Tough Gretchen takes the Park Hill
Gretchen produced a fine staying performance to land the Group Two DFS Park Hill Stakes by a neck at Doncaster this afternoon.
The 5/1 shot was given a peach of a ride by jockey Rab Havlin, who had to be at his strongest to wear down Melodious, who had led the field as they hit the furlong pole.
The pair eventually got the measure of Asyad, who finished a further half a length back in third, and battled all the way to the line, with the John Gosden-trained filly just getting her head in front where it mattered.
Philippa Cooper, whose Normandie Stud owns the filly, was quick to praise the hard work.
“All credit has to go to John and the team at Clarehaven as he trained her half-brother, Samuel, to win the Doncaster Cup (in 2010). We thought she’d stay as her other half-brother, Duncan, won the Yorkshire Cup (in 2011) and the Irish St Leger (dead-heated with Jukebox Jury in 2011). What a family they have been,” said Cooper.
“This is the man though (Gosden) – and what a team he has! Robert (Havlin) has given him a wonderful ride and has won me two Listed races already this season and now a Group Two.
“I started the stud in 1997 so we’ve been going exactly 18 years. I didn’t set myself any goals and I remember in 2010 that a lot of people kept reminding me that I hadn’t bred a Group winner but then they started coming. That’s not what it’s about though and you should always do something in life that you enjoy..”
Gosden returned the compliment to his owner following the race.
“It’s great when they come out of this stud and progress the way they do,” said the trainer.
“She’s out of this wonderful mare Delores who had produced Doncaster Cup winners and full marks to the team at Normandie Stud who foal them, rear them and look after them just for us to get all the glory.
“They are very meticulous at the stud. All their horses know exactly what to do and how to behave. Robert has given him a wonderful ride too – he’s an integral part of the team at home, riding them out as well as riding them on the racecourse.”
Harry Herbert, racing manager to Al Shaqab Racing, was pleased with the performance of third-placed Asyad in the Group Two DFS Park Hill Stakes. The daughter of New Approach travelled into the race well under Frankie Dettori and held every chance entering the final furlong. However, the four-year-old started to tire in the closing stages but finished a creditable third.
Herbert said: “She got a little tired and she is an older filly giving weight to the three-year-olds.
“I think the trip was fine. She has run a fantastic race. She is a filly with a beautiful pedigree and so it was lovely that she was able to be placed at Group Two level. Obviously, we would have liked to have won but she still ran a great race.”
Herbert indicated the filly could possibly run again this season depending on the ground.. He commented: “She likes this ground and does not enjoy ground which is too soft. We will see what Sir Michael Stoute says and see how she comes out of the race.
“We will decide whether she has one more race. If ground conditions stay right and we can find the right spot and run her, then we will give her one final run, then she will be off to the paddocks.”
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