Newmarket victor Hamada in the mix for Melbourne Cup mission

Major staying options open to Appleby gelding

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Charlie Appleby is eyeing a tilt at the Melbourne Cup with Hamada following his runaway success at Newmarket.

The Cape Cross gelding made a winning return from an 18-month absence at Wolverhampton in April and followed up at York in May.

Having enjoyed a short break since, he was an 11-4 chance for the one-mile-six-furlong Gordon’s Handicap and continued his progression with an impressive seven-length verdict under William Buick.

Appleby said: “He had a setback as a three-year-old, but he’s come back this year and done nothing but thrive from run to run.

“For a horse that gets a trip, he’s got a gear change as well, which is always an added advantage.

“He’s in the Ebor (York, August 25) and we’ll see what happens regarding the handicapper. We’ll see if we can buy him some chocolates and see if he can look after us!

“Potentially we might be going on a trip to Australia. We’ll start a campaign down there with the Melbourne Cup in mind.”

Appleby was completing a quickfire double on the card after Al Hilalee made a successful racecourse debut in the preceding Weatherbys British EBF Maiden Stakes.

A son of Dubawi out of the Group One-winning mare Ambivalent, the 7-1 shot ran green under pressure in the hands of James Doyle but still came home comfortably clear.

“As an individual you cannot fault him, his work has been nice at home,” said Appleby.

“We’ll get him home and see where we are, but I have it in the back of my mind that he could be a horse for something like the Racing Post Trophy later in the season. He’s got a bright future.”

Mark Johnston continued his recent domination of the bet365 Handicap after Communique lunged late to secure a last-gap victory.

The Middleham maestro had saddled four of the last five winners of the 10-furlong contest and this year fired a twin assault, with 8-1 shot Communique joined by stablemate Poet’s Prince.

Zaaki looked set to score after hitting the front late on, but champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa conjured a late rattle out of Communique and the judge confirmed he had come out on top by a short-head.

De Sousa was enjoying a second winner of the afternoon after landing the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes aboard Pretty Pollyanna.

Johnston said: “Silvestre thought they’d gone fast and he thought it would fall apart near the end, but not quite as early as it did.

“He was in a little trouble in the last half-furlong, but he got out just in time.”

David Elsworth and Ryan Moore combined to land the concluding Saeed Suhail Saeed Handicap, with Ripp Orf (6-1), narrowly denying the 13-8 favourite Corrosive.

Newmarket victor Hamada in the mix for Melbourne Cup mission
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