Sheikh Fahad: has bought a half share into the well-fancied Beach Belle
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
THE jockey who knows her best said on Thursday that Beach Belle will be a tough nut to crack in what is shaping up to be a red-hot Phoenix Stakes.
Chris Hayes, the jockey in question, believes the Kevin Prendergast-trained filly can cope with the step in class from Listed company to the Keeneland-backed Group 1 at the Curragh on Sunday, for which she is 5-1 fourth favourite with Paddy Power.
Beach Belle is set to clash with Queen Mary Stakes winner Anthem Alexander, Anglesey Stakes winner Dick Whittington and Prix Robert Papin victor Kool Kompany.
With Qatar Racing having bought a half-share in Lady O’Reilly’s filly, Hayes is to hand over the reins to her new connections’ retained rider Jamie Spencer.
Hayes, who has has ridden the unbeaten filly her on her only two starts, said: “The first time I sat on her was January 2 and from day one I’ve always loved her. She’s a smart filly. I always thought she could become a Group 1 filly. She feels it at home and is getting closer to it every day.
“Whatever the weather does won’t bother her and if I was riding her I wouldn’t be worried too about taking on colts. I really hope she runs well for her new connections as she deserves it. She deserves to win a race like that.”
Paddy Power, for the firm, said on Thursday: “Beach Belle was backed in the shops throughout the day on Wednesday and is turning into one of the two-year-old gambles of the season after being available at 14-1 when we opened the betting.”
Alexander Anthem was on Thursday night the 6-4 favourite with Paddy Power, while admirable Richard Hannon-trained colt Kool Kompany was 11-4. Aidan O’Brien-trained Dick Whittington was a 4-1 shot.
Betfred have opened a market on the Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock on Saturday, which they sponsor. They made True Story and Hillstar joint-market leaders at 7-2, with Vancouverite – like True Story owned by Godolphin – next best at 5-1.
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