Sacred Angel makes all for Princess Margaret crown

Sacred Angel produced a dominant front-running performance to strike Group Three gold in the Bateaux London Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot.

A field of 10 juvenile fillies went to post for the six-furlong contest, with Sacred Angel a 16-1 shot for trainer Charlie Johnston off the back of a maiden success at Newmarket a fortnight ago.

Jason Hart sent the grey daughter of Dark Angel straight to the lead and while the challengers were stacked up in behind, she kept finding more to kick a couple of lengths clear.

The well-fancied Pretty Crystal quickened smartly from the rear to emerge best of the rest, but could not get on terms with Sacred Angel, who passed the post with three lengths in hand.

The victory provides Johnston with a first Group-race winner since becoming the sole licence holder at his Middleham yard, with his father Mark also breaking his Group-race duck in the same race with Marina Park in 1992.

“It was a good way to start. She is improving dramatically – very much so,” said the trainer.

“Her first run at Pontefract, I thought she was the best horse on the day. She was quite green and got beat by two horses who’d had experience.

“If you told me then, within two starts we’d be at this level, I’d have thought, ‘I’m not so sure about that’, but she took a nice step forward at Newmarket and a step forward again.”

Sacred Angel was carrying the colours of Nurlan Bizakov for the first time, with the businessman having snapped her up after her Newmarket success from the Titanium Racing Club.

Considering future plans, Johnston added; “The owners obviously sponsor quite a high-profile race in France (Prix Morny) and on the back of that I would suspect they will want her to go there next.

“Possibly the Cheveley Park at the end of the year will be the obvious real highlight target.”

Richard Fahey was pleased with the performance of runner-up Pretty Crystal.

He said: “I thought it was a good run, but it just didn’t work out again for her. She’s been a bit unlucky. But she is quite a nice filly and she’ll definitely go for the Lowther at York.”

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