Eydon advances in Listed Bet365 Feilden Stakes

April 14, 2022

Trainer Roger Varian will draw up an “ambitious plan” with Eydon who advanced his claims for a potential outing in this year’s Cazoo Derby at Epsom Downs when opening his account in style in the bet365 Feilden Stakes (1m 1f) at Newmarket this afternoon.

Entering the race as the only runner without a victory to his name, the son of Olden Times soon changed that statistic when avenging his odds-on defeat at Newcastle 54 days ago to give Newmarket based Varian his first victory in the Listed contest.

Moving powerfully into contention on the outside of the field in the hands of David Egan the 22-1 chance surged into a lead he would not surrender inside the final quarter mile.

Demonstrating that stamina will be his forte Eydon, continued to draw away from his rivals inside the final furlong before crossing the line three and a quarter lengths clear of Masekela (2-1 Favourite) to follow in the hoofprints of his sire who claimed the race in 2001.

Varian said: “I got it wrong on his second start but he ran very well on his debut and if you watch that back, he looked a jolly nice horse although he didn’t win.

“As we were saddling him we said the horse will be delighted that he didn’t have to go up the A1 today and he has probably enjoyed a short trip down the road.

“We always thought he would be better on grass than on the all-weather and his work over the last fortnight had been good.”

Although plenty of plaudits will go to Varian for the victory the Classic-winning trainer admitted that a lot of the credit belongs to Eydon’s owner Prince Faisal.

He added: “I have to thank Prince Faisal really, A for sending me the horse to train as he has been very supportive of me throughout my career.

“Prince Faisal is very knowledgeable, and he saw the promise from this horse on his debut. He was entered in the Craven and we weighed up the Craven and the Feilden, but we thought nine furlongs would suit him.

“He said don’t go for a novice or a maiden, go for the Feilden if you are happy with him and we were. The Prince has had so many great horses and he owned the sire Olden Times who won this race a few years ago.”

While Varian stopped short of confirming where Eydon, who holds entries in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, Dante Stakes and Cazoo Derby, would go next he admitted he will take aim at bigger and better prizes.

Varian continued: “I won’t make any decisions without speaking to the Prince. We will see how he comes out of the race but he is well entered up.

“I’m not sure where we go next, but he has got all the entries. The way he won here he would justify an ambitious plan and is something to look forward to I think.”

There was a touching moment following the conclusion of the Pat Smullen Memorial Handicap, which was won by well supported 9-2 chance Coase, after jockeys joined together on the podium with the late Classic winning rider’s widow Frances Crowley.

Riders including Ryan Moore, William Buick and Tom Marquand stood alongside the mother of three following the 1m handicap which was named in honour of the nine-time Irish champion Flat jockey who died following a battle with cancer in September of 2020.

In a career spanning more than 20 years Smullen rode a host of big race winners around the world including the 2016 Derby at Epsom Downs aboard Harzand and the 2003 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Refuse To Bend.

Speaking after the race Crowley said: “It is lovely to be here and it is so good of Ted and Sue (Durcan) to sponsor the race. They were among our best friends from our Dubai days.

“It was really good of the jockeys to come out and it was a surprise. It was really lovely.

“I suppose it would have to be Refuse To Bend that was his best winner here. I wasn’t here as I just had our first daughter in 2003 and his dad had been diagnosed with cancer, so it meant a lot at the time.

“I love to keep involved with racing and meeting the lads reminded me of Pat.”

As for Coase, winning trainer Michael Wigham praised his toughness after getting the better of Intellogent by a short-head under Marco Ghiani.

He said: “He has thrived on his racing throughout the winter. I would not normally back them up like I have him but he has been telling me to run him.

“We’ve always liked him and we thought and we felt he would win a better handicap. He did it well and got a good ride.”

Owner breeder Gaie Johnson Houghton was on hand to celebrate the victory of her “special” star Accidental Agent (13-2) in the bet365 Handicap. However, she admitted his appearance in the race was nearly a non-starter yesterday.

Although not operating at the same level that saw him capture Group One glory in the 2018 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot the evergreen eight year old demonstrated he still retains plenty of ability after landing the 7f event by two lengths.

She said: “He is unbelievable. He looks very wooly. He took a shoe off and was lame yesterday and he spent the day in the spa. He was sound though.

“He is such a happy horse this year. He has always been special. He has been unbelievable and is just a star and he has now won over £700,000.”

The Jockey Club Press Release

Jonathan Stettin is a New York Legend. He's been a Horseplayer, earning his living at the track, since he was 19 years old. @jonathanstettin

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