Iberian rules supreme in Champagne Stakes

Iberian gave a glimpse of his star potential with a taking victory in the Betfred Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

Charlie Hills’ youngster went into plenty of notebooks when making an impressive debut at Newbury, but inexperience took its toll at Goodwood when immediately thrust into Group Two company in the Vintage Stakes.

A length second to Haatem on that occasion, connections retained the faith in the exciting son of Lope De Vega, who had another Richard Hannon-trained runner in his way on Town Moor in the shape of the unbeaten Rosallion.

Tom Marquand was keen to shadow the 5-6 favourite up the Doncaster straight, but whereas Rosallion was unable to land a blow when push came to shove, Iberian demonstrated his class, and once hitting the front a furlong out he surged clear to come home two lengths ahead of runner-up Sunway.

Last year’s winner Chaldean went on to land the Dewhurst Stakes before returning at three to claim the 2000 Guineas and this year’s 3-1 scorer is likely to have similarly lofty aspirations, with both Betfair and Paddy Power going 8-1 from 16s for Newmarket’s end-of-season juvenile Group One and 20-1 for the opening Classic of 2024.

Hills said: “That was just what the doctor ordered, perfect. He’s a very exciting horse.

“Listening to Tom when he came back, he said he gave him some feel, he’s got an electric turn of foot and put the race to bed very well.

“His work had been unbelievable at home so we just wanted him to show that on a racecourse and I think he’s done that today.

“He learned plenty at Goodwood, where he was unlucky as he was drawn one. I think William (Buick) was conscious to teach him how to do things properly, but he was probably just a bit far out of his racing ground that day and inexperience caught him out. But he did finish well.

“The ground is still pretty soft today, but when the ground is quicker I think you’ll see a better horse.

“It will be the Dewhurst next. Why can’t he be a Guineas horse, he’ll get a mile no problem, his dam stayed really well.

“He’s a straightforward horse with a great attitude, he’s so professional.

“Distant Music won this for my dad so it’s nice to win it.”

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