Manaccan untroubled by ground in Rous Stakes success
Manaccan overcame any ground fears at Ascot to plunder the Listed Oakman Inns Rous Stakes under Stevie Donohoe.
The three-year-old has shown plenty of improvement this term for trainer John Ryan, having won over the same five-furlong course and distance in addition to another Listed contest at Doncaster.
Things did not go to plan at Newbury last time in a better race when he lost ground at the start, but Donohoe ensured there were no excuses this time, putting the 4-1 joint-favourite through a tight gap before going on to score by three-quarters of a length from Ainsdale.
In class races, people don't give you gaps, you have to make them and that is what Steve has done today.
Ryan is now eyeing a Group Three prize at Dundalk at the end of the month with the Exceed And Excel colt.
He said: “Obviously we were disappointed at Newbury. He probably just sat back in the stalls at the wrong moment and left himself with a bit of work to do.
“In class races, people don’t give you gaps, you have to make them and that is what Stevie has done today.
“The easy ground wasn’t to suit us and we were umming and ahing, but there was nowhere else to go.
“If he comes out of this well, we will go for the Mercury at the end of the month.”
Soft Whisper had been denied a hat-trick at Goodwood last time when she bled in the Group Three Oak Tree Stakes.
In much calmer waters of the Listed Peroni Nastro Azzurro British EBF Stakes, the Saeed bin Suroor-trained four-year-old ran her 11 rivals ragged, making most of the running in the seven-furlong contest to score by a length and a quarter under David Probert.
Despite shouldering a 3lb penalty, the Dubawi filly proved much too good and the winning jockey felt she will improve with racing.
Probert said: “She has always shown she has ability. She bled at Goodwood and got herself very worked up beforehand.
“Today was very smooth. She had a red hood to post and was very relaxed in the prelims, and that was probably the thing that mattered.
“She got into a lovely rhythm throughout. She can over-race but she was very relaxed and I always felt comfortable from three (furlongs) to two that she was going to quicken well on the ground and let herself down.
“She has got a mile before and she relaxed really well, and at some stage she will be ready to take on a mile again, but we will probably stick to seven-furlong races for the time being.
“I think it is a mental thing with her and the more she develops, I’m sure she will be a nice miler. I would imagine she will be going out to Dubai over the winter.”
Escobar has proven consistent in some good handicaps and he was not winning out of turn in the Peroni Nastro Azzurro Challenge Cup.
Andrea Atzeni’s mount had been beaten four lengths in the Ayr Gold Cup a fortnight ago, yet had ground conditions to suit in the seven-furlong cavalry charge.
Despite being drawn near the far rail, he powered home off a steady early pace and saw off the dogged challenge of Mums Tipple (25-1), having a length and a half to spare at the line.
He will have a penalty for the Balmoral Handicap. He was winning off 107 and another 5lb takes him to 112 – that will take a bit of doing.
While O’Meara was planning to bring him back to Ascot on Champions Day for the Balmoral Handicap, a race he won in 2019, connections may now have a re-think.
The trainer explained: “He will have a penalty for the Balmoral Handicap. He was winning off 107 and another 5lb takes him to 112 – that will take a bit of doing.
“He is some horse. He is extraordinary and has a lot of quality for these races and is very classy on his day, and he likes that sort of scenario.
“The plan was to come here and the Balmoral, but he has won, so we will have to have a chat with the owners.”
Mollie Phillips is good value for her 3lb claim and she gained the 51st winner of her career, bringing home Dream Composer in the five-furlong Peroni Nastro Azzurro Handicap for trainer James Evans.
The four-year-old had shown plenty of consistency this term, winning twice and finishing runner-up on three other occasions. After hitting the front with a furlong to run, he stayed on well to score by a length and a half.
Phillips, who was having her first winner at the track, said: “He has run well here before and he likes the ground and everything was in our favour. The race went to plan – it all went well.
“He keeps galloping and while he likes the six (furlongs), this ground helps him out over five.
“That was a career-best for him today, definitely.”
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