JUSTINEO could be readied to take on some of the world’s best sprinters in Paris next month after he ploughed through rain-softened ground to claim the Crown Hotel Bawtry Scarborough Stakes at Doncaster.
Roger Varian’s four-year-old snapped a near two-year losing streak in a Newmarket conditions event on his penultimate start and a subsequent third-placed finish in the King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood was further evidence of his rapid progress.
Partnered by William Buick over the straight five furlongs on Town Moor, the 4-1 joint-favourite blasted out of the stalls and it was soon clear a number of his opponents were struggling to keep up.
Judge ‘N Jury tried to keep tabs on the pacesetter from his rail draw, but Justineo was not for catching and took the Listed prize by a length and a half from fellow market leader Masamah. Judge ‘N Jury was another head back in third.
Varian, whose horses are in outstanding form, is now considering a tilt at the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp on 6 October with Justineo.
“It took the trainer far too long to work the trip out, but we’ve got there eventually,” said the Newmarket handler. “He’d run some good races in soft ground over six furlongs before and he’s handled conditions well. He handles faster ground as well, so it’s nice to have a horse that’s versatile that way.
“He is in the Prix de l’Abbaye and he could run in that. We know now he’s a very fast horse and that he should cope with whatever conditions prevail in France in early October.”
Buick, who later won the concluding Berendsen Workwear Handicap with 7-1 chance Sir Pedro, said: “He’s going to be a sprinter to be reckoned with.”
Godolphin runner Out Of Bounds (11-4) made an excellent start to life in Britain with a fine galloping display in the Park Hill Hospital Conditions Stakes under Silvestre de Sousa. Making his first appearance since being placed in a Meydan handicap in early March, the chestnut handled conditions with aplomb and was good value for his half-length victory over even-money favourite Gatewood.
Winning trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: “I am very happy with him. He ran on dirt in America, Tapeta in Dubai, and he has handled soft ground well. We have given him time and physically he has improved. I think he will be better for the race. There is no plan for him, but we will look for a better race.”
Willie Supple got Dana’s Present up in the last stride to grab the spoils in a three-way photo finish to the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Stakes at Doncaster.
Gay Kelleway, the first woman to ride a winner at Royal Ascot, looked home and hosed on Pelmanism when she hit the front a furlong out and took a couple of lengths out of the field.
However, the complexion of the race changed dramatically in the last 50 yards as Dana’s Present (12-1) snatched the verdict by a nose under a vigorous ride from Supple.
The judge could not separate Pelmanism (11-1) and Excellent Puck (12-1), ridden by Jimmy McCarthy, as they dead-heated for second place.
Supple, born in Tralee, retired from race-riding in March 2012 after a career spanning 25 years. He moved to Britain in 1998 and was made number two jockey to Hamdan Al Maktoum two years later. The 45-year-old enjoyed considerable success in Britain and Dubai during his time with Sheikh Hamdan, which ended in 2006 when he returned to Ireland.
Supple said: “It was a good buzz to get back. It’s hard when you retire at first to know what to do, but it was good to get back and see the lads and I enjoyed it.”
Lightning Thunder (5-2) emerged triumphant after a pulsating three-way finish to the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Conditions Stakes.
The Olly Stevens-trained Newbury maiden winner was strongly challenged by Justice Day and Expert as the post loomed. But she clung on under Harry Bentley to defeat the former by a short head, with Expert a further head away in third.
James Bethell’s Braidley (9-1) left his rivals trailing in his wake to strike a blow for Yorkshire in the Arena Group Nursery.
Middleham-based Bethell said: “He ran a bit keen over a mile at Newcastle last time, which is why we brought him back to seven furlongs. Hopefully we’ll go onwards and upwards from here. We’ll wait for the big offer to come in!”
David Simcock’s Breton Rock (12-1) bounced back to form to win the Beauty At Doncaster Handicap.
Simcock’s wife, Jennie, said: “That was really good and he loves this ground.
“We gelded him since his last run at Goodwood and he’s had a few lessons in the stalls as well.
“There is a race at Newbury next week for him, so we’ll have a look at that.”