Tale of two Moons at Ascot
It was a tale of two moons at Ascot, with Pether’s Moon and Lightning Moon taking the two Group 3 contests on the card. Pether’s Moon was the first to score in the BMW Cumberland Lodge Stakes for Richard Hannon and Pat Dobbs, with Lightning Moon taking the John Guest Bengough Stakes just half an hour later for Ed Walker and George Baker.
Pether’s Moon, the winner of a Group 2 in Turkey last time, was sent off the 9/4 second favourite for the 1m 4f contest for which 2012 St Leger winner Encke was the well supported 6/5 favourite. It was the favourite who set a very steady pace from the off under Paul Hanagan but the 5yo found very little when kicked for home at the three furlong marker.
Pether’s Moon, meanwhile, had followed the every move of Encke and loomed large travelling well when the jolly’s challenge began to fade. He kicked clear in an instant and had enough in the locker to hold off the fast finishing Parish Hall by a neck, with Encke a further 3/4 length back in third.
A delighted Dobbs said: “We didn’t go quickly, so that helped him. He is versatile ground-wise and while he can stop in front, we won the race when we took a couple of lengths out of them. I was aware that Kevin Manning (on Parish Hall) was coming, but I knew we’d done enough.”
Next up on the card another moon rose, with Lightning Moon scoring by the narrowest of margins with the bob of the head. Ed Walker’s 3yo, unbeaten in two starts before today at Salisbury and Haydock, was made to work hard to bring her winning tally to three under a determined George Baker.
Having been slightly keen early doors, Lightning Moon made his move entering the final furlong and, despite hanging to his left on the run in, just managed to reel in leader and fellow 3yo Danzeno in a battling finish. Louis The Pious, who has a magnificent season to date, finished third, with the hard luck story of the race, Tropics, finishing fourth having found plenty of traffic trouble.
Trainer Walker said: “He’s pretty exciting. We just looked after him. He was very weak and babyish at two, and he came good earlier on this year.
“He hadn’t been straightforward to train, so we just took our time with him. He appreciated a bit of cut in the ground and we just figured that waiting for the Autumn would be sensible, with the Champion Sprint being the dream – which now looks a little more realistic.
“He’s a Shamardal colt out of Peintre Celebre mare, so he’s not really bred to sprint, but he is unbelievably fast and, being by a Peintre Celebre mare, you’d think he’d need further, so that ground really helped today. I think next year he will get seven furlongs. He won’t get further than that because he has too much speed.”
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: John Walton/PA Wire
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