Doyle delivers Class act
William Haggas won the Darley Irish Oaks with Sea Of Class after the filly was given a beautifully judged, bordering on sensational, waiting ride by James Doyle to put her head in front in the last stride - without using his stick.
A confident Doyle put the chestnut daughter of Sea The Stars to sleep at the back of the seven-runner field yesterday and bravely gave Aidan O'Brien's Group One winning fillies Forever Together and Magic Wand a five-length head start turning in at the Curragh.
But, completing a treble on the day, the jockey pulled his mount out for a run two out and delivered her to perfection to beat the Epsom heroine Forever Together a neck.
Victory confirmed why Haggas had been so excited about the filly since her win in a Listed race at Newbury and why he was keen to miss both Epsom and Royal Ascot with her. Doyle said: "I've been looking forward to riding her since it was the plan and then it was a question of whether with my commitments to Godolphin it would happen and then for it to go like a dream.
"I had full confidence in her. Michael Tebbutt, who rides her work, rang this morning to say she was absolutely on song. She's a late foal - Epsom came too soon for her so it was a good shout of William's to miss it. It's only her fourth race - she should be open to plenty of improvement."
At Newbury, Richard Hannon won his second Weatherbys Super Sprint when the in-form Harry Bentley produced the 16-1 shot Ginger Nut late on to win the £250,000 race, which is restricted to horses from racing's bargain basement.
A £22,000 purchase, Ginger Nut won pretty much six times her original cost in one hit when she beat Moojim by a neck.
Hannon, who felt he had been suffering seconditis of late (although he also won the previous race with Yafta), joked that he was sick of hearing how often the "old man" had won it. Speaking about Ginger Nut, in whom he also has a half share, he said: "Chris and Jenny are long-time investors in the sport. They won a Doncaster Sales race 14 years ago so it was about time they won another big prize.
"After Ascot there's not much around for the cheap affordable type of horse that isn't going to win a Classic. Those horses have their place and we've tried to keep that going. You need cheap horses, expensive horses, horses you can run in auction races."
The Willie Mullins-trained Stratum, the 11-4 favourite, was the comfortable three-length winner of the inaugural JLT Cup, a two-mile race designed to give staying handicappers something to aim at between Ascot and the Ebor.
Mullins was not at Newbury but Robert Winston, who rides nearly all of Tony Bloom's horses, said a change of bit and a stronger pace helped ensure the five-year-old settled. He is likely to go for the Ebor now.
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