Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes
Group 2, Newmarket 14:20
£100,000 added,
2yo only,
1m, Class 1    
Saturday 24th September 2016

1 Best Of Days 6/5F
2 The Anvil 25/1
3 Arcada 12/1
3 Sea Fox 16/1
8 ran Distances: nk, ¾l, dht
TIME 1m 38.98s (slow by 3.98s)

Best Of Days justified strong market support to take the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes for James Doyle and Hugo Palmer.

Best Of Days
© Racehorse Photos

Best Of Days

Available at 5/2 just 20 minutes before the race, the price of the Azamour colt had crashed through the floor to 6/5 by the time the stalls opened for the Group Two prize.

Bought by Godolphin after his debut success, Best Of Days was beaten over seven furlongs at York last month but showed he was suited by a mile as he made his stamina count to get back to winning ways.

Godolphin's other runner Bay Of Poets looked dangerous at one point but when his challenge faded, the favourite made his bid and the Palmer-trained colt struck the front.

The Anvil came late for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore, but was still a neck down at the post. Sea Fox and Arcada dead-heated for third place, three-quarters of a length further away.

Sky Bet left the price of Best Of Days unchanged at 25/1 for next year's QIPCO 2000 Guineas and 33/1 for the Investec Derby on the back of the success and Palmer said it was the latter contest that was in his dreams.

"He's a horse that was gorgeous from the moment he arrived," he said.

"I think it's impossible to overplay the part James has made, not that William (Buick) did anything especially wrong at York, but we all learned from that.

"I was worried about the ground and he was a little bit jarred up after York, so I told James that when he hit the rising ground he'd got to get him into top gear and just believe he'll stay.

"He delivered that to the letter. I wouldn't be surprised if the horse was a little jarred up in the morning, but we're in no hurry to do anything with him now.

"We're going to dream until the Derby, or a Derby trial, that he is a Derby horse. He is by a King George winner in Azamour and out of a mare by High Chaparral who obviously stayed a mile and a half as well."

Doyle said: "The way we looked at the race we thought we would try and use his stamina a little bit, but when I eased him out he was feeling the ground a little bit. He faltered a little bit then but once he hit the rising ground, he was able to use his stride again.

"I think we got away with it today, with the ground and the track not suiting him. On easier ground it would have suited him a bit better and he stays very well. He's got a turn of foot but he does stay."

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The jockey has been in the news in recent days having seemingly fallen down the pecking order at Godolphin, with Saeed bin Suroor revealing that Doyle was no longer number one rider for his yard.

"It's been a bit hard to take really," Doyle told Racing UK. "A lot has been said, but all I can do is keep riding winners. I'm getting a lot of support from everyone. But I have to respect Saeed's decision. He can run his stable as he sees fit and I just have to try the best I can."

There was a minor sting in the tail for Doyle as he was banned for two days (October 9 and 10) for using his whip above the permitted level.

Sky Bet spokesman Michael Shinners commented: "Best Of Days landed a fair few bets having been 5/2 in the morning, and we've already seen support for next year's Classics.

"Clearly, he needs to improve to emulate Frankel in following victory in this race by taking the 2000 Guineas, but connections will consider that job done and he could well come into his own in 2017."

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Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes
£100,000 added, 2yo only, 1m, Class 1
8 ran
Going: Good to Firm (Firm in places)

Pos Dr D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st (8) Best Of Days 6/5f James Doyle
H Palmer 2
2nd (3) nk The Anvil (IRE) 25/1 J A Heffernan
A P O'Brien 2
3rd (2) ¾ Arcada (IRE) 12/1 D O'Brien
Joseph P O'Brien 2
3rd (7) d.h Sea Fox (IRE) 16/1 A Kirby
P D Evans 2
5th (1) Douglas Macarthur (IRE) 5/1 R L Moore
A P O'Brien 2
6th (4) Montataire (IRE) 4/1 J Fanning
M Johnston 2
7th (5) Kings Gift (IRE) 14/1 P Mulrennan
M Dods 2
8th (6) 2 Bay Of Poets (IRE) 10/1 W Buick
C Appleby 2

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