At The Races Champagne Stakes
Group 2, Doncaster 14:05
£75,000 added,
2yo only, 7f,
Class 1
Saturday 13th September 2014

1 Estidhkaar 10/11F
2 War Envoy 11/1
3 Aces 18/1
6 ran Distances: 1¼l, nk, 1l
TIME 1m 24.18s (slow by 0.88s)

Estidhkaar completes his hat-trick with a nice win in the Champagne Stakes

© Racehorse Photos


It took Estidhkaar a while to find his full stride but once he did, there was no catching him, and it took Paul Hanagan a while to pull him up. The son of Dark Angel was the fourth winner of the Group Two seven-furlong contest for the Hannon family's stable and the third in four years after Trumpet Major in 2011 and Toronado in 2012.

The Wiltshire establishment's first, Don't Forget Me in 1986, went on the take the 2,000 Guineas the following year and Estidhkaar is now among the yard's leading hopes for the 2015 mile Classic.

"He'll get a mile, no problem," said Richard Hannon. "I'd say he was crying out for it already. He got this seven well; they went no pace, not quick enough for him, and so it took him time to get going, but Paul [Hanagan] said he could hardly pull him up. This was a very decent performance."

Estidhkaar, owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum was a £200,000 yearling purchase and is a half-brother to last year's highest-rated juvenile Toormore, also in the Hannon yard. Bookmakers are split over his Guineas chances; Coral cut him from 20/1 to 14/1 and Ladbrokes remain at 25/1.

The colt, likely to step up to Group One company in the Dewhurst Stakes, had a length and a quarter to spare over fast-finishing War Envoy, who took second by a neck from Aces. "He was a little bit keen early and, arguably, he could have been a little bit more impressive if they had gone a bit quicker," added Hannon. "He's a very nice horse - a horse we have always liked - and we have taken our time with him.

"Most likely he'll go to the Dewhurst. He is a lovely long-striding horse and you see he really sticks his neck out and tries hard for you. Paul had to get pretty harsh with him but that won't do him any harm, it will make him grow up and he will know that he's had a race today. He had a 3lb penalty as well, which he won't have to give away next time."

Hanagan was delighted with his mount's attitude. "He's very straightforward," he said, "and he has a great temperament. It was a bit of a messy race and I could have done with going a bit quicker but, at the same time, he has not run for a while so he was a little bit fresh.

"I wanted to take a lead really and teach him a bit more but the further I went, the better he went, and I couldn't quite pull him up. I really like him a lot and he has a great temperament as well - one to look forward to."

War Envoy
© Caroline Norris
War Envoy

War Envoy stayed on strongly at the death to snatch second place from Aces, a length-and-a-quarter behind the impressive winner.

The 11/1 shot found the slow pace against him in the early stages and jockey Ryan Moore had to get to work earlier than anticipated as the field began to quicken.

However, there was no stopping the son of War Front once he found his stride and connections feel he'll be an ever better horse on quicker ground.

"The race just hasn't quite gone his way," said Kevin Buckley, UK representative for owners Coolmore.

"It was a fairly slow pace and then they quickened fast which has caught him on the back foot.

"He could probably have done with quicker ground. These War Fronts like to hear their hooves rattle and the better the ground, the better he'll be.

"He's seen out the trip well which bodes well for him getting a mile next season."

Charles Hills, trainer of third-placed Aces, was delighted with the way his colt had run on only his second career start.

"I'm delighted with that," said the trainer.

"It's only his second start and he's been beaten by more experienced horses. If we'd have had another run beforehand, maybe it would have been a different story but it's a great run.

"I'd like to run him again this season. We'll go back and see what's around but something like the Somerville Tattersall Stakes (at Newmarket). There's quite a few good two-year-old races at the back end of the season and sometimes not enough horses to go round so we'd like to find him a good opportunity."

Champagne Stakes (Group 2)
£75,000 added, 2yo only, 7f, Class 1
6 ran
Going: Good, Good to Firm in places

Pos Dr Dist Horse SP Jockey Wgt Trainer
1st (5) Estidhkaar (IRE) 10/11f
P Hanagan
9-3 Richard Hannon
2nd (4) War Envoy (USA) 11/1
R L Moore
9-0 A P O'Brien
3rd (2) nk Aces 18/1
Oisin Murphy
9-0 C Hills
4th (1) 1 Belardo (IRE) 3/1
Andrea Atzeni
9-0 R Varian
5th (3) Room Key 20/1
Dane O'Neill
9-0 Eve Johnson Houghton
6th (6) Glenalmond (IRE) 6/1
D Tudhope
9-0 K R Burke


Year Horse Trainer Jockey Owner SP

2013 Outstrip Charlie Appleby Mikael Barzalona Godolphin 13/8 jf
2012 Toronado Richard Hannon Richard Hughes Carmichael Humber 11/4
2011 Trumpet Major Richard Hannon Richard Hughes John Manley 7/1
2010 Saamidd Saeed bin Suroor Frankie Dettori Godolphin 5/6 fav
2009 Poet’s Voice Saeed bin Suroor Frankie Dettori Godolphin 10/1
2008 Westphalia Aidan O’Brien IRE Johnny Murtagh M Tabor, D Smith, S Magnier 100/30
2007 McCartney Mark Johnston Ryan Moore Sheikh Mohammed 8/1
2006 Vital Equine Eoghan O'Neill Richard Mullen Fasthandle Ltd 16/1
2005 DH Close To You Terry Mills John Egan Miss J A Leighs 8/1
DH Silent Times Eoghan O'Neiill Jamie Spencer John Fretwell 6/1
2004 Etlaala Barry Hills Richard Hills Hamdan Al Maktoum 6/1
2003 Lucky Story Mark Johnston Darryll Holland Abdulla Buhaleeba 2/1
2002 Almushahar David Loder Frankie Dettori Hamdan Al Maktoum 8/11 fav
2001 Dubai Destination David Loder Frankie Dettori Sheikh Mohammed 3/1
2000 Noverre David Loder FR Frankie Dettori Godolphin SNC 7/2
1999 Distant Music Barry Hills Michael Hills Khalid Abdullah 13/8 fav

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