Classic joy: Donnacha O’Brien punches the air on Saxon Warrior as he records his ﬁrst Classic success at the age of just 19 on another great day for family O’Brien
There’s nothing slow about Saxon Warrior
Not unreasonably, given he’d ground out the Racing Post Trophy on his final start at two, the doubt over Saxon Warrior before Saturday was whether he would have enough speed for the 2,000 Guineas. The question now is whether he has too much speed for the Derby.
There is certainly plenty of speed in the dam’s side of his pedigree and, while that is hardly rare among Ballydoyle horses these days, it is normally the case that such horses end up better at a mile or a mile and a quarter.
The other faint note of caution comes from how he carried himself at Newmarket, edging right most of the way and then left late on. Not a deep concern for a horse with only four runs behind him, but a habit that will need to be broken by the time he runs at Epsom.
The great certainty about Saxon Warrior’s win on Saturday is that he holds the potential of an above-average Guineas winner. It can only be hoped he fulfils it, over whatever trip.
Defoe keeps rolling
Roger Varian is starting to muscle in on Sir Michael Stoute’s turf as a dealer in slow-burning middle-distance horses. Defoe’s has been a tale of progress right from the start of his three-year-old season, with the sole hiccup in the St Leger and only now is he likely to be given another crack at Group 1 prizes.
He is certainly due one, going by the ultimate margin of his success in the Jockey Club Stakes on Saturday. The caveat is that he does have the manner about him of a more stamina-laden mile-and-a-half horse.
With Enable now sidelined until August and Cracksman having options back at a mile and a quarter, the King George appeals as his most obvious big target, assuming he continues to improve. That requires a bit more patience, but connections have shown plenty so far, and to good effect.
There are more Group 1s in Wuheida
Not that many Group 1 winners at two and three can be expected to improve again at four, but few would hurry to bet against Wuheida doing just that after her effortless win in the Dahlia Stakes on Sunday.
Reports are that she will come on for her first run of the season, a wholly understandable approach from Charlie Appleby, given her two top-level wins so far have come at the tailend of the season. However, so impressive was she that connections can start thinking that little bit bigger.
Cracksman would await in the Prince of Wales’s, but Appleby has already floated the idea of taking her abroad again, with France in particular having lots of suitable-looking races. Also, the 1,000 Guineas result must make races like the Falmouth look more attractive and it would be far more likely than not that she would cope with a stiff mile.
Future looks bright for Burke stars
Karl Burke was denied a high-profile success at the meeting, but there were plenty of positives to take from the returns of Qipco 1,000 Guineas runner-up Laurens and Longholes Palace House Stakes fifth Havana Grey.
Laurens, owned by John Dance, won the Group 1 bet365 Fillies’ Mile on her final start at two but posted a career-best effort on her first start of this campaign when chasing home Billesdon Brook in the first fillies’ Classic.
The daughter of Siyouni did it the hard way from the front and looked the winner for most of the way. She should be even better when there is cut in the ground and the French Oaks appears an ideal target.
Havana Grey also set the fractions on his first start in 232 days and that told late on. Owned by Global Racing Club and the trainer’s wife Elaine, Havana Grey is a sprinter that can rise through the ranks this season and worth keeping on side.
Key Victory could be a rising star for Godolphin
Noble Mission, Hawkbill and Permian are among previous winner of the Havana Gold Newmarket Stakes and this season’s conqueror Key Victory appears a notably nice type for the future.
The son of Teofilo ran out a cosy winner of the Listed contest and is versatile regarding trip.
Connections have plenty of options for the exciting three-year-old, who is entered in the St James’s Palace Stakes and the Irish Derby, while trainer Charlie Appleby mooted the Prix du Jockey Club as a possible target.
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