Cheveley Park's Russian Rhythm, a classic winner at 3 when she captured the 1,000 Guineas last year, became the first filly in 20 years to win the Juddmonte Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I) at Newbury Saturday.
The Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Kingmambo
beat a field of 15 that included last year's English and Irish Guineas winners Refuse To Bend and Indian Haven, as well as several other leading group runners. The race was valued at $372,020.
Kieren Fallon kept the Michael Stoute-trained Russian Rhythm, favored at 3-1, toward the rear of the field until she came on strong through the straight about a quarter-mile from home to hit the front before the furlong marker. The four-time group I winner had to fight off serious challenges from Norse Dancer and 66-1 shot Salselon.
Salselon, a group winner in Italy and France for trainer Luca Cumani dug in gamely with Russian Rhythm holding him off for a half-length victory in the one-mile event. Norse Dancer was third, a neck behind Salselon. The time on a good course was 1:37.
Godolphin's Firebreak was fourth, followed by Hurricane Alan (5th), Ikhtyar (6), Checkit (7), Refuse To Bend (8), Indian Haven (9), Quito (10), Gateman (11), Krataios (12), With Reason (13), Desert Deer (14) and Tout Seul (15), who was all but pulled up after being hampered on the inside.
Betty Moran's Brushwood Stable bred Russian Rhythm, who also won the Coronation Stakes (Eng-1) at Royal Ascot and the Nassau Stakes (Eng-1) at Goodwood in 2003. She is out of the Nijinksy II mare Balistroika.
Fallon was pleased with decision of owners Patricia and David Thompson to keep the filly in training this year. He said he found himself in front earlier than he anticipated.
"Usually the fillies are retired, especially when they are so good," Fallon told the Racing Post
. "So I'm really pleased for Cheveley Park. She's bigger and stronger this year and the response was more instant here, so I got (to the lead) sooner than I wanted. But she stuck her head out,she's all guts and is such a game filly and just does enough."
Stoute agreed. "She has really come to herself over the last few days and the weather has really helped her, and has got the right mind and physique. She's not a difficult woman - put it that way."