Criterion delight for evergreen Limato

Candy stalwart back to winning ways

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Limato showed he remains a force to reckoned with in rolling back the years to claim victory in the Randox Health Criterion Stakes at Newmarket.

The seven-year-old opened his account for the season after registering a third win at the July course as he successfully conceded weight to his rivals in the Group Three prize.

Travelling well throughout the seven-furlong contest, the 11-4 favourite moved into a lead he would not surrender inside the final furlong, before gamely holding the rallying Glorious Journey by a neck.

Candy said of the 11-4 winner: “He loves it here. He loves going up and down hills, it is like Kingston Warren. It takes a bit of doing (carrying a penalty) and it was just telling at the end. He is a very easy winner without that.

“Our horses weren’t in tremendous form at that stage (when running at York in May), they are running a bit better now. I’ve not seen him look as well as that for a long time. I was very happy with him.

“As he was travelling so easily Harry (Bentley) felt he had to go on, but he was idling towards the end. Harry is adamant he won with plenty in hand, and although it didn’t look like it to me, Harry should know as he was on top. Ideally he likes to come a little bit later than that.

“We might go to the Curragh in three weeks’ time for the Minstrel, then the Lennox (at Goodwood). I think now he is seven, Group One-sprinting is out of the window.”

Winning owner Paul Jacobs had nothing but praise for the Tagula gelding following the 13th victory of his career.

He said: “He has just been an utterly fantastic animal. I don’t think there are that many who keep going for that length of time. He has hardly been out of the frame in a Group race.

“Ground is absolutely critical to him. We’ve made one or two silly mistakes and when we ran him in the Lockinge when it wasn’t top of the ground and our biggest mistake ever was taking him to Dubai.

“Both this and the Rowley Mile he loves, he can’t get enough of it. My plan in my head was to work back from the Challenge Stakes, which he would try to win for the third time.

“I know the July Cup is tempting, but how many seven-year-olds have won the July Cup? Because he has been such a marvellous horse, I don’t want him beating his head against the wall.

“If at the end of this year he is fighting fit then we would keep him going.”

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