Solid Stone dominated the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing IRE-Incentive Scheme Huxley Stakes, giving Ryan Moore a seventh winner of the week at Chester.
The rider has been in flying form on the Roodee, claiming each of the three Classic trials on Aidan O’Brien-trained runners, but it was long-time associate Sir Michael Stoute who provided him with his latest success.
Moore looked eager to make all on the 4-1 shot, but with Majestic Dawn also keen to set the gallop, Solid Stone was instead settled in second and bowled along nicely.
In contrast 5-6 favourite Megallan never looked at home on the track, with Frankie Dettori getting to work a long way from the finish, also being pushed out wide as Moore unleased Solid Stone’s challenge.
The latter effortlessly assumed control in the straight and while Certain Lad – making his return from a 532-day absence – was game in defeat, he never looked like troubling the winner, being beaten three lengths at the line.
Stoute was not on the Roodee, but was pleased with what he saw.
“That was a nice performance. I’m not sure where we will go next. We were very pleased with that,” said the Freemason Lodge handler, whose charge was bouncing back from a below-par effort at the Saudi Cup meeting in January.
Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Saeed Suhail, said: “We ignored the Saudi run. It was too firm for him, he was stuck on the outside and he just didn’t go at all.
“Last season ended with a couple of Group Three wins. I don’t know where he’ll go know, Sir Michael might have a plan.
“He’s a pretty good horse and the way he won there, he’s probably better than he’s ever been.
“Ryan seemed a bit surprised about the way he picked up there, because before he could be a bit laboured.
“Sir Michael really knows him know. He’s in good hands.”
Moore added: “He stays very well. He’s getting older and he looks after himself.
“They went very hard today, but he’s honest and he stuck it out very well.
“Maybe the others had excuses. He disappointed in Saudi, but he’s done it well there.”
Thady Gosden felt Megallan had not handled the track.
“They went very hard in front and he wasn’t in love with the tight turns,” he said.
“You live and learn, it’s unlikely we’ll bring him back here but he’s fine, it just hasn’t worked out here.
“I don’t know where we’ll go next.”