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Motakhayyel bounds to Bunbury victory

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.”

Frankie Dettori with trainer Richard Hannon in the Newmarket winner's enclosure
Frankie Dettori with trainer Richard Hannon in the Newmarket winner’s enclosure (Tim Goode/PA)

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.”

Tregoning eyeing Bunbury Cup date for Ascot victor Perotto

Marcus Tregoning’s Perotto is pencilled in for the Bunbury Cup after his Britannia Stakes victory at Royal Ascot.

Perotto was triumphant at last week’s Royal meeting when taking the hugely competitive handicap by half a length under Oisin Murphy, on his first attempt at a mile.

Further targets are on the horizon at that trip for the three-year-old, but he will first turn his attentions to the seven-furlong Bunbury Cup at Newmarket’s July meeting.

Perotto is currently the joint ante-post favourite for the race but will need several to opt out for him to make the final field.

Tregoning said: “Perotto needs a few to come out to get in the Bunbury Cup – but he’s taken his race extremely well, and that’s the likely race he’ll go for next.

“As long as he gets in, he’ll be off a low weight. I think he’s ante-post favourite for the race, and he should be on that form.

“We’ll see if we get in or not, but he’s in good form.

“We’re very happy with him. He’s a tough little horse – he’s not overly big but he’s got a great big heart.”

After the Bunbury Cup, Perotto may then head for the Unibet Golden Mile at the Qatar Goodwood Festival, a race in which he will again run off a favourable weight against older horses.

“There’s not really a suitable race over a mile now – that (the Bunbury Cup) would be a stepping stone to Goodwood, where we’ll go afterwards,” said Tregoning.

“I suppose what used to be the Totesport Mile (the Golden Mile) would be a possibility – again he would be off a lower weight, because he’ll be taking on older horses.

“There will be a race for him there, at the big meeting.”

Alkumait is working towards a return to the track
Alkumait is working towards a return to the track (Hugh Routledge/PA)

The Hampshire trainer has also provided an update on his 2020 Mill Reef Stakes winner Alkumait, who has not been seen since finishing seventh behind Chindit in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury in April.

The Shadwell Estate colt sustained a knee injury, but has recovered and will return to training soon – with a view to running again in the autumn.

“Alkumait has been out of training for a while because he had a problem with his knee, which he’s over now,” said Tregoning.

“He’s coming back into training very shortly. I think the likelihood is we might get a couple of runs in towards the autumn, but not before, and we can look forward to him for next year.”