Al Dabaran still unbeaten following Ascot strike

Group One targets in sight later in season

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Al Dabaran took his unbeaten career record to two out of two with a tenacious win in Ascot’s Wooldridge Group Pat Eddery Stakes.

Charlie Appleby’s Godolphin colt appeared sure to have to settle for second to Sun Power as the latter held a length lead approaching the final furlong of the Listed event, registered as the Winkfield Stakes.

But Al Dabaran, previously successful in a Newmarket novice over this same seven-furlong trip late last month, rallied to significant effect as Richard Hannon’s runner-up failed to finish with the same purpose and went down by a neck.

The 11-4 victory was a measure of instant consolation for jockey James Doyle, who galvanised his mount to such telling effect little more than half an hour after he and the gallant Crystal Ocean had just lost out to Enable in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes.

Appleby admitted afterwards he had been unsure whether this race was the right one for his Dubawi juvenile.

He said: “I’m pleased, because we always felt going up in trip would be his forte – but we felt this race came at the right time for him.

“After Newmarket I was keen to step up to the mile, but the way he came out of that race and the way this race sat in the programme it suited us to have a crack at it.”

Appleby’s concerns seemed well-founded perhaps as Al Dabaran struggled initially to match the runner-up for pace as both took advantage of a disappointing run from favourite Subjectivist, who finished last of six.

The winning trainer added: “He got caught a little bit flat-footed – but once the stamina kicked in, I felt he got on top well in the end.

“He has done well today, and I think we will see a better horse at the latter part of the season because he is still a bit weak behind the saddle there.”

Future targets are yet to be decided, with the Newmarket trainer ready to look again at possible Group One options.

Appleby said: “He has got no flashy entries, but if he comes right we can pop him in if we need to.

“James was surprised he handled the (soft) ground, but I was more hopeful he would handle it as he is out of a Monsun mare. He is a work in progress.

“I think you have hit the nail on the head that he could end up in one of those (French Group One races at Saint-Cloud or Doncaster’s Vertem Futurity Trophy).”

Al Dabaran still unbeaten following Ascot strike
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