Iberian shines in Champagne Stakes for Hills team

Iberian stamped his class on the Betfred Champagne Stakes with an authoritative Group Two success for Tom Marquand and Charlie Hills.

Hills’ youngster went into plenty of notebooks when making an impressive debut at Newbury, but inexperience took its toll at Goodwood when immediately thrust into Group Two company in the Vintage Stakes.

A length second to Haatem on that occasion, connections retained the faith in the exciting son of Lope De Vega, who had another Richard Hannon-trained runner in his way on Town Moor in the shape of the unbeaten Rosallion.

Marquand was keen to shadow the 5-6 favourite up the Doncaster straight, but whereas Rosallion was unable to land a blow when push came to shove, Iberian demonstrated his class, and once hitting the front a furlong out, he surged clear to come home two lengths ahead of runner-up Sunway.

The story of the pre-race was the weakness in the betting of favourite Rosallion, who went off close to even money having been as short as 2/5 this morning, finishing in third at the line.

That victory saw the winner trimmed into 20/1 for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket next season.

Winning trainer Hills said: “His work was so good leading up to this race and I love to see him do it on the track.

“He’s beaten some very nice horses today and did it with great professionalism.

“The Dewhurst is likely where we have to go now. He should stay further in the future. He looks the part!”

Annaf noses out Significantly in Portland

Annaf’s class came to the fore as he carried top-weight to a game victory in the Betfred Portland Handicap at Doncaster.

Mick Appleby’s four-year-old has been a regular in Group-race company this season and made the podium at Royal Ascot when third in the King’s Stand Stakes.

However, the 7-1 shot was remarkably still a maiden on turf prior to making his 23rd overall career start in the hands of Rossa Ryan.

Annaf (green) just gets the better of Significantly in the Portland Handicap
Image: Annaf (green) just gets the better of Significantly in the Portland Handicap

Ridden with supreme confidence by the in-form jockey, the duo picked their way through a stacked field and pulled out all the stops to prevail in a photo-finish over Julie Camacho’s Significantly.

The victory continued a fine week on Turf Moor for Oakham-based Appleby who enjoyed Flying Childers success with the Breeders’ Cup-bound Big Evs on Friday.

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