Horses In Training Sales can offer all sorts of purchases that fit any budget. Big buys are ready made stars looking to further their careers whilst some unproven types intrigue the shrewd buyers giving people a chance to possibly improve a horse. Lille was sent to the sales with just two runs under her belt. The third run would come for a new stable and it would provide Lille with her first career win when taking the 5f Betway Novice Stakes at Southwell.
Having had 2 starts as a juvenile, showing promise on debut, Lille exchanged hands for just £8,000. When she arrived at Hambleton Lodge Kevin had this form to draw on plus the fact that she had had a wind op before her debut. After weeks of work and getting fit towards the the new year, it became clear that another small procedure on her wind would be needed before she ran again.
Following her wind op Kevin set about prepping the now 3yr old for a run on the all-weather. At this time of the year Kevin does like taking some horses away to Southwell for a racecourse gallop and with options coming up for her, Lille took part in this work morning to get a feel for the surface. After pleasing in her final gallop it was the obvious choice to return to the track for her stable debut.
The Novice race attracted 7 runners in the line up and there was plenty of form to go on for Lille. Favourite Exalted Angel had finished in front of the filly on their latest runs so Lille had around 4 lengths to find. With So Hi Speed holding a rating of 68 and Olympic Spirit having just finished 2nd, it was clear that this could be a fair little event for this time of year. That said there was support for Lille with the change of stable and wind op potentially giving clear chances of improvement.
Andrew Mullen has enjoyed a good start to 2019 and was booked for the ride. Lille had shown a tendency to be slow away but when the stalls opened this time round she was far better. The field all seemed to jump on terms but it was Lille who was quickest into stride. She soon built up to top speed and moved through to take the lead, closely followed by the odds on fav Exalted Angel. With his filly showing good speed, Midge allowed her to bowl along setting a good, strong gallop.
If you blinked you would have missed the first half of the race and Lille took the 7 runners through the first 1/4 mile in a high tempo. She was always pressed as the fav kept her true so there was going to be no let up and this relentless gallop soon caught most of the runners out. Moving down towards the 2f marker and those in behind were hard at work trying to make an impression. Having moved away from Gupta it was Lille and the favourite who began to assert. The pair began to move clear with neither yet to show any signs of weakness. Inside the final 2f it quickly became clear that the winner was only going to come form the leading pair but the question was, who?
Both jockeys were using their best poker face, waiting for the other to make their move first. The two horses were still travelling as well as one another so who would throw down their challenge first. It was Midge who began to get into his drive first over 1f from home, trying to take advantage of his narrow lead. Lille stuck her head down but looking next to her the fav was still travelling smoothly. Despite this Midge was getting a response and with the advantage still at 1/2 length, Exalted Angel now had to work to try and overhaul the leader. Now the pair were both going for home moving into the final furlong and the race suddenly took shape. With the fav struggling to make any inroads into Lille’s lead, the colt began to wander under increasing pressure. Drifting away from Lille, the fav now gave up more ground. Lille was the complete opposite and was straight as a gun barrel. With Midge driving her all the way to the line, Lille began to draw away in the final 100 yards. Keeping on well the filly opened up a 1 1/4 length advantage as she crossed the line for a first career win.
It was nice to see Lille win on her first start for the yard especially when the owners have had to be a little patient to do a wind op. it doesn’t guarantee anything but obviously it looks to have worked and she won well in the end. Lille was well away and showed plenty of natural speed. By halfway she had blown most of the field away but then she showed that she could maintain that by fending off the favourite. This is her third run so the handicapper will be issuing a mark now so it will be interesting to see how he rates her. She is a likely improver and it will be very interesting to see what she can do this season. Obviously she could have another run on the AW but with the turf just around the corner it may be that the grass is where she will turn out next time.