Rakti sails on supremely in QEII Stakes

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RAKTI turned in a superb performance to win the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on day two of the Ascot Finale - the last meeting to be held at the course before it closes for 20 months for extensive redevelopment.

Trained by Michael Jarvis and ridden by Philip Robinson, the 9-2 shot looked good from the start and proved unstoppable, storming past Godolphin pacemaker Blatant as they entered the final two furlongs.

Although Lucky Story (16-1) fought desperately hard until the end, it wasn’t to be and had to settle for second place.

Frankie Dettori was third on Refuse To Bend while fellow Irish hopeful Soviet Song, which had started the race as clear favourite, put in a disappointing showing and finished well down the field.

A jubilant Robinson said of Rakti: "I was astounded the first time I ever sat on the horse to be told he had won over a mile and a half in Italy. I said to Michael at the time that he felt like a top-class miler - and he has shown that today.

"The pace helped him relax. Normally you get a true gallop over a mile but over a mile and quarter it can get tactical and people mess you about.

"I felt the other horse coming but mine just pulled out a bit more and did what was necessary."

Looking to the future, Lucky Story’s trainer Mark Johnston said: "He has shown what we always thought he was - a tough, consistent and talented horse. We will go for the Champion Stakes now."

Godolphin’s racing manager Simon Crisford said of Refuse to Bend: "It was a proper race and he has run very well. He didn’t have the best of draws but at least his Sussex run is firmly behind him now. His next target will be the Champion Stakes."

Earlier in the day, Dettori had got off to a winning start on Perfectperformance, scoring victory in the 100,000 Hackney Empire Royal Lodge Stakes, just as he did eight years ago .

Perfectperformance’s win means that Dettori - who memorably went through the card here back in 1996 - edges further in front of Keiren Fallon. It took his season tally to 161 wins, a slender four ahead of his rival for the champion jockey title.

The 4-6 winner made it to the front just over a furlong from the finish and saw off Aidan O’Brien’s late challenge on Scandinavia (8-1) to claim victory by a length and a half. The 7-1 charge Wilko claimed third place, a further length and a quarter behind. Mark Johnston on Elliots World had made most of the running and was narrowly edged out of third place on the line as the half-brother to the brilliant Russian Rhythm scored his third win of this campaign.

Winning trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: "Sheikh Mohammed was always keen for him to go for this race, although ideally I think he already wants a mile and a quarter and I would have liked to have run him over that distance this year.

"There were some nice colts up against him today but he had the class and the speed to win well."

Saeed bin Suroor then confirmed that Perfectperformance will run in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on October 23.

Despite yesterday’s victory, Coral have left Perfectperformance unchanged at 33-1 for next year’s Vodafone Derby.

In the totejackpot On Saturday Heritage Handicap, Kehaar made it three wins from four starts after coming with a fantastic late run.

After staying close to the rails for the most of the seven-furlong race, Eddie Ahern burst through in the final furlong to win by a comfortable length and three-quarters.

The Paul Cole-trained Kool, who only managed to qualify for the race under the reserve system, finished in second place while Mine put in a good show and took third.

Kehaar’s trainer Mikael Magnusson said afterwards: "After Goodwood, where he had a horrible draw and failed to handle the track, he went down with a temperature and despite giving him a number of scopes we couldn’t put our finger on what was wrong.

"Consequently I have had to take my time with him and he’s come here a fresh horse, although the handicapper left him on the same mark.

"He’s a very green horse still, with only four races under his belt and he is a late developer who will really find his feet next year."

After a disappointing run last weekend, Pivotal Point delivered the goods with a three-length victory in the Group Two GNER Diadem Stakes.

Looking well under the control of jockey Seb Sanders, Pivotal Point left favourite Airwave trailing behind in second place, despite the runner-up being out in front halfway down the home straight. The Tatling was a further one and a quarter lengths away in third.

In the Meon Valley Stud Fillies’ Mile, Playful Act continued her upward curve with a fine win. John Gosden’s May Hill Stakes winner stayed strong to see off Maids Causeway by a length, while Dash To The Top ended up third.

Fallon suffered a nightmare run on the 15-8 favourite Echelon, finishing well down.

Speaking after the race, Gosden said of Playful Act: "When I went through the race this morning it was obvious that nothing would go off in front and with her proven stamina we decided to make it.

"Hopefully we’ll go for both the Guineas and the Oaks but I would probably skip a race like the Musidora because she would have a Group One penalty to carry."

After her win, Coral cut Playful Act’s odds for the Oaks from 16-1 and she is now the favourite at 10-1.

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