Doncaster: Simple Verse the star on Town Moor once again

Simple Verse (gold cap) weaved her way to victory in the Park Hill Stakes

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Simple Verse the star on Town Moor once again
By Mark Scully 3:10PM 8 SEP 2016

Report: Doncaster, Thursday

DFS Park Hill Stakes (Group 2) 1m6f132y, 3yo+ fillies & mares

SIMPLE VERSE used every last drop of her stamina to reel in the gallant Pretty Perfect and follow up her win in the St Leger over course and distance 12 months ago.

In what was an intriguing contest to watch, the three-yeear-old Pretty Perfect, sent off a 13-2 chance, looked like she may have stolen it as she scampered clear – having been up at the sharp end of a brutal pace throughout – with Simple Verse struggling to find a passage through horses.

However 3-1 shot Simple Verse delivered a thrilling late surge to grab the Aidan O'Brien-trained filly on the line and provide trainer Ralph Beckett, jockey Osin Murphy and owner Qatar Racing with a Group 2 double following the earlier success of Rich Legacy in the May Hill Stakes.

It was California, under Frankie Dettori, who took third, five lengths adrift of the leading pair. The 5-2 favourite Abingdon could manage only fifth.

Murphy admitted he had been forced to ride for luck as the race did not pan out the way he had hoped and said: "Sometimes when they race up the rail, they just fall back into your lap so I had to be patient but I had a very willing partner.

"I'd have liked to have been following Abingdon but I was behind Pamona and I had to just ride for luck then."

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Simple Verse (Oisin Murphy) are led in after the Park Hill Stakes

Simple Verse and Oisin Murphy are led in after the Park Hill Stakes

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

The jockey also praised Beckett and his staff for getting the four-year-old, off the track since disappointing in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, back to winning ways.

"Down at the start, I knew we had her back," he said. "She was different to all year and fair play to Ralph and his team, they've done an unbelievable job with her."

'It didn't look good'

A delighted Ralph Beckett admitted he feared the worst approaching the closing stages of the race as Simple Verse struggled to find room to deliver her challenge but the trainer is now eyeing a return to Ascot for Simple Verse, with the Group 2 Lond Distance Cup over two miles on the radar.

"I thought she was beat because she couldn't get out and it didn't look good at the half-furlong pole," he said.

"It's great to get her back as it hasn't been easy. This is her optimum and possibly even two miles and I would be keen to go that way next time with the Long Distance Cup the obvious race for her."

Paddy Power were impressed with the performance and slashed Simple Verse's odds for the Ascot contest from 33-1 into 5-1. She won the Group 1 Fillies & Mares Stakes on British Champions Day last year.

Almost Perfect

Connections of Pretty Perfect were left thrilled with the effort of their filly, with Coolmore's UK representative, Kevin Buckley, saying plenty of options are now open to the daughter of Galileo.

"She ran an absolute blinder," he said. "We were going into the unknown, stepping up to a mile six and a strong headwind too. She was beaten by a Classic winner. Seamie was happy with her.

"This has opened up a few more avenues for her now. They will be discussed when we get her back home."

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