Roger Varian saw what had so far been a frustrating campaign endured by Sheikha Reika take a turn for the better in the EBF Stallions John Musker Fillies’ Stakes at Yarmouth.
After twice being a beaten favourite since scoring on her return at Newmarket in April, the daughter of Shamardal came good in the Listed prize as she took the step up to a mile and a quarter in her stride, defeating stablemate Rasima by four and a half lengths.
Varian said of the 7-1 winner: “She appreciated the step up in trip. I have to thank Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, as he had been saying run her over 10 furlongs.
“She works very well at home and shows a lot of speed, so we have been keeping her at a mile, but she relished the 10 furlongs and loves fast ground.”
He went on: “She is a very talented filly and won well at the Craven meeting, then unfortunately she flipped over in the gates in the Michael Seely at York and it took her a long time to get over that.
“She was impressive today and I’m very happy with her. I’m not sure what is left and I don’t think she wants autumn ground, so we will have to see.”
Saeed Bin Suroor has introduced plenty of smart juveniles at the Norfolk track over the years and Royal Meeting looked another when earning a quote of 33-1 for the 2000 Guineas with Paddy Power after winning division one of the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes.
The Newmarket handler said following the 2-1 shot’s half-length victory under Oisin Murphy: “He is a very nice horse and we’ve always liked him The way he works in the morning, he has shown some speed.
“His last piece of work on the Limekilns, he worked really nicely, which is why we ran today. The ground was fast, but he handled it well.
“Talking to Oisin he said keep him at the same trip. He could be Listed-plus for the future. He needs a bit of time, as he is on the weak side. He is more a three-year-old really.”
There was further success on the card for Group One-winning rider Murphy, after multiple all-weather scorer Pactolus (5-1) from the Stuart Williams yard gained his first win on turf in the Sea Deer Handicap.
Plenty may have been surprised at the head victory secured by 40-1 shot Millions Memories in division two, but trainer David Lanigan was not among them.
Lanigan said: “He cost 130,000 guineas as yearling and has always done well, so it wasn’t really a shock to us.
“He ran a lovely first race at Sandown and probably should have been fourth, but he got stopped a furlong out. My heart says to put him away and leave him until next year.”
Mick Quinn is no stranger to scoring hat-tricks and the former footballer celebrated another after Princess Keira (5-1) gave him a third victory in the Danny And Peggy Wright Memorial Fillies Handicap.
Quinn said: “She has been running on over five, so we tried her back over six, as she finished third over it earlier in the year. I’ve won this race twice before and I like to target a filly at it.”