Hibaayeb Scores in Ribblesdale
1 Hibaayeb 4/1 Fav
Godolphin gained its second winner of the week when 4/1 joint favourite Hibaayeb was the easy three and three-quarter length victor of the Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes.
Partnered by Frankie Dettori, the three-year-old daughter of Singspiel came with a strong run from off the pace and was firmly in command inside the last furlong. This was no less than Godolphin’s fifth Ribblesdale Stakes success following Bahr (1998), Fairy Queen (1999), Punctilious (2004) and Flying Cloud (2009).
This was a second significant success for Hibaayeb at Ascot, following her victory in the Group One Meon Valley Stud Fillies’ Mile in September, 2009, when she was under the care of Clive Britain.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor commented: “This filly has class and was a Group One winner here last year and likes the track.
“She ran well last time out when she was third in France and the better ground today suited her. Today she travelled well and when Frankie asked her, she finished the race very well.
“We will take her home and see how she is but the Irish Oaks is a possible target now.
“I am happy to have had a second winner this week as it is not easy to have two winners in two days at Royal Ascot.”
Frankie Dettori added: “She raced in a tongue-tie last time but I think that the distance was the difference today - she relished a mile and a half. She won the Fillies’ Mile here in the autumn so we knew that she liked the track and the stiff mile and a half is what she wanted. The further we were going, the further she was going to win.
“I know my way round here but I had the horse to do it. I had a good pitch, she was nice and relaxed, and moved out when I wanted to. Everything was perfect and she gave me a fabulous ride.
“The race was run to suit her as they went a good gallop and it was a good performance from her. I guess it will be the Irish Oaks next.
“It looks like Ascot plays to her strengths. She made it look easy.”
Godolphin’s racing manager, Simon Crisford, confirmed that a visit to the Curragh for the Irish Oaks is now on Hibaayeb’s agenda and he also paid tribute to Godolphin’s founder Sheikh Mohammed. He said: “She was really disappointing in the Guineas - she didn’t run a yard - and we were a little surprised by that. We thought that we would go for the Prix Saint-Alary and she ran really well to finish third.
“After that race, Sheikh Mohammed said to keep her for Royal Ascot. He felt that going to Epsom for the Oaks would have been too much, too soon. She will now go for the Irish Oaks.
“She travelled well and always looked like the winner today. It is very satisfying when horses win top-class races as two-year-olds and then come on and win good races the following year, especially as she is a home-bred and by Singspiel.
“I wouldn’t say that there is pressure on Godolphin at Royal Ascot, but with our resources people expect us to do well.”
FAST-FINISHING ELDALIL DELIGHTS CONNECTION
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Eldalil finished with a wet sail to finish second, three and three-quarter lengths behind the winner Hibaayeb in the Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes.
“She obviously stays and ran a blinder,” said Stoute. “She got the trip well and is progressive.”
Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Hamdan Al Maktoum, added: “It was a big step up and she was slowly into her stride. She was probably a bit further back than we would have ideally wanted and would always struggle against more seasoned fillies from there but I liked the way she came home.
“She was beaten by a good filly, who already had the form in the book, and this was only our third run. The future options are greater because we know she stays and we’ll have to see what Michael wants to do with her, he usually likes to go gently, gently with these fillies.
“Our other runner (sixth-placed Fatanah) didn’t stay.”
Mick Channon was delighted by Gallic Star’s third place. “I thought beforehand that she’d run well, her form was there to see and she’s done nothing wrong.
“She stayed on well today and was maybe a bit unlucky but she wouldn’t have beaten the winner.
“This year a lot of fillies like her seem to have taken a long time to come to themselves for some reason. I’ve no idea where we’ll go now.”
Kieren Fallon, rider of 10th-placed Bikini Babe, reported to the stewards that the filly suffered interference in running, was struck into behind and lost a hind shoe.
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