Commonwealth Cup possibility for El Caballo

El Caballo managed to fend off the late thrust of Tiber Flow and oblige favourite-backers in the Coral 3 Year Old All-Weather Championships Conditions Stakes at Newcastle.

Sent off the well-backed 13-8 market leader for trainer Karl Burke and jockey Clifford Lee, El Caballo arrived unbeaten in three all-weather starts, but he had to pull out all the stops to maintain that perfect record.

El Caballo made all in his last two victories and Lee was keen to control the race from the front again, but Hollie Doyle also wanted to dictate matters aboard Space Cowboy, with the pair racing together all the way into the last of the six furlongs.

Lee kicked for home at that point and it looked as though El Caballo – whose only defeat came on debut to the smart Armor – would comfortably prevail, but Tiber Flow was hitting his top stride in behind for Tom Marquand and catching the leader with every stride.

But the post came too soon for him and El Caballo hung on to victory by a short head, with Space Cowboy a further three and a quarter lengths back in third.

Paddy Power go 25-1 about El Caballo for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot following his narrow verdict, and Burke would be eager to charter a path to the June highlight.

He said: “He’s a very good horse. I didn’t know if he was dossing in front or whether that was him, but Cliff (Lee) thinks he’s definitely better over the seven (furlongs).

“We’ll give him an easy two weeks and see, but I’d still be tempted to try him in something like the Sandy Lane (at Haydock) and just see if we can turn him into a Commonwealth Cup horse. A stiff six at Ascot would be pretty good for him.

“He’s easy enough to deal with once he’s out and about. He can be a bit miserable in the box and will have a bite and a kick at you – he’s a proper colt.

“I do think he’s a genuine Group Three/Group Two horse, whether he’s better than that we’ll see.

“I know Maureen (Haggas) really likes the second and I think they’re two nice horses.”