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'That felt very good' - Liberty Lane impresses Clifford Lee with debut success

Liberty Lane: impressive winner on debut under Clifford Lee
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Wednesday: Nottingham

Remember the name was the advice from commentator Alex Fussey as Liberty Lane approached the line in the 1m½f novice on a sparkling debut for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid.

Golden Horn, Adayar and Desert Crown are among recent Derby winners who won for the first time at Nottingham and this EBF-sponsored race is named after 1999 Epsom Classic scorer Oath.

The Karl Burke-trained Liberty Lane was prominent throughout and asserted clear in the final two furlongs, galloping relentlessly to a five-length victory under Clifford Lee.

Lee said: "That felt very good. He travelled well throughout and relished the ease in the ground. He’s a lovely horse, tries hard and had been working really well at home.

"He’s a big colt but he’s so chilled out and relaxes really nicely. Lucy [Burke] has been riding him a lot at home and I’d galloped him a few times. He’s progressed really nicely."

Have Secret, trained by Richard Fahey, won the other £20,000 race – the 1m2f nursery – by three and a quarter lengths under Oisin Orr, who was sporting the silks of the late Lady Mimi Manton. The colt was Manton’s final winner at Haydock in August before her death at the age of 97.

Building momentum

Talented apprentice Adam Farragher missed the majority of the season due to a fall on the gallops two days before he was due to ride Lincoln favourite Mujtaba, but is starting to make up for lost time and struck on both his mounts.

Farragher fractured the navicular bone in his foot in March and spent 13 weeks in a cast, returning to the saddle at the end of August. 

He landed the third double of his burgeoning career aboard the Harry Eustace-trained Aldbourne in the 1m2f apprentice handicap and Qoya for his boss William Haggas in the 1m6f fillies’ handicap.

Aldbourne: initiated a double for Adam Farragher

Farragher said: "It’s been tough getting back, getting your foot through the door and I’ve been trying to build back those connections.

"It was frustrating being on the sidelines, but I had to take it on the chin and there’s plenty of worse things going on in the world. We tend to get greedy and the more the ball now gets rolling, the hungrier you become looking for the next winner."

Bitter blow

It was a day of mixed fortunes for Jane Chapple-Hyam, whose team returned to Newmarket with two winners but without one of their three runners.

Save The World, owned by the Gredleys, won the 6f novice and First Officer, owned by Bryan Hirst and the trainer, struck in the 1m2f handicap on his stable debut. Opera Ghost suffered a fatal heart attack in the 1m2f nursery.

Hollie Doyle rode both the winners and said: "It was terrible for the whole team to lose Opera Ghost and that's the ups and downs of racing.

"Jane has improved First Officer a hell of a lot and she thought he would run a big race judging by his work, while Save The World took a big step forward from Yarmouth, which looked strong form."

Pre-racing drama

The opening race was delayed by half an hour after a fire alarm went off in the Centenary stand, with two fire engine crews attending the track to investigate.

A pre-racing fire alarm check took place before midday, but around an hour later at 1pm, racegoers, jockeys and stewards were forced to evacuate the stands.

Tom Ryall, Nottingham’s clerk of the course, said: "The fire alarm went off in the Centenary stand, where the stewards and jockeys are based, so it became an integrity issue as well as safety.

"The stand was evacuated, the firemen found the alarm that detected the smoke, did a thorough check and could not find a fire. They reset the fire alarm system and it has not gone off since, so the fire brigade were happy for us to start racing."

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He’s a lovely horse, tries hard and had been working really well at home
E.W. Terms