Apphia shows tremendous resolution for Princess Royal triumph

Fri 29 Sep 2017

Watch a full replay of Apphia's victory in the Princess Royal Nayef Stakes at Newmarket on Friday and Josephine Gordon's interview with Tom Stanley.

By staff

Apphia repelled the late challenge of Pleasant Surprise to claim Group Three honours in the Princess Royal Nayef Stakes at Newmarket.

The Hugo Palmer-trained Apphia was sent off at 20-1 in the hands of Josephine Gordon and helped to force the pace for the duration of the mile-and-a-half contest.

Luca Cumani's Pleasant Surprise, on the other hand, was dropped out last by Jamie Spencer, who barely moved a muscle until two furlongs from home.

By that stage Apphia had set sail and while Pleasant Surprise loomed up ominously in the final 100 yards, Palmer's filly dug deep to see her off by half a length. To Eternity was best of the rest in third.

Gordon said: "She had every right to run, but obviously it was a big ask.

"She didn't show much last time at Chester, but she didn't like the track or the cheekpieces, so today we made the running knowing she'll stay and she loved every minute.

"We talked beforehand about where to go and I think the ground is pretty much the same everywhere.

"I'd love to get 100 winners for the year, that's 87, but I was at the same stage last season."

Palmer said: "Having been fifth in the Ribblesdale, she showed she had the ability and she's been close in two Listed races since. We would have settled for third but coming out of the dip we thought there was no way she could be third.

"Josephine gave her a magnificent ride and did exactly what we discussed beforehand, the plan was to get out and stretch them and she kept finding.

"The only other option this season is Champions Day and she'd need supplementing for that."

Cumani said of the runner-up: "She ran very well and I'm delighted. It's another step up from Listed races to Group races and she's now shown she belongs in Group races.

"She can only improve next year, being by Mastercraftsman. Jamie said she travelled beautifully and has a high cruising speed. She was last off the bridle and maybe the last 50 yards were a bit too far for her and that might be because she still has some maturing to do.

"We might bring her back to 10 furlongs. I think she's showing more speed now but in the spring she looked like she needed a distance. Next year we might be looking at the Middleton (York)."

To Eternity's trainer John Gosden said: "She was a little keen early, she's now a Listed winner and Group Three-placed."

Muffri'Ha opened her account for the campaign with an authoritative success in the Muhaarar British EBF Rosemary Stakes.

The William Haggas-trained mare won twice on the Rowley Mile last season, including a Group Three triumph in the Darley Stakes last October.

She made a fine start to 2017, notably going close at Group One level in Dubai, but this was her first competitive appearance since finishing fourth in the Dahlia Stakes here back in May.

The 5-1 shot played up before the race, but was as good as gold during it, travelling strongly and picking up well once meeting the rising ground to score by a length under Pat Cosgrave.

Permission finished strongly to deny Tisbutadream the runner-up spot but Amabilis, the 4-1 favourite, was disappointing.

"She's a funny thing, she's different at different meetings. You just have to let her do her own thing and eventually she comes round to your way of thinking," said the winning rider. "She's a bit of a diva but a talented one.

"I was a bit slowly away, she hasn't run for a while and was a bit fresh.

"I was a bit worried she wouldn't finish off her race but she was just too good in the end.

"I think William is looking at next week and the Sun Chariot, it may come too soon but we'll see."

Haggas said: "That's her, she's quirky. I'd like to give huge thanks to Michael Tebbutt (former jockey), who rides her every day, he's been brilliant with her, he's put so much time and effort in, it's all down to him and no one else.

"As much as I'd like to say it was down to me, he has done everything.

"She had a tremendous time of it this time last year and ran three Saturdays running, getting better and better.

"We've brought her here for gallops a couple of times and this was her third time here, she'll now come here for the Sun Chariot.

"She was flat in the Dahlia, she had a long autumn and went to Dubai so we had to give her a rest at some time. Fortunately she's come back and hopefully she'll have a good autumn again and then be retired."

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