Friday 17 November 2017

Cecil joy as Timepiece clocks up first victory at highest level

Rarely does Henry Cecil win a Group One for the first time nowadays but Timepiece had a pleasant surprise in store by capturing yesterday's Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket.

Cecil has naturally made his mark in the race over the years, but not since its upgrade to the highest tier in 2004.

The trainer was convinced there was a big prize in Timepiece, which left her ninth-place finish in last season's Epsom Oaks behind when winning the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot and has established herself as a solid performer at Listed level.

Her starting price of 16/1 reflected what she was up against with the field headed by high-class French mare Sahpresa, sent off the 13/8 favourite.

Sahpresa's rider Christophe Lemaire was one of several to misjudge the dawdling pace set by Masaya, leaving himself a lot to do. But Tom Queally was alive to the dangers on Timepiece, committing the filly and keeping a length and a quarter between himself and runner-up Sahpresa.

Frankel has been the undoubted star of this season for Cecil, Queally and owner Khalid Abdullah, and it was a more relaxed trainer who briefed the media than when dealing with his higher-profile horse.

"She's a very good filly, but she didn't stay in the Oaks. She mustn't get there too soon and they didn't go that fast," Cecil explained. "She's a Group One winner now and I'm so pleased she has finally got it right. I thought a mile over this course would suit, but I think she gets a mile and a quarter."

Meanwhile, Godolphin's Gamilati became the first maiden since Sayyedati in 1992 to lift the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cherry Hinton Stakes.

While Sayyedati went on to glory in the 1,000 Guineas, the encouraging news for Sheikh Mohammed and trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni is that they could even have a better filly in Discourse, which beat Gamilati by a short-head over the course and distance.

Frankie Dettori, back after suspension, was far less reserved in applying his flying dismount than he was in the saddle, putting Gamilati to sleep for much of the race before rousing her in the final furlong to brush aside Russelliana and Shumoos.

Like Dettori, William Buick made a winning return from suspension by steering Instance to victory in the opening Irish EBF Fillies' Handicap, while Richard Hannon added to his tally of juvenile winners as 25/1 chance Rougemont made a winning debut in the Weatherbys EBF Mawatheeq Maiden Stakes.

Irish Independent

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