Newmarket-based trainer James Ferguson ended a winless spell stretching back some 70 days and 48 runners when Deauville Legend (11-2) recorded a game victory in the Group Three Bahrain Trophy (1m 5f) on day one of the Moët & Chandon July Festival, Ladies Day, at Newmarket this afternoon.
Prominent throughout, the three-year-old Sea The Stars gelding took the lead entering the final furlong and kept on resolutely to hold off the renewed challenge of Al Qareem (15-2) by a head. Walk Of Stars (100-30) was another short-head away in third.
James Ferguson said: “He travelled well. He had come on for that run at Ascot. I thought Danny gave him a cool ride and he stayed every yard of the trip.
“I’m just so grateful to the owner (K K Ho). He is a huge international owner who has been a big supporter of mine pretty much since I’ve started. We will just get back and have a chat with the owner and see what the plan is. I don’t want to put my thoughts into one race at the moment. We’ve obviously got Goodwood to look at and there is also York. There are plenty of good opportunities.
“I would say he was a little unlucky at Ascot but also that he was beaten by a very good horse. When it is a photo it could go either way. I’m not too bothered about it now. I was gutted after Ascot but I’m just delighted now.
“Credit to the team back at home. He stayed every yard of the trip but I still think he has the speed to go a mile and a half. I’ve not had a massive chat with Danny since but I would be interested to see what he says.
“We could go travelling as he is pretty straightforward. He is not a horse that I would have said would have been good at travelling early in his career. He is maturing with every race and I couldn’t be prouder of him.”
Successful jockey Daniel Muscutt, who got married at the weekend and lives in nearby Cheveley, said: “He found a nice rhythm from the gate. He is pretty uncomplicated in the race the hardest part was getting him in the stalls but he seems to be getting better each start.
“I was mindful the pace did drop off half way. He is a horse with a big stride and that is a key asset of him. I could sense Ryan (Moore, rider of 9-4 Favourite Zechariah) making headway into the race and I didn’t want to get caught behind Owen Burrows horse (Green Team).
“I knew Al Qareem would keep going and I used that a bit of a target but I picked him up nicely going into the dip and my guy lengthened away nicely. He hit the rising ground strong and stuck at it really well when they came back to fight him towards the end. He was really sticking his neck out so he might have been just looking for a bit of company.
“That would be the biggest winner of my career to date and it is so nice to do it for James who is a big supporter of mine as is the owner. It is great to do it at my home track too.”
Karl Burke, trainer of runner-up Al Qareem, said: “It was a fantastic run and he’s a lovely and progressive horse. Cliff (Lee, jockey) was unlucky last time at Ascot – we were drawn wide going into the first bend and we drilled it into him not to be stuck five wide so he was very positive out of the stalls and maybe it set him alive and he went a little too quick.
“Today we said to let him fall into a rhythm naturally and not fire out as we thought he’d get an easy lead and he did. In hindsight, if I had a radio I’d be telling Cliff to kick early as all he does is keep going.
“We could look at the mile and a half race at Goodwood (Gordon Stakes) for him next.”
Charlie Appleby, the trainer of third home Walk Of Stars, said: “It was a better run and it looks as though we’re slowly getting back on track. He’s a work in progress now he’s gelded but at least that was a better performance than we saw last time.”
The opening British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes (6f) went the way of 12-1 chance Funny Story, who made a striking debut for her owner-breeders Whitsbury Manor Stud and Heather Slade.
A daughter of Havana Grey, who has made an excellent start to his stallion career with 20 winners so far from his first crop, Funny Story showed signs of inexperience in the early stages. When the penny dropped, she made rapid progress to challenge entering the final furlong and lengthened impressively under Hector Crouch to take the honours by a length and three-quarters from 11-8 Favourite Ivory Madonna.
Winning trainer Ralph Beckett said: “She is from a family that I know well. Oasis Dancer won the Tattersalls Million when it was worth that. The dam (Funny Enough) is a sister to him. I trained the dam as a two-year-old then when I left Whitsbury.
“This is first horse I’ve trained for the Harpers (owners of Whitsbury Manor Stud) since I left Whitsbury, all of 12 years ago, which is nice as well.
“She is pretty good obviously and she did that despite being pretty green today. Her jockey commented that she won in spite of not knowing very much. I thought she would run a nice race but I didn’t think she would win.
“All of it impressed me as I didn’t think she would know enough to win today but I was wrong about that. We will stick to six furlongs but she will get seven. It is a fast family.
“We will see how go and see how she comes out of it. She is not a raw two-year-old. She is a tall leggy filly as you can see for one by her sire. She will come on a bundle for it.”
By Graham Clark & Nick Seddon/The Jockey Club
Photo: The Jockey Club/Newmarket Logo