Love Is You puts Fillies’ Mile case in Ascot victory


‘She’d been pleasing us, and our two-year-olds are running very well’.

Roger Charlton may have another Fillies’ Mile contender on his hands after Love Is You began her career with an eyecatching Ascot victory.

Love Is You provided one of two notable debut successes at the start of a card on which Roger Varian’s Shandoz justified favouritism with a hard-fought success in the feature Lavazza Stakes.

After Brian Meehan’s Akmaam had already made a fine impression with his all-the-way win in the opening Stella Artois British EBF Novice Stakes, 3-1 shot Love Is You produced smart acceleration to get the better of her rivals.

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She pounced on the outside of both runner-up Last Sunset and favourite Monsoon Moon in the Moet & Chandon British EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes, winning by a neck under Jason Watson.

Charlton, for whom Quadrilateral won the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket last season, before going on to be placed in the 1000 Guineas, is already considering setting Love Is You the same challenge next month.

He told Sky Sports Racing: “She won going away in the end.

“We entered her in a Group One race (Fillies’ Mile) four days ago – she’d been pleasing us, and our two-year-olds are running very well.

“It’s time to be optimistic, stick her in a Group One and see. I’m not saying she’s going to run in it, but we’ll see.”

Trainer and jockey were winning this race for the second year in succession, following Pocket Square 12 months ago.

Charlton added of Love Is You: “I think she’ll have learnt plenty.

“She looked very relaxed early on – I thought at the bottom turn, when I saw the favourite cruising around, that the game was up.

“But she picked up well, her last furlong was her best furlong – as you would expect first time out.”

Akmaam was an impressive winner for trainer Brian Meehan and jockey Martin Dwyer.

Dwyer had Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s Wootton Bassett colt prominently positioned from the outset, before they surged clear two furlongs out and were still four lengths to the good of nearest pursuer Siam Fox at the line.

The 12-1 winner’s performance attracted a first-show quote of 33-1 from Betfair for next year’s 2000 Guineas – and Meehan indicated afterwards that he expects Akmaam to improve as he matures.

“He’s a big boy, and very much a three-year-old in the making,” said the Manton trainer.

“My instinct would tell me that we’d (now) go softly for a while – but obviously, we’ll speak to the owners and see what they think, and get some more feedback from Martin.”

Shandoz, backed into 7-2, was following up last month’s course-and-distance victory as he got the better of his duel with Meehan’s Cepheus.

Varian’s fast-improving three-year-old was also completing a hat-trick, initiated in a Wolverhampton novice on his third racecourse start last September.

Shandoz had just a head and a short-head to spare in his previous two victories – but despite having another battle here, courtesy of the 16-1 runner-up, he and David Egan were decisively on top by three-quarters of a length at the line, as Varian won back-to-back runnings following the victory of Apparate 12 months ago.

The two principals finished four lengths clear of third-placed Kipps.

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