Listed target pays off for Fonteyn team

Kevin Ryan’s Fonteyn landed Listed honours at York in taking the Oaks Farm Stables Fillies’ Stakes for Andrea Atzeni and owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid.

Trainer : Kevin Ryan.
Trainer : Kevin Ryan. Picture: (Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

The three-year-old was placed on both her juvenile starts and finished the runner-up when contesting a Newmarket maiden in April and coming home a neck behind Juddmonte's smartly-bred Crenelle.

A 6-1 chance on the Knavesmire as a result, the daughter of Farhh travelled in the centre of the field and hit the front with two furlongs to go, ultimately holding off 13-8 favourite Grande Dame by a head.

Ryan said: "We didn't think she did everything right at Newmarket and the front two were well clear.

"There was no point winning a little maiden, so I spoke to Sheikh Mohammed Obaid and he was in full agreement that we should come here for a Listed race and it's paid off.

"We think an awful lot of her and it's no surprise she's gone and done that.

"I have nothing in mind. I'll speak to Sheikh Mohammed Obaid. This was our first target and now we've got that out of the way we can now plan the rest of the campaign.

"She's still learning. There's plenty of time as the year goes on."

Tim Easterby's Bollin Joan edged out hot favourite Rogue Bear in a thrilling climax to the Paddy Power "I Love Steak" Stakes.

The latter was a 13-8 chance to open his account for the campaign after finishing third in the Lincoln at Doncaster and the Spring Cup at Newbury.

Dropped out last for much of the way by Jack Mitchell, Rogue Bear raced keenly throughout and was delivered with what looked like a winning run inside the final two furlongs.

But 12-1 shot Bollin Joan, turning out just five days after finishing down the field at Hamilton, refused to bend under Duran Fentiman and clung on by a head.

Easterby said: "She's a wonderful filly. She ran on Sunday at Hamilton and I think she ran just a little bit free through the race and didn't get home.

"She wants to come late though – just come on the line. Some horses can stand being run back-to-back, some can't, she's seasoned and she likes it here.

"We'll just take the races as they come with her."

Karl Burke's superb run of form continued in the Paddy Power "Fill Thi Boots" Handicap as Al Qareem struck from the front to prevail by a length and a quarter at 9-2.

Ridden by Clifford Lee for owners Nick Bradley Racing, the consistent gelding produced another admirable performance to make all of the running.

"It was a great ride, he's always been very good from the front has Clifford, he knows our horse well and he's given him a lovely ride," said Burke.

"We were a little bit worried, there were four or five I thought could go and make the running and I said to Clifford 'don't make it just for the sake of it, just jump positive and see where you land'.

"He's landed in front and I was very happy after a couple of furlongs.

"All being well he'll go to Royal Ascot for the mile-and-a-half three-year-old race (King George V Stakes) and maybe come back here for the Melrose, onwards and upwards from there."

Lee and Burke were also on the scoresheet with Korker, who obliged favourite-backers at 4-1 in the Longines Irish Champions Weekend Handicap.

Il Bandito recorded a second successive victory when landing the Yorkshire Equine Practice Handicap for James Horton and PJ McDonald.

The four-year-old was a winner at Ripon in April and followed up on the Knavesmire when victorious by a neck as the 4-1 joint-favourite.

Horton, who was enjoying his fifth and highest-profile winner since taking out his licence, said: "Coming to Group One tracks with horses is what John and Jess (Dance, owners) are in it for and I'm delighted to supply them with a winner here this early on.

"I thought PJ gave him a belting ride. He got over to that rail and I think that was probably helping him up the straight.

"He was in front a long way out, but in fairness he toughed it out and battled all the way to the line.

"We'll see what the handicapper does to him and go from there."


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