THERE are few horses harder to dislodge from the front than Universal and Mark Johnston’s battler continued his impressive rate of progress in the Princess Of Wales’s boylesports.com Stakes at Newmarket.
Johnston and owner Abdulla Al Mansoori are now unlikely to be able to resist the lure of the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in just over a fortnight.
The four-year-old was the 3-1 favourite and soon in his usual position at the head of affairs, Universal was shadowed by his five rivals but saw them all off without much trouble, bustling two and a half lengths clear at the post under Joe Fanning.
John Gosden likes to use the Bahrain Trophy to road-test possible Ladbrokes St Leger types and Feel Like Dancing kept the prize in his stable for the third year running.
A 3-1 chance, Feel Like Dancing beat 33-1 outsider Jathabah by a neck. The St Leger sponsors offer 20-1 at this stage.
It was a third Portland Place Properties July Stakes in four years for Richard Hannon, whose Anjal (14-1) came home under Paul Hanagan to snatch the juvenile Group Two on the line.
Hannon’s Montiridge was 4-7 favourite for the Insure Pink Stubbs Stakes.
Johnston thought Maputo (8-1) was his Royal Ascot banker only for him to throw in a dreadful effort in the Britannia, but a return to a mile and a quarter saw him take six lengths out of the rivals in the boylesports.com Download Our App Handicap.