Cool Cliff produces Cloud Cover to perfection

Cloud Clover practically came from last to first under an uber-confident Clifford Lee to secure the Bet MGM Fillies' And Mares' Championship Handicap at Newcastle.

Jockey : Clifford Lee (United Kingdom)
Jockey : Clifford Lee (United Kingdom) Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Having shown a tendency to race keenly throughout her races, Clifford Lee anchored his mount at the rear of the field for much of the seven-furlong contest.

The pace looked steady out in front with Oisin Murphy happy to dictate fractions towards the often favoured near-side rail on the eventual runner-up Just A Spark. Murphy and Just A Spark kicked for home with a furlong and a half still to travel and quickly took a couple of lengths out of the field but all the while a confident-looking Clifford Lee, who landed the opener on Cuban Tiger, began to sieve his way through the field, despite encountering numerous traffic problems up the Newcastle straight.

Seemingly still full of running in the first-time hood, Cloud Clover arrived on the premises deep inside the final furlong and James Tate's talented filly merely had to be nudged out by Clifford Lee to go on to collect the valuable prize by a length.

The front-running Just A Spark stuck on well to fill the runner-up spot, with Shades Of Summer emerging with plenty of credit back in third. 

"I spoke to James earlier and he said whatever you do, don't hit the front a furlong out," said Lee of the 10/1 winner.

"In the first half of the race, I was just trying to get her settled and I didn't really get a gap, which has sort of done me a favour because I just held onto her a little bit more.

"The last furlong here is a long furlong and positions can change very quickly."

Asked whether the hood made a significant difference, Lee added: "Yes it does make a bit of a difference. Tracks like this, normally they go a little bit slow, but we went an even gallop, and it probably just helped her to settle a bit for the first half of the race."

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