James Fanshawe’s Fresh bagged the big-race victory he has long promised in the Moet & Chandon International Stakes at Ascot.
The son of Bated Breath has contested multiple prestigious handicaps at the Berkshire circuit over the past couple of seasons, finishing a close second in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot last year.
He was fourth in the Victoria Cup earlier this season and finished ninth when favourite to go one better than 12 months earlier in the Wokingham five weeks ago.
Ridden by Danny Tudhope, Fresh was an 8-1 shot for his latest assignment and raced in the group that made their way down the middle of the track.
Dark Shift, the 100-30 favourite to supplement his win in the Hunt Cup at the Royal meeting and claim a fifth win at Ascot, hit the front inside the final furlong.
However, he was unable to resist the late surge of Fresh, who got up score by a short head from Bless Him, who also finished strongly to pip Dark Shift to the runner-up spot.
Fanshawe said: “He loves this track. I was a bit concerned about going seven furlongs as he is best over six in a fast-run race.
“But they have done a lovely job with the ground, which is easy to say in hindsight, and he deserves that as he was second in the Wokingham here and has run two very good races here this year.
“It’s great that he’s won. He thoroughly deserves it. It is great for the team as things have been a bit sticky and hopefully this is a sign of good things to come.
“I’m not sure where he will pop up next. He just likes something with a stiff finish and he loves soft ground, so whether we can afford to enter in the Champions Sprint here in October – you never know what happens there.
“It is funny, this track, as sometimes you get horses who don’t like firm ground who can get away with firm ground here on that straight track for some reason.”
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