Royal Ascot beckons for impressive Mighty Gurkha

Lingfield winner another for Hollie Doyle and Archie Watson.

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Mighty Gurkha produced a stunning performance first time out to score at Lingfield and book his ticket to Royal Ascot.

Trained by Archie Watson and ridden by Hollie Doyle – who has made a fine start to the new season – the Sepoy colt had obviously been doing things right at home as he was sent off at 8-15 for the Betsafe Best Odds Guaranteed Maiden Auction Stakes.

Those who took the cramped odds never had an anxious moment, and the race was as good as over when Doyle kicked rounding the bend into the straight.

The partnership rocketed clear, with the winning margin being seven and a half lengths over Hot Scoop.

Doyle said: “He’s one of the nicest Sepoys I’ve sat on. He’s a little bit quirky, but there’s plenty of scope for improvement.

“He’ll go to Royal Ascot next, definitely. There’s plenty of scope there, he got the six (furlongs) well and he’s a nice big unit.

“I think he’d stay over six for now.”

Watson and Doyle wasted little time in following up, as 5-2 favourite Igotatext asserted late on to land division two.

Doyle: “He was very impressive. He has a mind of his own, he doesn’t do a tap, but he has got ability. It’s just trying to get it out of him.

“He toughed it out well and battled hard in the straight.”

She added: “It’s a good start for the team. It’s very nice to be back here. They’ve done a really good job of things. I’m getting used to it now, everyone is keeping us in line.”

Doyle was agonisingly denied a treble from the first three races when Kondratiev Wave was headed on the line by Ziggle Pops (22-1) in the Betsafe Racing From Over 40 Countries Handicap.

Sean Levey said of the Richard Hannon-trained winner: “He is a horse that did nothing wrong last year and if anything he was probably a bit mentally immature and that showed in his early races. He got a bit of confidence when he won at Brighton and he ran in a big field in the sales race at Doncaster. He wasn’t beat that far and he learnt an awful lot for it.

“He was put away after that and has been showing good pieces of work at home and we were hoping he would come here and show a bit of maturity, which he did.

“He hit the line, he was running all the way and there is no doubt he will stay a bit further. I’m glad I missed the break because it made my mind up on which way I would ride him in the future. I was thinking of being handier today, but that didn’t happen.”

It was a first winner of the new campaign for Levey, who rides Mums Tipple for the Hannon yard in the Qipco 2000 Guineas on Saturday.

He added: “It is nice to get that (first one) off your back going forward, especially as tomorrow is a big day with Mums Tipple. It’s nice to get the win.”

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