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Fencing (4): pulled comfortably clear of his Listed rivals

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Paradise for Gosden and Buick after Fencing win

Report: Ascot, Wednesday

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Paradise Stakes (Listed) 1m, straight course, 4yo+

FENCING, sixth in last year's 2,000 Guineas and third in the Dante, took the drop to Listed company in his stride, comfortably accounting for his seven rivals in a manner that suggested should he step back up into Group company, victory would not be beyond him.

Third on debut at two, Fencing was not found a maiden but rather, reflecting the high esteem in which he was held, landed the Listed Washington Singer on his next start.

That proved to be his only victory before his Paradise Stakes success, having rounded out his two-year-old campaign with a creditable third to Camelot in the Racing Post Trophy.

Having been sent off 25-1 for the Guineas, and a 7-2 shot for the Dante, his Classic campaign tapered off with unplaced efforts in the St James's Palace and the Group 2 Challenge Stakes.

Gelded over the winter, champion trainer John Gosden decided to drop him to Listed company for the first time since his last win at two, and he duly obliged, powering clear of his rivals when William Buick pushed the button.

Connections will be hoping that a confidence-boosting win, along with the gelding operation can finally see him win in Group company and Gosden said: "He wasn't going to be a stallion and it's amazing how much happier he is now. He was quite a tense horse and didn't give himself much chance.

"We'll stick to a mile, he's had a bit of bad luck and he's always been kept in good company, so he enjoyed today. He's returned a bigger, braver horse for the operation and he ran well in the Guineas and the Dante and hopefully this season will be different."

Fencing returned a 9-2 shot, two and a half lengths clear of Sovereign Debt, with the 11-4 favourite Stipulate a short head further back in third.


Ninjago Ascot 01/05/2013

Ninjago (yellow cap, left) "could well be Group class," said Richard Hughes

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Pavilion Stakes (Listed) 6f, 3yo

NINJAGO made a winning start to his three-year-old campaign, powering clear of his 12 rivals in impressive fashion under a lovely ride from champion jockey Richard Hughes.

Settled towards the rear, Hughes showed great patience and no small amount of confidence in his mount, weaving his way through rivals before losing ground by pulling wide to the far side, just to guarantee a clear run, and delivering his charge late.

It was an impressive display, with Hughes oozing confidence, and when his challenge was finally delivered Ninjago picked up impressively.

From several lengths off the pace he came through to win at Listed level for the first time with the minimum of fuss, putting a length and a half between himself and runner-up Intibaah by the line.

"He's a good horse, he won that race at Newmarket where the two-year-olds take on three-year-olds and you need a good horse to do that," said Hughes. The Hannons won that same race in 2007 with Paco Boy.

"He also had wind issues last year, and we've fixed that. He was good enough to still be winning with that," added Hughes.

"He travelled really well today and he could well be Group class. He's been going well at home, but we weren't sure how well as he worked the other day with Toronado and he [Toronado] was climbing all over the back of him."

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