Newbury Racecourse's last day of the Flat season sees Group 3 honours for Best Solution, Nebo & Frankie
The tenth running of Worthington's Armed Forces Raceday brought the curtain down on the 2017 Flat season at Newbury Racecourse - and included a treble for Frankie Dettori and two tantalising seconds for Manton trainer Brian Meehan.
To mark the anniversary of the raceday, all runners carrying the Number 10 wore specially designed number cloths for the eight-race card. Newbury Racecourse welcomed current serving members of the Armed Forces and members of the Royal British Legion and also hosted the launch of the local 2017 Poppy Appeal with a crowd of 7,300 there to watch.
The official going for the eight-race card was Soft. The feature race, the £60,000 Group 3 Worthington's "Indigo Leisure" Stakes, went the way of Best Solution in the famous blue silks of Godolphin.
The 6/1 chance, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by Pat Cosgrave, tracked the other Godolphin runner Frontiersman (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle) and travelled well throughout the mile and a half. The three-year-old Kodiac colt went into the lead well over a furlong from home as Frontiersman began to fade and never looked in any serious danger as he drew steadily clear.
Raheen House, trained at Manton by Brian Meehan and ridden Jamie Spencer, stayed on well to take second, a length and three-quarters behind the winner with Danehill Kodiac (Richard Hannon/Sean Levey) taking third, another length and a half in arrears.
Tommy Burns, travelling manager for Godolphin, said: "Best Solution is a solid Group race performer. He didn't like the ground when he ran in the Derby earlier in the season and the ground also went against him last time in Germany.
"The soft ground today is what he likes. That will be it in Europe for him I would imagine and he will be going out to Dubai for the winter."
Winning jockey Pat Cosgrave added: "Best Solution won a Derby trial earlier in the season (the Listed Lingfield Derby Trial) and then ran in the Derby. The Derby is obviously always a very tough race and the ground went against him, it was too quick."
"He has been campaigned at a high level this season and is a grand horse to have around. The ground is the key to him - he loved the conditions today."
The second Group 3 contest on Worthington's Armed Forces Raceday was the £40,000 Bathwick Tyres Stakes, staged over seven furlongs for two-year-olds. This contest went to 4/1 chance Nebo, who gained a deserved success after four placings in G2 company during 2017.
Partnered by Frankie Dettori, this Kodiac colt was delivered to challenge entering the final furlong and passed the favourite and long-time leader Mythical Magic (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle) and then Tangled (Richard Hannon/Sean Levey) to go on and win by half a length.
Winning trainer Charlie Hills said: "He handles this ground and I thought it was a masterclass ride from Frankie. He got a good lead from the Godolphin (Mythical Magic) and Richard Hannon (Tangled) horses."
"He has been placed in four G2 races this year and has been so consistent. He will have a break now and we will look at bringing him back in the Greenham and then go down the Commonwealth Cup route."
Julie Martin, who owns Nebo along with her husband David, added: "I think he is going to be amazing next year. He was well-bought by Jill Lamb and after lots of seconds this year, it is fantastic to have won a nice race with him."
Frankie Dettori made it a double with an impressive ride in the Worthington's Alzheimer's Society Handicap over a mile and two furlongs on the favourite Century Dream.
The three-year-old Cape Cross colt was held up at the rear of the field before making stealthy progress two furlongs out. He took the lead entering the final half-furlong and stayed on strongly to pass the post a length and a quarter ahead of Abdon (Sir Michael Stoute/Georgia Cox).
After his victory, Frankie Dettori made a very careful dismount - disappointing the crowd who were ready with their cameras for one of his signature flying dismounts. Frankie's reaction - below - was a give me chance gesture! Perhaps he's being a bit more careful with those legs ahead of the Breeders' Cup.
Winning trainer Simon Crisford said: "I am very pleased, that is the fourth win of the year for Century Dream. He has run with credit all year and we were keen to try 10 furlongs today. We know now he gets the trip and that opens up options for the future."
"I don't have any idea yet as to what we will do with him next year. We will see how he develops over the winter. Hopefully, he should develop physically and come back a stronger horse next year to have a fruitful four-year-old career."
Then Frankie Dettori made it a treble riding two-year-old filly Highgarden - another Frankie favourite - to win the second division of the mile Conundrum EBF Fillies' Novice Race.
Trained by John Gosden, the filly was making her debut. Sent to the front, she took command and scored by a decisive two and a quarter lengths from Spirit Of Appin (Brian Meehan/Jamie Spencer).
Hugo Lascelles, whose wife Joanna part owns Highgarden, said: "That was a very nice debut. She is a nice looking filly from a good family and John has been pleased with her work at home. She is one from one and we will now put her away and look forward to next year."
The first division of the Fillies’ Novice contest was won by Red Starlight under Sean Levey - trained by Marlborough’s Richard Hannon.
Before racing began, the ceremonial Poppy was delivered in spectacular style by five members of by the Royal British Legion’s Parachute Display Team. In attendance was the Waterloo Band and Bugles of the Rifles who led a sing-along after the final race outside the Weighing Room. There was a variety of static displays including a PUMA helicopter from RAF Benson and vintage military vehicles accompanied by volunteers from the Homefront organisation.