Shine So Bright continued Andrew Balding’s good start to the season when making all the running to win the bet365 European Free Handicap at Newmarket.
Placed in such races as the Richmond Stakes, Gimcrack and Mill Reef last term, he was sent off at 5-2 to begin his season with a win.
Silvestre de Sousa was able to dominate after grabbing the rail early and racing into the dip, Shine So Bright took four lengths out of the field. Space Traveller closed to within a length and three-quarters, but the result was never in doubt.
Balding said: “They always looked a nice bunch of horses last year and they are all working well. Things are falling into place and I’m really pleased with that.
“He is a really solid horse. He was a bit unlucky in the Gimcrack and the ground went against him in the Mill Reef. He is a very handy horse.
“The big question mark would be whether he stays a mile. He has got a Guineas entry and it is a possibility, but it would be a question mark whether he gets the extra furlong.
“Silvestre was undecided (over getting the mile). He was non-committal. We have probably got nothing to lose by trying. We might have a look at it, but there is still plenty of time to make decisions.
“He could be a Jersey Stakes horse, or dropping back a furlong on a stiff track wouldn’t bother me, so he could go for a Commonwealth Cup. He has got plenty of options.”
William Haggas celebrated his first winner on the turf in 2019 after Investec Oaks entry Maqsad opened her account at the third time of asking when defeating Twist ‘N’ Shake by a short-head in division one of the bet365 European Breeders’ Fund Fillies’ Maiden Stakes.
Haggas said of the 6-4 winner: “That is our first winner on the grass. She is a a nice filly but she disappointed last year.
“The question is whether we go up to a mile and a quarter or stick at a mile. She is out of a Galileo mare and I think she will be better over further.
“She is in the French Guineas and that is an option and she is in the French Oaks. There are lots of other options at a mile and a quarter.”
Flavius Titus made his first start since undergoing a gelding operation a winning one after prevailing by a neck in the Weatherbys TBA Handicap.
Roger Varian, winning trainer, said of the 8-1 winner: “He goes on this ground and a stiff six furlongs is just about right for him. He has been training nicely.
“I think there is a nice race back here on Guineas weekend then we will see after that (about Royal Ascot).
“He is a handy horse to have around this summer. He might not mix it in Group races, but he ought to be competitive in handicaps.”
Chasing Dreams (4-9) booked her Royal Ascot ticket when paying back a slice of her 750,000 guineas price tag in the bet365 British EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.
The five-length winner was introduced at 8-1 for the Queen Mary by Paddy Power and trainer Charlie Appleby said: “She is a filly that has always pleased.
“She is only going to get better as she gets stronger. We will give her a break and hopefully head straight to the Queen Mary.
“She showed a lot of natural pace coming here today. I didn’t think she was the sharpest filly education wise, but we hoped her raw ability would suffice.”
Robert Havlin celebrated his first winner since returning from injury after steering the Amanda Perrett-trained Lavender’s Blue to glory by two and a half lengths in the second division of the mile fillies’ maiden.
Havlin said of the 3-1 winner: “I’ve had three seconds since coming back, so it is nice to get a winner on the board.
“Amanda Perrett said a few weeks ago to see if we were going to run anything in the race and if I was available as she quite liked her. She is not a bad judge.
“I think she has got to go up to a mile and a quarter next time. She has got a good travelling speed and that will stand her in good stead in better races.”
On the day the death of 2000 Guineas winner King’s Best was announced, the colours of his owner Saeed Suhail were carried to glory by the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Solid Stone, who mastered the hat-trick seeking War Tiger by half a length in the bet365 Handicap.
James Horton, assistant trainer, said of the 9-4 winner: “He is a nice, progressive colt and he did well to run three times last year. The step up in trip to a mile and a quarter has helped.
“He is a horse that wants a proper galloping track and the London Gold Cup at Newbury could be a suitable race.”