Cazoo May Hill Stakes (Group 2)

THE Group 2 May Hill Stakes saw the market leaders flop, but the race produced a positive story with the success of the progressive Polly Pott for the soon-to-retire Harry Dunlop.

Ridden by Danny Tudhope, the 40/1 outsider travelled well towards the rear of the field and found plenty when produced to challenge Novakai (Karl Burke/Andrea Atzeni) just over a furlong from home.

She took that rival’s measure inside the last and pulled clear to register a shock length-and-a-half success, with rank outsider Perfect Prophet (Ed Walker/Tom Marquand) another three lengths behind in third.

Once again, connections of beaten horses blamed the good to soft ground, but the winning time was faster than all but one of the last seven runnings of that race, with Inspiral less than a second quicker on officially good to firm ground 12 months ago.

The visual impression of races on the straight track so far has been that there is significant give underfoot, but the times have contradicted that impression, and it will be interesting to see how the form works out.

Given Polly Pott had come here rated just 75 and having won low-grade nurseries at Nottingham and Salisbury on her last two starts, it’s hard to rate the form highly, and with favourite and second favourite Dance In The Grass and Frankness trailing home second last and last respectively, that notion is given further substance.

That said, it’s always pleasing to see a small operation gain reward for honest endeavour, and particularly so in the case of Harry Dunlop, who has enjoyed a remarkable run of success since taking the sad decision that he could no longer justify the expense of maintaining a racing stable.

It’s also been a remarkable year for the Megson family of Leeds, in whose colours Polly Pott runs. They gained a surprise win at the Cheltenham Festival in March when Global Citizen made all to win the Grand Annual, so to bookend the year with a Group 2 win on the flat must be a tremendous thrill for them.

Park Hill Stakes

The official ratings were no great guide to the first group race of the day, and it was a similar story in the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes, with winner Mimikyu (John & Thady Gosden/Frankie Dettori) rated a stone inferior to favourite and runner-up Eshaada (Roger Varian/Jim Crowley), but at least the market was helpful, with the winner attracting plenty of support when the market opened, and she was returned at 13/2 on course.

Dropped out in the early stages as River Of Stars, pressed by Urban Artist, ensured a solid pace, Mimikyu moved smoothly into contention as the field straightened for home, and while Eshaada was sent on with a quarter of a mile to go, Dettori quickly had her move covered, going on before the furlong pole, and readily drawing clear to score by two and three-quarter lengths and two lengths from Eshaada and that filly’s stable-companion Believe In Love (Andrea Atzeni).

Disappointing when fancied for the Galtres Stakes at York, Mimikyu showed just what she was capable of here, and now seeks to emulate her full-sister Journey by landing the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot next month.

Another full-sister, Indigo Girl, landed the May Hill Stakes at this meeting two years ago.

All three are owned by that great supporter of British and Irish racing, George Strawbridge. Indigo Girl and Journey both raced in a hood, incidentally, and this improved performance from Mimikyu came with that headgear fitted for the first time.

The Derby winner Adayar made a smooth return to action in the Hilton Garden Inn Doncaster Conditions Stakes, William Buick never having to move for him to come home three and a three quarter lengths clear of Masekela, with both the Arc and the Champion Stakes possible for his next run.