A round-up of the action from Doncaster on Friday as Thomas Hobson led home a Willie Mullins one-two in the feature.
Thomas Hobson and Max Dynamite are set for the Melbourne Cup after providing Willie Mullins and his leading owner Rich Ricci with a one-two in the Doncaster Cup.
Thomas Hobson, runner-up to Desert Skyline in last year’s renewal of the Group Two contest, was the 2-1 favourite to go one better under Ryan Moore, who settled his mount at the rear of the field for much of the two-and-a-quarter-mile journey.
Max Dynamite, best known for his narrow defeat in the 2015 Melbourne Cup, was ridden a little more prominently by Andrea Atzeni and quickened to lead approaching the final two furlongs.
However, Moore covered the move aboard the strong-travelling Thomas Hobson and while his stablemate did not go down without a fight, the market leader always looked the stronger and won the battle by a cosy half a length.
The pair were seven lengths clear of Sheikhzayedroad in third.
Mullins was at Listowel, where he told Press Association Sport: “We had thought both horses were working better at home than they had been running, so it’s great to see their home work coming out in them.
“I doubt they’ll run before the Melbourne Cup, but I haven’t spoken to Rich yet. I imagine that books their tickets there.
“I imagine Thomas Hobson winning will put him way up the order of entry, as they call it there, and last year he got in – he was sixth last year from a draw which was way-out wide.
“Hurdling is not on either horses’ agenda at the moment and we’ll play their Flat cards while they are young eight-year-olds!”
Regarding holding on to Moore’s services in Melbourne, Mullins said “Ballydoyle might have a few more entries this year, so we’ll see.”
Oisin Murphy continued his fine form as he rode Dancing Star to a hard-fought success in the Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes at Doncaster.
Andrew Balding’s five-year-old, back in the winner’s enclosure for the first time since the 2016 Stewards’ Cup, got the better of a duel with Eirene to prevail by three-quarters of a length. All Out was a further length-and-three-quarters back in third.
Pepita led the far-side group for much of the seven-furlong Group Three contest, the opening race on day three of the St Leger meeting on Town Moor, before Dancing Star and Dean Ivory’s runner-up eyeballed each other.
Murphy’s mount, a 7-2 shot, quickened up best to finish with a little in hand on the line.
“Winning Group races is important for these fillies, and at least she’s got one now,” said Murphy.
“She’s very tough and has plenty of talent.
“Andrew said I could make the running if needs be, but I wanted to give her something to aim at.”
Ivory said of the runner-up: “I’m very, very pleased with the filly today. She’s bounced back to the way she was at the beginning of the year.
“Definitely the softish ground helped. Now if we hit a bit of form we’ll think of going abroad, where the soft ground is.”
Soldier’s Call led his rivals a merry dance in the Wainwrights Flying Childers Stakes.
The Showcasing colt provided fledgling trainer Archie Watson with his first Royal Ascot success when winning the Windsor Castle Stakes in June, but he had to make do with minor honours behind the impressive Rumble Inthejungle in the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood.
Soldier’s Call had since won a Group Three in France and was a 4-1 chance for the rematch with Rumble Inthejungle, who was the 3-1 favourite.
It was clear from the start it might be a different story on Town Moor, with Soldier’s Call flying out of the stalls under Danny Tudhope to grab the early lead, while Rumble Inthejungle slightly missed the kick.
Try as they might, the chasing pack could not reel in Watson’s youngster, who galloped all the way to the line to claim the five-furlong Group Two by a shade over two lengths.
Well Done Fox was second, ahead of Gossamer Wings in third, with Rumble Inthejungle tailed off last of nine runners.
Watson, whose charge was given a 10-1 quote by Paddy Power for the Prix de l’Abbaye on Arc day, said: “You’ve got to be delighted. He’s a very, very quick two-year-old. We’ve always held him in very high regard.
“Obviously, Goodwood was a little bit disappointing – but he’s gone out and won a Group Three in a very quick time in France and backed up here within 13 days, and he’s absolutely blitzed them today.
“He’s now a Group Three winner and a Group Two winner – so I think it’s got to be Group Ones.”
Assessing plans, Watson said: “His two options are one or both of the Abbaye, getting the two-year-old allowance at Longchamp on October 6, and the new race at the Breeders’ Cup, the Juvenile Turf Sprint, which is five-and-a-half (furlongs) at Churchill Downs.”
Just In Time (12-1) lived up to his name in the William Hill Mallard Handicap when denying the game Austrian School in the dying strides.
Alan King’s four-year-old was an easy winner at Goodwood last time out, but was expected to find things tougher upped in class.
Martin Harley delivered him late down the outside and Austrian School had to make do with a place once again.
“I didn’t want to get there too soon, but I didn’t plan on leaving it that late,” said Harley.
“Alan has been good to me so it’s nice to ride him a big winner.”
Owner Henry Ponsonby said: “I backed him for the Cesarewitch before today and I’d imagine that’s where he’ll go now.
“I bought him for 20,000 euros just after Brexit when nobody wanted to spend any money. Alan’s just bought a relative who topped the sale. His big aim will be the Ebor next year.”