archives: gallop

Rigadin De Beauchene lands Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick

Rigadin De Beauchene lands Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick

PUBLISHED:

16:02 GMT, 12 January 2013

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UPDATED:

17:51 GMT, 12 January 2013

Rigadin De Beauchene (5-1) put the icing on the cake of what has been a bountiful start to the month for trainer Venetia Williams when getting up in the shadow of the post to deny Godsmejudge and the gallant Pete The Feat in the Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick.

The eight-year-old put his jumping issues behind him under a determined Robbie Dunne to pull the race out of the fire after he was seemingly booked for third at the second-last fence.

New star: Nigel Twiston-Davies has a leading candidate for Cheltenham

New star: Nigel Twiston-Davies has a leading candidate for Cheltenham

Dunne intentionally steered a wide
course on Rigadin De Beauchene in the straight, a ploy that paid off as
the combination reeled in the battling leaders with 50 yards to travel
to win by half a length.

Williams said: 'Robbie swept wide
into the straight and managed to get the horse to meet the last fence on
a good stride which I think was very important.

'His owner Andrew Wiles hopes he may
emulate his half-brother Miko De Beauchene and win the Welsh National
next season. I think Andrew might have reservations about him going for
the Grand National itself though. He's had issues with his jumping.'

Williams said she was encouraged
about a good run from her gelding after the horse that beat him in the
mud at Lingfield went on to land the Sussex National.

Dunne said: 'We were going a good
gallop when he made a mistake down the back and he also got in tight to a
couple. But overall he jumped much better today, having had a
confidence-booster at Lingfield.'

Noel Fehily was proud of the gallant Pete The Feat whose unbeaten run of five this season was finally broken back in third.

He said: 'It was another very good run. He's jumped from fence to fence and galloped to the line.'

Nigel Twiston-Davies can be forgiven if he starts getting excited about The New One (1-2 favourite) who routed the opposition in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

So far the only defeat he has
suffered in his career came in the Festival Bumper where he was sixth
but nothing in this Grade Two could live with him.

His jockey Sam Twiston-Davies said: 'The sky is the limit.'

Nigel Twiston-Davies said: 'He seems
to have so much speed and staying power and it's a shame we haven't
really learned anything, as some of the others didn't go in the ground
and he wasn't tested.

'He won but we still don't know
enough about him and that encourages me to look at the programme book
and find another two-and-a-half-miler for him in order to give him some
more experience.'

Sarah Such, joint-owner of the winner,
was out of breath after cheering The New One home and exclaimed:
'Amazing. I can't breath he is absolutely wonderful, a really special
horse.'

Team Twiston-Davies also took the concluding bumper with Pure Science (5-1), a nine-length winner.

Rocky Creek boosted his claims for the RSA Chase and was cut to 12-1 from 20s for that Cheltenham Festival contest after flooring Highland Lodge in the Betfred Mobile Lotto Novices' Chase.

Paddy Power were impressed with the Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old after he readily brushed aside Highland Lodge in the home straight of the three-mile contest to leave that rival exhausted on the run-in.

The pair had taken each other on at the last three of the fences down the back stretch with Rocky Creek nudging into the lead under a confident Daryl Jacob before the second last.

At this point the 7-4 chance jumped to the front where Tour Des Champs fell and brought down the weakening Forgotten Gold. Rocky Creek then forged steadily clear of Highland Lodge, who stopped to a walk on the flat and was caught by 16-1 shot Fill The Power for second.

Jacob believes the winner could be a factor in the RSA given the right underfoot conditions.

He said: 'I had the favourite covered and just wanted him to give me a lead into the straight before pressing on.

'He's a horse for the future and will be a truly super chaser in time. He's a possible Cheltenham horse for sure providing the ground there isn't too quick.'

Ely Brown booked his ticket to the Cheltenham Festival when avenging his 2012 defeat in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Qualifier.

Second to Thehillofuisneach here 12 months ago, Charlie Longsdon's charge travelled well and readily outstayed Holywell and Hada Men by a length and a quarter and four under Noel Fehily.

According to his trainer, Ely Brown needed to win today in order to guarantee a run in the Final at Cheltenham in March.

Longsdon said: 'I said to Noel he had to win again if he was going to get to Cheltenham and after this he certainly deserves to take his chance.

'If he goes up 5lb it will be his ticket booked. He was second here last year and when I looked down today's field I thought it was quite a lot tougher.

'He had a hard race at Aintree. We gave him plenty of time to recover from that and he was pinging after his last outing at Haydock.'

Rody (11-2) earned glowing praise from his pilot Paddy Brennan who described the Tom George-trained gelding as 'as good a jumper as you could possibly wish to see' following his resounding success in the Betfred 'The Bonus King' Handicap Chase.

Giving weight to all seven of his rivals in the two-mile contest, Rody made it three wins from his last four starts as he continually made ground on Eastlake at his fences.

Brennan sent him on rounding the home bend and the combination pulled eight lengths clear, with Kapga De Cerisy a neck back in third. The winner is owned by Tony Dalton and Jennifer Laing who both work for Saatchi and Saatchi.

