John Smith's Extra Smooth May Hill Stakes
|Group 2, Doncaster 15:15
2yo fillies only,
1m, Class 1
|Friday 12th September 2014|
1 Agnes Stewart 11/4
3 Shagah 12/1
8 ran Distances: 1¼l, nk, 1¼l
TIME 1m 37.20s (slow by 1.20s)
Agnes Stewart relished the step up to a mile, winning the May Hill Stakes for Eddie Lynam and jockey Billy Lee.
The winner is introduced by Boylesports at 16/1 for the Epsom Oaks & 20/1 for the 1000 Guineas
The astute Eddie Lynam went for two birds in the bush with Agnes Stewart, rather than one in the hand, and saw the gamble rewarded. "We had a huge offer for her last week," he explained, "and I got a bit nervous. But her owner Steve [Parkin] said no, we know she's good, and so we decided to keep her. We did think that she was very good but it scares you a bit when you have to go and prove it."
The daughter of Lawman, the 11/4 second favourite, took the mile contest, a reliable pointer to three-year-old talent over the years, by a length and a quarter from the 13/8 market leader Muraaqaba. "She'll be a lovely middle-distance filly for next year," said Co Meath-based Lynam.
She was ridden by Billy Lee, who said: "She travelled well the whole way. I was just getting there a bit earlier than I liked and I was trying to hold on to her. I knew that she would stay and I went for her and she kept galloping all the way to the line. She will hopefully improve away over the winter and come forward. She will get a bit further bit I think she still has plenty of pace for a mile next year."
Agnes Stewart is likely to return to Britain for the Fillies' Mile at Newmarket next month, for which she will have to be supplemented. "She should have been entered already but the trainer got it wrong," admitted Lynam. "I wrote the name Anthem Alexander [his other high-class juvenile filly] on the entry form instead of Agnes Stewart.
"She'll have one more run this year. The Prix Marcel Boussac is the altenative, but I should think it will be Newmarket."
Agnes Stewart runs in the name of Parkin's firm Clipper Logistics, which sponsored the Leger Legends Stakes on the opening day of the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival.
Agnes Stewart was bred in partnership by Joe Foley of Ballyhane Stud and John O'Connor of Ballylinch, home of Lawman, and bought by Lynam for €23,000 as a yearling. Her lineage was already well-known to Parkin, who bought her dam Anice Stellato (trained by Ralph Beckett to win twice) as a yearling for €70,000 and sold her on as a potential broodmare to Foley for 15,000gns as a four-year-old.
Now his continued interest in the family has reaped its reward. "I think you could say she was well bought as a yearling," added Lynam, best known for speedy types like the top sprinters Sole Power and Slade Power and the speedy Anthem Alexander. "She is not my normal, she is a middle-distance, 10-furlong filly. But she has got a great cruising speed. She just lobs along and is very easy to ride, not free or silly. And Bill gets on well with her."
Deirdre Johnston, wife of trainer Mark Johnston, was in a reflective mood after the 13/8 favourite Muraaqaba could only finish the length-and-a-quarter runner-up behind the impressive winner.
The daughter of Dubawi couldn't quite match the finishing kick of the winner in the final furlong but Johnston was very much looking forward to the future following the race.
"She's still finished second in a Group Two - one of the best races for fillies this season - and we're happy with her," she said.
"Although she's in the Fillies' Mile at Ascot later on this year, we'll have to think about that now. I think she'll make an even nicer horse next season."
Richard Hannon, who saddled the third-placed Shagah, was also happy with his filly's performance.
"We've been placed in a Group Two so that's the black type in the bag," he said.
"There will be plenty of more days for her."
John Smith's Extra Smooth May Hill Stakes
(Fillies' Group 2) (Str)
£70,000 added, 2yo only, 1m, Class 1
Going: Good, Good to Firm in Places
|Pos||Dr||Dist||Horse SP Jockey||Wgt||Trainer|
|1st||(1)||Agnes Stewart (IRE) 11/4
W J Lee
|3rd||(8)||nk||Shagah (IRE) 12/1
|4th||(7)||1¼||Supreme Occasion (IRE) 8/1
J P Spencer
|9-0||M L W Bell|
|6th||(6)||1¼||Bonnie Grey 12/1
|9-0||B R Millman|
|7th||(3)||2¼||Astrelle (IRE) 25/1
|8th||(4)||3½||Alonsoa (IRE) 13/2
Year Horse Trainer Jockey Owner SP
2013 Ihtimal Saeed bin Suroor S De Sousa Godolphin 11/10 fav
2012 Certify Mahmood Al Zarooni Mickael Barzalona Godolphin 4/6 fav
2011 Lyric Of Light Mahmood Al Zarooni Frankie Dettori Godolphin 9/1
2010 White Moonstone Saeed bin Suroor Frankie Dettori Godolphin 8/11 fav
2009 Pollenator Richard Hannon Ryan Moore The Royal Ascot Racing Club 14/1
2008 Rainbow View John Gosden Jimmy Fortune George Strawbridge 1/3 fav
2007 Spacious James Fanshawe Jamie Spencer Cheveley Park Stud 9/4 fav
2006 Simply Perfect Jeremy Noseda Darryll Holland Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor, Sue Magnier 4/1
2005 Nasheej Richard Hannon Richard Hughes Malih L Al Basti 4/1
2004 Playful Act John Gosden Jimmy Fortune Sangster Family 8/1
2003 Kinnaird Patrick Haslam Kevin Darley Alastair Dinsmore 9/1
2002 Summitville James Given Michael Fenton Mountain High Partnership 11/2
2001 Half Glance Henry Cecil Richard Quinn Khalid Abdullah 5/2
2000 Karasta Sir Michael Stoute Johnny Murtagh H H Aga Khan 5/4 fav
1999 Teggiano Clive Brittain Frankie Dettori Abdullah Saeed Bul Hab 13/2