Arabian claims Stonehenge Crown for Appleby

Charlie Appleby sent out the winner of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Stonehenge Stakes at Salisbury for a third successive year as Arabian Crown registered a decisive triumph.

Beaten less than a length by the exciting Starlore when sent off favourite at Sandown on debut, the son of Dubawi served notice of his potential with an easy victory back at the Esher track on his second start.

Upped both to Listed Level and a mile, the 85-40 second favourite highlighted his quality in fine style, tracking the pace set by Richard Hannon’s Son before coming forward to take the lead after two furlongs out and galloping on strongly for a two-and-a-quarter-length success over 13-8 favourite Arabic Legend.

Last year’s winner for the stable went on to contest the Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket later in the season, while both Paddy Power and Betfair shortened the colt to 20-1 from 33s for next year’s 2000 Guineas.

“It was a lovely performance,” winning rider William Buick told Racing TV.

“It was a nice, even gallop which suited him and suited everyone else, so it was a very fair race and Arabian Crown has gone from strength to strength.

“He is very professional and he has really learned from his last two runs. He had to stand in the gates for quite a long time with some of the others, but he took that well and still broke well and just settled outside of the leader. He dropped his head and was progressive all the way to the line and was strong at the finish.

“I think this is a nice trip for him now as a two-year-old and I’m sure next year he will go further. You would hope that (with) the progress he had made in two runs in novices, he has every reason to improve again.”

Ralph Beckett was on the scoresheet in the other Listed heat as State Occasion ran out an impressive winner of the British EBF 40th Anniversary Upavon Fillies’ Stakes.

The daughter of Iffraaj, who was sent off a 6-1 chance, hit the front a furlong from home in the hands of Rossa Ryan and was not for catching in the closing stages as 6-4 favourite Running Lion gave chase in vain.

Beckett said. “She kept winning valuable fillies’ handicaps last year and then we went to Dundalk and she got drawn wide and missed the break. You run quickly into the bend there over 10 furlongs, so that didn’t work and then I probably ran her one run too many at the back-end.

“She ran well in the Middleton and then she was off colour for a little while after that.

“Then it has just rained and she wants fast ground, it is as simple as that. She hasn’t had any major issues, it has just been wet. We’ve probably only missed one race which was the Lyric at York but it doesn’t matter now.

“She could go anywhere and I haven’t really thought about it long and hard yet. But luckily there is plenty for her and she will be in everything and we will see how it pans out.”

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