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'I never felt any doubt' - Opera Gift impresses in City Bowl for course chairman

Opera Gift: announced himself as a progressive stayer with victory in the City Bowl
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While Alcohol Free could not provide a dream Classic success at Newmarket for Salisbury racecourse chairman Jeff Smith, the owner was celebrating a win at his track's feature race on Sunday with the progressive Opera Gift.

The Andrew Balding-trained four-year-old travelled powerfully in the AJN Steelstock-backed City Bowl before quickening away in the final stages to record a two-and-a-quarter length victory.

Opera Gift was cut to 12-1 (from 20) for the Ebor with Unibet, and jockey David Probert believes the best is yet to come from the lightly-raced son of Nathaniel.

He said: "His work at home has been okay and I just thought the ground might be a bit too quick for him, but his form was solid. That was a very gutsy performance and he's seen it out great.

"We got racing a long way out but I still had plenty of horse underneath me from the two pole. I never felt any doubt really." 

Probert added of future targets: "I'll leave it to Andrew and Mr Smith but he's a very nice progressive type."

Luckless Atzeni unseated again

There was drama in the 7f novice stakes as 5-4 favourite Hamoudi unseated jockey Andrea Atzeni when making a challenge with two furlongs to go. 

It was the second time Hamoudi has unseated Atzeni in his three-race career, but the jockey was reported to be fine following the race. Walls Of Kano kept on to win for Brian Meehan and jockey Martin Dwyer.

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We got racing a long way out but I still had plenty of horse underneath me from the two pole. I never felt any doubt really
E.W. Terms