Shamardal filly Sheikha Reika finally gets off the mark in good style
550,000gns yearling is a half-sister to Lumiere
Roger Varian's fine form continued at Newmarket on Thursday as the trainer sent out an impressive winner of the 7f maiden fillies' stakes in Sheikha Reika.
In the colours of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum, she stretched an impressive three lengths away from her rivals to record a first victory, having finished second on all three of her starts as a two-year-old.
That juvenile form has been made to look more impressive of late, with Sheikha Reika having finished second to Wednesday's Nell Gwyn Stakes winner Soliloquy at Ascot on debut, while her Nottingham conqueror Hadith went on to win the Listed Montrose Fillies' Stakes last year.
"She worked like a nice filly last year but I got her beaten three times," said Varian. "I'm delighted she's won and I think she's a nice one to look forward to."
Sheikha Reika has every right to be good on breeding and her win could hardly be more timely given she is a daughter of Shamardal, whose own great sire Giant's Causeway died earlier this week.
Bred by Mark Johnston Racing, she is a half-sister to that trainer's Cheveley Park Stakes winner Lumiere and was signed for by Varian at 550,000gns during Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2016, having been consigned by Grove Stud.
Sheikha Reika wasn't the only well-bred individual to get on the scoresheet on Thursday when Breath Caught scored on his handicap debut in the final race at Newmarket.
The son of Bated Breath is a half-brother to four-time Group 1 hero Twice Over, a son of Observatory who stands at Drakenstein Stud in South Africa.
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