Alenquer proves his class in King Edward
William Haggas’ colt won the bet365 Classic Trial at the Esher track with subsequent Derby winner Adayer back in second, and connections had been considering supplementing him for Epsom or going for the German Derby.
However, a setback meant those thoughts were short lived and now they may be wondering what might have been.
Sent off the 13-8 favourite, Tom Marquand was happy to watch the race develop from his position at the rear of the small field as Bellocio and Tasman Bay forced the pace.
Given the testing conditions the race known colloquially as the ‘Ascot Derby’ could have turned into a war of attrition – but Alenquer moved smoothly up to challenge before quickening up smartly.
Being by German sire Adlerflug the ground was never going to be an issue and he pulled away nicely to win by a length and a half, with Tasman Bay running a cracker in second for former Olympic eventer Sir Mark Todd.
Betfair cut the winner to 12-1 from 25s for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes back at Ascot in July.
Haggas – not present as he was preparing for Newmarket’s evening meeting – said: “It was terrific and I’m really pleased.
“I think Tom only gave him a couple of flicks because it was heavy ground, but I don’t think he needed to, it looked like he was always going to win.
“I’m not sure about the St Leger, I think he’s a bit quicker than that but all options are open. He’s not a today horse, he’s very much for the longer term as well so we’ve lots of exciting options.”
Haggas won the Hampton Court Stakes on Thursday with Mohaafeth, with at one stage both horses in the Derby reckoning before ultimately neither ran.
“With Mohaafeth I don’t know what trip will be his best, he’s pretty good at a mile and a quarter,” said Haggas.
“The Irish Derby is next weekend so Alenquer won’t be going there, he isn’t in the Grand Prix de Paris, but we could go there. It is such a pain getting to France at the minute, but it’s on July 14 so it’s pretty good timing.
“We could supplement as it’s a good race.”
Marquand added: “It’s very wet. I know the winning jockey always says the ground is better than it is, but we’re not going in all that far down the back, it’s just that surface water that’s flicking up and I’m so glad we’re racing today, obviously.
“I got nice instructions off William, he said get him relaxed, find a rhythm and see how you go, don’t go too soon and be confident. If ever there’s a way to ride a good horse, it’s doing that. He was wonderful, and relaxed into a perfect rhythm.
I don't care (about the rain), winning is winning isn't it, and Ascot is Ascot!
“They couldn’t run in the Dante, but they could have chucked him into the Derby at the last second, but patience is always pretty much key with horses.
“He stayed a mile and a half on soft ground extremely well, so I have no doubt William has some fancy ideas for him and I look forward to hearing them.
“I don’t care (about the rain), winning is winning isn’t it, and Ascot is Ascot!”