Iberian makes striking impression on Newbury debut

Charlie Hills believes Iberian could develop into a contender for some major juvenile prizes come the end of the season following an impressive debut success at Newbury.

The Lope De Vega colt, who cost 200,000 guineas as a yearling, made plenty of appeal on paper, and more so on the track.

Under Rossa Ryan, he powered to a length and three-quarters success from Judge Frank in the Welcome To The BV Group Novice Stakes, which was better value than the winning margin suggested, as Hills felt he idled in the closing stages.

The Lambourn handler is eyeing a step up into Group company for his next start.

“He’s a nice horse,” said Hills. “He is having a good old blow and will come on a good bit for the run.

“It had just got to the stage where I just wanted to get a run into him, really. He has always worked really nicely at home and he’s going to learn a lot more today than keeping him at home.”

Newmarket could be his next stop, with the Group Two Superlative Stakes, won last year by the subsequent French 2000 Guineas runner-up Isaac Shelby, on the agenda.

“He is an exciting horse, hopefully,” added Hills. “My immediate thought was something like the Superlative Stakes, but it is a long season.

“He travelled really nicely in the race, but probably idled a bit in front at the end, but he was having a good blow, so might have got a bit tired.

“Superlative, Dewhurst… it’s a nice thought if it maps out like that, isn’t it?”

Karl Burke had a rare winner at the Berkshire track, when Back See Daa went one better than she did when beaten a neck at Doncaster upon her return to action 12 days ago.

Upped to a mile for the first time, she impressed with a three-length victory in the Darley EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes.

Her jockey, Charles Bishop, said: “She is quite a nice filly. She got tired at Doncaster last time, but has improved and appreciated the extra furlong. She has done it very well.”

Sir Mark Prescott also had a rare Newbury winner. Blindedbythelights, having a third run inside a week, scored at odds of 2-7 under Luke Morris in the concluding Follow @BetVictor On Twitter Handicap, giving the Newmarket handler a rare Newbury winner.

Having won at Yarmouth, he was downed narrowly when long odds-on at Lingfield on Monday, but made no mistake this time, taking the mile and a half event cosily.

Morris said: “He’s a lovely progressive horse. Things transpired against him on Monday, but back on a nice galloping track, he was seen to much better effect.

“I think, as he steps up in trip, he will keep progressing. His ears were pricked and he wasn’t doing a whole deal. Hopefully he can turn into a nice horse.”

There was drama in the Highclere Castle Gin Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap with Tessy’s Lad, ridden by Miss Taryn Langley, dead-heating with Lenny’s Spirit, ridden by Miss Sophie Smith.

Tessy’s Lad’s trainer, Richard Hughes, said: “We went to Windsor a couple of weeks ago when I thought he’d nearly win. William Buick came in and said he blew up, and I thought, ‘Jeez, I thought I had him fitter than that’.

“We scoped him, as it didn’t sit well with me, and he wasn’t quite right. He had a little bit of mucus.

“He blew for 25 minutes afterwards, and while it was his first run of the year, all his work was easy. Maybe he was doing it too easy.

“He’ll go jumping now as well. We’ll get a nice bit of good ground for him. He’s a grand horse.”

Eve Johnson Houghton admits she has finally found the key to Flying Secret, who took the seven-furlong Highclere Castle Gin Handicap under Mia Nicholls by a short-head from Popmaster.

“We always knew he was a good horse but he has had little issues, niggles, and I’ve finally got it right – he needs a straight track and seven furlongs,” said the trainer.

“They are not easy to find. We had to go to Yarmouth to win last time! He takes a bit of time to recover from his races, because he is fragile.”

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