Laing said: 'He's a happy horse who really likes being at the racecourse. He wasn't as good over hurdles because he used to brush through them, but he gives the fences more respect.'

Brennan added: 'It's his jumping that wins him his races, I've been very impressed with him.'

Flaming Charmer caused a minor shock in the opener, posting a 14-1 triumph for owners Chasing Gold, trainer Colin Tizzard and jockey Brendan Powell.

The five-year-old proved too strong for Thunder Sheikh to deny Timmy Murphy a winner on his first ride back from injury in the Betfred Goals Galore Novices' Handicap Hurdle.

On ground described as soft by the winning jockey, Flaming Charmer outstayed his foes and Powell said: 'He's a nice horse for the future and I think he'll stay further.'

Tom Chadney, spokeman for Chasing Gold, said: 'The reason I bought him was because his dam is Kates Charm who won the Cleeve Hurdle and was a very good mare for Robert Alner.

'We have nine horses spread around the country with seven trainers. It enables our members to watch the horses run wherever they are based.'

Silviniaco Conti wins Betfair Chase at Haydock

Silviniaco Conti steps into Kauto Star's shoes with easy win in Betfair Chase

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UPDATED:

18:43 GMT, 24 November 2012

Silviniaco Conti proved himself a worthy heir to incredible Kauto Star as he produced a spring-heeled display to win the Betfair Chase at Haydock.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls announced last month the legendary steeplechaser had run the last race of a breathtaking career that included five King Georges, a brace of Cheltenham Gold Cups and four wins in this Grade One event on Merseyside.

While it is fanciful to believe Silviniaco Conti can reach those heights, the six-year-old leapt to second-favouritism for the Gold Cup with most firms under a typically well judged front-running ride from Ruby Walsh, to leave Nicholls beaming from ear to ear.

Gold Cup hope: Silviniaco Conti clears the last and could now head for chasing's Blue Riband

Gold Cup hope: Silviniaco Conti clears the last and could now head for chasing's Blue Riband

The runners were led down to the start by the 12-year-old Kauto Star and his faithful head lad Clifford Baker, receiving great applause from the Haydock crowd.

It was clear from when the tapes dropped no-one was overly keen to make the running, so Walsh let his mount set what was a fairly sedate gallop for the first circuit.

The 7-4 chance injected a deal of pace into the race heading down the back straight for the second time, however, and some fast and accurate jumping kept him in charge.

Long Run, the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner who was left chasing Kauto Star's shadow here 12 months ago, travelled with more zest on this occasion and was right on the leader's tail turning in.

But Charlie Hall Chase hero Silviniaco Conti continued to pour it on in front and galloped all the way to the line after the final fence to beat the favourite by two and a half lengths.

The Giant Bolster just held on to third spot from Weird Al.

Conti's knockout blow: Long Run is left trailing by Ruby Walsh's mount

Conti's knockout blow: Long Run is left trailing by Ruby Walsh's mount

Nicholls said: 'He is a really decent horse. He's only six, he jumps, he stays – he jumped brilliantly today.

'We had a chat before the race and I said if they go quick get a lead, if they don't then bowl along. He jumps and gallops.

'There's no better man to ride in front than Ruby.'

Nicholls revealed he may not even run again between now and next March.

'I said if he won today we'd go for the Gold Cup and that is the plan. You couldn't leave him in his box on Gold Cup day after that performance,' he said.

'I'm not going to rush him and I might go straight to the Gold Cup with him.

'He wants to be fresh and I'm not going to run him through the winter in the mud.

'He definitely won't run in the King George, I don't think Kempton is his track. He won't run anywhere over Christmas.

Star turn: Kauto Star looks at his statue with his trainer Paul Nicholls and Head lad Clifford Baker as it is unveiled at Haydock Park

Star turn: Kauto Star looks at his statue with his trainer Paul Nicholls and Head lad Clifford Baker as it is unveiled at Haydock Park

'We could give him a run in something like the Aon but I certainly wouldn't be worried about going straight there with him.

'He could be really interesting, come Cheltenham.

'I thought he didn't get the credit he deserved at Wetherby (winning Charlie Hall).

'Long Run is a very good horse but for a six-year-old it was a good performance (today).

Legends: Kauto Star and his trainer Paul Nicholls

Legends: Kauto Star and his trainer Paul Nicholls

'Kauto won this as a six-year-old and went on to win the Gold Cup in the same season, and this horse is very, very exciting. He jumps, he has speed and he stays very well.

'Being by Dom Alco he can only improve and it's fantastic to have a young horse like this in the yard.

'I had tears in my eyes watching Kauto go in front of the stands today.

'He and the other old boys have moved on and it's so exciting to see the younger horses come through. It really is a dream come true.'

Walsh, who partnered Kauto Star to both of his Gold Cup victories, is hopeful this horse can give him the hat-trick.

Walsh said: 'The Gold Cup looks the
logical step. You win the Charlie Hall, you win the Betfair, it's the
obvious target for him. “He's a good stayer, he's not slow. I'd love to ride another Gold Cup winner.'

