Clive Cox secured his sixth winner in five days with Zonderland (blue cap)
PICTURE: Getty images
By Alex Wiltshire 4:20PM 11 AUG 2016
Report: Salisbury, Thursday
Totepool Sovereign Stakes (Group 3), 1m, colts and geldings 3yo+
MASSAAT, runner-up in the 2,000 Guineas in April, was beaten out of sight as Zonderland trained by the in-form Clive Cox showed raw ability in emerging the comfortable winner of the Group 3 Totepool Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury.
A well-backed 4-5 favourite to return to form following his tailed-off ninth in the Derby, Massaat was given a forceful ride by Paul Hanagan with nothing else wanting to make the running. It made no odds, however, as the pair were beaten as soon as the favourite came under pressure. He was eventually eased and finished last.
Zonderland, who finished sixth in the 2,000 Guineas and was well beaten after missing the break in the Prix Jean Prat last time, showed signs of residual greenness, including hanging quite markedly left in the run to the finish, however he demonstrated clear ability as he breezed into the lead as Massaat floundered.
Jockey Oisin Murphy remained excited by Zonderland’s potential. “He was clearly the best horse on the race,” he said. “He’s still learning and hopefully there’s a bit more to come. It’s definitely worth going up to Group 2 level as you’d have to say he’s a lot better than the class he won at today.”
Cox mulling options
Cox was delighted with the performance. “He’s a horse we’ve always held in high regard at home. Things didn’t go well for him in France and it’s nice to see him get his confidence back with a win. He loves fasdt ground and he’s growing up all the time, physically but also mentally.”
Next on the agenda could be Celebration Mile at Goodwood on August 27. “I don’t think Goodwood gives us as much to worry about as Newmarket and I wouldn’t rule the race out,” he said.
Zonderland also entered the edges of the QEII picture. He can still be backed at 33s with Betfred but is as short as 16-1 with Coral.
Of that race Cox said: “We’ll have to wait and see, but the deeper you get into the autumn the more chance you have of the weather going against you.”