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Seal Of Approval strikes gold for Fanshawe and Baker

19 Oct 2013

After getting pipped on the line on Harris Tweed in the opener, jockey George Baker made up for that in style when powering Seal Of Approval home for a comfortable victory in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

Seal Of Approval and George Baker bask in the glory after their QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes victory. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

James Fanshawe knows what it takes to have a winner on QIPCO British Champions Day having won the Sprint with Deacon Blues in 2011.

He also knows how to deal with adversity having been inflicted with cancer this year and seeing one of his up and coming stable stars, Seal Of Approval, fall in her last start at Doncaster.

That fall ruled jockey Hayley Turner out with injury so George Baker came in for the ride today on Seal Of Approval in the £500,000 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

She may have been the outsider of the field, but she won most impressively, taking it up from the Johnny Murtagh horse, Belle De Crecy, a furlong out and running on strongly for a most striking four length victory.

Belle De Crecy held on for second, a neck in front of the Investec Oaks winner, Talent, with Dalkala fourth and Hot Snap in fifth.

For Baker it was a well deserved triumph after getting pipped on the line in the Long Distance Cup and it was the first Group 1 victory of the jockey’s career.

"I got tight for room as we hit the home straight but, once I got a bit of daylight, she has picked up nicely," said Baker.

"I thought that she was very good when I won on her at Newbury but I feel very sorry for Hayley Turner, who is injured.

"This is her ride and it must break her heart to be sat at home but she has done a great job with this filly. I’m thinking of her.

"I didn’t travel particularly well early on but, once I met a bit of trouble, she came back on the bridle. She really picked up nicely and I almost got there too soon.

"I thought she would handle the ground but this was a big step up from Listed race. James has brought her on steadily and she was unexposed.

"I have been waiting a long time to win a Group One – I am 31 years of age and I hope that I do’t have to wait that long for the next one.

"It’s a great feeling and thanks to Mr Fanshawe for giving me the opportunity because there would have been a lot of big names trying to get on this filly.

"It means a lot, especially to win it on a day like this."