Garrus came out on top in a thrilling three-way finish to the British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes at York.
Having made a successful start to his campaign at Nottingham last month, Jeremy Noseda’s colt was a 3-1 shot stepping up to Listed class in the hands of Ryan Moore.
Soldier’s Call – the 11-4 favourite off the back of winning the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot and the Flying Childers at Doncaster last season – was in their pitching in the final furlong, as was Shades Of Blue, and the three of them lunged at the line almost as one.
After a brief wait, the judge confirmed Garrus had emerged victorious by a short head from Shades Of Blue, with Soldier’s Call only a neck further away in third.
Noseda said of the winner: “He’s a lovely, straightforward horse who tries hard. All he wants to do is please you and you can take him to the races and know he’ll never let you down – he’s a trainer’s dream.
“Ryan said he got to the lead too soon and he idled in front, but he has a bit of class and he’s done it well.
“We tried him over six furlongs last year, but he looked to have loads of speed and we said we’d stick to five this season and see how we go.
“The trainer put in a speculative entry for the King’s Stand (at Royal Ascot), but I think we’ll probably keep him to his own age group for the time being. We might travel to France or something like that.
“Part one of the plan has come off and now we can plan for part two.”
The Kevin Ryan-trained Repartee routed the opposition in the Stratford Place Stud Breeds Group Winners ebfstallions.com Maiden Stakes.
It was impossible not to be impressed by the way the well-backed 9-2 chance engaged overdrive late on under Andrea Atzeni and he was five lengths clear of fellow newcomer Forbidden Land at the finish.
Ryan said: “He’s always been very talented. He’s still a little bit immature, but he was very professional today.
“He’ll improve massively and when I was speaking to Andrea he was shocked when I told him he’d won by five lengths.
“I’ll speak to the owner about Royal Ascot and see how he comes out of the race, but it’s not all about Ascot.”
Copper Knight earned himself a trip to Epsom on Derby day with a decisive victory in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap.
Formerly trained by Hugo Palmer, the five-year-old was snapped up for just 5,000 guineas in the autumn of 2016 and had since won five races for Tim Easterby – including twice over the minimum distance at York.
Turning out just a week after filling the runner-up spot at Chester, Copper Knight was an 8-1 shot on his return to the Knavesmire and after shooting clear inside the final furlong under David Allan, he was good value for the winning margin of a length.
Easterby said: “He’s a super little horse and my son William bought him, so he deserves all the credit really.
“I’d have preferred a lower draw, but he’s done it really well and I’m delighted with him.
“He’ll go to Epsom now (Investec ‘Dash’) – that’s the idea.”
Keith Dalgleish saddled his second winner of this year’s Dante Festival as 9-1 shot What’s The Story struck gold in the Matchbook Betting Podcast Hambleton Handicap.
Dalgleish, jockey Joe Fanning and owners Weldspec Glasgow Limited combined to score with the hugely impressive Soldier’s Minute on Wednesday and while What’s The Story’s triumph was not quite so emphatic, he had a length and a half in hand over Firmament at the line.
Fanning said: “He travelled really nice, it was a nice even gallop and he picked up well.
“Keith likes him and I rode him a couple of times as a two-year-old – he is a nice horse.”
Carnwennan was a notable winner of the concluding Investec Wealth Handicap for Charlie Fellowes and Stevie Donohoe.
The 7-1 chance became the first winner for Fellowes since his move to Bedford House Stables in Newmarket.
He said: “He is the sort of horse I love training, as I love these big stayers. He was a big baby last year, but the penny is finally starting to drop. He could be a nice stayer and ight even get further.
“He could be a Cesarewitch horse in time. He is a lovely, big horse that will improve as the year goes on.
“I’m not going to rush him, as he will be a really nice stayer at the end of the year.”