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Viking goes down a storm for Dunlop

Wed, 18 July 2012

Viking Storm greatly enhanced his prospects of an outing in next month's Betfred Ebor by skipping three lengths clear in the Paul Kelleway Memorial Handicap at Lingfield.

Trainer Harry Dunlop, who feels he is starting to make real progress in his sixth full season, had given his four-year-old a mid-term break and he duly made mincemeat of what looked a strong field for a weekday event.

Viking Storm (14-1) settled it very quickly turning around the home bend and it was simply a case of Paul Hanagan keeping an eye out for dangers in the final furlong.

"He's a big horse so he was always going to improve and he showed a really impressive turn of foot," said Dunlop.

"He loves fast ground and we haven't had that, which is why we used the all-weather. He's in the Ebor, and I think he can go between a mile and a half and a mile and six furlongs. I don't know if he'll get in, or if he's good enough, but he has got that turn of foot."

Godolphin's Royal Empire proved exactly what the market fuss was about with an encouraging debut victory in division one of the Lingfield Park Ladies Evening 21st July Maiden Stakes. The grandly-named son of Teofilo, who cost 200,000 euros as a yearling and went off the 5-4 favourite, accounted for Gold Edition with a touch of nonchalance to finish two and a quarter lengths clear.

Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor's representative Tony Garth said: "He's a nice little horse and had been working well, so we were expecting something. He'll get 10 furlongs, no problem."

Niger was a similarly warm order for division two but the 6-4 favourite needed to work quite hard to land the odds with Centrifugal fighting him all the way to the line.

Jeremy Noseda's chestnut had shown significant improvement from his debut when just edged out at Wolverhampton last time and winning jockey William Buick said: "I thought he battled on well. He was game."

Bin Suroor's Godolphin colleague Mahmood Al Zarooni got in on the act in the British Stallion Studs Supporting British Racing EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes as 15-8 favourite Sugar House and Ahmed Ajtebi charged past Spicy.