Despite
coming off second best to the Nicholls-Walsh team yet again, Long Run
was not disgraced in finishing second and trainer Nicky Henderson was
far from despondent.

Speaking
from Ascot, he said: 'I haven't spoken to Robert or Sam (Waley-Cohen,
owner and rider), but the boys seem very happy. We didn't want to get
into a battle today.

'He had a desperately hard race last year and he's finished off his race nicely today.

'Hopefully it's onwards and upwards and the King George is where we'll go.'

The
rider said: 'He's run his race but we've been beaten fair and square.
The ground was a bit soft for him but it was the same for all the others
and we've got no excuses.'

Waley Cohen senior said: 'It's always disappointing to be beaten when you're favourite and maybe the pace of the race was to blame.

'His jumping was a bit sticky to begin with, but when the pace picked up so did his jumping.

'He should come on for the run and will now head straight for the King George.'

The Giant Bolster's trainer, David Bridgwater, said: 'He's bound to come on for that and it was a good run.

'There's the King George and the Lexus at Leopardstown so we'll see what happens.'

Green Moon claims stunning victory in Melbourne Cup

Euro challengers fail to fire as Green Moon claims stunning victory in Melbourne Cup

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UPDATED:

07:22 GMT, 6 November 2012

A distinct lack of pace was blamed for
the largely disappointing European showing in the Emirates Melbourne
Cup, which was won by Green Moon.

The Marco Botti-trained Jakkalberry
fared best of the foreign raiders in third, but several big overseas
challengers failed to fire in the coveted Flemington handicap over two
miles.

First up: Jockey Brett Prebble (right) rides Green Moon to victory in the Melbourne Cup

First up: Jockey Brett Prebble (right) rides Green Moon to victory in the Melbourne Cup

Delight: Jockey Brett Prebble

Delight: Jockey Brett Prebble

Green Moon, conversely, mastered every fraction to give jockey Brett Prebble and trainer Robert Hickmott their first Melbourne Cup.

Formerly trained in Berkshire by Harry Dunlop, the five-year-old gelding flashed past the long-time leader Glencadam Gold a furlong and a half from home and was not for catching.

Fiorente, another ex-British runner, stayed on for second, a length adrift of the winner. Hong Kong-based Prebble said: 'He was never going to get beat.

'It's the pinnacle of racing in Australia.

'I've had some great highs here, but you don't get any higher than reaching the pinnacle.

'If he sustained the journey, nothing was going to go with him.

'It's very emotional and it's going to last for a long time.'

Royal approval: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, presents the Melbourne Cup trophy to winning owner Nick Williams

Royal approval: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, presents the Melbourne Cup trophy to winning owner Nick Williams

Joy: Jockey Prebble, centre, celebrates with trainer Robert Hickmott, left, and owner Nick Williams

Joy: Jockey Prebble, centre, celebrates with trainer Robert Hickmott, left, and owner Nick Williams

Glencadam Gold enjoyed an uncontested lead from the outset, but initiated an admittedly humdrum gallop off which major European players like last year's respective first and second, Dunaden and Red Cadeaux, struggled to adapt.

The Luca Cumani-trained Mount Athos was perhaps the biggest casualty, however, as he flew from the rear to finish fifth under Ryan Moore.

Botti was nonetheless proud of Jakkalberry, but was left to reflect on what could have been.

He said: 'He ran a very good race, but he probably could have done with the pace being a bit quicker.

'He stayed on very well. It's been a fantastic adventure and I knew I'd left a bit of improvement in the horse.

'I had him at his best today.

'He's got an invitation for the Japan Cup and we can also think about Hong Kong, but we'll see how he comes out of this first.

'There's also Dubai and we'll think about coming back next year.'

Spectacle: The Melbourne Cup

Spectacle: The Melbourne Cup

Celebrity status: Mischa Barton and Ashley Madekwe hold the Melbourne Cup trophy

Celebrity status: Mischa Barton and Ashley Madekwe hold the Melbourne Cup trophy

Ed Dunlop also felt 2011 runner-up Red Cadeaux, who stayed on for eighth, was hamstrung by a weakly-run encounter.

He said: 'About 15 jockeys will tell you that there was no pace.

'He had to drop in anyway, but he just couldn't make up the ground.'

David Redvers, racing manager for Dunaden's owners, Pearl Bloodstock, believes the six-year-old could have been feeling the effects of a tough race in the Caulfield Cup last month as he came home in 14th place.

He said: 'He won so well in the Caulfield Cup that it might have taken the edge off him.

'He's probably got too much weight in handicaps and he'll stick to Group races from now on.'

Cumani echoed the thoughts of Dunlop and Botti when assessing Mount Athos' display.

He said: 'The race was totally inconclusive because of the lack of pace.

'He was further back than we would have liked.

'Ryan started to move him forwards but he got bumped.

'He was the fastest finisher in the race.'

Royal party: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall at Flemington Racecourse

Royal party: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall at Flemington Racecourse

Mount Athos' owner, Dr Marwan Koukash, said: 'I'm a bit disappointed but he ran a big race.

