Skip to content

Lancashire Oaks: The Gosdens Queen Of The Pride claims Lancashire crown at Haydock

Queen Of The Pride was a stand-out winner of the Lancashire Oaks; rest of the card at Haydock wasn't without problems due to concerns over horses slipping on the bend; three races abandoned including the Old Newton Cup

Queen Of The Pride ridden by Oisin Murphy coming home to win the bet365 Lancashire Oaks
Image: Queen Of The Pride ridden by Oisin Murphy coming home to win the bet365 Lancashire Oaks

The impeccably-bred Queen Of The Pride continued her swift rise through the ranks with an authoritative victory in the bet365 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock under Oisin Murphy.

Queen Of The Pride has champion middle-distance performer Roaring Lion for a sire and St Leger heroine Simple Verse for a dam, John and Thady Gosden's filly had plenty to live up to from day one - but the Qatar Racing homebred is doing a fine job of upholding family honour.

Although beaten on her Newmarket debut last summer, she rounded off her three-year-old campaign with victory at Leicester and has continued her progress this season, with a narrow defeat in Listed company at Goodwood followed by a Group Three win over the Lancashire Oaks course and distance in last month's Pinnacle Stakes.

With Oisin Murphy in the saddle, Queen Of The Pride was a 100-30 shot to make the step up to Group Two level and displayed a smart change of gear to quicken three lengths clear of 85-40 favourite Tiffany.

Paddy Power cut the winner's odds for next month's Yorkshire Oaks to 6-1 from 16-1, while Murphy believes a trip to ParisLongchamp on Arc weekend in October could be on the agenda.

He said: "She really relaxed today and jumped and travelled. I thought we went a good, even pace and I was quite cautious of the bend, so I went from following Luke Morris (Tiffany) quite closely to giving him a few lengths head start at the top of the straight.

Oisin Murphy is all smiles after his Lancashire Oaks wins
Image: Oisin Murphy is all smiles after his Lancashire Oaks wins

"I was really pleased with how she picked up and she ran right the way through the line. We all thought after she won her last race here that something like the Prix de Royallieu would be a good long-term target and I'm sure that's in John and Thady's mind."

Latest Racing Stories

Thady Gosden added: "Obviously she won here last time in the Lester Piggott (Pinnacle) Stakes and she was still a little green and learning then. You could see here today she's definitely picked up a bit from last time out.

"She has run well here over the mile and a half, so it's possible (the Yorkshire Oaks). We'll have to assess our options and see where we go.

"She's a proper Qatar Racing homebred. It's very unusual to own the sire and the mother and they were two champions in their own right, so it's a huge achievement for them.

"We'll see how she comes out of it, she's done absolutely nothing wrong so far and she's a smart filly.

Get racing news on your phone
Get racing news on your phone

Never miss a story with all the latest racing news, interviews and features on your phone. Find out more

Align The Stars shines to demonstrate his promise at Haydock

Charlie Johnston is excited to see how high Align The Stars can climb the ladder after plundering the £100,000 bet365 Handicap at Haydock.

The full brother to multiple Group-race winner Al Aasy set connections back 100,000 guineas as a yearling in the autumn of 2022 and while three juvenile outings failed to yield a victory, he offered plenty of hope for the future.

The son of Sea The Stars again had to make do with minor honours on his first three starts of the current campaign, placing at Newmarket, York and Hamilton before opening his account with a clear-cut victory at Thirsk last month.

Align The Stars showed the improving nature
Image: Align The Stars showed the improving nature

Stepping up in class and trip for this one-mile-six-furlong contest, Align The Stars was a 7-1 shot in the hands of Joe Fanning and after racing close to the pace for much of the way, he dug deep when challenged to score by a length and a half.

Johnston said: "He's a huge horse and thank God he is because that's probably the only reason we were able to afford him at the yearling sales given his pedigree. He's bred to be a top-class horse and he was near enough that size as a yearling, so that probably made him affordable to us.

"We probably ran him more than we wanted to last year, chasing his Book One bonus. We always knew he was a horse that was going to get better this year, particularly when he stepped up to these kind of distances.

"He'd been a little bit unlucky on his first couple of starts this year, but he's started to put things together at Thirsk, we felt he was going the right way and this was the next step on the ladder."

While the Middleham handler is not ruling out an interim appearance at Glorious Goodwood for his imposing colt, the prestigious Melrose Handicap at York's Ebor Festival next month is considered as a major target.

"This is a race that we've won a few times in the past, including with Sir Ron Priestley, and Subjectivist actually got beat in it trying to carry top weight," the trainer added.

Follow Sky Sports Racing on Twitter
Follow Sky Sports Racing on Twitter

See the latest horse racing news, interviews and features from Sky Sports Racing

"I've always hoped this horse would be a Group horse in time and I've not seen anything today that doesn't give me that confidence.

"If he went to Goodwood he'd have to come back to a mile and a half and Tony (Farmer, owner) is a big York man, so the Melrose has been on the radar for a long time.

"I'll have an eye on stakes company as well because I think that's where this horse belongs."

Rossa Ryan produced the Robert Cowell-trained Cloud King with a well-timed challenge to claim top honours in the Bet Boost At bet365 Handicap.

Turning out just five days after finishing fourth at Windsor, the 17-2 shot was held up off a brisk early gallop before quickening up to smartly run down the leaders and score by a length and three-quarters from Vince L'Amour.

"I thought he'd enjoy a bit of dig in the ground and there's a good enough headwind out there and we went a good gallop, so I was confident that if I got the gap I'd go and take it," said Ryan.

"I just had to wait and I thought I had everyone covered."

Around Sky