Darain repays a little more of hefty price tag


Gosden-trained colt stays unbeaten at Newmarket.

Darain continued to demonstrate why connections went to 3.5 million guineas to secure his services after maintaining his unbeaten record with a facile success in the Newmarket Festival Charitable Novice Stakes.

Having made a big impression on his debut at Newbury, the John Gosden-trained son of Dubawi – who is a full-brother to the Newmarket handler’s multiple Group One winner Too Darn Hot – had no problems following up under a penalty in the mile-and-a-quarter prize.

Racing alone from the main body of the field for much of the way, the 1-6 favourite only needed to pushed out under hands and heels to defeat Vottoria Light by two and a quarter lengths, in the process completing doubles for Gosden and winning rider Oisin Murphy.

Gosden said of the Qatar Racing-owned colt: “He got a bump leaving the gate and that just lit him up. He was drawn out there and never got any cover, but it was hard to get any cover as the pace was steady.

“He would have learnt a lot and Oisin said he won comfortably. He was on faster ground and giving 7lb away, but he was happy enough with the horse.

“We are lucky we have had two novices. We will see what the mark is and take it from there. He is a progressive horse, but he has still got a lot to learn about being a racing professional.

“We will take it step by step. If you start having these lofty targets they don’t half make you look like a fool. There is a banana skin around every corner.

“I think he will get further, but right now we are happy at a mile and a quarter.”

Al Rufaa struck under Robert Havlin
Al Rufaa struck under Robert Havlin (George Selwyn)

Al Rufaa (11-4) got the ball rolling for champion trainer Gosden when following up victory at Kempton by three lengths in the Newmarket Volunteer Network Handicap.

Thady Gosden, assistant to his father, said: “Luckily Rab (Havlin) was able to switch him off in behind and get some cover. Ideally he would like a bit more juice in the ground.

“When he met the rising ground he picked up well. He probably wants stepping up to a mile.

“Rab knows him like the back of his hand and knows exactly how to ride him.”

Turn To Rock (9-1) gained his first victory since joining Jedd O’Keeffe when proving two lengths too strong for his rivals in the Discover Newmarket Re-Visit Re-Engage Re-Book Handicap, to form the opening leg of champion jockey Murphy’s brace.

Turn To Rock impressed Oisin Murphy
Turn To Rock impressed Oisin Murphy (George Selwyn)

Murphy said: “It’s a good bit of race planning by Jedd as he was 4lb well in. He was entitled to go and win that race and I’m really pleased. He had a look around in front, but hopefully there is an upside to him.”

The step up to a mile and a switch to a sounder surface appeared to work wonders for Top Class Angel, who held off Madame Tantzy by a neck in the Racing Centre Community Fillies’ Handicap as Richard Hannon got in on the double act.

Andrea Atzeni said of the 9-2 winner: “The trip helped, but the ground has as well – good fast ground is what she needs. She is tough and very genuine. Winning a race is very important to these fillies.”

Ryan Moore went one better than on his two previous starts aboard the Hannon-trained Nugget (10-11) to take the feature Discover Newmarket Home of Horseracing Tours Handicap.

Moore said: “I like the little horse. He has had a busy time and deserved to win one. I think there is a nice race in him. The trip and ground were fine.”

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