Mick Channon won the Cazoo Woodcote British EBF Stakes for the first time in 10 years as Ascot-bound Legend Of Xanadu streaked down the middle of the Epsom straight.
An easy winner at Redcar 18 days ago, it had taken the Sixties Icon colt four races to break his duck. But clearly the penny has now dropped with the son of Sixties Icon and he looks a much improved juvenile since his first run at Pontefract in early April.
William Buick was content to tuck in from his wide draw and then made his challenge widest of all, sweeping by leader Commander Straker at the furlong marker and while Hugo Palmer’s Self Praise flew home, he could only get within a length and a quarter of the 4-1 joint-favourite.
Paddy Power gave the winner a 14-1 quote for the Coventry Stakes at the Royal meeting later this month, although the Chesham could well be the target.
Jack Channon, assistant to his father, said: “Dad is at home today. He might come tomorrow as we have two runners. It is a big old crowd and he has plenty of work on at home. He is a cracking home-bred and that was a great performance.
“He is a lovely horse and always has been from day one. Everyone keeps saying he needs further, but you have only got to look at the horse to see his is built like a two-year-old and he is certainly proving that.
“He will certainly get further, but I asked William after Redcar, ‘would you step him up to seven (furlongs)?’.
“He said to stick at six as he has so much speed. Today he showed he can stay as they went hard and he stayed on really well up the hill. I’d say the Chesham would be the obvious route now, as this is not a Listed race and he won’t have penalty going into that, so that would be the obvious route.”
Buick made it an immediate double on the card with a well-timed run aboard Totally Charming (4-1 joint-favourite) who was daringly produced through a gap between horses with two furlongs to go in the World Pool Handicap.
The George Boughey-trained four-year-old was always well positioned to follow up his All-Weather Vase Mile Handicap success at Lingfield and Buick sat in behind the pace before producing the lightly-raced Charming Thought gelding, who made it four wins from eight career starts.
Though the Jim Crowley-ridden Revich stuck on for second, the winner had a length and a half in hand at the line, with Fantastic Fox a further length back in third.
Boughey said: “He’s been training good. The ground was a bit of a question mark as he’s been doing his winning on the all-weather but he’s progressive.
“He’s a horse we’ve put in the Hunt Cup, but over the last 10 or 12 years he wouldn’t have got in off that mark 91 so we thought we’d come here.
“He’s an agile horse, he’s a fun horse and mentally he’s a lot more relaxed now. We gelded him and he’s maturing.
“He’s only done one bit of work since he last ran and doesn’t take a huge amount of training.
“He’s bred to be a turf horse so I thought he’d handle it.”
Betfair cut Totally Charming to 12-1 from 25-1 for the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot on June 15.
Royal Champion was a 14-1 winner of the Cazoo Handicap for Andrea Atzeni and Roger Varian.
The four-year-old was running for the first time since being gelded and struck up the middle of the track, brushing off a late challenge from both Good Birthday and Soto Sizzler to triumph by two and a quarter lengths.
Betfair revised the horse’s Royal Ascot Hunt Cup odds from 20-1 to 12-1 and trimmed his John Smith’s Cup odds from 16-1 to 10-1.
“He was straightforward. He wasn’t very nice as a two-year-old and we tried him quite highly last year,” Atzeni said.
“We had him in the Feilden, because we wanted to see if he was a French Derby horse or a Derby horse, and he ran OK. Then we tried him in the Dante and it didn’t really work out.
“Maybe the horse didn’t really have a chance, but we were scratching our heads a bit because his work at home has always been good. That is the reason we went for those sort of races and he is beautifully-bred. He is by Shamardal out of a good mare (Emirates Queen) – I used to ride her.
He needs to get his toe in and obviously he has been gelded. I’ve no idea what the plan is for him. We did not know what to do with this fellow until today – we just had to find out.
“Trip-wise, we didn’t know if he was a mile or a mile-and-a-quarter horse, but he is a home-bred, which is nice.”
Hugo Palmer’s Ever Given was a game winner of the Listed Poundland Surrey Stakes, striking at 16-5 under Danny Tudhope.
The three-year-old bounced back from a beaten run in the Sandy Lane at Haydock to triumph by a length from George Boughey’s Oscula when stepping down in grade and up in trip.
“This was always the plan after Chester, really, but we threw our hat into the ring at Haydock and came home severely reprimanded by the quality of the race,” said Palmer.
“I was really worried that might have taken the edge off him, but he’s forgiven the trainer’s mistakes and come back and done us proud.
“Danny stole the race at Chester, we were well drawn and got on the front end and got away with it, but I think that is how to ride him, in behind the pace, and he did that very nicely, he’s very well balanced.
“He tries very hard, but he won’t raise a gallop at home which makes him a very difficult horse to judge. I dare say we’ll run him in the Jersey now (at Royal Ascot), but we’ll see.”