Boughey’s Via Sistina Sluices Up In The Dahlia Stakes At Newmarket

Via Sistina (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) produced a career-best performance to win the G2 Howden Dahlia S. at Newmarket in a style that suggested there could be even bigger things to come from the gigantic five-year-old mare. 

Trainer George Boughey revealed prior to the race that he does not have a bigger horse in his yard and that he had been praying for rain in the build-up to the Group 2 contest.

Those prayers were answered, with Via Sistina sluicing through the soft ground under a statuesque Jamie Spencer, who, when crouching a little lower in the saddle just over a furlong from the finish, received a generous response from the 5-2 favourite. 

In the end, Via Sistina pulled six lengths clear of Al Husn (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) with Astral Beau (GB) (Brazen Beau {Aus}) back in third. Last year’s G1 Falmouth S. winner Prosperous Voyage (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}) finished a disappointing fifth on her comeback. 

“She’s very effective on that ground,” Spencer said afterwards. “I was hoping that it would rain enough that it was almost bottomless. She just floats on it and I got into the race very easily at the half-mile pole. I probably got there a mile too soon but, back a furlong, I thought we’d get going early.”

Spencer added, “Sheikh [Stephen] Hillen wanted me to be on the pace. Stephen [bloodstock agent and owner] has been busy and is doing well. She was a cheap purchase so she is worth a little bit more than what he paid for her now. 

“We discussed it and Stephen said that, even if he [Boughey] runs her five times this year, just run her when the conditions are to suit and she will repay the patience. But she’s a Group 3 and a Group 2 winner now and she’s getting there. Especially against her own sex, if she gets soft ground, she’s one to look forward to for the summer.”

Hillen bought Via Sistina for just 5,000gns at the December Sale at Tattersalls in 2019 as a yearling. She races in his wife Becky’s purple and pink colours.

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