Quest For More takes Northumberland Plate

Quest For More, right, ridden by George Baker, wins at Newcastle. Picture: PA Wire
Quest For More, right, ridden by George Baker, wins at Newcastle. Picture: PA Wire
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Quest For More was an authoritative winner of the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate at Newcastle for Roger Charlton and George Baker.

The five-year-old was among the leading contenders for yesterday’s two-mile feature following a recent victory at Goodwood and Baker had the 15-2 second-favourite well positioned from the start, racing in midfield against the rail.

He remained full of running passing the three-furlong marker and quickened nicely through a tight gap to give himself every chance a furlong out.

Willie Mullins’ Max Dynamite came from the clouds to try and mount a challenge as the line loomed, but Quest For More showed no signs of stopping and was well on top as he passed the post a length and a quarter to the good. Max Dynamite was second, ahead of Nearly Caught in third, with last year’s one-two Angel Gabrial and Suegioo close up in fourth and fifth respectively.

Favourite Seamour was bang there a furlong out before weakening into sixth place.

Baker said: “He travelled great, we needed a smooth run through and we got it.

“The key to him is his high cruising speed, and he has the ability to get out of trouble.

“We were drawn well, but you still need a smooth passage and he was slow to stride so I was a bit further back than I wanted to be.

“This race is very hard to win, as every year there are so many hard luck stories.

“It’s normally such a rough race, but I had such a smooth passage round. When he got there he was just playing with me a little bit. He’s improved so much through the winter, he is much more straightforward and willing and every year he keeps improving.

“Roger is very patient with his horses and is extremely good at what he does.”

Martin Harley rode Max Dynamite and he said: “It was a great run, there were no hard luck stories from me. Willie left me with a blank page for instructions and I could do what I wanted. I just missed the kick slightly, which meant I was four-wide turning in.

“He finished off really well, but I saw George was still on the bridle and I knew he’d be hard to beat.”

Markaz returned to winning ways for the first time in almost a year with a convincing performance in the John Sunley Memorial Criterion Stakes at Newmarket.

The impressive grey colt has now run a series of fine races since landing a maiden at Ascot without managing to get his head back in front. But that all changed in the Group Three on the July Course as he powered to a 6-1 victory in the hands of jockey Dane O’Neill, who was recording a double on the day.

Code Red cut out the running on the far rail and O’Neill was never far away aboard the Barry Hills-trained son of Dark Angel. As they approached the last of the seven furlongs, Markaz seized control and proceeded to fly through the closing stages.

The Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned winner hit the line with a length and three-quarters to spare from the 5-2 favourite Hors De Combat. Lincoln was a further three parts of a length away in third.