This year’s G1 Investec Oaks heroine Dancing Rain (3f Danehill Dancer-Rain Flower, by Indian Ridge) proved herself the queen of Britain’s middle-distance fillies at Ascot on Saturday when landing the G2 QIPCO British Champions Fillies’ And Mares’ Stakes.
The winner scored from the front under Johnny Murtagh and trainer William Haggas said: “That was fantastic for us and she is a very good filly. If she keeps winning like that she will get the recognition she deserves – she didn’t get much credit for winning the G1 Oaks and because she didn’t do too well in the G1 Irish Oaks [in which she was fifth], her Epsom win was dismissed as a weak race. “
Of Murtagh’s performance, Haggas said: “It’s always a good ride by the jockey when your horse wins, but Johnny is a top-class rider. He was very cross after the Irish Oaks for not making enough use of her and he came in and said he wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.
“My wife Maureen rides this filly every day and she said she felt as good as ever coming into today’s race. Full credit to her – she deserves praise, too.
“The plan is to go to Japan on November 13 to run in the QEII Cup won by Snow Fairy last year and we’re looking forward to that and she’ll be back next year with an exciting programme.”
Murtagh added: “She probably didn’t get the recognition she deserved in the Oaks when everyone said I’d stolen the race. But she dug deep to win that day and did again this afternoon. She’s very brave and I knew that the second wouldn’t get by her.
“Today was a nice, even, building gallop all of the way. William (Haggas – trainer) told me to let her use that momentum and she has got a very high cruising gear and can quicken off the front. She is a good galloper and she stays well and the others were going to have to stay to get me. Fair dues to her, she dug deep and was very brave.
“I don’t think that she would have been able to do the same earlier in the season because she was a big leggy filly and a bit weak. Today, she was a lot stronger and was able to maintain that very high cruising speed for a mile and a half.
“Things didn’t work out in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh and it was satisfying that I got a chance to redeem myself today. I wasn’t going to make a mess like I did at the Curragh and William said to me once bitten, twice shy – don’t let it happen again. They were going a good pace at the Curragh but they stopped four out and the ground was a bit tacky – I stopped her momentum and she ran right up onto the heels of them at the end.
“I was going a good pace the whole way. I let her roll down the hill and tried to steady her at the mile – she was going plenty quick enough but I didn’t want to disappoint her like at the Curragh.”
Dancing Rain was bought for her owners, the brothers Martin and Lee Taylor, for 200,000 euros as a yearling at Goffs. She was bred by the Sangster family’s Swettenham Stud.
Danehill Dancer was also on the mark at Cork on Saturday when the Aidan O’Brien-trained Look At Me (3f Danehill Dancer-Queen Cleopatra, by Kingmambo) ran out an easy winner of the Listed Navigation Stakes.