Raasel continued his ascent up the sprinting ladder with a clear-cut victory in the Betfred Nifty Fifty Achilles Stakes at Haydock.
A 10,000 guineas purchase out of Marcus Tregoning’s yard a couple of years ago, the Mick Appleby-trained five-year-old has proved another shrewd buy for successful ownership group The Horse Watchers.
Having racked up a five-timer last season, Raasel opened his account for the current campaign at Goodwood in April before filling the runner-up spot on his latest appearance at York.
The five-year-old was an 11-2 chance stepping up to Listed class on Merseyside and powered home inside the last of five furlongs to get up and beat 9-4 favourite Dragon Symbol – runner-up in the Commonwealth Cup and the July Cup last season – by three-quarters of a length.
“He’s certainly come through the ranks and I remember saying at the end of last season that he could be a lively horse this year,” said winning jockey James Doyle.
“York didn’t set up great for him last time, but it set up perfectly for him today. He’s got bundles of speed and a good kick.
“He has been kind of learning job and these sharp tracks play to his strengths.”
The Horse Watchers syndicate is partly managed by Chris Dixon, who was not present as he was on television duty at Beverley.
He said: “It sounds daft, but I’m not really surprised that he’s done that. Obviously if Dragon Symbol was going to be at his best then we weren’t sure, but he’s just so quick and he’s kept on progressing.
“We got to the point where we wanted to go for a big handicap if we could, but it was a little bit of a wait for a proper five-furlong one so we thought we’d take our chance here and see if he was ready for this kind of grade.
“Apart from at Nottingham at the backend of last year when the ground was probably too soft for him, he’s never really been off the bridle in a race.
“I would think we’ll find him a Group Three somewhere if we can, but the main aim for a while has been the Group Two at Goodwood – the King George Stakes.”