Havana Gold's El Caballo On Top In The Sandy Lane

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El Caballo  | Racingfotos.com

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Karl Burke-trained 3-year-old colt El Caballo (GB) (Havana Gold  {Ire}–Showstoppa {GB}, by Showcasing {GB}) backed up a first black-type triumph in Lingfield's Mar. 5 Listed Spring Cup with a fifth straight score in Newcastle's Apr. 15 £150,000 All-Weather 3-year-old Championship. He continued on a rapid upward trajectory with a career high–and an ideal rehearsal for Royal Ascot's G1 Commonwealth Cup–in Saturday's G2 Cazoo Sandy Lane S. at Haydock. Positioned behind the leading wave through furious early fractions, the 7-2 chance responded to pressure inside the final quarter mile to gain a narrow edge approaching the furlong pole and was driven out to withstand the late rally of last term's Listed Doncaster S. winner Flaming Rib (GB) (Ribchester {Ire}) by a hard-fought neck.

“I wasn't concerned about the ground, but he's had to go and prove it in that class,” said Burke. “He's a very good horse and he's tough too. It'll probably be different ground at Ascot, but as long as it's not rattling [firm] I'd be happy. I said this morning that whatever wins this race today will certainly be one of the favourites for Ascot.” Winning rider Clifford Lee added, “I'm delighted to get my first Group-race winner and it feels brilliant. He is very talented and has got a lot of ability. He has won his last six races now, he tries so hard and goes again when another horse comes to him. He is quick and also stays seven furlongs, so the Commonwealth Cup and [G3] Jersey at Royal Ascot could both be on the cards. We will have to see how he comes out of this and what the boss and everyone else chooses.”

Reflecting on the performance of Flaming Rib, trainer Hugo Palmer said, “He's a really tough horse that goes on any ground and I'm delighted he's stepped forward. It's disappointing to finish second, but I think we feel that if we were able to eyeball the winner for the whole race we might have got by him. That's the luck of the draw and that's how it goes. We certainly feel that we're justified in going to Ascot now with a real chance in the big one. He's been narrowly beaten in the main trial so we'll give it a swing.”

El Caballo is the third of five foals and one of three winners produced by a multiple-winning half-sister to G2 Mill Reef S. victor Temple Meads (GB) (Avonbridge {GB}) and G3 Firth of Clyde S. runner-up Sneak Preview (GB) (Monsieur Bond {Ire}). The March-foaled bay is kin to Listed Premio Vittorio Crespi victrix Avengers Queen (GB) (Brazen Beau {Aus}) and a 2-year-old filly and a yearling filly by Havana Grey (GB). Descendants of his multiple-winning second dam Harryana (GB) (Efisio {GB}) also include G3 Hackwood S. and G3 Chipchase S. placegetter Diligent Harry (GB) (Due Diligence).

Saturday, Haydock, Britain
CAZOO SANDY LANE S.-G2, £115,000, Haydock, 5-21, 3yo, 6fT, 1:11.76, gd.
1–EL CABALLO (GB), 128, c, 3, by Havana Gold (Ire)
1st Dam: Showstoppa (GB), by Showcasing (GB)
2nd Dam: Harryana (GB), by Efisio (GB)
3rd Dam: Allyana (Ire), by Thatching (Ire)
1ST GROUP WIN. (17,000gns Wlg '19 TATFOA; £30,000 Ylg '20 GOFFUK). O-Grange Park Racing XVIII & OfO Partners; B-Whitsbury Manor Stud (GB); T-Karl Burke; J-Clifford Lee. £65,217. Lifetime Record: 7-6-1-0, $242,426. *1/2 to Avengers Queen (GB) (Brazen Beau {Aus}), SW-Ity. Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Flaming Rib (Ire), 128, c, 3, Ribchester (Ire)–Suddenly (Ger), by Excelebration (Ire). 1ST GROUP BLACK TYPE. (€40,000 RNA Wlg '19 GOFNOV; 35,000gns Ylg '20 TATOCT). O-Dolan Dooley Owen; B-Kildaragh Stud (IRE); T-Hugo Palmer. £24,725.
3–Wings of War (Ire), 128, c, 3, Dark Angel (Ire)–Futoon (Ire), by Kodiac (GB). (£140,000 Ylg '20 GOFFUK). O-Isa Salman Al Khalifa; B-Grangemore Stud (IRE); T-Clive Cox. £12,374.
Margins: NK, 1 3/4, 3/4. Odds: 3.50, 5.50, 12.00.
Also Ran: Go Bears Go (Ire), Caturra (Ire), Tippy Toes (GB), Edward Cornelius (Ire), Ever Given (Ire), Gis A Sub (Ire), Vertiginous (Ire). Scratched: Beauty Inspire (Ire). Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.

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