Malabar stikes for Channon
Down in class, but up for the race, Malabar ran out a very comfortable winner of the Group Three Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes.
The Mick Channon-trained filly, a 6/1 shot, had run with credit in three Classic races this season – in Britain, Ireland and France – and her trainer was confident she would be a tough nut for her male rivals in this event. Under Silvestre De Sousa and wearing a first-time visor she won by three lengths and three-quarters of a length from Kook Kompany and Latharnach, the 6/4 favourite.
Malabar carried the colours of Jon and Julia Aisbitt. Channon said: “She ran a cracker in the Guineas and she’s not very big. She had no luck in Ireland and the same in France, when she got squeezed out, and these little horses can’t hold their positions when bigger horses are intimidating them.
“That’s why we put the visor on, not for any other reason except to make her a bit braver. I think she stuck in there today, had a great tow into the race and done it like we knew she could.
“Most of the experts thought we were crazy taking the colts on, but we had the best form except for the Godolphin horse [Latharnach], but he was rated 99 before his run in the St James’s Palace Stakes and he was probably a bit flattered by that effort. We went into the race with, as I saw it, the best horse.
“She is small and has curled up in some of her races. She didn’t in the Guineas, to be fair, and we are down to a Group Three here, a level at which she has won already. Recently she has only run in Group Ones and been a bit unlucky in a few. “We are thinking of going to America with her because there are a lot more opportunities out there.”
Jockeys’ championship contender De Sousa said: “She travelled well in the first-time visor and Mick was full of confidence that she would run a big race for me. She jumped good, travelled sweet and picked up nicely. “There’s trouble everywhere. It’s just like when you are driving – you have to be careful everywhere. It’s the way I ride every day – you have to be careful where you are going – but I am pleased because it is a big stage and it’s nice to have a winner.
“I want to keep riding winners and see how far I can go. I will give the championship my best shot.”
Charlie Appleby, trainer of Lathanarch, commented: “William (Buick, rider) said he has travelled around there well enough but just lacked that final gear.
“My first reaction is that it’s a bit disappointing. We rode him to finish the race at Ascot and that’s what he did, whereas we had him a bit closer today because we knew there was not going to be a mad gallop on.
“We will get him home and have a bit of a rethink. I think a mile is his trip but perhaps a more conventional, galloping track will suit him better as he is a big horse – maybe somewhere like York or Doncaster.
“He has no penalty so we will probably drop him back into a Listed race.”
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