Grocer Jack made all the running to return to winning form in the Listed bet365 Stakes at Newbury.
Tom Marquand got a good tune out of the Oasis Dream horse, who had won a couple of Group Three contests in Europe last year before arriving at William Haggas’ Newmarket yard.
Grocer Jack had finished fifth at the Saudi Cup meeting and fourth in a Group Two at Chantilly on his first two runs for the yard, with a change of tactics and a drop in class clearly helping him as he powered to a nine-length success from Cadillac.
Marquand said: “He was obviously an expensive purchase from Germany and people saw that hint of what he had in the tank. He has some really good form in the book.
“Saudi, running around on that sort of American-style track, just caught him really sharp on his first run in a long time and I got him all wrong in France – I was a step slow away and dropped him in and asked him to relax and he never did.
“He actually didn’t get beaten far and he ran a really good race and we were keen today to make the running or at least be positive on him and he has obviously really enjoyed it. He is pretty keen and head-strong.
“I think a mile and two is his trip. He could stay a mile and a half, but I don’t think there would be any rush to get there. Clearly, a positive mile-and-a-quarter ride is optimum.”
The Haggas team completed a double, as did Hollie Doyle, who had earlier won the Weatherbys Super Sprint, when Morgan Fairy claimed a cosy win in the Lifetime In Racing Award Winner British EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap Stakes.
With her husband Marquand having special dispensation to dash to France to ride My Prospero in the Prix Eugene Adam at Saint-Cloud, Doyle deputised on the Lope De Vega filly, who had finished in midfield in the Sandringham at Royal Ascot.
The partnership went on to score in the mile contest by an easy length and a half.
Maureen Haggas said: “She is doing well. She ran all right at Ascot and improved from it. She is learning all the time and she needs practice really, she needs racing. She has done nothing wrong there. The ground would probably be a little bit on the quick side for her – it is getting pretty fast now.
“We will see what the handicapper does and if she could run in another handicap, it wouldn’t do her any harm, but ultimately, if you can get some black type, that would be the aim. She is still a bit green, but she could probably win another handicap.”
Former champion jockey Jim Crowley made it winner number 38 for the season when Reshoun backed up his fine runner-up effort in the Queen Alexandra at Royal Ascot, going one better in the Highclere Castle Gin Cup.
The Ian Williams-trained eight-year-old has become a useful stayer and relished this extended two-mile trip to score by three-quarters of a length from Rock Eagle.
Crowley said: “The horse stays very well – that is the one thing he does do – he stays two miles and five furlongs or two and three-quarters well.
“We just went a nice, even pace and he outstayed the rest of them on the day. He needs further than this – he stays longer than the mother-in-law.”
Hectic may have a been a relatively cheap purchase as a £44,000 yearling, yet the Massaat colt looked above average when taking what looked an ordinary renewal of the bet365 Novice Stakes in the hands of Pat Dobbs.
The Richard Hannon inmate looks set for a bright future after the 100-30 chance drew readily clear in the closing stages of the six-furlong contest, handing the staying-on Alpha Capture a half-length beating, with Lahab a well-held third.
Hannon said: “He is there to be shot at in front and there is a lot of improvement to come from him. Dobbsy (Pat Dobbs) loves him. He said it didn’t feel like quick ground – he said the ground was lovely.
“He is a lovely horse and will be a nice one for the future. You might think of something like the Acomb at York.
“He is very nice horse and we have a few of these types waiting around, taking their time. He is quite a heavy-set, strong lad. He will get seven furlongs no problem, but has the speed for six all day long. That is probably quite a smart race.”
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