Modern Games finished with a flourish to win the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and land a first domestic Group One for Charlie Appleby.
Sent off 3/1 favourite for the feature, the four-year-old arrived with an impressive CV that included Breeders’ Cup success, as well as last year’s French 2000 Guineas title.
Recent Newmarket scorer Mutasaabeq set a furious pace out front under Jim Crowley but was unable to maintain his advantage over the mile trip.
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The ever reliable Chindit was the first to come out of the pack under Pat Dobbs and gave it a good go, including attempting to take a bite out of the eventual winner as he came past.
William Buick was the one catching the eye from towards the rear as Modern Games powered through the field, going away to win by a length and a half.
Berkshire Shadow stayed on for third, ahead of My Prospero and Mutasaabeq.
Buick told ITV Racing: “It was a real tussle, I definitely noticed it (Chindit’s attempted bite)!
“This horse is a real superstar, he’s so consistent and he’s just a joy to have anything to do with.
“He’s there when you need him, he’s done it now in England, France, America a couple of times and on different grounds. He’s a top-class miler.”
Dettori masterclass as Haskoy sets up Gold Cup bid
Frankie Dettori was at his brilliant best as he steered Haskoy to a last-gasp victory in a thrilling renewal of the Al Rayyan Stakes.
Ralph Beckett’s filly made huge progress during her debut season last term, with an introductory win at Wolverhampton in late July followed by a Listed success in the Galtres Stakes at York in August.
She subsequently stepped up to take on the boys in the following month’s St Leger at Doncaster and passed the post in second behind Eldar Eldarov before being demoted to fourth place by the stewards after causing interference.
With a subsequent appeal unsuccessful, Haskoy was making her first appearance since in Berkshire and was a 5/2 shot to strike Group Three gold.
Dettori was at work in the saddle some way from home, but the daughter of Golden Horn responded to his urgings to keep herself in the fight and got up in the dying strides to beat John and Thady Gosden’s Israr and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Bolshoi Ballet by a short head and a head respectively.
Yibir, the 9/4 favourite on his first outing since winning the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket last summer, made late gains from the rear to finish fourth.
Haskoy was cut to 8/1 from 16s by Sky Bet for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and Beckett indicated the filly could now take her chance in next month’s two-and-a-half-mile highlight.
Royal Ascot next for Carnarvon star Shaquille
Julie Camacho looks set to send Shaquille to Royal Ascot for the Commonwealth Cup after a decisive all-the-way win in the Carnarvon Stakes.
James Doyle’s mount was completing a four-timer after a couple of novice wins last year and a soft-ground success in a decent handicap at Newmarket to open his three-year-old campaign.
Shaquille was clearly fresh and well, having almost dispatched his rider on the chute from the parade ring to the track and bounced out in the six-furlong contest.
He did not see another horse, with odds-on Noble Style restrained in the early part of the race and Desert Cop, who tracked the leader all the way, fending off the reminder to take second.
Sky Bet cut Shaquille to 7/1 (from 25/1) for the Commonwealth Cup next month.