Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes
Group 1, Newmarket 15:10
£180,000 added,
2yo only,
6f, Class 1  
Saturday 26th September 2015

1 Shalaa 1/2F
2 Buratino 13/2
3 Steady Pace 25/1
7 ran Distances: ½l, 2l, ½l
TIME 1m 11.92s (slow by 1.92s)

Shalaa hit a blistering 41mph en route to winning the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket

© Racehorse Photos

Shalaa closed out a highly successful campaign in the manner of horse with even better things to come when defeating a field of high-class opponents.

After making an inauspicious start to life having been last in a conditions race at Newbury back in May, the two-year-old ended it in vastly different fashion with victory in the Group One prize to confirm his status as one of the best of his generation.

Frankie Dettori wasted no time in getting the 1-2 favourite to the front of the field, where he was quickly joined by Ajaya.

Although William Haggas' Gimcrack winner tried to match strides with the son of Invincible Spirit, he could only keep tabs on him for two-thirds of the race, with the John Gosden-trained runner having too much pace for him to contend with.

As Dettori become more animated in the saddle the response to keep the gallop up was exactly what would be expected of a horse of his quality as he found plenty.

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Entering the closing stages the Mark Johnston-trained Buratino started to try and eat into Shalaa's advantage and although he did close he was ultimately not good enough, with half a length the margin between them at the line.

Steady Pace ran on late to claim third on the line from Ajaya.

Shalaa was left unchanged as 4-1 favourite for next year's Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot with Paddy Power, while both William Hill and Coral clipped him into 7-2 and 3-1 respectively for the same race.

Gosden said: "He's been on the go since March and I was a little mindful to bring him here fresh and he was probably a little short of work, but at this stage of the year if you keep working the two-year-olds you can flatten them.

"He's gone very fast, Ryan Moore came in (after riding Rouleau) and said he'd never been so fast over the first four furlongs over the Rowley Mile as he had in this race.

"The horse got a bit unbalanced going into the dip and changed his legs three or four times. All in all we're delighted with him.

"This was the last race this year for him. He was clocking 41mph and that is very quick for a horse.

"He's incredibly fast and we're lucky to have him. We're over the moon and he's got a good mind on him, too, which is very important.

"He reminds me of Oasis Dream, who broke the juvenile record here. He was also champion sprinter at three.

"I'm not sure about trying to stretch out to a mile next year, I see him more as an out-and-out sprinter."

Dettori said: "He has got tremendous speed, I said he was the fastest two-year-old I've ridden, I haven't met a horse fast enough to lead him, I'd love to get a lead with him, but they're not out there unfortunately.

"He kept going for me. He's done his job this year and deserves to be champion two-year-old."

As for runner-up Buratino a step up in trip could be next in store given the manner of his staying-on effort.

Johnston said: "He went over to Ireland (Phoenix Stakes) and finished third, and that form has worked out well.

"I just wonder if he was an early-season horse, but one thing I do know is the horse is very well and everything was right for today.

"I was confident the ground would dry out, I don't think there were any excuses and today we've seen what he was made of.

"His win in the Coventry was possibly a career-best and interestingly for a horse that showed so much speed at the beginning of the season, it looks like another furlong won't be a problem to him."

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Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes (Group 1)
£180,000 added, 2yo only, 6f, Class 1
7 ran
Going: Good

Pos Dr D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st (6) Shalaa (IRE) 1/2f L Dettori
J H M Gosden 2
2nd (1) ½ Buratino (IRE) 13/2 W Buick
M Johnston 2
3rd (7) 2 Steady Pace 25/1 Harry Bentley
S bin Suroor 2
4th (4) ½ Ajaya 6/1 Graham Gibbons
W J Haggas 2
5th (5) Rouleau 20/1 R L Moore
C Appleby 2
6th (2) Venturous (IRE) 12/1 James Doyle
C Appleby 2
7th (3) ¾ Madrinho (IRE) 100/1 P J Dobbs
R Hannon 2