Al Suhail made the most of a significant drop in class to get his career back on track with an authoritative victory in the Bahrain International Sir Henry Cecil Stakes at Newmarket.
Having finished down the field on his return to action in last month’s 2000 Guineas, the son of Dubawi demonstrated what he is capable of with clear-cut success in the Listed prize.
Travelling well throughout the mile contest, the 5-2 shot put the race to bed in a matter of strides when sent on by William Buick to cross the line six lengths clear of last year’s Superlative Stakes winner Mystery Power, who passed Ropey Guest late on to take second.
Appleby said: “This horse was pleasing us before the Guineas and his homework has always been electric. The challenge with him is himself, as we know with the family.
“In the Guineas he was loaded up early and it was a big field. We intended to try to ride him to come. James said he hit the lids and could never get him back. After three furlongs, to be honest, his race was run and we had to put a line through that.
“We just felt if this horse keeps it together, he has plenty of ability there. The ground was there to suit him today. The more rain that came, the more I felt it was going to enhance his chances.
“Hopefully this will be a nice experience for him coming down the road and doing it as easy as that. He has got plenty of confidence – it is just about channelling it in the right direction.”
Although Al Suhail was given a quote of 14-1 for the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, a step back up to Group One company might be put on hold for the time being.
Appleby added: “His pedigree said maybe we should be stepping up in trip. I did have him entered in the Dante and when I saw the ground had changed this morning from good to firm to good to soft, I was kicking myself I hadn’t gone down that route. The only thing that has made me feel a bit better is that William has said he is a miler.
“He has only got a Listed win behind him at the end of the day. I could maybe take a softer route with him, but I have no targets at the moment. There are plenty of options at the lower level for him and we will maybe try to work back from something a bit punchy.”
Roger Teal hopes the length-and-a-quarter victory secured by Bear Force One (7-1) on his return to a mile in the Each Way Extra At bet365 Handicap is a sign of things to come for stable star Oxted at the track in Saturday’s Darley July Cup.
Teal said: “He had a rough trip on his first start of the season. He is a great big horse as you can see and he was clipping heels, it was a mess of a race and it just did his confidence.
“When he ran the last day at Newbury, he was just wandering away from the other horses and James Doyle suggested we put some headgear on. I went with the cheekpieces and it worked the oracle.
“I think the ground is on the easy side there and his best trip is probably seven furlongs, but he just about stretched out to a mile today.”
William Knight has hit the ground running since making the switch to Newmarket earlier this year and Progressive Rating gave him further reason to smile after springing a 40-1 surprise with a half-length verdict in the bet365 Handicap.
Knight said: “We always thought he was quite smart last year. He had a hiccup earlier in the year and I thought he would be a bit short today.
“He coped with the ground really well. He looks like he is a six-furlong horse. I hope he is a stakes horse in the making. He won his last start at Kempton impressively. He should come on a lot for the race.”
Front-running tactics worked wonders for the Karl Burke-trained She’s So Nice who went one better than on her debut at Thirsk to collect the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes by half a length.
Kelly Burke, daughter of the winning trainer, said of the 9-4 favourite: “She is a nice filly and is a half-sister to The Mackem Bullet. She has got her quirks and she can be a little temperamental. She goes well at home and we were expecting a good run.
“I think we will probably seek some black type now and that is probably the route we will go.”