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11 Jun 2018
Issue Number: Issue 645
Seemar can only hope for another upward performance from North America
Dubai playing a key role in British racing, says Jockey Club boss
Busybody Tadhg looks to scale mountains after climbing Hills
Nass’ trial and error style seems to be working wonders for him
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Triumphant UAE trio

11/06/2018
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GODOLPHIN’S Wild Illusion may have been denied in the Oaks at Epsom but two winners on that particular card, on the day Cracksman also landed the Group 1 Coronation Cup, did represent UAE owners. Pride of place went to Lake Volta, in the colours of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, who led his rivals a merry dance in the Listed Surrey Stakes, running on far too strongly for Godolphin’s Aurum in the 7f Listed race restricted to 3yos. Mark Johnston’s charge had an experience advantage over most of his rivals having already run 12 times, with this his sixth appearance of 2018.

Turning out just four days after finishing fifth in a Windsor handicap, the already gelded homebred son of Raven’s Pass was soon bowling along at the head of affairs and always travelling strongly. Dual Champion Jockey Silvestre de Sousa gradually upped the ante in front and one by one his rivals faltered as Lake Volta pulled clear for a decisive victory by almost five lengths. Johnston said: “He had a perfect position from the start and led up the hill and was able to get the stands rail. Anything that wanted to have a crack at him had to go down on the hill on to the perhaps slightly stickier ground.

“After the first two races we learned where you need to be: water runs down hill so you need to aim to the nearside in the straight. “It was the perfect race. We’ll go home and think about where we go next but the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot could be an option.” De Sousa added: “He has done that well today and it was always the plan to get to the front and head for the rail once in the straight. “I had a very willing partner who has responded to my every urging and it is always nice to ride a winner on these big days.” Earlier, Ajman King continued his love affair with Epsom and produced a performance befitting his regal moniker when romping away with the 1m2f handicap, taking his course record to three wins from three starts and shaping like a colt with legitimate Stakes aspirations moving forward.

Owned by Sheikh Mohammed Obaid and trained by Roger Varian, the 4yo Lope De Vega colt landed his maiden at Epsom last year prior to winning the prestigious City & Suburban Handicap, over the same course and distance, on his seasonal reappearance in April, and was registering a fourth consecutive victory having finished 2017 with a win at Doncaster. Ridden positively by Andrea Atzeni, Ajman King was parked a little wide but, on an afternoon whereby it was difficult to make up any significant ground from the rear, this proved a sensible tactical move. Stopped briefly about 3f out, he proved more than able and willing to navigate his way through the rivals who were coming back on top of him, storming into the lead with a quarter of a mile left to run, and despite Brorocco and Dark Red emerging from the pack to challenge, he asserted his authority in no uncertain terms to win comfortably.

A €130,000 Goffs Orby yearling purchase by Varian, he delighted his trainer who said: “Ajman King is a progressive colt who has stepped forward with each run. He doesn’t want the ground too fast, but apart from that he’s an uncomplicated horse and he clearly handles this track well. “I’m sure he will stay 1m4f, although there is probably no need to step him up in trip just yet, and we will let the dust settle before making a plan, although I suspect we will have to pitch him into a higher level next time.”The following day, as well as Masar landing the main feature, Century Dream continued his progress with a convincing victory in the Group 3 Diomed Stakes over an extended mile. Trained by Simon Crisford, William Buick was in the saddle for Abdullah Saeed and they proved far too good for six rivals, following up their narrow victory in a Listed race at Ascot a month earlier.

Settled just behind the leaders, Buick asked his mount, a 4yo son of Cape Cross, to challenge 2f out. Soon ahead, they ran on strongly and never looked in any danger thereafter. This was his sixth win from his last eight starts and his first attempt in such illustrious company and Crisford said: “I think races are always incredibly difficult to watch if you are closely connected, so I really take my hat off to people who have runners in the Derby, the Oaks and races like that; when I used to do that for Godolphin I could never watch the races. Afterwards I would watch them 100 times, where did we go wrong, where did we go right, but in this instance it was easy to watch because he never looked like getting beaten at any stage.

It was great. “I think William felt the ground suited this horse and, obviously, he is ground dependent and doesn’t want it too quick, so when it rained we were absolutely delighted. It played to his strengths and he won really well. “We will monitor worldwide weather forecasts for the next few months. He has an entry in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot but I don’t think it is his type of race. “As a small boy I dreamed about standing in this winner’s enclosure on Derby Day, but I did not have the Diomed Stakes in mind at the time!”

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