Positive was made to pull out all the stops to justify prohibitive odds in a thrilling climax to the Betway Solario Stakes at Sandown.
An impressive winner on his racecourse debut at Salisbury in June, the Dutch Art colt was pitched in at the deep end on his most recent outing in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.
However, having justified the faith of trainer Clive Cox by finishing a clear second to the star juvenile of the season so far in Charlie Appleby’s Pinatubo, he was a warm order to go one better in this seven-furlong Group Three as the 4-5 favourite.
In a race of changing complexions, Appleby’s apparent second string Full Verse opened up a significant advantage over the rest of the field during the early stages, with many of his rivals seemingly struggling to keep up with the furious pace.
Those exertions began to take their toll with two furlongs still to run, though, and he was soon swamped, with Adam Kirby guiding 4-5 favourite Positive to the lead before he was challenged by Appleby’s Al Suhail and Andrew Balding’s course-and-distance winner Kameko.
The latter emerged as the chief threat against the far rail and was almost on terms as the post loomed, but Positive knuckled down to emerge victorious by a nose.
Cox said: “We’re very pleased. He has progressed every step of the way, but he is still quite raw.
“We are very much aware that more time is going to see further progress – with the right sort of behaviour.
“It was close at the line, but they went a good gallop and it was a good time, so we can be no more than pleased with him.”
Positive holds several big-race entries and Cox is keen to let the dust settle before deciding on his next objective.
“I don’t think he’s ground dependent. We’ve not tested him on anything too slow, but I don’t think there are too many problems there,” the Lambourn trainer added.
“He is still a very nice, improving horse. We’ll see how he comes back, but he’s well entered – he’s in over seven furlongs in the Dewhurst, he’s in the Royal Lodge and the Champagne Stakes and he’s also in the Lagardere in France, so we’re covering all bases.
“We’ll let the horse tell us, as always.”