Brilliant Limato proves class apart in Criterion

‘It is absolutely amazing and it has taken me back a bit’.

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Henry Candy was almost lost for words as stable star Limato rolled back the years to register back-to-back victories in the Betway Criterion Stakes at Newmarket.

The eight-year-old showed he retains plenty of ability as he made a triumphant return to action in becoming just the second dual winner of the Group Three prize.

Having been anchored close to the rear of the field for much of the seven-furlong feature, the dual Group One winner steadily worked his way into contention under Adam Kirby ahead of mounting his challenge.

With the requisite gaps appearing at the right time, the 5-1 shot quickly put the race to bed when producing a devastating turn of foot before crossing the line three and a half lengths clear of Happy Power.

Candy said: “Andrew Balding (trainer of the runner-up) said that thing should be eating grass out in the paddock!

“As it is he got to the front too soon today, but he kept going as he can put the brakes on when he gets to the front.

“He has to be ridden for that turn of foot. He was quite impressive today – just like me he is getting better with age. What a performance.

“It is absolutely amazing and it has taken me back a bit. It is indescribable and just great to see, as he has got a great following.”

While it was the first time Group One-winning rider Kirby had partnered Limato, the Kingston Warren handler was confident they would be the perfect match.

He added: “I just thought they would click. If you watch in the preliminaries Adam never stops giving him fuss. He said he was in the form of his life, but he also said he had been trying to get on him for the last three years!”

Although Limato was given a quote of 16-1 for the Darley July Cup by William Hill, a trip to Goodwood for the Qatar Lennox Stakes could be next on the agenda.

Candy said: “I always think the Lennox is the right race for him, but that is always like a Group One even though it is only a Group Two.

“If he stays in form that might be worth a try as the trouble they often get running around Goodwood would suit him.

“Group Two and Three races over seven furlongs where the ground is quick is what he wants. Quick ground is still key.”

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