Connections had been concerned about the ground for Andrew Balding’s mare but she showed she could deal with it and made a late challenge to win the race from The Black Princess
BLOND ME rubbished any stamina doubts to win the Group 2 Middleton Stakes at York.
Andrew Balding’s mare was sent off the 11-1 outsider of the quartet, but it was she who stayed on best to get the better of favourite The Black Princess under Oisin Murphy.
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Smart South African performer Smart Call ran an eyecatching race in third, while last year’s Breeders’ Cup winner Queen’s Trust came home last.
Murphy said: “The ground was a concern, but fair play to Andrew and Mrs Keller as they took a chance to run her and it’s paid dividends.
“It’s a big York meeting and I wanted a winner so I thought I would try (a different racing line).
“Looking at her action, you would think she wants firm ground so maybe she’s just improved a bit.”
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Balding was not at the track but was represented by his wife Anna Lisa, who said: “We’re over the moon as we didn’t think she would handle the ground.
“She picked up really well and has strengthened up well over the winter.
“I’ve no idea were she will go next.”
Sir Michael Stoute was delighted with the run of South African import Smart Call, who was third, one place ahead of stablemate Queen’s Trust.
He said: “I’m very pleased with Smart Call. She had not run for 16 months so you would think she would come on for it.
“She bounces off fast ground, it was pleasing to see her run so well. I’ve no idea where she goes next.
“Queen’s Trust just got a little tired in the last furlong.”