'He would have liked a better pace but he finished like a train.

'Hopefully we can freshen him up and come back next year.'

Cumani also saddled the 10th-placed My Quest For Peace.

He said: 'The other horse is not a sprinter and didn't pick up as we would have liked.'

Irish challenger Galileo's Choice featured prominently under Pat Smullen but weakened into 20th place.

Trainer Dermot Weld said: “'He got a lovely ride from Pat and was in a lovely position turning in.

'It's just unfortunate he couldn't let himself down on that ground.

'We had thunder and lightning but, unfortunately, no rain.

'If we'd had a drop of rain he could have been in the first three.'

Other European disappointments were the 2010 winner Americain and Godolphin's Cavalryman, who finished a respective 11th and 12th.

Cavalryman's racing manager Simon Crisford said: 'He's a hold-up horse and he was never going to be suited by a race with a lack of pace.'

Green Moon is owned by Lloyd Williams and his family, who were securing a fourth Melbourne Cup crown.

Nick Williams, son of the victorious owner, said: 'It's terrific.

'I'm so proud for all of our team at the farm.

'It's another Melbourne Cup win for 'Team Williams'.

'We've put a lot of money in and a hell of a lot of effort so to get this result is terrific.

'I'm so excited and so happy for all our people.'

Frankel wins Juddmonte International Stakes

Fabulous Frankel wins again as Cecil's superstar cruises home in Juddmonte

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UPDATED:

15:01 GMT, 22 August 2012

Frankel stretched his perfect record to 13 when treating his legion of supporters to another breathtaking performance in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York.

The world's best racehorse took the step up from a mile to 10 and a half furlongs in his stride as he justified highly-restrictive odds of 1-10 without being asked a serious question.

Leading two furlongs out in the hands of Tom Queally, the Sir Henry Cecil-trained colt pulled away to score with consummate ease to lift this Group One prize, sponsored by his owner Khalid Abdullah.

Dream team: Frankel and Tom Queally were easy winners at York

Dream team: Frankel and Tom Queally were easy winners at York

Queally said: 'I suspected they'd go a good gallop, but we had our plan in place.

'It panned out nicely – he won ever so well. It's a fantastic training performance.'

The running was made by Robin Hood and Windsor Palace, the two pacemakers for the Aidan O'Brien-trained St Nicholas Abbey.

They set out to try to find any chinks in the Frankel armour, but it was a lost cause.

Frankel, taking his career earnings to over 2million, was held up in seventh place in the early stages before making stealthy progress to stalk St Nicholas Abbey early in the straight.

He sauntered into the lead with the minimum of fuss and swept into a clear lead within a heartbeat.

Frankel's winning margin was seven lengths, but it could have been much further.

Farhh pipped St Nicholas Abbey by a nose in a hard-fought race for second place.

Frankel, who has been ridden in all of his races by Queally, is now just one short of 10 Group One victories.

His first success at the highest level came over seven furlongs in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in what was his fourth and final start as a two-year-old.

After winning the Group Three Greenham Stakes on his seasonal reappearance as a three-year-old, the son of Galileo swept all before him over a mile.

Successful in the 2000 Guineas, St James's Palace Stakes, Sussex Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in 2011, it looked for a short while that he might not run this year and be retired.

However, he overcame an injury scare in the spring – returning with victory in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May – and has been better than ever this summer.

He more than doubled his five-length margin in the Lockinge when taking the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot by 11 lengths from old foe Excelebration.

Frankel then repeated last summer's win in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood earlier in the month, before cementing his place in turf history with another scintillating display on the Knavesmire.

England v Australia overkill can only damage great rivalry – World of Cricket

This Aussie overkill can only damage the game's great rivalry

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 6 June 2012

Relish the final Test at Edgbaston while you can because it will be a long time before we all get another chance to enjoy the ultimate form of the game in this soggy summer.

Once England have concluded this Test series against West Indies they face a long, unremitting diet of limited-overs cricket against not just these tourists but also Australia before South Africa arrive next month for the business end of the summer.

Quite why the Aussies, who were also here for a one-day series in 2010, are back again in a non-Ashes year when the main event, a Test series between the top two ranked nations in England and South Africa, is restricted to three matches is beyond me.

Priorities right James Anderson is being rested for the third Test against West Indies but will soon face playing five one-day internationals against Australia

Priorities right James Anderson is being rested for the third Test against West Indies but will soon face playing five one-day internationals against Australia

The official reason is that as England are taking part in a triangular series in Australia in 2015 against the hosts and India to gain valuable 50-over preparation ahead of the next World Cup, the ECB have had to reciprocate with a five-match series this year.

The real reason is that nothing gets the cash tills ringing more than the sight of the old enemy, even though we will be seeing more than enough of Australia during back-to-back Ashes series next year.

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Greed and short-termism rule, as ever, and even though this year’s five games are sure to attract good crowds, the mystique of the oldest rivalry in sport is being eroded. Over-familiarity with Australia will assuredly breed indifference eventually while the principle of leaving the customer wanting more is lost on the ECB.

