Dylan Mouth could be prepared for a tilt at the Melbourne Cup later in the year after coming from last to first in the John Smith’s Silver Cup at York.
Just five runners went to post for a race upgraded to Group Three status this season, with the William Haggas-trained Dal Harraild a warm order as the 5-6 favourite.
The market leader looked set to deliver after cruising to the lead in the straight, but Dane O’Neill produced Marco Botti’s 8-1 shot Dylan Mouth with a late challenge and there was a neck between the pair at the line.
Speaking from home in Newmarket, Botti said: “I’m delighted as we kept him in training for another season and to win a Group Three is great.
“He’s been a great horse for the family. He won Group One races in Italy for my brother (Stefano Botti) before he joined us.
“It was the owner’s dream last year to run him in the Melbourne Cup. He needed to win today to go up enough in the handicap and it will now be strongly considered.
“He is in the Ebor back at York next month, but having won a Group Three he might have too much weight.
“I’ll speak to the owner and see which way he wants to go.”
O’Neill doubled up for the day aboard 7-4 favourite Wadilsafa John Smith’s Racing Handicap.
Trained by Owen Burrows, the son of Frankel was enjoying a drop in grade after finishing down the field in the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot, and made the most of the opportunity with a four-and-a-half-length verdict.
O’Neill said: “He’s a nice horse. He’s still a bit immature, but he’s lightly raced and can only mature with racing.”
Mr Lupton is set to return to York for next month’s Coolmore Nunthorpe after registering his third course victory in a thrilling renewal of the John Smith’s City Walls Stakes.
Richard Fahey’s charge was a 5-1 shot for the five-furlong Listed contest and knuckled down well in the hands of Jack Garritty to get the better of Alpha Delphini by a head.
Fahey’s assistant, Robin O’Ryan, said: “He loves it here and so do we, so it’s great.
“We gave him a speculative entry in the Nunthorpe and I’d say he’ll probably run – as long as they keep it at York!
“They didn’t go a gallop at Sandown last week (finished seventh in Coral Charge) and the faster pace today has helped him.
“He’s actually sharpened up as he’s got older and he’s a star.”
Fahey and Garritty were on the mark again as Northwest Frontier returned to winning ways in the John Smith’s Stayers’ Handicap.
Having chased home John Smith’s Cup hero Euchen Glen on his latest appearance, the four-year-old was the 2-1 favourite to claim his third victory of the season and displayed a willing attitude to see off Master Archer by three-quarters of a length.
Dark Vision maintained his unbeaten record with a thoroughly impressive display in the John Smith’s Novice Median Auction Stakes.
Mark Johnston’s juvenile was a 9-2 shot to follow up his debut success at Yarmouth last week and did so in some style, coming home with two and a quarter lengths in hand without being asked for maximum effort by David Probert.
The Great Heir sent favourite-backers home happy by obliging as the 6-4 market leader in the concluding John Smith’s Nursery for trainer Kevin Ryan and jockey Shane Gray.