Earthlight stamps class on Middle Park

But drama at start as Siskin withdrawn

  • Saturday 28 September
  • News
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Earthlight took his perfect record to five in a dramatic renewal of the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

The Andre Fabre-trained colt held the persistent challenge of Golden Horde in the hands of Mickael Barzalona to land Group One honours in race that was highly-anticipated.

However, there was a shock at the start where the also-unbeaten Siskin was withdrawn after the Ger Lyons-trained colt reared and went down in the stalls.

In race itself, King Neptune went off at a furious pace, followed by runaway York winner Mums Tipple, Golden Horde and Summer Sands.

Earthlight and Threat were towards the rear and it was the former who burst through to make his bid, only for Golden Horde to prove a worthy rival.

It was close home that the 11-4 favourite was able to assert and score by a neck from the Clive Cox-trained Golden Horde (16-1), with Richard Fahey’s Summer Sands outrunning his odds of 100-1 to finish a length and three-quarters back in third.

While always a man to be respected when he sends a runner to Headquarters, Fabre is a rare visitor to the Middle Park, having enjoyed headline successes with the likes of Zafonic and Xaar in the Dewhurst.

He said: “It is just a matter of having the right horse, it is a difficult race to win. You need speed and experience, and this horse has both.

“I was very confident all the way, as he was travelling easily and I know he (Barzalona) still had something under the saddle, so I was confident.

“For sure (will get a mile), he could even go a bit further – with the pedigree. We’ll prepare for the (2000) Guineas, see what happens – he is the right type, but he will go further, he will get a mile and a quarter.

“He will go back home, idle, eat well and sleep – he usually does. He is done for the season.

“We just felt it (six furlongs) was a bit sharp for him, but he has a lot of class and I was confident to be fair.

“I’ve had horses like Zafonic, who was a machine, but he is a different type.”

Earthlight is in the same Godolphin ownership as the brilliant Pinatubo.

Assessing a clash next season, Fabre added: “It will have to be discussed, obviously (taking on Pinatubo in the Guineas). Sheikh Mohammed is a sportsman and he wouldn’t mind one running one against another, but we will see.

“It (coming to Newmarket) was not only for that (to get an experience of the track), but it’s a nice race to win for a good two-year-old.

“He is well bred and is good looking with a good temperament and he showed early that he is good like all the good two-year-olds.

“He has won on all sorts of ground, so that doesn’t seem to affect him, but Newmarket is always good.

“He would have a prep race for the Guineas, as he is stocky heavy horse that needs some work. It would probably be in France, ground depending.”

Cox, meanwhile, was delighted with the effort of Golden Horde.

He said: “It was great performance, obviously we would have liked to have won, though we have closed the gap on the winner from the Morny.

“He appreciated the slightly drier ground. He has been Group One-placed twice this year and we have got an awful lot to look forward to next year.

“I think the Morny was the best two-year-old race at that stage, but this was far and above that and I’m delighted he has equipped himself well.

“We will look towards next year. I think we will be more in the sprinting division next season.”

As for Siskin, connections were left scratching their heads.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “We’ve got no really good explanation. He went into the stalls fine.

“All we have said about him is that he has the most laid-back attitude of any horse we have. For that suddenly to happen is bizarre really and we are as shocked as most people.

“I don’t know if it was the wind, but there was no obvious trigger. It wasn’t like something got kicked or rattled the stalls. He just flipped, so we will have to get him back.

“He seems fine at the moment. He has got a few cuts and scrapes, but they seem only superficial. We are at a loss really to describe it. The jockey (Colin Keane) is fine.”

Earthlight stamps class on Middle Park
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