Action Point passes Rose Bowl test in style

By Sports Desk July 21, 2023

Archie Watson has some fine sprinters in his care and Action Point signalled himself as another top prospect, taking the Listed Ire-Incentive – It Pays To Buy Irish Rose Bowl Stakes at Newbury.

Hollie Doyle was positive from the start of the six-furlong heat and the son of Blue Point was always happy on the front end, travelling sweetly.

Though the 14-1 shot was tracked by the well-supported Asadna, with the former George Boughey-trained colt making his debut for Alice Haynes, the 5-4 favourite failed to pick up when Oisin Murphy asked the question two furlongs out.

Action Point, who had won on his Kempton all-weather debut in April, but had been drawn on the wrong side when 15th of 23 home in the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot, kept finding more and had plenty in the locker to fend off Shagraan, who made late headway to snatch second from Asadna.

Cogitate may have caught trainer Charlie Hills by surprise, yet signalled himself a smart prospect after producing an eyecatching debut, sparking Doyle’s double on the card.

The 14-1 chance took the first division of the R &M Electrical EBF Novice Stakes with some aplomb.

The son of Churchill travelled well throughout and picked up long-time leader and eventual third Maximum Dividend with ease inside the final furlong, and went on to beat the staying-on Boiling Point by two lengths.

Hills will now target the Acomb Stakes at York, a race the Lambourn yard has won three times with Auction House (1998), Dutch Connection (2014) and Phoenix Of Spain (2018).

He told Racing TV: “He took everything well in his stride, in the preliminaries, went down nice, jumped good and it was a little bit muddling, a little bit messy mid-race, a few horses a bit green, but he got into a good rhythm and the gap opened. He was a little bit green for a couple of strides and then he picked up nicely.

“I wasn’t quite expecting him to do that today. He qualifies for races like the Acomb now, so York, that could suit him well and we have won that a couple of times before. That could be a race we have in mind – that’s a nice gap until then. He’s going to make a lovely three-year-old.”

Warm Spell was a warm order to land the second division and the 8-11 favourite duly obliged under a hand-and-heels ride from David Egan.

Runner-up to the smart Thunder Blue at Goodwood on debut, the Roger Varian-trained Mehmas colt had clearly learned plenty for the experience and Egan was keen to settle him in behind early, before producing a withering run to coast past debutant Skukuza, with Thyer staying on nicely for third.

Varian was in two minds about jumping up to seven furlongs so quickly and said: “David did a good job, he settled in straight from the stalls, he travelled nicely through the race and showed a nice turn of foot. Hopefully he’s a nice horse going forward.

“I think now we’ve gone over seven (furlongs), I think we’ll stick to seven.

“We’ve always felt he’s quite a nice horse and there are some nice two-year-old races coming up and he probably is a horse where we can dip our toe into something nicer, but quite what that is, we’ll have to see what fits.”

Irish raider Night Sparkle (9-2) showed plenty of determination under Dylan Browne McMonagle to take victory in the Uhy Ross Brooke Chartered Accountants Fillies’ Handicap for trainer Michael O’Callaghan.

She followed up her cosy Fairyhouse success last month in fine style, fending off the late thrust of Flash Bardot to score by a comfortable neck in the extended 13-furlong contest.

O’Callaghan may look to York for her next run and said: “It was great and a nice pot to win. She is progressive.

“Dylan is a great young rider and gave her a great ride. He picked her up early in the straight as after riding her at Fairyhouse, he knew all she’d do was stay.

“She stays all day – that’s her asset. We might possibly look at big staying handicaps. I thought earlier in the year she might be one for the Irish Cesarewitch, but maybe we might just look at the Ebor consolation race. We’ll see.

“You just don’t know where these improving mares might stop. She’s won that off top weight and is possibly capable of getting a bit of black type.”

Georgina Nicholls sent out her first Flat winner in almost 20 years as Betties Bay took the bet365 British EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes under Joshua Bryan, beating Bourgeoisie by a nose.

A drop in grade helped the Sir Michael Stoute-trained grey Fox Journey (11-8 favourite) to victory in the Quickmove Handicap under Jim Crowley, his stamina proving too much for Sovereign Spirit.

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