If Jimmy Anderson is to be rested I would have preferred him to miss what is in effect a meaningless one-day series rather than a Test, but England are determined to treat 50-over cricket as seriously as the ultimate game, however tired the one-day format is.

Australia’s visit — and mooted strike action by their players can be ruled out — is not the only contentious one-day issue for England. For nestled in between the second and third Tests against South Africa in August is an incongruous visit to Edinburgh for a one-day game against Scotland that could not come at a worse time.

Surely no Test players will be made to go, but it also comes around the time England Lions are playing Australia A, so just who will travel north of the border

England will either force their best men to go to Scotland or they will award full caps to players who do not deserve them. Either way there will be a row.

Is this an opening for Rory

Swashbuckling: Rory Hamilton-Brown

Swashbuckling: Rory Hamilton-Brown

Kevin Pietersen’s controversial retirement from one-day cricket leaves a gaping hole at the top of the order that had finally seemed to have been filled after years of chopping and changing.

Now England have got over the ‘disappointment’ of the timing of Pietersen’s 50-over exit they will have to decide who fills that gap alongside Alastair Cook, with the perennial problem of deciding whether to pick someone adept in English conditions or a batsman who can ‘tee off’ on flatter wickets abroad back on the agenda.

Ravi Bopara’s hundred for Essex opening the batting against Gloucestershire was well timed, while Ian Bell, Craig Kieswetter and even Jonathan Trott in home conditions are candidates.

Might the selectors go outside the tried and trusted, though, and bring in another of the young players making a mark on the domestic game

Surrey captain Rory Hamilton-Brown has emerged as a one-day opener of some repute and is the intriguing option for the vacancy.

Magic…

The best story of the domestic season so far is not the prolific form of Nick Compton but the rise of a bunch of part-timers who have been sweeping aside all those before them.

The Netherlands, included in the CB40 competition only when Ireland withdrew in 2010, have beaten five counties this year and look certain to advance from Group A. They will then be in touching distance of a Lord’s final.

Even though only three of the side were actually born in the Netherlands it is quite an achievement for a motley crew of cricketing journeymen and one that does not reflect well on the one-day standards of the county sides they have so comfortably defeated.

Not only that, any side who include a player called Tom (don’t call me Tommy) Cooper have to be encouraged. Just like that.

David Lloyd: Bumble's world

O"Brien retains grip on Classics as 20-1 shot Was lands Oaks shock

O'Brien retains grip on Classics as 20-1 shot Was lands Oaks shock under Heffernan

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UPDATED:

16:02 GMT, 1 June 2012

Aidan O'Brien's Was claimed victory in the Investec Oaks at Epsom in the hands of Seamus Heffernan.

The 20-1 chance was ridden positively in the early stages of the mile-and-a-half contest, just tracking the early pace set by Nayarra, with stablemate Twirl also well to the fore.

Classic shock: Was (right), ridden by Seamie Heffernan, wins the Investec Oaks

Classic shock: Was (right), ridden by Seamie Heffernan, wins the Investec Oaks

Investec Oaks 2012 result

1 Was (J A Heffernan) 20-1

2 Shirocco Star (D Holland) 16-1

3 The Fugue (William Buick) 11-4 Fav

12 ran Also: 9-2 Vow 4th

Non Runners: 6, 11

Leading fancy Vow ranged up to make a race of it at the top of the home straight, but Was quickened best of all against the far rail to take top honours by a neck.

Shirocco Star ran a stormer to finish second, with 11-4 favourite The Fugue coming from a long way back to claim third and Vow fourth.

Even with Kissed having been withdrawn earlier in the day, Was featured among five O'Brien-trained fillies in the race, with 1,000 Guineas third Maybe the most fancied.

Was won her only juvenile appearance at the Curragh last August, but was beaten into third in last month's Blue Wind Stakes at Naas.

Everyone else in the shade: Aidan O'Brien (left) and John Magnier (right)

Everyone else in the shade: Aidan O'Brien (left) and John Magnier (right)

Everyone else in the shade: Aidan O'Brien (left) and John Magnier (right)

In a race where it proved sensible to be prominent off a slow gallop, the three-year-old showed plenty of dash to claim a surprise victory.

Shirocco Star's run was particularly meritorious given she was fractious in the preliminaries.

Oaks queen: Heffernan gave Was a positive ride to land the spoils at Epsom

Oaks queen: Heffernan gave Was a positive ride to land the spoils at Epsom

Seamus salute: Heffernan celebrates his Oaks win

Seamus salute: Heffernan celebrates his Oaks win

The Fugue and William Buick were
short of room in the early stages and ended up further back than ideal,
but she finished off her race well and arguably goes down as an unlucky
loser.

Vow travelled like the winner for a long way and ran a creditable race in fourth.

Maybe
was another filly who was a long way back for much of the journey in
the hands of the trainer's son, Joseph, before staying on for fifth.

Heffernan said: 'I had enough horse to take two lengths when I needed it.

'I've been very lucky in these colours and I have the owners to thank for trusting me.

