A tilt at the Breeders’ Cup looms large for Emaraaty Ana after justifying Kevin Ryan’s confidence with victory in a pulsating renewal of the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock.
It is three years since the son of Shamardal won the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes at York – and by his trainer’s own admission, there have been a few bumps in the road since. But having snapped a long losing run at Hamilton in late July, Emaraaty Ana produced a career-best performance when runner-up to Winter Power in last month’s Nunthorpe and he proved on Merseyside that that effort as a largely unconsidered 40-1 shot was no fluke.
Always travelling strongly in the hands of Andrea Atzeni – who was completing a treble on the card – the five-year-old moved to the lead with over a furlong still to run. Having looked to be going nowhere at one stage, the even-money favourite Starman found overdrive late on and almost joined Emaraaty Ana on the line, but the judge confirmed Ryan’s charge had held on by a short head.
“I thought he was beat,” the North Yorkshire-based trainer said. “When he went to the front I thought: ‘This is a long way home.’ The last furlong is always a long furlong!
“We had huge faith in the horse. He’s as good a horse as I’ve ever trained. His work at home is brilliant and all he wants to do is please you.”
While Emaraaty Ana has the option of returning to five furlongs for the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp in a month’s time, he is most likely to head Stateside for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar – a race Ryan won last season with the similarly rapid Glass Slippers. He said: “I think there’s a fair chance he’s the right horse for America. He can travel and fast ground wouldn’t worry him. I’ll have to speak to Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, but I think he’s tailor-made for the Breeders’ Cup this year.”
Chalk Stream continued his progression with a convincing victory to complete his hat-trick for the Queen in the Lavazza Handicap at Ascot. The three-year-old gelding had been on an upward curve with wins at York and Ripon, and he stepped up again with a career-best performance.
Cieren Fallon had the William Haggas-trained son of Sea The Stars wide for a while in the early stages, as Auriferous and State Of Bliss cut out the pace. Chalk Stream (13‑2) then crossed over and slotted in nicely behind the lead, before a storming run put the race to bed in a matter of strides.