HAMBLETON trainer Bryan Smart is hoping Alpha Delphini can make up into a Group race performer after he emerged the winner in a thrilling finish to Saturday’s totescoop6 Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes.
The five-year-old was seeking a third win on the bounce for Smart having won handicaps at York and Ascot, but was switching up to Listed level for the first time in this five-furlong heat.
Always prominent in the hands of Connor Beasley, Alpha Delphini was one of six in with a shout in the final furlong, but he kept finding all the way to the line to triumph by a neck.
Willytheconqueror claimed second with Muthmir just a short head back in third, while Final Venture, Mr Lupton and Line Of Reason were also separated by small margins in fourth, fifth and sixth places.
Smart has now set his sights on another step up in company and expects Alpha Delphini to follow the same sort of route as former stablemate and Group One winner Tangerine Trees, who won this race in 2011.
He said: “He’s a proper, proper horse - we always had faith in him. When they called the photo-finish I wasn’t so sure he’d won, but he didn’t get going until the last half a furlong and won by a neck in the end.
“He’s a bit like Tangerine Trees as he doesn’t win by far and he’s from a late-developing family.
“We’ll try to find a Group Three for him and then that will probably be that for the season.
“I didn’t enter him for the Prix de l’Abbaye, but that will definitely be an option next season.
“We’ll probably start him off at Newmarket next season and follow the same path as Tangerine Trees. There’s a lot more to come from this horse.”
*Jim Crowley took the lead over Silvestre de Sousa in the jockeys’ championship after riding a treble at Windsor on Saturday.