Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Middleton Championships: Lilac Road wins Group 2 honours for Tom Marquand at York

Lilac Road was slow to land the second set of Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies’ Stakes as Tom Marquand rode patiently for William Haggas Contest.

The early walking pace was suitable for a native Mastercrafstman pigeon trained by William Hagars, who finished fifth in the Dahlia Stakes in Newmarket at the first start of the season.

However, after a mile and a half, Marquand settled in the pony owned by Jon and Julia Aisbitt and waited for Aristia to set the pace.

Richard Hannon’s well-trained 20-1 chance put them all in, Sean Levy finished with a three-furlong run and Lilac Road was the only one Looks like the one mowing her as she starts making progress from two furlongs.

Marquand eased to the front in the final furone and a 15-2 shot went on to score with a comfortable half-length, with the well-supported Thunder Kiss remaining in third.

“Honestly, I’m halfway hoping to be honest with you because she had a great run on her last day, but we’ve started letting her in and Newmarket is having a hard time catching up from behind,” said the winning rider.

“She relaxed today and we weren’t walking very fast, which was good for us. When I got off at Newmarket, I said to William that if she kept going this way she would run a mile and a half, but she Clearly a pony with a lot of talent.

“William’s idea was to get her out of Salisbury (when she won the third group). He said ‘get her out at the end, if she gets beat it’s my fault’ but it was her doing As a jockey you always want to give the horse the best chance and basically William did that in a day.

“She’s growing up now, and you have to say it’s her best effort.”

Levy added runner-up: “She ran a cookie. I thought maybe in the paddock, she wasn’t as well equipped as the others and her coat wasn’t there, so we’re taking second today.

“I’m sure she will improve – her whole family has improved with age.

“She met a good opponent today and ran very well. She was a little tired before the line, but she will definitely improve.”


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