On the back of two novice wins over a mile, the John and Thady Gosden trained 3-year-old filly, Laurel, made an impressive step forward in finishing runner-up to Fonteyn in Grade 1 company for the first time at Newmarket today.
Following up on a dominant display at Kempton Park 10 days ago, in only her third race, the bay filly by Kingman out of Promising Lead fell only marginally short of winning the 1 mile Royal Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes for 3yo+ fillies on the July Course at Newmarket.
Robert Havlin made certain that his mount was well covered-up in the early stages of the race, tucking her in behind Homeless Songs (5/2), Prosperous Voyage (6/1) and Saffron Beach (6/4f), who was prominent before weakening over 2f out.
Laurel made her move with just over a furlong to go emerging through a gap between Prosperous Voyage and the fast-fading Saffron Beach.
She pulled half-a-length clear of the field down the centre but took the eventual winner of the race Fonteyn (16/1), who was travelling well under Neil Callan, with her down the rail. Once in front, Laurel was ridden hard and stayed on strongly before being headed in the final 110 yards and losing by 3/4 length.
Although this wasn’t perhaps the strongest Group 1 mile contest of the year for 3-year-olds plus, it was nevertheless a huge step up from the competition that Laurel has faced before now.
At Kempton, after Laurel’s previous race, Thady Gosden did not get carried away. “She has plenty of scope and size” was about all he had to say before reminding viewers on Racing TV that “This was only her second race.”
It will be interesting to see what connections decide to do next with Laurel. She may now go to Ascot for the British Champions Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes or be put away until next year.