Further top-level assignments await Veracious after the Group One-winning mare made the perfect start to her campaign with victory in the BetVictor British EBF Dick Hern Stakes at Haydock.
The daughter of Frankel finally delivered the Group One victory she had long promised in the Falmouth Stakes last summer, before finishing second in the Sun Chariot and fourth in the QEII in October.
Having been kept in training as a five-year-old, she was the 11-10 favourite to make a successful reappearance on Merseyside for Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore – and got the job done in fine style.
Always travelling strongly under Moore, Veracious picked up well to grab the lead and had enough in reserve to hold the strong-finishing Posted at bay by three-quarters of a length.
Moore said: “I was happy with her. It was her first run for a while and she should come on for it. She did what she had to today.”
Chris Richardson, managing director for owner-breeders Cheveley Park Stud, nominated next month’s Matron Stakes at Leopardstown as a potential next port of call.
Richardson said: “It’s great to see her back. She’d wintered well and is a much stronger filly this year.
“She travelled through the race well and will come on a ton for the run, I’d imagine.
“We haven’t really discussed plans with Sir Michael yet. She has an entry in the Matron (September 12) and I’m sure things will fall into place once we see what the races are later in the year.
“The Sun Chariot is another potential target, so we’ll just see how everything unravels.
“I’m thrilled to see her produce such a good comeback run.”
Moore went on to complete a double aboard Simon and Ed Crisford’s even-money favourite Aristocratic Lady, who added to recent wins at Leicester and Yarmouth with a dominant display in the BetVictor Casino Fillies’ Handicap.
Dubai Mirage (3-1) bounced back from Royal Ascot disappointment with a facile success in the BetVictor Make Your Best Bet Handicap.
Saeed bin Suroor’s inmate finished down the field in the Britannia Stakes at the showpiece meeting – but having been gelded in the meantime, the son of Dubawi proved his class by showing a smart turn of foot to power clear of his rivals.
Winning jockey Hector Crouch said: “He’s quite a sweaty type and I’d say he just boiled over at Ascot. Even though there was no crowd, I’d say the occasion maybe got to him.
“They went a very solid gallop early on today. I just let him take his time as he’s still learning on the job and he was green when he got to the front.
“I didn’t think I was going to get to them until coming down to the furlong pole and he came good on me. He has a nice attitude, I was impressed with him and there should be more to come.”
Ajyaall lifted the BetVictor Run For Your Money Novice Stakes.
Despite bolting to the start and having to be withdrawn before what was due to be his first career start at Sandown last month, the William Haggas-trained youngster was the 6-4 favourite under Richard Kingscote.
Wearing a hood, Ajyaall travelled noticeably well before picking up in the final furlong to win a shade cosily.
The trainer’s wife Maureen Haggas said: “It’s a belated first start – Sandown didn’t quite go to plan!
“He was better behaved today. He’s travelled well, but he’s still got a lot to learn and still needs to get his head round it all. Hopefully with experience he’ll go the right way.
“He’s got an engine, but he’s not straightforward. I think we’ve just got to go quietly and build him up to where he’s going to end up, as I think you could blow his brains quite easily.”
There was a thrilling climax to the BetVictor Gamble Responsibly Handicap, with Bryan Smart’s 9-1 shot Northernpowerhouse coming out on top in a blanket finish by a nose.
Asked if he thought he had won, winning rider Graham Lee said: “I won’t say yes and I won’t say no. I knew it was tight, very tight.”
Antony Brittain’s rank outsider Daafr (28-1) ran out an authoritative winner of the first division of the BetVictor Keyworkers Handicap under Cam Hardie, while Kayewhykelly (5-1) bolted up in division two for trainer Julie Camacho and jockey Jason Hart.
The concluding Follow @betvictorracing On Twitter Handicap went to Glory Fighter (7-2), trained by Iain Jardine and ridden by Callum Rodriguez.