'I was on the bridle and had plenty of petrol. When you have plenty of petrol you can go where you like.'

O'Brien was securing his fourth Oaks success, with his last victory in the Epsom Classic arriving with Alexandrova in 2006.

The master of Ballydoyle was also preserving his unbeaten record in British Classics this term after Camelot and Homecoming Queen struck in the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas respectively.

O'Brien said: 'Seamus gave her a lovely ride, she came on lovely from her first run so we were delighted.

'She's a very good looking filly with a great pedigree. He's a great fellow, Seamus, a world-class jockey. He knows all these horses inside out and and nobody deserves it more.'

O'Brien said of Maybe, who ran on to take fifth: 'She ran well, she was coming there and coming there but a mile and a quarter might be as far as she wants to go.'

Darryl Holland, rider of Shirocco Star, said: 'I don't think she was unlucky. The way the race was run it was a bit tactical.

'The winner had the rail and kept out-battling me towards the end.

'I was pressing the button at the furlong marker but the other horse just pulled out a bit more.

'I needed a better gallop and I had to be handier than I wanted to be at an earlier stage.'

Can't catch me: Was and Seamus Heffernan hold on to win the Oaks

Can't catch me: Was and Seamus Heffernan hold on to win the Oaks

Johnny Murtagh said of Vow: 'They went very slow and I thought I had it at one stage but I thought she'd quicken better than she did.'

Was now has the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh in July as a possible conditional aim.

O'Brien said: 'There's no doubt she's progressing all the time and she's a filly who we are really looking forward to.

Tactical affair: Was (right) just held off Shirocco Star

Tactical affair: Was (right) just held off Shirocco Star

'It (the Irish Oaks) is possible, but we need to let the boys speak about things during the week.'

Maybe could revert to a mile for the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot later in the month.

O'Brien said: 'She might even go back (in trip) to the Coronation – she has a miler's pace.'

Deserved Classic success: Heffernan takes the plaudits after a great ride on Was

Deserved Classic success: Heffernan takes the plaudits after a great ride on Was

Jonathan Trott usually starts the summer at a gallop: Paul Newman cricket column

Dependable Trott usually starts the summer at a gallop…

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UPDATED:

21:57 GMT, 16 May 2012

West Indies beware, Jonathan Trott makes a habit of starting off the summer with a Test double hundred.

He did it against Bangladesh – hitting 226 at Lord's in 2010 – and he did it against Sri Lanka, scoring 203 at Cardiff last year.

Now he will go after a different sort of hat-trick at the start of his third full season as an England player against a quick but under-prepared West Indies attack when this year's international season squelches into life at Lord's.

Summer lovin': Trott has a record of starting the Test season well on home soil

Summer lovin': Trott has a record of starting the Test season well on home soil

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'Maybe being fresh and rested helps,' said Trott. 'Or maybe getting runs for Warwickshire helps my frame of mind. A hundred will do this week. I'm certainly not thinking of another double.'

It would be unwise to rule it out. Trott has become a rock for England, a batsman who made the best start of all on his Test debut with a hundred in an Ashes decider. He has barely looked back since.

While others have more style and dash, Trott would be the man to pick if your life depended on an England player scoring runs. Even now, after he has proved all the doubters wrong, it is easy to forget that his average of 52.70 from 28 Tests puts him in the very highest company in the history of the game.

It is no surprise that it was Trott who became the first England player this winter to finally overcome the demons of playing spin in subcontinental conditions.

His innings of 112 in a losing cause at Galle, which could easily have taken England to an historic win, was the perfect example of how it should be done. Trott puts it down to 'definitive footwork'.

'The key, I feel, is not to get caught in the crease,' he said. 'There's less margin for error when you are moving your feet well.' But he also recognises that, despite England's Kevin Pietersen-inspired win in the final Test in Sri Lanka, the batting unit will have to 'pull our socks up' in India later this year.

India, for now, can wait as England will revert to the home conditions that suit them best when they take on West Indies in three Tests over the next month they really should win comfortably. Not that Trott will be viewing it that way.

'I think we underestimated the desire of Pakistan to beat us in the winter,' said Trott with refreshing candour. 'We won't do that again.'

Explosive: Trott scored big runs against Bangladesh (above) and Sr Lanka (below)

Explosive: Trott scored big runs against Bangladesh (above) and Sr Lanka (below)

Explosive: Trott scored big runs against Bangladesh (above) and Sr Lanka (below)

Then it will be the eagerly awaited showdown between the best two teams in the world when South Africa visit. Mention the country of his birth to Trott, though, and he becomes a little defensive.

Maybe it is his weariness about having to constantly reiterate his 'Englishness' or maybe it is the reminder of England's visit to South Africa just after Trott's introduction to Test cricket, which didn't exactly go well for him.

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It ended, indeed, with the then South African coach Micky Arthur making a 'loony tunes' gesture behind Trott's back, so intense had he appeared to have become with his struggles.

'Other people didn't do too well in that series also but you don't mention them,' said Trott. 'It didn't go that well for me but remember I'd only just begun my Test career. It was a good learning curve for me. I had scored a hundred on debut against Australia but realised that I couldn't get a century every game.

