'Strauss' fails to hit right note as Sudden Wonder takes the spoils
Ballydoyle's Johann Strauss was sent off a well-backed favourite for the £200,000 Tattersalls Millions Three-Year-Old Trophy at Newmarket yesterday, but he failed to dispel his growing reputation as a bit of an enigma.
He eventually finished a never-dangerous seventh under Joseph O'Brien as the New Approach colt Sudden Wonder (7/1) just prevailed from Observational to complete a quick Godolphin double under Mickael Barzalona.
Tipperary natives Kevin Ryan and Jamie Spencer combined to take the Group Three Abernant Stakes over six furlongs with the blinkered Hamza (11/4), which fought back bravely to get back up inside the distance, having made all before being briefly headed.
Twice a runner-up in Group Threes at the Curragh last autumn, Ryan's five-year-old ball of speed could return to headquarters for the Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes on May 24.
"He'd had a hard race in Dubai and you are always a bit worried how much it has taken out of them but he's very game and very tough," said Yorkshire-based Ryan of his winner. "He's in the Duke of York (May 14) but there's a possibility he could go over to Ireland for the Greenlands Stakes."
Toormore, last year's Champion two-year-old, maintained his unbeaten record in the Craven Stakes.
The result of a workmanlike two-length beating of The Grey Gatsby was that he remains a best-priced 8/1 for the 2,000 Guineas, while Coral reacted by going odds-on for the first time with Kingman.
The Craven may not have been quite as good on paper as last Saturday's Greenham, and Toormore's no-frills style is the polar opposite to that of the flashy Kingman, but there was, nevertheless, something rather likeable about his victory.
Toormore did it the hard way by making all the running and, though he took a while to shake off the runner-up, he was on top at the finish.
Trainer Richard Hannon did not see too many negatives: "That's him, he idles," he said. "He's not flashy. He'd never win a race by six lengths even if he could. He is never going to make you say 'wow'. He won his first two races by only a neck."
There was no joy for the five Irish raiders at Cheltenham, with Tim Hyde's Emily Gray faring best when second behind As I Am in the Listed mares' novice hurdle.
Barry Geraghty got among the winners when Nicky Henderson's Polly Peachum defied odds of 9/1 to storm up the hill after leading on touching down over the last flight in the mares' handicap hurdle,
Meanwhile, Co Cork-born Gavin Sheehan extended his lead in the conditional jockeys' championship to 11 by taking the bumper on 9/2 shot Miss Estela for his boss Warren Greatrex.