Duneflower blossoms with Valiant victory

Gosden hits the target in Ascot Listed event

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John Gosden hopes Duneflower’s victory in the feature Acorn Insurance British Valiant Stakes at Ascot on Friday bodes well for stable star Enable at the track on Saturday.

Duneflower took a step up to Listed company in her stride when backing up her Doncaster win earlier this month, giving the Newmarket handler his first success in the race.

Anchored at the rear of the field early on in the mile prize, the 11-1 shot produced a smart change of gear before forging clear to defeat Look Around by three-quarters of a length and initiate a double for winning jockey Kieran O’Neill.

Gosden said: “This is probably her Oaks day. We will have a go at another Listed event, or have a look at a Group Three somewhere and see if we can win one of those. For her to win a Listed race at Ascot – that is the top of the Matterhorn, I think.

“She likes coming on the outside and she wouldn’t want to be wriggling through them. She enjoys coming with a bit of space and the one thing about Ascot (is) when the rail is right down, there is a lot of space.”

Regarding dual Arc winner Enable, who will be seeking a second victory in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Gosden feels she will need to bring her A game to the table if she is to claim a ninth Group One success.

He added: “Frankie is very happy with her and how she has been and he thinks she is back to her best.

“She will have to be at the top of her game for this race, but so will whoever will try to win it.”

Only Spoofing continued his recent resurgence when completing a hat-trick, which also rounded out O’Neill’s brace and took him to 50 winners for the season when prevailing by half a length in the Neptune Investment Management Supports Child Bereavement UK Handicap.

O’Neill said: “To get 50 up for the year is great and hopefully we can keep rolling away. It has been good since going to the boss’ (John Gosden). I work my socks off and it is rewarding when things like today happen.

“If I do better than the 69 of last year and get 70, then I would be delighted. If I got a 100 it would be brilliant, but I like to have a goal and that goal is 70 this year.

Of the Jedd O’Keeffe-trained 5-1 winner, he added: “He has won his last two and Mr O’Keeffe has got the hang of him. He battled well and was always holding on at the end.”

Cloak Of Spirits received a quote of 20-1 for next year’s Qipco 1000 Guineas with Paddy Power when forming the first leg of a double for Richard Hannon in the John Guest Racing British EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes.

Hannon said of the 3-1 winner: “We’ve had a couple of near misses for him (owner Sheikh Obaid) and we’ve waited on that filly, and this is a filly he has bred himself.

“She looks pretty good and Andrea (Atzeni) seems to think she is one of the nicest fillies he has ridden this year, which is encouraging.

“She is quite sleepy and I was worried whether she would be wound up enough for today. She is very exciting.”

Mums Tipple hit the target at the first time of asking when surviving a stewards’ inquiry to complete the Marlborough handler’s brace in the Anders Foundation British EBF Crocker Bulteel Maiden Stakes.

Hannon said of the 5-1 winner: “He is a big horse with a lot of scope who will get further. I think it was a very good race as there was a lot of talk for a lot of horses.

“He has done it the hard way as he made the running. He was in front for a long way and he was probably wanting the line.”

Duneflower blossoms with Valiant victory
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