Dunaden At Overbury Jockey Club Stakes
|Group 2, Newmarket 15.05
1m 4f, Class 1
|Saturday 30th April 2016|
1 Exosphere 17/2
2 Simple Verse 7/1
3 Big Orange 7/1
NR: Agent Murphy
6 ran Distances: 4l, 5l, 2l
TIME 2m 30.92s (slow by 3.92s)
Exosphere and Ryan Moore give Sir Michael Stoute & Khalid Abdullah an impressive winner
Sir Michael Stoute's horse made the step up to pattern company with an emphatic four-length success from Simple Verse, the only one to lay down a challenge as the pair pulled clear in the closing stages.
Jack Hobbs had been sent off as an odds-on favourite on his first start of the season but there were concerning signs as early as five furlongs out, as the four-year-old held his head to one side and failed to respond to slap down the neck from William Buick.
As Buick became more animated, it was soon clear that all was not well with John Gosden's Irish Derby winner, who was eased to a trot before Buick dismounted on track. He was walked back to the racecourse stables afterwards.
Meanwhile, Exosphere showed a nice turn of foot to provide Stoute with a fourth win in the race since the turn of the century.
"He worked very pleasingly the other morning," Stoute told Channel 4 Racing. "I was hopeful he'd be in the first three.
"He kept surprising us - just improving, improving. He's worked better this year than last year, he was a very immature horse early on.
"We've got a nice horse on our hands."
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to the winning owner Khalid Abdullah, added: "We were confident he'd run well, because he'd been working really solidly, taking hold of the bit and working nicely, but when you're taking on an Irish Derby winner and a St Leger winner, you have to be tempered with a bit of realism.
"For us it was going to be an interesting one as to where we were heading distance-wise and class wise. But he came away well up the hill.
"I think the way he did that today, a mile and a half is his trip. But he fits the great Michael Stoute profile. He brings them along, takes his time, and gives them a chance.
"It's a very long season, but he's set off the right away. The exciting thing now is that we can raise the sights a little and take in some interesting races. He's in the Hardwicke, so we'd have to think about that. He's not in the Coronation Cup, but we might have to look at that. We'll see how he is."
Ralph Beckett said of Simple Verse: "I'm very happy, it was always our intention to give her a prep now to help decide what we do next.
"We are keen to go to the Coronation Cup and this is the perfect preparation for that."
But John Gosden, trainer of Jack Hobbs, was none the wiser as to what had happened to his charge.
"It's a bit of a mystery, but we'll get him checked over," he said.
Dunaden At Overbury Jockey Club Stakes (Group 2)
£100,000 added, 4yo plus, 1m 4f, Class 1
Going: Good to Soft, Good in places
|Pos||Dr||D||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||(5)||Exosphere 17/2||R L Moore
|Sir Michael Stoute||4|
|2nd||(6)||4||Simple Verse (IRE) 7/1||Oisin Murphy
|R M Beckett||4|
|3rd||(7)||5||Big Orange 7/1||L Dettori
|M L W Bell||5|
|4th||(3)||2||Restorer 40/1||M Dwyer
|W R Muir||4|
|5th||(1)||5||Star Storm (IRE) 14/1||T P Queally
|J R Fanshawe||4|
|PU||(2)||Jack Hobbs 8/15f||W Buick
|J H M Gosden||4|
|NR||(4)||Agent Murphy 14/1||Non Runner
|B J Meehan||5|