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De Bruyne strikes as Hannon laments Woodcote downgrade

De Bruyne Horse comes clear under Ryan Moore in the Woodcote
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De Bruyne Horse, who races in the familiar silks of a branch of Middleham Park Racing, provided the Hannon yard with its fourth Woodcote in the last five years, although the stable's current licence-holder was ruing the race losing its Listed status.

The Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot could be next for the Ryan Moore-ridden colt, who is named after Manchester City's classy attacking midfielder Kevin de Bruyne.

"It's a massive shame this is not a Listed race," said Richard Hannon, a Woodcote winner with Legendary Lunch and Baitha Alga, while his father Richard snr struck with Thunder Strike in 2013.

"This is the best two-year-old race of the year up to this point, and whoever wins deserves to be a Listed winner, especially as you handle this track and Tattenham Corner."

Taking a break from Pattern-race politics, the trainer added of the winning favourite: "I loved his attitude and I think he'll get a trip the way he behaves. He'll get better as he gets older and I don't think he's just a sharp, fast two-year-old."

De Bruyne Horse is a stand-out 12-1 with William Hill for the Coventry Stakes, which Hannon confirmed would be the target for his other smart juvenile Denaar.

Up for the Cup

Royal Ascot is also on the agenda for G K Chesterton, who won the mile handicap in front of owner Sheikh Mohammed under a fine front-running ride from William Buick.

Coral offer 16-1 for the Royal Hunt Cup about G K Chesterton, who had won at Newmarket the time before and was equipped with cheekpieces, and a chuffed Charlie Appleby said: "It's nice to have a winner with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed here. 

"The Hunt Cup was the plan and we needed to find a few pounds to get in, so hopefully we've done that. It was a fantastic ride from William."

Sleepy on the ball for Morrison

Hughie Morrison, fighting to clear his name after one of his horses tested positive for an anabolic steroid, joked Not So Sleepy's success in the 1m2f handicap would pay for last week's lawyer's bill, but said he was still awaiting developments from the BHA in the case.

"We've made progress from our end, but I don't want to say any more," he said. "We care dreadfully and are doing everything we can."

The trainer went on to pay tribute to his team at home and in particular Tom Pirie for harnessing the 10-1 winner's enthusiasm.

He added: "They've done an amazing job on him. Without them this horse would be somewhere on the A34!

"He ran nicely the other day and I woke up last Saturday and saw there was a mile-and-a-quarter race he could run in, and I'm delighted for the owners James and Pam Blyth, who also bred him."

Jersey option

Roger Varian was another trainer with Royal Ascot on his mind after Solomon's Bay landed the Listed Surrey Stakes, setting up a possible tilt at the Jersey.

"He's a bright prospect for the rest of the season," said Varian.


THE BUZZ

Knot a problem

William Muir wore a slightly concerned look when he entered the weighing room as one of Calvados Spirit's owners had not brought a tie.

"Where will I get one from?" Muir asked, only to be rescued by Kempton clerk of the course Barney Clifford, helping out with raceday duties at his track's sister venue.

"I try to avoid wearing them, but you never know when you'll need a tie," said Clifford, who dashed to his car to save the day.


Thought for the day

John Gosden put a stop to the runaway Classic train that is Aidan O'Brien and their clashes this term could be one of the highlights of the season. Round two takes place on Saturday with the pair responsible for 11 of the 19 Investec Derby runners.


Results and analysis

He'll get better as he gets older and I don't think he's just a sharp, fast two-year-old
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