Hareem Queen sweeps to Hever Sprint glory

Burke four-year-old makes no mistake at Lingfield in absence of Good Effort.

  • Saturday 22 February
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Hareem Queen took full advantage of the defection of the prolific Good Effort to land the Listed Betway Hever Stakes at a windswept Lingfield Park.

Making her Polytrack debut, the Karl Burke-trained four-year-old, sent off the 5-2 favourite in the five-furlong dash, came with a wet sail to collar Royal Birth in the last 100 yards under a well-timed ride from PJ McDonald.

The daughter of Dark Angel, who had scored in a five-runner handicap at Southwell last month, again stayed on resolutely to score by a neck.

McDonald said: “In sporting terms it was unfortunate Good Effort could not run, because you always want to see the best horses run, but his absence meant she could take this chance.

“They caught me on my heels a bit coming down the hill and I had to sit and sit, but luckily enough I had the space to come wide and you could see ho good she was when they levelled out.

“She hit the line lovely and did everything right. That was a good performance. She is a Listed winner now, so it doesn’t matter what she does from now on, but I’m sure she is more than capable of picking up another race or two.”

Crimewave (3-1 favourite)denied Agent Of Fortune a piece of history in the Heed Your Hunch at Betway Handicap Stakes.

The Gary Moore-trained Agent Of Fortune was bidding to become the first horse to win eight races in a single All-Weather Championships season, but could not reel in Crimewave and runner-up One To Go in the slowly-run 10-furlong event, eventually settling for third.

A course and distance winner on his penultimate start, Crimewave was always prominent under Jack Mitchell, and the Tom Clover-trained four-year-old overhauled long-time leader One To Go in the final furlong.

Clover said: “Jack (Mitchell) thought he was saving a bit for himself. When he got to the front, he thought he was going to win by a couple of lengths, but said he was a little bit cute.

“The plan was always to be up with the pace and very few got into the race, because there was no pace. He was in the ideal position.

“We will see what there is for him and probably come back here. He was rated a little higher than he is now, and I can’t see the handicapper being too harsh with him, although you would like to think there might be a little more improvement in him.”

Another fancied horse defected from the Ladbrokes “Play 1-2-Free” On Football Novice Stakes, as the odds-on Bombshell was withdrawn minutes before the five-furlong event.

That made for a largely non-competitive affair in which the Archie Watson-trained Ice Ice Lady (2-1 joint-favourite) won with some ease under Adam McNamara.

The Due Diligence filly, making her debut, got a nice tow into the race and drew readily clear after hitting the front inside the final furlong.

McNamara said: “She is very straightforward. Originally, I wanted to make the running, but she missed the break by half a beat and luckily enough they have gone quick and she picked up after travelling very well.

“She has not really beaten a special bunch of horses, but she can only beat what is put in front of her. I was very happy with her.”

Goring (8-1) continued his love affair on this track with a sixth course success in the Bombardier ‘March To Your Own Drum’ Handicap.

Eve Johnson Houghton’s evergreen eight-year-old came with a sweeping run on the outside to win by half a length from Spirit Warning.

“I adore this horse. If I ride out, I ride him. He’s just the biggest dude,” said Johnson Houghton.

“He’s eight years old and he’s won off 98. It’s extraordinary really. I’m thrilled and Charlie (Bishop) gave him a brilliant ride.

“I was against taking the visor off but the owner and the jockey put me in my place and said he didn’t need it.”

Pirate King (7-4 favourite) showed he was still progressing when completing a hat-trick over the course and distance in the Betway Handicap.

Delivered to perfection by Kieran Shoemark, Charlie Fellowes’ five-year-old quickened clear in the closing stages to score by four lengths from City Tour.

“You couldn’t get a kinder individual to have around. The lads love him and he’s really got his confidence now,” said Fellowes.

“He’s on a roll and that was probably the easiest of his three wins. We’re back here in a month’s time. There’s a 0-100 over the course and distance so we’ll come back. He loves it here.”

Trainer Andrew Balding and Silvestere de Sousa may have been out of luck with Bangkok in the Betway Winter Derby, but they gained a measure of compensation in the concluding Ladbrokes Where The Nation Plays Novice Stakes with Group One Power.

The son of Lope De Vega, sent off the 4-5 favourite, powered home in the one-mile event to defy a penalty for winning at Kempton last month.

He was not stopping at the line as he beat Amsby by a length, but Balding acknowledged the withdrawal of 9-4 second-favourite The Wall at the start may have helped.

Balding said: “It was to our advantage that the second-favourite was withdrawn and that is hard luck on them, but I liked the way he did it. It is not easy to give the weight away and he has done it nicely.

“Silvestre didn’t have to get too heavy on him and it is encouraging for the future.

“I think he entitled to a mark on Tuesday and we’ll see what the handicapper makes of him, but there are all sorts of options and I think he will be a better horse on the turf, to be honest.”

Hareem Queen sweeps to Hever Sprint glory
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