Mrs Danvers secures a high-profile win for Jonathan Portman
PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
By Jack Haynes 4:19PM 16 JUL 2016
Report: Newbury, Saturday
Weatherbys Super Sprint 5f, 2yo
JONATHAN PORTMAN warned punters on Saturday morning that the drying ground may be against 9-2 joint-favourite Mrs Danvers – but any worries were quickly eased as the filly maintained her unbeaten record in the lucrative sales race.
The Lambourn trainer landed the first prize of £122,925 with the daughter of Hellvelyn, who was steered to a relatively straightforward victory by Luke Morris, adding another high-profile victory to his CV this season.
Portman is eyeing a return to the Berkshire track next month with Mrs Danvers, targeting the Listed Bathwick Tyres St Hugh’s Fillies’ Stakes at Newbury on August 12.
The winning trainer said: “The Molecomb is a possibility but I’d say the St Hugh’s Stakes back here is more likely.
“When I went to see the horse as a yearling at the breaking yard I thought that’s just the sort of filly I’d like for the Super Sprint, so it’s nice I’ve got a good eye as well! And I told the owners in February I had a filly that will win – or at least run – in the Super Sprint.
“She had to prove she handled the faster ground but the best thing about her is she’s so professional and was not fazed having horses around her. She’s exceeded my expectations.”
Spare a thought for Clark
Morris, who enjoyed a first Royal Ascot success aboard Prince Of Lir in the Norfolk Stakes last month, kept it simple on Mrs Danvers to land the spoils and later offered his thoughts to Ryan Clark, who was onboard for her previous two wins but could not make the low weight of 8st.
Morris said: “The ground was a slight concern but she handled it and she’s better over 5f as she has a lot of natural speed. It’s great to win a race like this, but I feel sorry for Ryan Clark, who has ridden her but couldn’t do the weight today. I’m sure he’ll have his day on her.
“She put the race to bed very easily. In hindsight I could have held on to her a little longer, but I’ll be disappointed if she isn’t a black-type filly.”
Hannon happy with Clouds
Stormy Clouds, trained by Richard Hannon, briefly threatened in the final furlong, staying on strongly from the rear of the field.
However, there was never any real worry for Morris with Mrs Danvers repelling all dangers, ensuring Stormy Clouds was a length and a quarter back in second at 20-1 and the other joint-favourite, Clem Fandango, the same distance back in third.
Despite the Hannon family being denied a ninth victory in the race, owners Chris Giles and Richard Webb picked up £52,275 in prize-money.
Hannon said: “I’m delighted with Stormy Clouds, who stayed on right to the line. She’s back to her best and the blinkers did the trick.”