Dashing Willoughby moved a step nearer to an end-of-season outing in the Melbourne Cup following a battling success in the Coral Henry II Stakes at Sandown.
Last year’s Queen Vase winner made it two wins from as many starts this season, following up his comeback Listed victory at Newmarket in the rescheduled Group Three.
Displaying a willing attitude for Oisin Murphy, the Nathaniel gelding found plenty on his return to two miles to keep Spanish Mission at bay by a length and a quarter.
Trainer Andrew Balding said of the 11-4 winner: “It was really good. We made a bit of a mess of it last year running him too many times. Just with a bit of gap between his races seems to really suit him and he was obviously in good form today.
“These stayers put their heart and soul into the races and they take a lot out of themselves. I probably hadn’t appreciated that with him last year and we probably went to the well a couple of times too many.
“He looked good at Newmarket last time. It is very pleasing, as the owner Mick Mariscotti was the financial director at Coral and it will give him great delight to taking Coral’s sponsorship money.”
Though Dashing Willoughby was introduced at 10-1 by Paddy Power for the Qatar Goodwood Cup by Paddy Power, the Kingsclere handler hinted he may keep Dashing Willoughby fresh for a tilt at next month’s Lonsdale Cup at York.
He added: “Obviously we will have a look at Goodwood, but the likelihood is that we will wait for the Lonsdale and go there. He has done enough today to get in a Melbourne Cup if that is a goer in the autumn. That will be very much his goal.”