One-time Classic contender Military March finished down the field on his return from a 999-day hiatus as Blanchland secured top honours in the feature event on day one of this season’s All-Weather Championships at Newcastle.
It is four years since Military March won the Group Three Autumn Stakes for Saeed bin Suroor, after which he went on to finish fourth to Kameko in the 2000 Guineas in 2020.
Despite having raced only once since, disappointing as a hot favourite for the Group Two Singspiel Stakes at Meydan in January 2021, the now gelded son of New Approach was the 11-4 favourite for his long-awaited comeback in the BetUK. It’s Where The UK Bets Handicap, but passed the post a well held 10th of 12 runners under Oisin Murphy.
Blanchland, a maiden winner at Newcastle last season before finishing second in the Group Three Zetland Stakes, was dropping in class for Jane Chapple-Hyam having failed to land a telling blow in two previous outings in Listed company this term.
Ridden by Ben Curtis, the 18-1 shot quickened up well from midfield to grab the lead entering the final furlong and found plenty for pressure to see off the game Wynter Wildes by a length.
“He had great form last year and was yet to show it this year, but that was a lovely bounce back to form,” Curtis told Sky Sports Racing.
“He got a lovely trip through the race and I probably hit the front a bit too soon as he pricked his ears and had a look around him, but he stuck to his task well and it’s nice to get his head back in front.
“I think the switch back to this surface and the trip (mile and a half) was a help. He was well on top at the line, he’s got the foundation there to keep improving and hopefully that’s a springboard.”