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Sangster upbeat despite Kathmandu’s narrow Classic eclipse

Sangster upbeat despite Kathmandu’s narrow Classic eclipse
Sangster upbeat despite Kathmandu’s narrow Classic eclipse

Sam Sangster was left beaming with pride after Kathmandu’s agonising near-miss in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and is backing his star filly to continue to shine in the family’s famous emerald green and blue silks this season.

Trained by Brian Meehan at the Sangster family’s historic Manton Estate, the daughter of Showcasing was making just her fourth racecourse appearance in the ParisLongchamp Classic.

Buoyed by an encouraging third in the Nell Gwyn at Newmarket and a helpful draw, connections headed to the French capital full of optimism where Kathmandu proved she remains an improving filly to outrun market expectation and be denied by just a head.

Kathmandu was an honourable second at ParisLongchamp
Kathmandu was an honourable second at ParisLongchamp (PA)

“From where I was standing, I thought she was going to get it and she put in such a valiant effort,” said Sangster, who owns Kathmandu alongside Ed Babington.

“For a filly making just her fourth start and her first in a Group One, she just seems to be on an upwards curve.

“It was a genius ride from Sean Levey and Brian Meehan and his team are so good at travelling horses all around the world, so we had every confidence going into the race she was going to be up for it. When the draw came out we felt more confident and the way she was leading into the race, we were just gaining more and more confidence and definitely didn’t have her down at 66-1.”

Sangster’s late father Robert enjoyed untold success as an owner, and Kathmandu’s display in Paris appears to have earned the three-year-old filly the chance to continue representing the family at the highest level over the coming months.

She holds an entry for the Commonwealth Cup back down at six furlongs at Royal Ascot, with the Jersey Stakes another possible option at the Berkshire track’s summer showpiece, while a return to France for the seven-furlong Prix Jean Prat could also be on the cards.

“We can look forward to a fun season and we might have to box a little clever as there isn’t a huge amount of options in the fillies-only division,” continued Sangster.

“I think at some point we’re going to have to take on the colts and whether that is at Royal Ascot in the Jersey or the Commonwealth, or we could head back to France for the Prix Jean Prat.

“She holds an entry in the Commonwealth Cup and a stiff six (furlongs) could be an option. We will see how things pan out, we’ll enter her for the Jean Prat next week and then have a good look at all her options.

“Brian is a man who likes to have many options at his fingertips and we’ll bear the entry fees now as she deserves the money being spent on her.”

Last year Sangster watched Isaac Shelby win the Greenham before going down in similar fashion to Kathmandu, having been sold to the burgeoning Wathnan Racing, in the French 2000 Guineas.

Brian Meehan is responsible for training Kathmandu
Brian Meehan is responsible for training Kathmandu (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Hopes are now high Kathmandu can become a standard-bearer not just for her trainer Meehan, but also for the Sangster family colours that were once a common sight on a racecourse, as they begin to become more noticeable once again.

Sangster continued: “Isaac wasn’t in the colours last year (at ParisLongchamp), but he did win in them in the Greenham before going down last year in the colts’ division. Standing in the same spot this year in dad’s colours certainly carried a hell of a lot of pride, I can promise you that.

“We’re knocking on the door and we’ve got a lot of nice stock and some smart two-year-olds in the Manton Thoroughbreds partnerships and I think there are nine horses in training that run in the colours this year, as well as a few bits and pieces I’m involved with.

“Ollie Sangster has a number in his yard too now he is training as well and the numbers that run in the colours are growing and it is just lovely for the whole family to see.”

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