Crystal Ocean Gives Stoute a Tenth Gordon Richards

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2nd at SAN, Gr. Stk, £70,000G3 bet365 Gordon Richards S. (10f 14y)Winner: Crystal Ocean (GB), h, 5 by Sea the Stars (Ire)

Crystal Ocean | Racing Post

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Last seen finishing in the wake of Cracksman (GB) (Frankel {GB}) in Ascot's G1 Champion S., Sir Evelyn De Rothschild's Crystal Ocean (GB) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) returned in the same kind of form that saw him among the best of Europe's middle-distance horses last term to provide Sir Michael Stoute with a 10th edition of Sandown's G3 bet365 Gordon Richards S. on Friday. Sent off the 5-6 favourite, the bay tracked Knight To Behold (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) on the front end with Ryan Moore keen not to allow that smart rival too much rope. Taking his measure before the two-furlong pole, the homebred was in a class of his own from there as he asserted to score by 2 1/4 lengths and get another potentially profitable campaign off to a flying start. “That seemed an improved performance on last year's and I think he's a little bit more forward this season,” his trainer said. “He has been a model of consistency. I think he needed to get back to work as well and that would have done him good. Ryan was impressed with him today, so we'll have to determine what to do next. ”

TDN Rising Star Crystal Ocean peaked when part of his trainer's famous one-two in the G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S. at Ascot in July, finishing nine lengths clear of the third but cruelly a neck behind Poet's Word (GB) (Poet's Voice {GB}) in a performance that may have been enough to win in many other years. Now that he has demonstrated his normal high level of form, Stoute has his eye on an early return to the top flight, with a clash with Magical (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) potentially on the cards. “He is in the [G1] Tattersalls Gold Cup [at The Curragh May 26] and that is on my mind, so we'll consider that,” he added. “We are lucky that we get sent some beautifully-bred horses whose owners have the time for us to be patient with. We need to win a Group One with him, so we need to do a bit of thinking.”

Harry Dunlop was delighted with the effort of last year's G2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano winner Knight To Behold who raced more kindly than on some occasions in 2018. “I think what I was so pleased about was that we had good horses in behind and we should improve a lot,” he said. “We could maybe look at the [G1] Prix d'Ispahan [at ParisLongchamp May 26] for him next time.”

Crystal Ocean would not be the first top-level winner for the remarkable Listed Radley S. winner and G3 Fred Darling S.-placed Crystal Star (GB) (Mark of Esteem {Ire}), with that distinction having already fallen to the stable's 2014 GI Canadian International hero Hillstar (GB) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}). His half-sister Crystal Capella (GB) (Cape Cross {Ire}) was arguably even better, although she failed to win in that category, while the highly-regarded Crystal Zvezda (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) was a leading candidate for the 2015 Epsom Oaks after her impressive win in Newbury's Listed Fillies' Trial but was ultimately disappointing. There is optimism that this dynasty will continue to provide classy individuals, with Crystal Etoile (GB) (Dansili {GB}) throwing last year's listed-placed Crystal Hope (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}).

Friday, Sandown Park, Britain
BET365 GORDON RICHARDS S.-G3, £70,000, Sandown, 4-26, 4yo/up, 10f 14yT, 2:07.80, g/f.
1–CRYSTAL OCEAN (GB), 126, h, 5, by Sea the Stars (Ire)
1st Dam: Crystal Star (GB) (SW & GSP-Eng), by Mark of Esteem (Ire)
2nd Dam: Crystal Cavern, by Be My Guest
3rd Dam: Krisalya (GB), by Kris (GB)
O-Sir Evelyn de Rothschild; B-Southcourt Stud (GB); T-Sir Michael Stoute; J-Ryan Moore. £39,697. Lifetime Record: MG1SP-Eng, 13-6-5-2, $1,430,103. *1/2 to Hillstar (GB) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}), Hwt. 3yo-Eng at 11-14f, GISW-Can, MGSW & G1SP-Eng, $1,221,978; Crystal Capella (GB) (Cape Cross {Ire}), Hwt. Older Mare-Eng at 9.5-11f & MGSW-Eng, $550,532; and Crystal Zvezda (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), SW-Eng. Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Knight To Behold (Ire), 126, c, 4, Sea the Stars (Ire)–Angel of The Gwaun (Ire), by Sadler's Wells. O-L Neil Jones; B-Abergwaun Farms (IRE); T-Harry Dunlop. £15,050.
3–Extra Elusive (GB), 126, c, 4, Mastercraftsman (Ire)Nessina, by Hennessy. (300,000gns 3yo '18 TATAHI). O-Imad Al Sagar; B-Saleh Al Homaizi & Imad Al Sagar (GB); T-Roger Charlton. £7,532.
Margins: 2 1/4, 3HF, NK. Odds: 0.80, 7.50, 20.00.
Also Ran: Fabricate (GB), Trais Fluors (GB), Pivoine (Ire), Thundering Blue. Click for the Racing Post result or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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