Kessaar gives Kieran O’Neill a winner to remember at Kempton

Sirenia Stakes strike a first Group victory for rider

  • Saturday 08 September
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Kieran O’Neill enjoyed a deserved moment in the spotlight as he secured his first Pattern-race success with a stylish victory aboard Kessaar in the 188Bet Casino Sirenia Stakes at Kempton.

The 30-year-old, who rides Eclipse and Juddmonte International winner Roaring Lion in his work at home, recorded a notable first after partnering the son of Kodiac to glory in the six-furlong Group Three prize.

Coming from off the pace, the 9-1 shot swept past Junius Brutus during the closing stages, before crossing the line with two and a half lengths to spare, completing a double for trainer John Gosden who had earlier claimed the September Stakes with Arc heroine Enable.

O’Neill said: “It is my first Group-race win, but I’ve waited long enough for it. I thank the boss Mr Gosden for the opportunity. It such a big day with Enable winning and it is nice to get one for the team.

“My first Group winner – I’m really delighted.”

Thady Gosden, assistant to his father, said: “He won well at Windsor, then he went to Ripon next time for a Listed race but didn’t handle the track at all. He hit every ridge and undulation possible, so that was a bit of a disaster.

“He is a nice little horse and settled well in behind. We could possibly step him up to seven next time.”

Hitting the woodwork has been a recurring theme for War Glory in recent starts but a long-overdue win finally came his way in the 188Bet Extra Place Races “London Mile’ Handicap.

The son of Canford Cliffs gained his first success in more than two years when making all to defy Corazon Espinado by three-quarters of a length and provide trainer Richard Hannon, whose plane was involved in an alarming incident before racing at Haydock, with a welcome winner.

Jockey Tom Marquand said of the 20-1 chance: “He has been unlucky to get on a long losing streak. From a wide a draw I didn’t want to get stuck in behind.

“I thought the safe option was to go forward. He is as tough as old boots and deserved to get his head in front.

“I won on him as an apprentice, but I’ve not had the chance to ride him on a big day since. It worked out perfectly.”

The Sunbury track has been a happy hunting ground for Silvestre de Sousa and he made it five winners at the course this week when getting the Mark Johnston-trained Indian Sounds home in the 188Bet Mobile Bet10 Get20 Nursery Handicap.

De Sousa said of the 9-4 favourite: “He ran in a very competitive race at York and was stepping down in grade today. He showed plenty of attitude out there. I’d be quite happy to keep him at that trip (seven furlongs).”

A step up to a mile appeared to hold no problems for the William Haggas-trained Eyelool (3-1) after he got the better of a late battle with Daafr in the Play Blackjack At The 188Bet Casino Nursery Handicap.

Assistant trainer Harry Eustace said: “He was tough and had to battle from a long way out. We thought the trip would suit him and luckily it has.”

Kessaar gives Kieran O’Neill a winner to remember at Kempton
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