Alhebayeb battles to July success
Thursday 12 July 2012
By Ashely Wishaw
1 Alhebayeb (P Hanagan) 9-2
2 Lewisham (J Doyle) 25-1
3 Ahern (J P Spencer) 9-4t
Alhebayeb showed that his run in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot was no fluke when rallying well to win the TNT July Stakes at Newmarket.
Champion jockey Paul Hanagan had partnered his mount to second place to Hototo in the Listed five-furlong sprint at the Royal Meeting last month but made no mistake at the July Course.
The jockey found himself on the wide outside early on but drifted into the middle of the track to make his challenge. Athough Ahern, David Barron's chestnut, looked to have done enough a furlong out, the hill took its toll and Alhebayeb held off the late lunge of the 25-1 outsider Lewisham, trained by Noel Quinlan, by a neck. Ahern stayed on for third.
The win was a first Group success for Hanagan in his new job as Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's retained rider, after being handed the job earlier this year.
"I am delighted," Hanagan said. "It is what it is all about and I hope we will go from strength to strength. He was very unlucky at Royal Ascot. He was drawn on the wrong side and missed the break, but came home very well. He was probably crying out for another furlong.
"The further he went the better and he's done it well. He got headed and he really fought back."
Richard Hannon Junior, the assistant trainer, suggested that the Middle Park Stakes, Gimcrack Stakes and even the Dewhurst were all options for the son of Dark Angel.
"Paul said we will get seven furlongs so the Dewhurst is an option, as is the Gimcrack and Middle Park," he said. "He likes soft ground and we thought he would as his sire loved loved soft and won the Middle Park on it."
Quinlan revealed that he had hoped to take Lewisham to the Royal Meeting but thought the July Stakes would be less competitive. "He's a right horse this one," Quinlas said. "I think he should have won his maiden at Doncaster but he was ridden all wrong. For me he was a Royal Ascot horse, but I decided to come here as there would be less runners."
As for Ahern, David Redvers, racing manager to Qatar Racing, suggested that the son of Dutch Art was still a bit wet behind the ears. "We couldn;t really blame the ground as he a big strong horse, we'd just blame greeness," he said. "Jamie (Spencer) got off hinm and said he is still learning."