'It will be a big series against South Africa. We got to No 1 in the world quicker than we ever envisaged but now we have to stay there. I'd like our next target to be to see how far ahead we can get.'

Trott will be at the forefront of that quest.

Big favourites: It is hard to see past a 3-0 series win for England

Big favourites: It is hard to see past a 3-0 series win for England

Big favourites: It is hard to see past a 3-0 series win for England

Rav justice for Bopara

Ravi Bopara was pencilled in to the England squad at the start of last summer before Eoin Morgan rudely snatched his place by scoring 193 for the Lions against Sri Lanka.

Then Bopara was going to start in Sri Lanka last winter before a side strain stopped him bowling. This time he had been picked against West Indies before a recurrence of a thigh injury ruled him out. Whither Bopara now

Hammer blow: Bopara has been ruled out of the Test after injuring his thigh

Hammer blow: Bopara has been ruled out of the Test after injuring his thigh

There must be a chance that a man whose face has never really fitted with the current England set-up has played his last Test, particularly as he played on for Essex this summer when Andy Flower was advising him to rest his thigh.

It would be a crying shame if the talented Bopara is destined never to fulfil his potential but perhaps he will forever be one of the nearly men.

Frankel gallops at Newmarket

Frankel on course for Lockinge after racecourse gallop at Newmarket

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UPDATED:

20:03 GMT, 5 May 2012

Frankel, the world's highest-rated thoroughbred, confirmed his well-being with a racecourse gallop at Newmarket on Saturday.

Sir Henry Cecil colt's future had been in jeopardy after he suffered a leg injury on April 11, but he received the all-clear to race on following a positive scan a week later.

The unbeaten four-year-old this weekend moved up the gears in his preperation for the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 19 with a most positive piece of work under Tom Queally.

In fine shape: Frankel enjoyed a racecourse gallop at Newmarket

In fine shape: Frankel enjoyed a racecourse gallop at Newmarket

Frankel, owned by Khalid Abdullah, was put through his paces up the Rowley Mile alongside regular lead-horse Bullet Train and Jet Away.

The son of Galileo took a keen hold for Queally and soon burst clear of his stable companions in his customary exuberant fashion, stretching clear in tremendous style.

Frankel was returning to the scene of one of his finest days on a racecourse when he turned in a simply breathtaking performance in last season's 2000 Guineas.

Cecil's inmate went on to claim the St James's Palace Stakes, the Sussex Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes during an unforgettable campaign which elevated him to the summit of the world thoroughbred rankings.

Cecil said: 'He really enjoyed
himself and was very relaxed. Going down to the start he was switched
off and after the work he had a little bit of a blow – you can't be
anything but pleased.

'He's grown a bit, he's stronger and
he's getting much more sensible. That was the worry, but now he is
settling and maybe there will be more improvement to come.

Report: Frankel with jockey Tom Queally and trainer Henry Cecil (second right)

Report: Frankel with jockey Tom Queally and trainer Henry Cecil (second right)

'I think everything looks good for the Lockinge, before which he will need another two to three bits of work, but at the moment everything is fine.

'If the ground is soft (at Newbury) I don't think that will worry him at all, and we know he gets a mile really well.'

Abdullah's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said: 'That's a pleasing start to the process, and I hope it will do him a lot of good. He enjoyed it and strode out well.

'He was a little bit keen early on, but then got into his rhythm and showed us that beautiful flowing action.

'The main idea is to get him to Newbury, we are heading that way. He only missed a week and he is catching up nicely. You would have to be very pleased after that.'

Queally said: 'He seems in very good order and it was a nice piece of work.

'It was just a stepping stone to get him to Newbury, you have to remember he is much better than the two horses that went with him, but he did it very nicely.'

Camelot wins 2,000 Guineas

Camelot the king at Newmarket as favourite flies home to win 2,000 Guineas

PUBLISHED:

14:42 GMT, 5 May 2012

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UPDATED:

14:58 GMT, 5 May 2012

Camelot maintained his 100 per cent record with a hard-fought victory in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Ante-post favourite ever since his brilliant win in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in October, the son of Montjeu lived up to his lofty reputation in the colts' Classic over the Rowley Mile.

Trained by Aidan O'Brien and ridden by his son, Joseph, the 15-8 favourite defeated French Fifteen (12-1) with Hermival (16-1) third.

Big finish: Joseph O'Brien and Camelot (right) punches the air after winning the 2,000 Guineas

Big finish: Camelot (right) gets up to win the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket

The field broke into three groups from the stalls with Abtaal prominent on the far side, Caspar Netscher showing up well in the centre and Redact and Trumpet Major leading the horses on the stands side.

Caspar Netscher and Trumpet Major set sail for home two furlongs out but could not sustain the gallop.

Camelot managed to weave his way through the pack on the near side but had to dig deep to get the better of French Fifteen by a neck.

Hermival, on the far side of the course, was two and a quarter lengths away in third.

