Top Rank reinforced James Tate’s high opinion of him when bouncing back from defeat at York to take the Group Three Betfair Superior Mile at Haydock.
If Tate was disappointed at the time by his first reverse from five starts, the Newmarket trainer was ecstatic on this occasion as the four-year-old grey showed he was Pattern-race class with a convincing display.
The 11-2 chance showed a decisive turn of foot for PJ McDonald to assert in the final furlong and take the honours by a length and a half from My Oberon, with the 6-4 favourite Khaloosy another length and a half away in third place.
“We’ve always hoped he’d be a good horse. We were absolutely devastated when he got beat the last day, but I suppose, in hindsight, that was part of his physical and mental education,” said Tate.
“I was there at York and you could tell after the race he was thinking ‘oh right, there is something else I can do’.
“I don’t thing he wants fast ground, but anything from good or softer.”
The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day next month could be on the agenda.
“Group Two is the obvious stepping-stone, the Group One is the dream move. He’s entered anyway,” said Tate.
“I thought it looked like he stayed well today. A mile at Ascot would be fine, soft ground would be fine.
“It just depends if it’s a step too soon for him now. If not this year, we’ll certainly look forward to next year. He’ll be a lovely five-year-old. He’s five from six now.”
Top Rank was cut from 25-1 to 20-1 for the QEII with Betfair and Paddy Power.
Ryan Moore came out of self-isolation in Ireland straight to the winner’s enclosure on his first ride back in Britain with victory on Fancy Man in the Betfair Exchange Ascendant Stakes.
The three-times champion jockey had been temporarily based in Tipperary ahead of Irish Champions Weekend, but was able to return to the UK for the Betfair Sprint cup meeting due to a change in Ireland to Covid-19 quarantine protocols for sportspeople.
Fancy Man (15-8 joint-favourite) was also travelling well as Surprise Exhibit, River Alwen and Desert History set the pace.
The Richard Hannon-trained colt quickened nicely to hit the front over a furlong out and cross the line three and a quarter lengths clear of the other joint-favourite, Alenquer, to give Moore his 50th success of the season.
“He’s a proper horse. I like him an awful lot,” said Moore.
“He’s a lovely, big, strong horse out a Galileo mare.”
Jim Goldie is dreaming of next year’s Melbourne Cup for Euchen Glen after his versatile seven-year-old landed his fist success since July 2018 in the Betfair Exchange Old Borough Cup Handicap.
Effective at distances from a mile and a quarter to two miles, Euchen Glen ground it out from Dark Jedi over a mile and three-quarters.
Euchen Glen (14-1) enjoyed the strong gallop set by Glencadam Glory and Dark Jedi and was produced by Paul Mulrennan at the business end to prevail by a length and a quarter.
Euchen Glen had been off the best part of two years with a tendon injury until returning at Doncaster in June.
“He ran a blinder in the Ebor (when fifth) and the handicapper was generous enough to drop us a pound which was quite handy,” said Goldie.
“The race set up quite well. There was plenty of pace and Paul decided to drop in and wait. It was a brilliant ride by Paul.
“He gets on well with him. It was unfortunate he missed his John Smith’s Cup win (in 2018) because he got injured the week before. Both have come back from injury. It’s great to see the horse back as good as ever. He’s as good as you get.
“He might be a Melbourne cup horse next year if we can keep him sound.”
Goldie added: “He’ll get a hike for that. He’s heading for the Doonside Cup at Ayr in a fortnight. Whether I can get the owners to supplement him for Ascot (on Champions Day), I don’t know, but Stradivarius is in that.”
Favorite Moon (9-4) relished the testing conditions to run out a facile winner of the Best Odds On The Betfair Exchange Handicap under Andrea Atzeni.
The William Haggas-trained gelding had disappointed when sent off favourite for the Melrose Handicap at York, but showed his true colours when bounding clear in the final furlong to beat his stablemate Midrarr by eight and a half lengths.
“He settled well and did it really nicely. He loves that ground, I think it’s quite important to him. He’s going the right way,” said Maureen Haggas, assistant to her husband.