Bank cashes in to beat Salsabeel at Newmarket
Beat The Bank made a successful start to life with Andrew Balding when pipping Salsabeel in the EBF Stallions bet365 Conditions Stakes at Newmarket.
Via Egnatia forced the issue as the field approached the dip, but he was bisected by the eventual winner and 5-4 favourite Salsabeel inside the last of seven furlongs.
The latter was ill at ease once he hit the rising ground and lacked the maturity of the straight-laced winner, who was a neck too good for jockey Oisin Murphy.
Beat The Bank (7-1) won on his debut at Dundalk in February but has since been transferred to Balding's yard, having previously been in the care of Darren Bunyan.
Balding said: "He looked a nice horse, I've not had him that long and he came in great condition so he didn't need a lot of work.
"He is a talented horse. I still think there's a bit more to come from him and he's by a very underrated stallion (Paco Boy).
"He's already gelded so we've not got any great plans, but he might make up into a Jersey Stakes horse.
"I thought he would run well, as a couple of bits of work he has done have been quite impressive.
"The brief from the owner was to try and have runners for Royal Ascot and that is the most likely target."
He added: "There's a Listed race back here in May (King Charles) and we might have a look at that, so I'll discuss it with the owner.
"He's a new owner for me (Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha), he's the chairman of Leicester City but he couldn't be here as I believe they have quite a big game tonight!"
The lightly-raced Next Stage (4-1) got his career back on track with a stylish win in the Plusvital Racing Genepak Handicap to give Murphy a quickfire double.
Providing Godolphin with a third winner of the afternoon, following on from Charlie Appleby's Night Circus and Sound And Silence, the four-year-old is trained by Saeed bin Suroor.
A winner on his debut at two, he was second to subsequent Royal Ascot winner Defrocked in June before finishing last at Salisbury three weeks later, and this was his first run since.
Sacred Act travelled smoothly into contention and looked a big threat before tiring close home and he was beaten for second by the staying-on Shaiyem.
Bin Suroor said: "The horse has been working well on a morning and his last piece of work went really well.
"He's a nice horse for the future, but he still needs to improve a lot if we're looking at taking him to Royal Ascot. He will need another race before then, he's still carrying a lot of condition but I thought he'd win.
"We need to get him in against better horses to find out how good he is. He was a little bit fresh but that's him, he's still learning and I'm sure he'll learn a lot from this race. We'll look for another handicap at a mile or 10 furlongs."
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Jockey Frankie Dettori, trainer John Gosden and owner/breeder Anthony Oppenheimer teamed up for Investec Derby glory with Golden Horn in 2015 and they are dreaming of success again in the premier British Classic with the unbeaten Cracksman.