Motakhayyel looked the proverbial Group horse in a handicap when landing back-to-back victories in the bet365 Bunbury Cup at Newmarket.
Already a dual winner on the July Course for trainer Richard Hannon – including in this race 12 months ago – the Shadwell Estate-owned five-year-old was a well-backed 11-2 chance to land the £100,000 contest for a second time in the hands of Frankie Dettori.
Stepping down in class after finishing second in the Group Three Criterion Stakes over the course and distance last month, Motakhayyel travelled like a dream before bounding three and a half lengths clear, with Fundamental best of the rest in second.
Hannon said: “He’s a gentleman of a horse and has been for years. He’s such a pleasure to have around.
“He’s struggled between a rock and a hard place in handicaps and Listed races. He ran a very good race here in the Criterion and I watched the race today on the same TV I watched it on last year.
“He’s in the mile race at Goodwood and we’ll speak to Angus (Gold) and Richard (Hills) and see what they want to do.”
Dettori, riding his first winner of this year’s July Festival, said: “He took me by surprise – I still had a double handful two out and he kept finding.
“Richard told me Jim (Crowley, owners’ retained rider) was going to York and I couldn’t do the weight for John (Gosden, trainer of Fundamental). Richard told me to get on this horse as he loves Newmarket and he was right.
“I didn’t expect him to win like he did. He’s a very long horse with a long stride and I’m not sure he’d enjoy turning tracks.”