John Gosden has had one of the most lucrative days of his career, after winning the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown with Nathaniel, as well as the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock on the same afternoon with Great Heavens.

Indeed it was quite the family affair, what with Great Heavens being the sister of Nathaniel. It was her turn to grace the turf first and grace it she did. Her performance in the bet365 Lancashire Oaks was more than impressive. She led from the start and was asked to go and win her race two furlongs from home. Forging readily clear inside the final furlong, she won by 5 lengths.

Shimmering Surf was second, continuing her improvement. She won the Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock last month, where she beat Set To Music and that filly was one place behind again. Jamie Spencer made good headway down the straight on the Queen’s runner, but she simply wasn’t able to challenge the principles and a step up in trip may be on the cards. Myplacelater was a fast finisher and although never a threat, has improved markedly on her previous few runs.

Less than an hour later at Sandown, Nathaniel battled to Eclipse glory, bagging a first prize of just shy of £250 000. Similarly to his sister, he led practically all of the way, but unlike his sibling, was made to fight really hard for the win. Farhh and Frankie Dettori got well within a length.

Trade Commissioner got Gosden’s afternoon off to a flying start, by landing the Coral Challenge Handicap at the Esher track. All three runners are owned by Lady Rothschild.

It was the scintillating victory of Great Heavens at Haydock though, that lit up the afternoon. She has progressed incredibly well with every run and it looks as though she will go right to the top. Exciting times are ahead for connections.

James Muir

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