Vandeek shows off star quality in Richmond romp

Vandeek looked an exciting prospect in confirming the promise of his successful racecourse debut with a comprehensive victory in the Markel Richmond Stakes at Goodwood.

Simon and Ed Crisford’s grey justified cramped odds on his introduction at Nottingham a fortnight ago and was the 11-8 favourite taking a swift step up to Group Two level, in a race that had seen the withdrawal of likely market leader Jasour.

Ridden with plenty of confidence by Andrea Atzeni, Vandeek was initially settled in behind the pacesetting Toca Madera before being switched to the far side of the track to throw down his challenge.

A smart change of gear propelled him clear of the chasing pack and he only needed to pushed out hands and heels in the closing stages to score by a comfortable length.

Atzeni said: “He looked pretty special when he won first time out at Nottingham.

“Obviously when you step up to this level, you never know how good you are until you try. He’s got a bit of a pedigree, he’s obviously improved since Nottingham and he showed today how good he is.

“He’s a very smart colt and I think he is a very good horse. He’s won at Group Two level now, he’s going to go up one way to Group One level and I can’t see why he wouldn’t be good enough.”

Vandeek looks set for an immediate tilt at Group One company in France later in the month.

“Nothing really took him into the race for as long as we would like today, he was in front too soon and he sorted of idled when he hit the front,” said Simon Crisford.

“I think there’s tons of improvement to come and I think we’ll head for the Prix Morny on August 19. Obviously that is dependent on Sheikh Khalid’s wishes, but he likes to be bold and brave and I’m sure he will want to go for the Group One.

“We don’t know how this form is going to stack up, the Prix Morny is going to be an altogether different kind of a race.

“Stamina-wise, he’s of out an Exceed And Excel mare, there’s tons of speed in his pedigree but he strikes us at home like he will go further. He’s big, scopey, he stands over a lot of daylight – he will stay.”

Ballymount Boy outran odds of 25-1 with an excellent effort to fill the runner-up spot, with Toca Madera five lengths further back in third.

Ballymount Boy’s trainer, Adrian Keatley, said: “He didn’t help himself early on – he was a bit slow away and slow to get into his stride, but he’s a fair horse and we were expecting that kind of run from him.

“We’ll see where we go with him next, but we might contemplate going seven furlongs.

“He’s a proper horse now, he’s a Group horse for sure, so onwards and upwards.”

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