Pat Dobbs gave his season a much-needed boost with a double at Goodwood on Saturday, highlighted by the victory of Mirage Dancer in the Bet Your Way On The Betfair Exchange Tapster Stakes.
After steering the Sir Michael Stoute-trained son of Frankel to glory in the Listed contest 12 months ago, the 41-year-old repeated the feat aboard the 4-6 favourite, to complete his brace.
Anchored at the rear of the four runners early on, the five-year-old got a dream run up the inside rail before forging on and crossing the line a length-and-a-half clear of long-time leader Danehill Kodiac.
Dobbs said: “We went very slow and he latched on a bit down the hill, as he was very fresh, but he was much the best horse.
“Sir Michael said he had him nearly spot on his racing weight. He will improve a lot for the run.
“He is a lot stronger this year and is much more relaxed, he is not getting as sweaty as he used to. He is with the right people to have got him back where they need him.”
Mirage Dancer was cut to 6-1 for the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot by Paddy Power.
Few horses have given trainer Richard Hannon as many headaches in recent months as Beat Le Bon – but all was forgiven after the one-time 2000 Guineas hope initiated Dobbs’ double with a two-length success in the Betfair Each Way Edge Handicap.
Hannon said of the 11-2 winner: “He is a good horse and I thought he was a 2000 Guineas horse. Last year he looked a man against boys and I thought he would be lining up in a Dewhurst – instead he ran in the Redcar Two-Year-Old Trophy.
“If we can get him covered up he will take a lot of beating in the Britannia. We won this with Oh This Us and he is a very similar horse. For me he has been disappointing apart from that.”
Little has gone right for the regally-bred Elarqam since he enjoyed an unbeaten juvenile campaign, but he ended more than a year in the doldrums with a commanding victory in the Listed Betfair Best Odds On ITV Races Festival Stakes.
His trainer Mark Johnston said: “He has been very well at home. He had that stress fracture in his pelvis last year, this year he went home to Shadwell and had that surgery done and was away for a long time.
“He is a quite laid-back horse at home and it has taken a while to get him fit.
“Sheikh Hamdan will have his own ideas where he wants to go next. I wouldn’t be scared of coming back in trip, although Dane (O’Neill) said that (10 furlongs) was perfect.
“A horse like him, the ultimate target is to get a Group One and make him a stallion, as he has got the pedigree for it.”
There was further success in the card for Johnston, with Hardwicke Stakes entry King’s Advice (10-11) gaining a sixth win in succession in repelling the late challenge of What A Welcome by a nose in the Bet In Play On The Betfair Exchange Handicap.
Johnston said: “They are getting a bit closer! The previous trainers were worried that something was wrong with him and I think he was in the sales more than once.
“The owner has been keen with his pedigree to step him up to Group races, but I’ve been eager to take it a step at a time.”
Silent Wave (10-11) was introduced at 10-1 for the Albany by Coral, after scoring by two and three-quarter lengths on her debut in the Read Ryan Moore Exclusively At Betting EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.
Alex Merriam, assistant to winning trainer Charlie Appleby said: “I’m not going to jump and say that she will go to Ascot, but when two-year-olds start winning at this time of year, it probably starts coming on the radar.”