Good Vibes gave positive signs for a crack at the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot when showing a decisive turn of foot to win the Langleys Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes at York.
Runner-up on her debut at Newmarket, the David Evans-trained youngster had made no mistake at Salisbury when leading close home to get off the mark.
Sent off at 10-1 on the Knavesmire, Good Vibes had plenty to do at the furlong pole as Lady Kermit set sail for home in this Listed contest, but she burst through the pack to score by a length and a half from Mighty Spirit.
Lady Kermit was another length away in third, with Galadriel catching the eye in finishing well for fourth.
“I expected that. Something like that rarely happens to me,” said Evans.
“She was beaten by a good filly first time out and came on a lot for that on her second start.
“Royal Ascot is the plan.”
Good Vibes was quoted at 10-1 for the Queen Mary with William Hill and 8-1 with Betfair, Paddy Power and BoyleSports.
Winning jockey Harry Bentley was also suitably impressed and can see no reason why she should not be suited by Ascot.
“She was much more straightforward than she was at Salisbury,” said Bentley.
“They went a really good gallop and it probably helped her to settle. First time they went too slow and she had more time to think about things. Today went smoother.
“She’s a forward-moving filly and was free on the way to post. She’s just got so much natural speed.
“We went a really strong gallop there. She galloped through the line well, so a stiff five like Ascot will suit her.”
Big handicaps at Royal Ascot and York could be on the agenda after UAE Prince (15-8 favourite) won for the first time in over two years in the Matchbook ‘Best Value’ Exchange Handicap.
Making his seasonal debut, the Roger Varian-trained six-year-old showed plenty of ability and determination to see off dead-heaters Lucius Tiberius and Society Rock by a neck in the hands of Andrea Atzeni.
It was only his 12th start in an injury-interrupted career – and Varian is hoping those days are behind the Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum-owned gelding.
“He probably got there sooner than Andrea wanted. He had no cover early on and they didn’t go quick early on,” said the Newmarket handler.
“His ability took him into the race and I was hoping he would keep going once he got to the front.
“He did enough and I’m delighted for the owner who has been very patient with this horse.
“I hope his best days are still ahead of him. He’s had injury problems and not had much racing, so hopefully he’ll have a good year.
“I think a mile and a quarter is his best trip. Both the Wolferton at Ascot and the John Smith’s Cup back here would be possibles at this stage. It’s not been easy making plans for him in the past.
“He’s always been a nice horse, but has been a bit challenging because of his injuries. He’s not had a clear run.”
Wedding Date (20-1) has also had her injury issues but returned to form with victory in the Yorkshire Equine Practice Handicap.
The Richard Hannon-trained filly got up in the closing stages to collar Moss Gill by three-quarters of a length.
“She’s had a few niggles and they’ve done a fantastic job to get her back sound,” said Tim Palin, director of racing for owners Middleham Park.
“She probably wants five and a half (furlongs), but Clifford (Lee, jockey) said they went a million miles an hour and she just managed to get away with it today.”
Sir Robert Ogden was on hand to witness Agincourt (6-1) – a horse he bred and owns – win the British EBF Frank Whittle Partnership Fillies’ Handicap.
But it was a close call with the four-year-old, trained by David O’Meara, just edging home by a nose from Starlight Romance, with Breathtaking Look a neck away in third.
“Seven furlongs is her bare minimum. I gave her a run at Doncaster last month and she ran fine,” said O’Meara.
“I might put her up to a mile, but this was the first main target as Sir Robert and Lady Ogden were coming here, so it’s job done on that front.”
Summer Moon (3-1) looked a smart staying prospect when making all the running to take the Longines Irish Champions Weekend Handicap by four lengths under P J McDonald, just 11 days after winning in similar style at Windsor.
Trainer Mark Johnston revealed how he came to buy the horse for just 1,000 guineas as a yearling.
“It’s taken him a long time to come to hand as he was so weak,” he said.
“We went to the December Sales and all the ones we liked were Kirsten’s (Rausing). We bought one (Mister Chiang) for 25,000.
“This one came in the ring and didn’t get a bid so when Kirsten came round to thank us for buying him I said I’d give her the minimum bid for this one and we ended up buying both.
“He was just very backward. It’s only recently he’s started to thrive.
“We’ll take stock and see where we go from here. He’s had two races in 10 days or so.”