Fillies & Mares Stakes: Eshaada and Jim Crowley edge out Albaflora in gripping Ascot finish | Racing News

Roger Varian’s three-year-old Eshaada claimed the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes in a photo finish ahead of Ralph Beckett’s Albaflora and Rossa Ryan.

The pair fought out a gripping finish down the Ascot straight, with Eshaada just having enough in hand to turn away Albaflora in the final 50 yards and claim a first Group One prize for Jim Crowley and the Shadwell Estate team.

Rossa Ryan was going in search of a maiden Group One victory onboard Albaflora, having previously ridden her to Listed success at Ascot in May.

It was disappointment for favourite backers on dual Oaks winner Snowfall, who had a good run into the race but couldn’t quicken with the leaders and eventually finished a labouring third for Ryan Moore.

Ballydoyle also ran La Joconde who finished in fourth for Hollie Doyle, having led for the majority of the race before fading in the final three furlongs.

Snowfall and Ryan Moore coming home to win the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York
Snowfall and Ryan Moore could only finish third

Eshaada’s trainer Roger Varian said: “Her only poor performance was at York and the Ribblesdale form worked out well with the winner [Loving Dream] winning the Prix de Royallieu at ParisLongchamp.

“She loves cut in the ground, she’s got track form and has always looked a classy filly. I thought she was a touch over-priced coming into the race.

“Everything went right. She broke and travelled well. She had to be tough in the final two furlongs but stuck her neck out and was really game.

“A discussion will be had with Shadwell [on Eshaada staying in training]. We’d love to have her around for another year but it won’t be my decision.

“She’s a great big filly and lightly-raced so you’d think her best days might still be ahead of her.”

Jim Crowley missed two winning rides after being injured in the first race at Doncaster on Wednesday
Jim Crowley rode Eshaada to Group One success

Aidan O’Brien said of Snowfall: “She ran an OK race, obviously you would be disappointed she didn’t win. She’s had plenty of racing, it was a steadily enough run race and they quickened and she followed them, but she just didn’t get to them.

“Ryan (Moore) said he would have preferred the pace to be a bit stronger early. Snowfall was slow away and didn’t want to come out and around them. There you go – that’s the way it is.

“We haven’t said anything really (about next year). We’ll see how she is, but that is probably it this year.”

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