Alsakib makes another leap with Rowley Cup verdict

By Sports Desk October 13, 2023

Alsakib looks set to head for Qatar during the winter after continuing his steep upward trajectory in the £120,000 bet365 Old Rowley Cup at Newmarket.

The grey son of Kingman had won three of his four previous starts for Andrew Balding, most recently landing a valuable handicap at Ascot last month.

With James Doyle in the saddle, Alsakib was the 100-30 favourite to defy a 9lb rise and land another lucrative prize on the Rowley Mile and he eventually reeled in Shadow Dance to prevail by half a length.

“He’s a lovely horse who has done nothing but improve and stays well, which has slightly surprised me,” said Balding.

“At Goodwood (finished third over a mile and a quarter) it looked like he might stay a bit further and he’s now unbeaten over a mile and a half. He’s definitely going the right way.

“I doubt we’d go again this season in England. The hope, certainly for the owner, is that he might run in the Qatar Derby in December. That would be dropping back to a mile and a quarter, but that was always the intention after putting him in training with me, so we’ll look towards that.

“If he comes back next year, anything is possible.”

Devoted Queen made an impressive start to her career in the first division of the Godolphin Under Starters Orders Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.

A Kingman half-sister to the high-class One Ruler, Charlie Appleby’s youngster was the 15-8 favourite to make a successful debut and quickened up smartly to beat Vicario by two and a quarter lengths in the hands of William Buick.

Appleby and Buick were completing a double following the earlier success of Dance Sequence in the Group Three Oh So Sharp Stakes, and the trainer said: “She (Devoted Queen) is a nice filly, her work has been good at home and she’s from a family that we know.

“There was confidence coming into her today, but as Will said beforehand, she’s a filly for the future and he wanted to ride her the right way round and get the most out of her that way.

“I think we’ll just see how she does mentally before we decide if we run her again this year. She’s a filly who does everything a little bit on her nerves at home, which is why she wore the red hood to post today. We’ll see how she comes out of it and decide whether we give her one more run or put her away.”

Division Two of the seven-furlong contest went to the stoutly-bred Glimpsed (13-8), trained by Ralph Beckett and ridden by Rossa Ryan.

The Night Of Thunder filly is a sibling to several Pattern race performers for owner-breeder Julian Richmond-Watson, including the Group One-winning stayer Scope.

Get The Music On was the 6-4 favourite following a narrow defeat on her Lingfield introduction, but Glimpsed’s stamina kicked in late on and she got up to score by a length and a quarter.

Beckett’s assistant Joe Tuite said: “She’s not the biggest, but she’s well-bred and very tough and showed a great attitude.

“Her work has been good and we’re pleased she’s transferred that to the racecourse.

“She does what it says on the tin, there’s stamina in her pedigree and I’m sure she will stay further.”

The concluding Newmarket Pony Academy Pride Stakes was run in near darkness and driving rain – and it was Gary Moore’s 9-1 shot Novus who emerged from the gloom to secure Group Three honours by two lengths from Veil Of Shadows.

Winning jockey Tom Queally said: “I couldn’t see much, and I knew I was going to give her a great ride because no one else could see anything either!

“All she’s done all year is improve and it’s remarkable because she’s had a few little niggles along the way. She wasn’t quite right a few weeks ago and Gary has done a great job with her.

“She loves dig in the ground and on the dam’s side there’s stamina, so we were quietly confident that would make a difference and it did.”

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