Lone Eagle makes all for clear-cut Cocked Hat triumph
Lone Eagle produced a dominant front-running display in the British Stallion Studs EBF Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood
Martyn Meade’s Galileo colt ended last season on a high, winning his final three outings, but his Cazoo Derby aspirations took a knock when he could finish only fourth in the Sandown Classic Trial.
Reunited with Silvestre de Sousa, he reverted to attempting to make all the running, despite carrying a 5lb penalty.
In the testing conditions his rivals dropped away one by one, but William Buick still looked to be sitting pretty on Yibir with two furlongs to run.
When stamina became an issue, though, Lone Eagle (3-1) came into his element and went on to pull four lengths clear.
Coral cut his Derby odds to 25-1 from 40s, while he is 20-1 for the St Leger.
Meade said: “Obviously we were a little bit disappointed at Sandown and after that we came here with a little bit of trepidation – especially with the strong wind up the straight.
“He’s a horse that only just does enough at home and you can’t put him under pressure, so today we decided to try to make it a gallop because he is relentless and he has a big heart, so that when they come to him he finds more.
I would love to go for the big prizes, but I'm inclined to take small steps as it is a long season
“He’s in the Derby and the Irish Derby and the end game could be something like the St Leger, but we need to revisit.
“I would love to go for the big prizes, but I’m inclined to take small steps as it is a long season.”
Meade does have another colt still engaged at Epsom, the once-raced Gloucestershire, but his participation is far from certain, also.
He said: “Gloucestershire had an infection early on this year and took a long time to get over it and we don’t really want to mess up the whole season by trying to run before we can walk, so whether he’ll go for the Derby I honestly don’t know.”
De Sousa also won on the Charlie Hills-trained Dulas (13-8 favourite), who got his head in front at the third time of asking this season in the Thank You NHS From The Angus Family Handicap having finished second at both Haydock and Chester.
Hills said: “That was much deserved because he’d run two great races this year, running very well without winning and I think he will go forward from that.
“He’s a horse we’ve always liked, with plenty of talent. Let’s see what the handicapper does to him on Tuesday and we may then look at the Buckingham Palace at Royal Ascot.”
The opening British European Breeders Fund EBF Novice Stakes was won in good style by Andrew Balding’s newcomer Masekela (9-2) under champion jockey Oisin Murphy, who said: “He ticks every box with his temperament and action and he’s a lovely type.
“His work had been really nice going into this race. His dam stayed very well, while he covers a lot of ground, and to be honest I was thrilled to be able to ride him today in what was a super performance.
“In the conditions we went very steady for the first two to three furlongs, but I didn’t want William (Buick, on Fall Of Rome) to get away from me. The conditions are not ideal, but it is raceable.
“If there was one race I wanted to be run today, it was this one.”
David Simcock and Jamie Spencer landed the Height Of Fashion Stakes with Ad Infinitum and then doubled up when Luckiness (17-2) won the Vesta Handicap – but it may be his last success on British shores.
Simcock said: “He’s a lovely horse who had come forward quite a lot from his run at Doncaster.
“But, unfortunately he might now be off to Hong Kong, it’s up to his owner and there’s not much I can do about it.”
Spencer said: “I was gutted he was beaten at Doncaster, but he was tubby and needed the run. He has a good, willing attitude and a nice turn of foot and is a joy to be around – although I’m not sure how long that will be.”