Fanshawe gets back into big time
This year's Royal meeting started with a Group One winner for Henry Cecil and concluded with a big-race double for another Newmarket trainer who has spent some time in the wilderness.
Yesterday morning, James Fanshawe was barely clinging to a place among the top 100 trainers in England by prize money but, thanks to the victories of Society Rock and Deacon Blues in the Golden Jubilee Stakes and the Wokingham Handicap, a man who was once a familiar face after major races may be on the way back.
Before these two successes, Fanshawe's string had won just over £50,000 so far this season, but it took a little under three minutes of racing action to boost the total by more than £250,000. Just like that, Fanshawe is suddenly a top-20 trainer again.
Society Rock was a 25/1 outsider for the Golden Jubilee, despite having finished second in the race 12 months ago at twice those odds. Under a confident ride by Pat Cosgrave, though, he pushed ahead of Monsieur Chevalier inside the final furlong to win by half a length, with Star Witness, from Australia, another length and a quarter away in third.
"We've kept plugging away with this horse and it is fantastic that he has come good," Fanshawe said. "He was slightly forgotten last year when he was second and he was never really right afterwards.
"It's a fantastic result for his owner, Simon Gibson, who can't be here because he had a fall down his stairs and banged his head. This will make him feel a lot better. He lives near Newmarket and if the horse comes out of this race well, I'd be keen to run him in the July Cup."
Star Witness, which is likely to be retired once his summer campaign in Britain is complete, is likely to head to the July Cup, too. "He was travelling like the winner at the furlong pole," Danny O'Brien, his trainer, said, "but he just peaked at the end. Steven [Arnold, his jockey] said you could attribute that to the ground.
"The horse is really enjoying Newmarket and we are really enjoying being part of the big races here over the summer. The only thing that would make it better is getting a win on the board."
Star Witness is a 7/1 chance with Paddy Power to conclude his career with victory in the July Cup, though the market is headed at 5/1 by Delegator, a late absentee from yesterday's race when rain turned the going against him. Society Rock is a 9/1 shot.
Maybe was an impressive winner of the Chesham Stakes, one of the earliest tests for two-year-olds over seven furlongs. That sort of distance on rain-softened ground at Ascot is quite a test for a juvenile filly but Maybe rose to the challenge impressively to emerge as the first clear favourite for next year's 1,000 Guineas.
Victor Chandler's quote of 9/2 about Maybe, in a market which goes 33/1 bar, is faintly comic, but Maybe is impeccably bred -- by Galileo out of a Danehill mare -- and has the looks to match. She appeared to win despite the testing surface and should have plenty of improvement still to make on a faster surface.
"We were afraid of the conditions out there," her trainer, Aidan O'Brien, said. "She has always looked very natural and is a very classy filly at home. She got seven furlongs very well today, so you'd imagine that she would have no problem getting a mile."
Await The Dawn completed a double for O'Brien and gave Ballydoyle its fourth winner of the week in the Hardwicke Stakes, a slog of a race in which two runners which opted to take the shortest course against the inside rail found the turf so demanding that they were pulled up before the line.
Await The Dawn stayed on strongly to pass Harris Tweed with just over a furlong to run and is ready to step up to Group One company, but the problem is finding a race for which a stablemate such as St Nicholas Abbey or So You Think is not already among the ante-post favourites.
As a result, O'Brien is already looking towards the Breeders' Cup meeting in Kentucky in November, when the Classic, over a mile and a quarter on dirt, is his ambitious target.
"There's no question that he won despite the ground," O'Brien said. "He's a daisy-cutter in how he moves his legs across the ground and it's the same old story, it's his class.
"He was always a horse that had a jet engine. He was a big baby but the engine was always very big. He is like his dad [Giant's Causeway], a big, rangy horse. We were always dreaming of the Breeders' Cup Classic [in which Giant's Causeway was touched off by Tiznow in 2000]. It's a long way away [but] the dream is still alive."
Sunday Indo Sport