RICH LEGACY claimed victory in a thrilling renewal of the Clugston Construction May Hill Stakes at Doncaster.
Ralph Beckett’s filly finished a slightly unlucky fourth in the Prestige Stakes at Goodwood late last month and was reopposed by not only the winner Kilmah, but also the third Urban Fox, the fifth Tiburtina and the seventh Grecian Light.
As she had at Goodwood, Kilmah cut out the early running, but this time she was a spent force heading inside the final two furlongs and weakened rapidly.
As Kilmah dropped away, Rich Legacy and Grecian Light quickened up well to run to the lead and the pair settled down to fight it out.
Both fillies gave their all as the post loomed, but it was 3-1 shot Rich Legacy who just saw out the one-mile trip best to score by three-quarters of a length under Oisin Murphy.
Grecian Light ran a fine race in second, bouncing back from her disappointing run at Goodwood, with Urban Fox third once more. Blending, the 5-2 favourite, was disappointing.
Murphy said: “Ralph has done a great job with her. She was a bit hot headed and could have boiled over, but he gave her a bit of time between her races and she’s had very good handling at home.
“I was exactly where I wanted to be. She just got a little bit lonely in front, but once she got into a battle she was clearly the best filly.
“Ralph said she’d win and he was right.
“She’s clearly inexperienced and hopefully as she learns her job she’ll improve.”
Beckett said: “She looked like she was going nowhere at halfway and raced lazily, but she’s really put it to bed well.
“I thought we were beaten when they came past us at the half-furlong pole, but she’s done it well in the end.
“She surprised us winning first time out, she hadn’t really shown us that at home, but aren’t they often the best ones?
“She was favourite at Goodwood because people like the unproven ones. I’m thrilled to bits with that.”
Assessing future options, Beckett added: “She’s not in the Fillies’ Mile. I thought the Marcel Boussac was the race for her after her debut.”
Grecian Light’s trainer Charlie Appleby said: “She’s got back to her Solera form and I said you had to put a line through that Goodwood run.
“She’d had her first two starts at Newmarket and it was all very simple for her. It was a learning curve for her at Goodwood and it can be a trappy track.
“I’m not making excuses. She was beaten by a better filly on the day, a filly who was ahead of her at Goodwood.
“We might drop her back to seven for the Rockfel and ride her more positively.
“At the end of the day, we’ll see what’s around and she might end up in the Fillies’ Mile.
“She’s a nice, genuine filly and hopefully we might pick a decent prize up before the end of the season now.”
Bruce Raymond, racing manager for Urban Fox’s owner, Saeed Manana, said of the James Tate-trained runner: “We were delighted. She’s Group Two-placed now and stayed on really well.
“She’s been very consistent but isn’t quite strong enough yet, so she’s done well to get placed at this level.
“She might run again this season. We’ll talk about it, but I think she’s a filly for next year. We’re quite pleased with what she’s done so far.”
Raymond also spoke for the Abdulla Al Mansoori-owned Kilmah, who trailed in last of the nine runners after getting upset in the stalls.
“That wasn’t her. She is usually so clam and relaxed in the stalls. She’d beaten some of these at Goodwood last time, yet she was the first beaten today.
“Mark (Johnston) will take her home and get her checked over.”