Doncaster - Opening Day Of The Flat Season Review
Frankel is set to have his first Classic runners as a sire
this year and Dream Castle staked a decent claim to be in that number
when making an emphatic winning debut at Doncaster.
The Godolphin-owned colt, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, was handed quotes of
20-1 for the Qipco 2000 Guineas
with Sky Bet and Betfair after he opened his account in highly-promising style
in division two of the Purple Vouchers Maiden Stakes as part of a treble for
Dream Castle was expected to deliver as he was sent off the 8-13 favourite and he put in some exciting work in the closing stages as he went on to score by three and a half lengths from To Dibba.
Jockey Oisin Murphy does not think he would be out of place in the Classic line-up.
"He has to be quite decent. What does it take to be a Guineas horse? How many run in the Guineas, 20-odd? Would there be 20 of him in the country?" he said. Of the race itself, Murphy added: "There's a bit of Frankel in him in his character. I think the trainer and the team have done a good job in settling the horse down and preparing him for the day. Today was only a learning curve, but the race went perfectly. It was a good experience."
Godolphin and Bin Suroor took division one with Benbatl (15-8 favourite), who earned a quote of 25-1 for the Investec Derby after blasting to victory on his debut by seven lengths in the hands of Josephine Gordon. Gordon said: "He's a very nice horse. He's obviously still very green but he's done that easy and I think he could do with a bit more juice in the ground. He's only going to improve. He had plenty in hand and did it well."
Bin Battuta (4-1), who holds entries in the Guineas and Derby, completed the Godolphin/Bin Suroor trio in the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Handicap.
The half-brother to July Cup winner Dream Ahead held off Charlie Appleby's Godolphin representative First Nation by a neck.
Winning rider Jim Crowley said: "They went a nice gallop and I was a bit further back than I wanted to be, but they went a bit quick and that was perfect for me. He stayed the trip really well. He's a really nice horse and hopefully he can go on to better things."
Murphy completed a double on Chemical Charge (15-8 favourite), who ended a run of five seconds in the Adwick Kingpin Conditions Stakes. Ralph Beckett's five-year-old picked up the pieces a furlong out after St Leger fourth Muntahaa and Godolphin's Frontiersman had battled it out down the straight. It was left to Chemical Charge to surge clear and score by two lengths from Saigon City.
Kevin Darley, representing owners Qatar Racing, said: "He was a little frustrating last year in Ireland but Ger Lyons said there'd be more opportunities over in England so he advised us to bring him back and he was right. He likes a long, galloping track. We jut wanted to find a little race for him to get his confidence, which hopefully has happened today. He's done everything right and we'll see where the boss wants to send him next."
Wentworth Falls sprang a 33-1 surprise in the hands of Franny Norton for trainer Geoff Harker in the Rosina May Godfrey Memorial Handicap.
Harker paid Godolphin just £5,500 for the son of Dansili in August 2016 and the horse has now won two of his four starts for the Thirsk handler.
Wentworth Falls was a worthy winner of the six-furlong cavalry charge as he passed the post half a length to the good over Muntadab.
Harker said: "We fancied him today. He's a proper little horse. He does everything at home so easy. I've got something in mind for him, but I'm keeping it to myself for the time being."
Apprentice Rowan Scott, 21, rode his first winner for Keith Dalgleish since joining the Carluke trainer a month ago when steering home Zoravan (28-1) in the Get Doncaster Moving Handicap.
Though it was his first run on turf after seven starts on all-weather surfaces, the four-year-old was certainly not inconvenienced as he won by a length and quarter from Invermere. Dalgleish said: "Rowan's only been with us for a month, so it's a nice start for him.There is a seven-furlong handicap at Musselburgh in a couple of weeks which we might enter him in."
Paddy Aspell guided a back-to-form Archippos (20-1) to victory by three-quarters of a length in the Choose Fitness Handicap for trainer Philip Kirby."We thought he was a nice horse when he won his maiden. He was a little bit disappointing two runs after that but he was only a baby and he was chucked in at the deep end," said Kirby. "I thought he'd run well but I didn't think he was particularly well handicapped."
Brian Ellison enjoyed success with Royal Flag (4-1 favourite) to take the Counting House Bessacarr Amateur Riders' Handicap as he looks forward to saddling Definitly Red in Saturday's Randox Health Grand National.
The seven-year-old, ridden by Jonjo O'Neill junior, wore
down Nafaath to score by a length and a quarter. Ellison said: "I think you have to come here early
part of the season having run on the all-weather and he came here in great