‘Life-changer’ Judicial registered another emphatic verdict at Chester as he retained his title in the Listed Children’s Air Ambulance Queensferry Stakes.
Julie Camacho’s evergreen sprinter faced a significant challenge against odds-on favourite Dakota Gold – but he challenged from off the pace under Callum Rodriguez to lead a furlong out before getting the better of his big market rival by two lengths at 4-1, with outsider Zoetic third.
Judicial has won on four of his five career visits to the Roodee and was second on the other occasion – in this same race, four years ago.
This time, he foiled what would have been a notable weekend double for the connections of Dakota Gold – whose half-brother and Michael Dods stablemate Commanche Falls won the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood on Saturday.
While Dakota Gold had to settle for runner-up spot, Judicial returned to winning form for the first time in five starts since his 2020 success here.
Malton trainer Camacho’s partner Steve Brown was delighted with the nine-year-old.
He told Sky Sports Racing: “He’s been wonderful, just life-changing for us – he’s upgraded the yard.
“He’s just raised our profile really, so we’re very grateful.
“We’d been a little bit concerned by his first two runs (this season). He lost a shoe in the Palace House (at Newmarket in May) – but last time (third at Beverley) was a little bit underwhelming, and we don’t honestly know why.
“But the last two weeks, he’s trained really well – he looked right back to himself last week.
“(So) I think we’d have been in a spot of bother, had we not seen a good run today.”
Camacho is likely to head back to another happy hunting ground next, to try to regain his Beverley Bullet title at the end of this month.
Brown added: “He’s a horse that looks after himself. He’s just a little bit short of Group One and Group Two level, so we’ll look at Group Three and Listed.
“The Beverley Bullet comes next, which again he has won in the past, and then possibly the Garrowby Stakes at York.
“He’s a pretty easy horse to map these days, and I think we’ll just stick to the tried-and-trusted routes.”
Cheshire trainer Tom Dascombe’s runners are a standing dish at his local course – and he duly supplied the first two home in the opening Printworks Nursery Handicap.
They were not quite in the order widely anticipated, as 15-8 shot Devious Angel led home favourite Roman Dragon in just a four-runner field.
Hat-trick seeker Roman Dragon could not peg back his stablemate, who led all the way under Richard Kingscote for one-and-three-quarter-length victory – her fourth in eight career starts, and second in succession at Chester.
Dascombe said: “I should have won it with the colt, shouldn’t I, and the filly should have run at Goodwood this week.
“She wasn’t able to, because the ground went heavy, and (so) we had to run two against each other.
“I hate doing that. People have been asking me all day which one will win, and I said ‘there’s nothing between them’.
“It turns out there’s about a length!”
Nuance was a second all-the-way winner at the start of the card, taking the Chester FC Welcomes Fans Back EBF Novice Stakes as the 5-4 favourite – by a comfortable half-length from Prosperous Voyage, under jockey Tom Marquand for trainer William Haggas.
After the Cheveley Park juvenile had broken his duck at the third attempt, Marquand said: “He’s a horse that should in theory stay a little bit further, and he’s got the revs to go round Chester.
“William was pretty keen that the track would suit, and everything would fall his way, and it was a pretty straightforward mission there.”
Dascombe duly returned to his familiar spot in the Chester winner’s enclosure twice more.
Mot And The Messer completed a double for him and Kingscote, by a head in the three-runner Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre EBF Stallions Conditions Stakes.
Then Lincoln Park and jockey Jane Elliott defied a drift in the market out to 7-1 to make it three on the card for Dascombe in the #TheCrew Children’s Air Ambulance Kids Club Handicap.