Forest Ranger gained the third Pattern-race victory of his career when becoming the first horse in more than a decade to claim back-to-back wins in the Homeserve Huxley Stakes at Chester.
The well-travelled five-year-old followed up last year’s victory in the Group Two prize when going one better than on his previous start, to become the first horse since Maraahel claimed the third of his three consecutive triumphs in 2007 to win the race on successive occasions.
Moving past long-time leader Success Days midway down the home straight, the Richard Fahey-trained gelding saw out the extended mile and a quarter best to cross the line three-quarters of a length clear of prolific all-weather scorer Matterhorn.
Fahey said of the 9-2 chance: “It was good viewing. On paper you would have to say yes it was better than last year, but I’m not really bothered.
“He is a legend. He cost us £20,000 and taken us everywhere. After winning a Group Two, as we found out last year, it will be hard to place him.
“We won’t be running in the Eclipse again. He carried the penalty at Newmarket at the back-end last year and ran a good race.
“The Diomed was mentioned, but we will probably take that out now. I think there are five races here so we will look abroad.
“He is not good enough for the Group Ones. We will have saddle and travel somewhere.”
Matterhorn had last been seen when beating hotpot Wissahickon at Lingfield on Good Friday.
His trainer Mark Johnston said: “He clearly handled it (soft ground) and handled it well, and if the two in front hadn’t got first run and he didn’t have two lengths to make up it would have been a different result.”