01 October 2022

Fonteyn springs Sun Chariot surprise

01 October 2022

Fonteyn defied odds of 16-1 to land the Group One Royal Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.

The Kevin Ryan-trained filly was largely overlooked ahead of the contest but raced strongly in the inside rail when powering down the Rowley Mile under Neil Callan.

Passing the post three-quarters of a length ahead of John and Thady Gosden’s Laurel, the third-placed horse also came from the same stable in the shape of Grande Dame.

Saffron Beach was sent off the 6-4 favourite for trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam, but she came home eighth of the nine runners.

Callan was registering his first Group One success in Britain since partnering Astaire to victory in the 2013 Middle Park Stakes at this track.

He said: “It’s funny, because that was the last season before I decided to uproot and go to Hong Kong full time.

“So I kind of finished of England in good fashion and then obviously I spent a long time in Hong Kong and when you come back you have to establish yourself.

“You need connections like Kevin Ryan to give you a little pick up and give you those opportunities. He rang me the other day and said ‘I’ve been dying to get you on a good filly and this is it’, so he was quite bullish and confident even though she was an outsider.

“She looked magnificent in the paddock. One thing he did say is if she jumps and is fighting you, let her go and she’ll come back to you and she did that.

“We didn’t really go breakneck and I was just able to let her go down the hill at her own accord rather than having to shove her and once she got into the dip and changed her legs, the race was over.

“Any Group One, wherever you get it, is big, they are the big races throughout the season, but it is more important I won it for Kevin, we go back a long way.

“He’s godfather to my eldest son Jack. It’s more than just horseracing and jockey and trainer, we go beyond that.”

John Gosden said of his two placed horses: “Laurel is a filly who has only had two runs in her life, a maiden and a novice, it’s the first time she has ever been off the bridle in her life and when she hit the front she had a little look, but full marks to the winner who ground her down.

“The other filly (Grande Dame) ran great, so it was two superb runs and we’ll probably put them both away now until next season.

“Laurel, she’s never been asked to stretch, you don’t do it at home, you don’t drive them along off the bridle. She’ll be a lovely filly for next year – they both will. “

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