Yorkshire Cup winner Clever Cookie looks set for Doncaster Cup challenge

POPULAR stayer Clever Cookie could bid for redemption in either the Doncaster Cup or the Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger following a lacklustre effort at last week's Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

WHITE ROSE RETURN: Clever Cookie  seen above centre with PJ McDonald winning the Yorkshire Cup  could be heading back to Yorkshire for the Doncaster Cup on September 9. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA

The eight-year-old could finish only fifth in the two-mile Lonsdale Cup on Knavesmire, beaten by eight lengths by Roger Charlton’s Quest For More, who was the beneficiary of an inspired piece of front-running by jockey George Baker.

Trainer Peter Niven felt his charge was not at his best that day and is hoping either the Doncaster race on September 9, part of the Ladbrokes St Leger festival, or the Irish event at the Curragh 48 hours later can see Clever Cookie return to the kind of form that saw him win the Yorkshire Cup earlier in the year under Leyburn rider PJ McDonald.

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“I don’t think it was down to the ground – that was perfect – he was just a bit flat,” said Malton-based Niven. “They just doddled along at the front and off that kind of pace – against good horses – it is not easy to make up ground.

“He will either go for the Doncaster Cup or the Irish St Leger next and then we’ll look at Champions Day at Ascot. He seems well, he’s ate up.”

Meanwhile, Thesme has the Scarbrough Stakes at the aforementioned St Leger meeting as her next port of call after she outran her odds in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York on Friday.

Sent off an unconsidered 66-1 chance, the speedy filly – trained by North Yorkshire’s Nigel Tinkler – led the field along until Mecca’s Angel and Limato took over entering the final furlong.

Thesme was also grabbed on the line by Take Cover and Cotai Glory – she finished fifth and just missed out on valuable black type – but her performance left connections dreaming of other Group One raids, with the Prix de l’Abbaye in France also on the agenda.

“She’s amazing, she’s so quick,” said part-owner Simon Chappell. “While it would have been great to be Group One-placed, we’ll just try and get some black type now.

“Andrea Atzeni loved her. We’ve struggled for consistency with jockeys, but I don’t think we will now.”

As for the all-conquering Mecca’s Angel, the aforementioned Prix de l’Abbaye has been nominated as the next target for the flying filly, who has now won back-to-back renewals of York’s Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes for Boroughbridge jockey Paul Mulrennan and Darlington trainer Michael Dods.

The Chantilly sprint on October 2 is likely to be followed by a step up in trip to six furlongs for the main sprint on Qipco Champions Day at Ascot before the three-year-old is retired to the breeding paddocks.

“I’m not keen for her to have a run before France as I like her to be nice and fresh,” said Dods.

A return trip to Canada for the Woodbine Mile could be on the cards for Mondialiste after David O’Meara’s standard-bearer won Chicago’s Arlington Million 10 days ago.

November’s Breeders’ Cup in California is the ultimate target, but jockey Danny Tudhope said: “To go for the international races you need a horse who enjoys the travelling and can deal with the pressure and the razzmatazz and he thrives on it.

“He’s had three runs in North America, he’s won twice and been second at the Breeders’ Cup.”

Malton trainer Brian Ellison, who recently recorded his 1,000th winner, has been dealt a blow with stable stars Top Notch Tonto and Balty Boys both ruled out of the rest of the season.

Kieren Fallon is back riding out in Newmarket after completing the first phase of his treatment for depression.

The six-times champion jockey announced his retirement from the saddle in July, with the 51-year-old suffering from “profound depression”, according to Irish Turf Club chief medical officer Dr Adrian McGoldrick.

Fallon has subsequently undergone hospital treatment and is now riding out for trainer William Haggas as he enters the next stage of his rehabil;itation.