Eye Of Heaven puts down Royal Ascot marker at Newmarket

Johnston and Dettori team up with well-backed winner.

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Eye Of Heaven provided trainer Mark Johnston with his third juvenile winner of the week to set up a tilt at the Norfolk Stakes with an impressive victory in the Betway EBF Stallions Novice Stakes at Newmarket.

Travelling close to the pace throughout the five-furlong contest the even-money favourite only needed to be pushed out with hands and heels by Frankie Dettori to score to by three-quarters of a length, earning a quote of 8-1 for Royal Ascot with Paddy Power.

Johnston said: “We’ve had a great start. What it is so important is that what you think are the right ones at home work out to be on the track, otherwise it is back to the drawing board.

“He will go to the Norfolk. Not only have we a pecking order this year, but they have their Royal Ascot starts mapped out as well.

“He is a big horse and he stands out from the crowd at home. Frankie just sat and held him together in the dip and he hit the rising ground and won well. Ascot should suit him better.”

Sacred provided William Haggas with his first winner of the new season when showing a commendable attitude to land the Betway EBF Stallions Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.

Bursting through late on under James Doyle during the closing stages of the five-furlong prize, the daughter of Exceed And Excel picked up well to run out a cosy length and three-quarter winner.

Maureen Haggas, assistant to her husband, said of the 11-1 shot: “She is one of those that is a natural. Michael Tebbutt has done a lot of work with her. She hasn’t been drilled at all. She has been over here (Racecourse Side) and that lets you know if they handle the track.

“I don’t think she would mind whichever race at Ascot (Queen Mary or Albany) and it depends what else Cheveley Park have got. Ascot is a stiffer five than this and she has got bags of speed.”

Andrew Balding has yet to finalise his team for the Royal meeting, but Bright Devil will be in it after springing a 25-1 surprise in the opening division of the Betway Maiden.

Grabbing what proved to be a vital position close to the stands rail throughout, the son of Dark Angel pulled out plenty on the climb to the line in the six-furlong prize, to defeat favourite Magical Land by a length and three-quarters.

Balding said: “He shaped all right at home, but you never really know. He got the run of the race, but he probably needs another furlong. He was very professional.

“He is qualified for the Chesham and that is what we will probably look at. There aren’t many guides to go on, but he has won a Newmarket maiden and is qualified for the race, so why not?”

Charlie Appleby warmed up for what could be a big few days as Creative Force got him up and running for the campaign with victory in the second division.

Racing front rank virtually from the word go the 7-2 chance made the most of having the rail and cleared smartly away from Imperial Force during the closing strides.

Appleby said: “It’s nice to get the first winner. When you have your first two-year-old run (Magical Land, in division one) you get a bit of a gauge and they were in the same gallop at home. The draw helped us as well.

“Whether he is quite good enough to fall back into the Coventry, I’m not sure. We have a couple more to run then we will look.”

Coral introduced Creative Force at 10-1 for the Coventry.

Roger Varian could take a tried and tested route with Setarhe following her stylish success in the second division of the Heed Your Hunch At Betway EBF Stallions Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.

Having introduced subsequent Albany Stakes winner Daahyeh at the track 12 months ago, the Newmarket handler is considering targeting Setarhe at the same Group Three prize at the Royal fixture following her impressive debut in the six-furlong contest.

Receiving the gaps at the right time, the daughter of Footstepsinthesand showed a smart turn of foot to come from the rear of the field and defeat Cirrus by three-quarters of a length.

Varian said of the 2-1 winner: “That was a lovely debut. Daahyeh came from last to first on her debut her last year. When she fell out the gate I was worried she wouldn’t win from there.

“She really showed a smart turn of foot. She has always been natural and I’ve always been happy with her. I will speak with the owners, but if she comes out of this race OK I might consider looking at the Albany.”

Eye Of Heaven puts down Royal Ascot marker at Newmarket
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