Pilaster prevails in tight finish to Lillie Langtry Stakes

Varian runner in line for Champions Day at Ascot

  • Thursday 02 August
  • News
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Pilaster and Maid Up fought out a thrilling finish to the Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes, with the first-named just prevailing in the Goodwood Group Two.

Trained by Roger Varian and ridden by David Egan, who only recently relinquished his apprentice status, Pilaster (11-4) had to fight back after being headed, to just steal the verdict by a short head.

Flattering had set the early gallop along with favourite God Given, and it looked as though the front group of four runners had stolen the advantage turning for home.

However, their early efforts told in the straight, with Pilaster and Maid Up staying on from the back to take the honours, while third-placed Star Rock was also putting in her best work at the end of the mile-and-six-furlong heat.

The stirring finish caught the eye of the stewards, but the placings remained unaltered following an inquiry.

Varian could now look to Champions Day at Ascot in October with the winner.

He said: “She was very good today and I thought she won possibly despite the ground. I didn’t think she loved it out there.

“She showed a real toughness. She was headed and came back. She is a very classy filly, with a big heart.

“He (Egan) is an old head on young shoulders and gave her a beautiful ride. He was so balanced in the saddle and he didn’t panic. He held her together and gave her the ride of someone who has been riding in these races a lot longer than he has.

“I’m very pleased for David. I’m pleased for Mr and Mrs Thompson of Cheveley Park, as they are big supporters and she has delivered for them.”

He added: “Let’s hope she comes out of this race sound and healthy, but you would have to consider races like the Fillies & Mares at Ascot, back to a mile and a half in October.

“She will carry a penalty now in the Park Hill, there is that at the Leger meeting. I think she will come into her own when there is a bit more give in the ground.”

Egan was thrilled to partner the highest-profile winner of his career so far.

He said: “It is definitely the biggest win. I’m just thankful to Cheveley Park and Mr Varian for putting me on her.

“She has won two nice novices impressively, but she has definitely taken a big step up. It feels unbelievable and for as close as the winning distance was, the final result was very special.”

Andew Balding was pleased with the runner-up’s performance.

He said: “She really had to dig in and is improving with every run. It is a shame she just got chinned. Having started her off over seven furlongs, I just think the step up in trip every time has helped her.

“We will probably come back here at the end of the month for a three-year-old Group Three (March Stakes).”

Pilaster prevails in tight finish to Lillie Langtry Stakes
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