Sea­henge bat­tles to Cham­pagne win

Sunday Sun - - Racing -

SEA­HENGE booked his ticket to next month’s Dar­ley De­whurst Stakes at New­mar­ket with a hard-fought vic­tory in the Howcroft Industrial Sup­plies Cham­pagne Stakes at Don­caster.

Ai­dan O’Brien’s ap­par­ent sec­ond string caused a mi­nor sur­prise as he wore down the game Hey Ga­man close home.

While Ryan Moore was aboard the shorter-priced Men­delssohn, it was Don­nacha O’Brien who landed the Group Two hon­ours on Sea­henge (8-1), who had only fin­ished fifth be­hind Ex­pert Eye in the Vintage Stakes at Good­wood.

Dream To­day and Hey Ga­man were the two lead­ers un­til the race got se­ri­ous in the fi­nal quar­ter mile.

Men­delssohn was one of the first beaten while Sea­henge came with a strong chal­lenge to pip the gritty Hey Ga­man by a neck. Mythical Magic was third.

Sea­henge was given a quote of 25-1 for the Qipco 2000 Guineas with Paddy Power.

O’Brien se­nior, en­joy­ing a sec­ond Cham­pagne tri­umph af­ter West­phalia in 2008, said: “Don­nacha won his maiden on him at Naas and he was very green. He’s a big horse and then he went to Good­wood. Ryan rode him and loved him, but said he was very green and baby­ish. Ob­vi­ously he learnt a lot there.

“Don­nacha gave him a lovely ride to­day and he came home well. He won very well and you’d be de­lighted with him.

“Don­nacha went out to teach him a lot and ed­u­cate him like we do with all our two-year-olds.

“They didn’t go very fast so he did well to win.”

He added: “With him we came here think­ing he could be one for the De­whurst and that looks the ob­vi­ous next step. He’ll be suited by bet­ter ground.”

The win­ning rider said: “He was very ag­gres­sive go­ing down to the start, so I wanted to take my time with him.

“They went a nice gal­lop so got a lead and he stayed on well.

“When they quick­ened from the three I just got caught a bit, but I let him find his feet and when he picked up two out I thought he’d get there.

“My lad will be suited with step­ping up in trip again and I think he’s a nice horse.

“He’s still a bit baby­ish but has plenty of abil­ity.”

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