Newcomer Athmad storms to Newbury honours

Fri 17 Aug 2018

Brian Meehan may be busy recruiting potential stars at the Arqana August Yearling Sale but he appears to have a useful prospect on his hands after Athmad made a winning debut at Newbury.

The son of Olympic Glory made every yard of the running in division one of the Don Deadman Memorial EBF Maiden Stakes to defeat fellow newcomer Cap Francais by four and a half lengths to initiate a double for James Doyle.

Assistant trainer James Ferguson said of the 20-1 winner: “Obviously, being his first day at school we didn’t know exactly what we going to get.

“I know Brian really likes him and sees him as one of the best two year olds he has got.

“As far as future plans are concerned that will be up to Brian and the owner. He is definitely a potential stakes horse in Brian’s eyes.”

Denis Coakley was more than happy to settle for a dead-heat after Sheila’s Showcase (8-1) and the William Haggas-trained Boerhan (5-1), who completed Doyle’s brace, could not be separated in division two of the seven-furlong contest.

He said: “I will take that. He just got a bit lonely in front as he was there a long time. The ground was maybe on the soft side for him. Hopefully he will improve again.”

Maureen Haggas, representing her husband, said: “He was just very green and he has got a lot to learn still. He is a nice horse in the making and is next year’s horse.”

Rockfel Stakes entry Yourtimeisnow (4-1) moved a step closer to a potential outing in the Group Two after getting off the mark with a two-and-a-quarter-length success in the John Smith Lifetime In Racing British EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes.

Mario Gussago, pupil assistant to Roger Varian, said: “We run without the hood first time out and it worked well but with Goodwood having a lot of people there the boss put the hood on but it didn’t work and she was too switched off.

“She is a nice filly and hopefully she will go on to win something nice for the boss.”

The 21,000 guineas laid out by connections for Exec Chef looks money well spent after the three-year-old made it two wins from as many starts since joining Jim Boyle when mastering Enigmatic by a length and a quarter in the Christopher Smith Associates Handicap.

Boyle said of the 14-1 winner: “We like him and he is going the right way. This was his target. I’d say he would stay 10 furlongs, which opens up options.

“Fair play to David Simcock (previous trainer). He recommended him to me. Hats off to him as he came in great nick.”

Patrick Chamings was thankful for the rain that hit the Berkshire track on Thursday after What A Welcome (8-1) secured his fourth victory of the year to give jockey Joey Haynes his first winner in 52 days when taking the Big Group Insight Handicap by half a length.

The Basingstoke-based handler said: “I thought he was up against it here. In fairness to the horse it was probably a touch too fast last time at Ascot.

“That ease in the ground could not come at a better time. All his previous turf wins have come with a bit of cut in the ground. It has come to our saviour for once.”

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