Charlie Appleby further strengthened his formidable Classic hand as Walk Of Stars touched off stablemate Hafit in the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup British EBF Conditions Stakes at Newbury.
Fresh from saddling five winners at Newmarket’s Craven meeting earlier in the week, Appleby enjoyed a treble at Newbury on Saturday and kept up his remarkable run at the Berkshire circuit on Sunday.
Little over an hour after newcomer Life Of Dreams emerged as potential Oaks contender with a maiden success, Derby entrants Walk Of Stars and Hafit fought out the finish to the feature event on the card.
Despite being placed at Group Three level, Hafit was second best in the market at 6-4 under William Buick, with Nottingham maiden winner Walk Of Stars the 4-5 favourite in the hands of James Doyle.
The market ultimately proved spot-on, with Walk Of Stars coming with a late run to deny Hafit by a neck – and a rematch could be on the cards at York next month.
Appleby’s assistant, Alex Merriam, said: “If the ground is sensible they could both go to the Dante.
“James was very happy with Walk Of Stars. The horse had only had two runs and will improve again.
“Both are in the Derby and will appreciate a bit more juice in the ground.”
Doyle added: “It’s hard to predict with this type of horse where he might end up, but what I did say to Alex is that he’s not slow by any means. He’s got speed and he picked up quickly when I asked him.”
It was far more plain sailing for Life Of Dreams, who was cut to 14-1 from 20-1 for the Oaks by Coral after comfortably obliging as the 4-5 favourite in the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing Maiden Fillies’ Stakes under Buick.
“She did everything right, it was all good, and I’m sure the Oaks will be considered,” said the rider.
“I felt really comfortable throughout on ground that has tightened up since yesterday. If anything she got there a bit too easily.”
Andrew Balding and David Probert teamed up to win the Joe Mercer Memorial EBF Maiden Stakes with 7-2 chance Holguin.
The son of Havana Grey was one of seven newcomers who faced the starter for the five-furlong opener and he registered a half-length verdict over Commander Straker, with 10-11 favourite Redemption Time only third.
Balding said: “He is our first two-year-old runner of the season and we didn’t know what to expect.
“He’s one of four or five we have to go early while the rest need more time. He has plenty of scope and probably wants another furlong.
“Our winner of this last year (Berkshire Shadow) went on to win the Coventry (at Royal Ascot) and it looks like this one wants six furlongs, too.”
First Nightingale (7-2) was an impressive winner of the first division of the Coln Valley Stud Bridget Maiden Fillies’ Stakes on her debut for Roger Varian.
However, David Egan’s mount was pulled up lame after the finish and was taken to hospital by horse ambulance with a leg injury.
“Something must have happened as she was pulling up, as she looked to be striding out OK crossing the line. She’s hurt her knee and has been taken to hospital. I hope she will be all right,” said Varian.
The William Haggas-trained Razeyna (7-1) proved best in division two, seeing off Lady Eros by a length in the hands of Tom Marquand.
Cheltenham Festival runner-up Ahorsewithnoname successfully reverted to the Flat in the Compton Beauchamp Estates Ltd Silver Bar Handicap.
Nicky Henderson’s mare finished second in the Cotswolds behind Love Envoi, who was second in a Grade One at Fairyhouse earlier in the day.
The seven-year-old was the 10-11 favourite to go one better under Ryan Moore and she did just enough to get the better of Auriferous by three-quarters of a length.
“It was a last minute decision to come here. It looked like being very competitive early on, but then when I had another look on Good Friday morning I thought it was starting to cut up,” said Henderson.
“It’s the longest Flat race run at Newbury and one of her owners, Dominic Burke, is the racecourse chairman.
“Ryan said she got caught on the outside with too much daylight but she’s very genuine. A lovely mare and very honest.
“She ran such a good race at Cheltenham, it’s hard to believe I’ve had her two years and this is the first race I’ve won with her!
“When she ran at the Festival, it looked as if she was heading to stud, but that’s now on the back burner. We have left her as a novice over hurdles for next season, and we’ll go and try to win the same race she was second in.”
The Robert Cowell-trained Blue De Vega was a shock 50-1 winner of Dubai Duty Free Handicap in the hands of Sean Levey, while Whoputfiftyinyou (15-8 favourite) landed the closing Dubai Duty Free Full Of Surprises Handicap.