Joseph O'Brien said: 'He has a lot of class and speed, I always felt I was getting there. He got a bit tired in the last 100 yards on his first run (of the season) but hopefully he will come on for it.

'I didn't get the best run through, I was a long way back but he was very relaxed and will be much better going a bit further.'

O'Brien senior, winning the 2000 Guineas for a sixth time, said: 'It's one of those unbelievable days.

'We knew from the statistics that Camelot had a lot against him, we knew he had a lot to overcome but we always thought he was very special. I was worried about the race and I'm glad I didn't say anything to Joseph.

Well timed: Camelot came with a superb run to win the 2,000 Guineas

Well timed: Camelot came with a superb run to win the 2,000 Guineas

'I'm delighted for everybody and all those who work with him every day. We are very lucky to have such a horse and many special people who look after him.

'Obviously I learned a lot from running St Nicholas Abbey in the Guineas two years ago and it's only now he's getting the brilliance back he had at two.'

On future plans, O'Brien said: 'It's like it always is. We will go home and the lads (owners) will talk about it and make a decision.

'We have lots to look forward to and we'll take it one race at a time “You would imagine looking at him (that) the Derby would be a very suitable race for him.'

Camelot shortened to odds-on for the Investec Derby on June 2, with BetVictor cutting him to 4-5 favourite from 2-1.

Celebration time: Camelot is led in after winning

Celebration time: Camelot is led in after winning

Spokesman Charlie McCann said: 'Unbeaten Camelot showed his class at HQ and we think he'll improve again for the step up to the Derby distance.

'The Derby trials begin this week at Chester but we believe we have just witnessed the best trial for Epsom.” However, Coral have him at odds against for the premier Classic, going 6-4 from 2s.

'There were numerous reasons for taking on Camelot and we got well stuck in today but his brilliant victory has left us with sizeable six-figure losses in the race,' said spokesman Simon Clare.

Nicolas Clement, trainer of French Fifteen, said: 'I'm delighted with that and the winner was exceptional. It's possible we could go for the French Derby or St James's Palace next.'

Mikel Delzangles was thrilled with the effort of Hermival, as French-trained horses took the minor honours.

Delzangles said: 'It's a pity he was on his own on that (far) side and he was in front very early.

'I can't complain, he ran a great race and the two in front of him are definitely good horses.

'It was only his third ever run so I hope he can improve. He's in the Irish Guineas and we will see about that.'

Richard Hannon said of fourth-placed Trumpet Major: 'Richard (Hughes) said the ground got him, he's run a good race but when he got into the dip he just got stuck in it – three out Richard said he thought he would win and I thought so too.

'I don't think I would run him on ground like that again and we will probably go to Ascot, which gives us six weeks for the St James's Palace but the ground would need to be right for him.'

Merigo lands Scottish Grand National for second time

Brave Merigo lands Scottish Grand National for second time in three years

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UPDATED:

16:00 GMT, 21 April 2012

Staying success: Timmy Murphy raises the Scottish Grand National trophy

Staying success: Timmy Murphy raises the Scottish Grand National trophy

Merigo won the Coral Scottish Grand
National for the second time with a brave display in the marathon
handicap chase at Ayr.

Winner in 2010 and second 12 months ago, the
11-year-old just held the front-running Auroras Encore in a thrilling
duel over the last three fences.

The 15-2 winner was ridden by
weighing-room veteran Timmy Murphy for his father-in-law owner Raymond
Anderson Green, and trained by Lockerbie-based Andrew Parker.

Garleton set a strong pace from the
outset, accompanied by Fruity O'Rooney, and it was a gallop that had
several of the leading fancies struggling as the field went out on the
final circuit.

Quentin Collonges, Walkon, Ikorodu
Road and Knockara Beau were among those pulled up while the favourite
Harry The Viking never looked like scoring for his co-owner Sir Alex
Ferguson.

Make mine a double: Merigo and Timmy Murphy power up the home straight

Make mine a double: Merigo and Timmy Murphy power up the home straight

On the front end, after Garleton gave way down the back straight, it was Auroras Encore who took the bull by the horns under Ryan Mania.

Murphy was wise to the move and patiently brought Merigo to make his challenge in the straight.

Although Auroras Encore (25-1) outjumped him, Merigo's determination won the day as he gained the verdict by a head.

Thrill of the chase: Merigo (left) jumps with Any Currency and Heez A Steel

Thrill of the chase: Merigo (left) jumps with Any Currency and Heez A Steel

Thumbs up: Murphy celebrates on Merigo

Thumbs up: Murphy celebrates on Merigo

King Fontaine (40-1) was 15 lengths away third with Ballyfitz (33-1) another nine lengths back in fourth.

Murphy said: 'He's a superstar. Andrew knows him better than anybody and I think he just comes to himself at this time of year.

'The choke was out for a long way and
all credit to how deep he dug for me. I couldn't go any quicker and his
jumping was keeping him it.

'He's a great horse to own and ride.'

Anderson Green said: 'To win it once is dreamland, to come back and do
it again – words can't describe it. It means everything to me to win
this race.

'It was a great ride by Timmy.'