Zaaki zooms to Diomed success for Stoute

Sparkling display from Royal Ascot-placed four-year-old

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Zaaki graduated to Group Three glory as he produced a determined display in the Investec Diomed Stakes at Epsom.

Sir Michael Stoute’s charge was placed at that level last term, including at Royal Ascot, and following a narrow Listed success over Barney Roy on his seasonal bow at Ascot last month, punters were keen to get behind Ryan Moore’s mount.

Sent off the 11-8 favourite, Zaaki appeared to have plenty still to do at the top of the hill sitting a handful of lengths off the leading trio, with Bye Bye Hong Kong setting the pace.

However, when Moore gave the signal with a couple of furlongs to run, Zaaki started to extend himself and hit the front inside the extended mile distance.

Oh This Is Us tried to launch a last-gasp bid down the outside, but Zaaki had him covered and went on to triumph by a length.

Stoute said: “It hasn’t harmed him, has it (gelding operation). He ran some very good races last year, but you have to say he has certainly progressed. He looks like a colt and is a powerful horse and physically he is in good shape.

“He has got mile-and-a-quarter form, so I didn’t think the trip would be a problem, I just felt he was having a little difficulty with the track.

“This looked like the next stepping stone and we got it right. With this fellow we will stop and think what we do. I’ve no fears of going back over a mile and a quarter.”

Richard Hannon said of Oh This Is Us: “He owes us absolutely nothing. He is my favourite horse. We’ve had one winner outside Europe and that is him. He is a lovely horse.

“He is perfect to take to Turkey later in the year. He is in Hunt Cup at Ascot. I think we will dot around the massive ones, he would win a Group Two. We could go to the Criterion Stakes at Newmarket and miss Ascot.”

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