Afsare one in a Million for Cumani
Friday 6 July 2012
Click here to watch Ambant Gala Stakes replay:
1 Afsare (K Fallon) 2-1 Fav
2 Songcraft (L Dettori) 11-4
3 Cai Shen (R Hughes) 7-2
Luca Cumani could retrace the steps he first made almost 30 years ago in sending Afsare across the Atlantic for next month's Arlington Million after the gelding ended a considerable losing streak in the Ambant Gala Stakes at Sandown.
Cumani has long been a pioneer of entering races overseas and the victory of Tolomeo in the third running of the valuable American turf race back in 1983 was one of his earliest major victories.
The last win for Afsare came in last year's Hampton Court Stakes, but the 2-1 favourite had finished second to Crackerjack King in an Italian Group One on his previous run and was driven home two and a quarter lengths clear of Songcraft.
Cumani had directed operations expertly from his home in Newmarket and instructed Kieren Fallon to remain by the far rail at all costs, even though Richard Hughes and Cai Shen made a solo run towards the stands turning into the home straight. Fallon was on his own with a furlong to run, with Cai Shen weakening to third.
The trainer's wife Sara said: "All went to plan. He's a frustrating horse because he's very good at home and he's a good-looking horse, but it's taken a while for him to win. Luca is delighted, and the Arlington Million is a target."
Roger Varian's powerful chestnut Morawij got back to winning ways in the other Listed race, the Mobile Betting At coral.co.uk Dragon Stakes. The 4-11 favourite had finished fourth in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot and battled through the soft ground to finish two and a quarter lengths in front of Lasilia.
Varian said: "He's not small and he has a physical presence, so you'd hope he's got a future. Neil Callan said he wasn't loving the ground, and if we ever do get a bit of summer ground, I think he'd be better. I suppose the options would be Goodwood (Molecomb Stakes) or maybe stretch him to six in the Gimcrack at York."
Peter Chapple-Hyam's stable continued its excellent form in the Bet At coral.co.uk Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Stakes as Hot Diggity got his head in front. There had been a bit of a word about the juvenile before he made a disappointing debut at Goodwood, and he was overlooked in the betting at 12-1 here.
Jockey James Doyle managed to avoid the scrimmaging with a couple of furlongs remaining to fend off the promising newcomer Tropical Song by half a length. Doyle, riding his first winner for the trainer, said: "Pete told me he had come on a lot from Goodwood and he got away with the ground, but would prefer it better. I liked him."
Enke had looked an exciting prospect when bolting up in a Newmarket maiden last October and made his belated reappearance in the Text Coral To 65559 For Mobile Betting Handicap. Given a positive ride by Mickael Barzalona, the 2-1 favourite scraped home.