Monday 24 April 2017

Excelebration proves his worth

Tom Peacock

Excelebration trounced his rivals in the CGA Hungerford Stakes at Newbury yesterday -- in the process paying yet another huge compliment to the brilliant Frankel.

Marco Botti's stable star gave Frankel something to think about in the Greenham Stakes over this course and distance at the start of the season, before going on to claim the German 2,000 Guineas.

He was last seen finishing third to Frankel in the St James's Palace Stakes at the Royal meeting, and confirmed he is a class act in his own right in this seven-furlong Group Two event. Settled just off the pace set by stablemate Ceremonial Jade, Adam Kirby asked the 5/4 favourite to quicken a furlong out, after which he streaked clear for a six-length demolition of Beacon Lodge.

Botti said: "He's run twice against Frankel and today he was very impressive. We left a little bit to work on, so I expect him to come on a lot for the run We will go for another Group One race now. There is a big gap between now and Ascot (QEII) so he might go to France, but it all depends how he comes out of this."

Also on the card, fast-improving Census (4/1) reversed Royal Ascot running with Brown Panther to land the CGA Geoffrey Freer Stakes.

Richard Hughes was always travelling strongly on the Richard Hannon-trained three-year-old, which was six lengths adrift of Brown Panther in the King George V Stakes but was meeting his conqueror on 3lb better terms.

Hughes eased to the front three furlongs out, as Brown Panther tried to take closer order. It looked at one stage that Brown Panther might get there, but Census had a bit in hand in the end and was a cosy length-and-a-quarter scorer.

Hughes said: "Before the race I thought we had a Leger runner, now we might have a horse who could win it."

Stan James.com make the Highclere Thoroughbred-owned Census a 6/1 chance from 10s for the final British Classic. The same firm cut Brown Panther to 8s from 10s.

Elsewhere, Pepper Lane's love affair with Ripon continued as she notched up her third course and distance win of the season in the William Hill Great St Wilfrid. David O'Meara's filly won at the May meeting off a mark off 74, but defied a rating 21lb higher in Ripon's richest ever race.

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