sport

Golden Wonder's Classic case

Brian Meehan's well-backed J Wonder foiled the late-finishing 11-4 favourite Al Thakhira by a head in the Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Newbury.

Valonia jumped out of the stalls well and was allowed an easy lead for much of the way in this prominent 1000 Guineas trial, best known as the Fred Darling.

American-owned J Wonder, sent off a 4-1 chance but with a question or two to answer after disappointing on her final juvenile start in the Lowther Stakes, was better placed than Al Thakhira and Joyeuse, who both closed from the rear of the field, and showed a smart turn of foot when asked by Jimmy Fortune.

Connections of the first three are keeping Classic options open, and Meehan said: "I'm really pleased as she has proved to be the filly we thought she was. It's not a shock, not by any means.

"We came here thinking she had to be in the first three on what we knew of her from last season.

"She was brave as she had to come through horses and Jimmy got off and said he felt she won very easily, she just pricked her ears when she hit the front and just needed one slap to keep her mind on the job.

"We thought she was special last year and she looked good today.

"She's in the French and English Guineas and I'll have to speak to the owner and Jimmy.

"We'll have a proper conversation, put it all together and decide."

Marco Botti said of the runner-up: "She has proved she retains her ability. I think seven furlongs might be her trip, but the French Guineas might give her a better chance at a mile. Ground is the key."

Lady Cecil said of Frankel's half-sister Joyeuse: "She will definitely come on for the run and she's in the French and English Guineas. We'll see."