22 September 2023

Popmaster has all the answers at Newbury

22 September 2023

Popmaster caused a minor surprise in the Dubai Duty Free Cup Stakes at Newbury when getting the better of odds-on favourite Aldaary.

Running in Listed company for the first time, Ed Walker’s consistent handicapper appeared to relish the testing ground and always appeared to be travelling best of all.

Aldaary, on the other hand, was one of the first off the bridle but he did begin to respond for pressure from Jim Crowley.

When the gap appeared though, Ross Coakley and Popmaster (12-1) burst through and went on to beat the favourite by a length.

The winner was paying a handsome compliment to Stuart Williams’ winning machine Quinault, who had Popmaster back in second at Ascot last time out.

Walker said: “What an absolute legend of a horse he is. We’re thrilled with him, he’s been a star.

“We ran him because other than the favourite, there was nothing to be scared of so we had a crack and he’s done it well.

“He’s so versatile. We’ve always felt that he needs everything to fall right and Ross gave him a peach today, he’s always got on really well with him and he deserved to win on him.

“I think we’ll have to run him in the Challenge Cup (at Ascot). He could run in the Bengough but the Challenge is worth so much money (over £90,000 to the winner), so we almost have to go for it – and he loves Ascot.”

Betfair and Paddy Power cut him to 8-1 from 14s for the Challenge Cup on October 7.

Richard Hannon is already dreaming of next year’s Guineas for Serene Seraph (8-11 favourite) who made no mistake at the third time of asking in the Dubai Duty Free Full Of Surprises British EBF Fillies’ Conditions Stakes.

“We’ve always thought a lot of her, she was a little bit keen the last day and just got tired,” Hannon told Racing TV.

“We didn’t go to Ascot with her, she’s a big filly for next year.

“She won like we hoped she would, she didn’t mind the ground and hopefully she’ll come back for the Fred Darling.

“I’ll speak to Barnane Stud (owners) about whether they want to run again, but I think we’ll take it nice and easy with her.

“There is the Bosra Sham at Newmarket or the Radley Stakes back here as possible options if we do.”

Richard Hughes is planning a trip to France with Bracken’s Laugh (11-2) who won the Haynes, Hanson & Clark Novice Stakes on his debut under Finley Marsh.

I knew he could win a maiden but I wanted to see if he would win a proper race and he's done that today. He's every right to go into a Group One now

The event has been won by some of the greats of the turf in the past such as Shergar, Rainbow Quest and Nayef and Hughes will be hoping the Zoffany colt can join them.

The trainer ran two in the race but it is fair to say they enjoyed differing fortunes, as Palace Green unshipped Cieren Fallon on leaving the stalls.

“Finley gave him a great ride. I said to him to be the last one off the bridle as he’s a big, weak horse but very talented,” said Hughes.

“I was a little worried about them on the ground with the others having a win under their belts, but we were getting 6lb and we have plans going ahead.

“I haven’t told the owner but in the back of my mind I’m thinking of those races in Saint-Cloud, there’s one over a mile and one over 10 furlongs.

“I knew he could win a maiden but I wanted to see if he would win a proper race and he’s done that today. He’s every right to go into a Group One now.”

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