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High Summer once more at Newmarket

Summerghand swooped late to register a 16-1 surprise in the Listed Close Brothers Hopeful Stakes at Newmarket.

David O’Meara’s popular seven-year-old was beaten just a neck in the six-furlong heat in 2020, but he righted the record with a clear-cut defeat of 2-1 favourite Tabdeed.

Summerghand landed the Group Three Abernant Stakes on the Rowley Mile course back in April but after finishing a fair fourth in the Duke of York Stakes the following month, he had struggled to make an impact in three subsequent starts.

Summerghand was settled towards the rear by Martin Harley as Royal Crusade set the early pace and still had plenty to do as Khaadem went for home two furlongs out.

However, Summerghand found plenty for pressure in the final furlong, assuming control with half a furlong to run and shooting clear to win by two and a half lengths from Tabdeed, who was staying on all the way to the line.

Adaay To Remember was a further head back in third.

Harley said: “This is more of his grade these days. He ran in the July Cup and when they quicken away, he gets a bit disheartened.

“Today they went quick and when he started to pass one or two tiring horses, he really got his momentum up and finished strong.

“I was a bit worried about the ground as it was kicking up out there, but as the pace was so strong early and a few horses started coming back to him, he really came into his own during the last furlong and a half.

“He is a tough horse and in Listed and Group Threes he is very competitive, but when he goes in Group Twos and Group Ones he is taking on a different sort of horse. He is a proper tough horse.

“David has done a fantastic job keeping the horse fresh and sweet. He was a winner on the Rowley Mile winning that Group Three in April.

“Fair play to David and I’m thankful for the ride. David rang me up and said ‘do whatever you think is right’. I didn’t want to drop him out today and I said ‘let’s keep him in midfield’ and the rest is history.”

Hopeful assignment for classy Tabdeed

Tabdeed will switch back to Listed company as he tries to register his first win in more than a year in Saturday’s Close Brothers Hopeful Stakes at Newmarket.

The six-year-old was victorious in the Group Three Hackwood Stakes at Newbury last July, but was then well beaten in the Group One Sprint Cup and has been out of luck in two outings this term – most recently when third in the defence of his Newbury title.

Trainer Owen Burrows will now drop a grade as he looks to get his sprinter back on the winning trail.

He said: “Tabdeed ran very well when trying to defend his Hackwood Stakes crown and he was only beaten in a photo.

“There are not many options for horses like this. There was either this or the Garrowby at York, but when we saw the entries we thought we would look at this.

“He is not quite a Group One sprinter, though the ground was heavy in the Sprint Cup at Haydock when he raced at that level last season. That is twice he has disappointed on soft ground.

“This year he has been in a good place as we are normally treading on eggshells – hence why he hasn’t had many races in his career. It is good to firm and in an ideal world it would be good, but they do a good job with the track at Newmarket.”

Tabdeed will sport the first Shadwell colours, with the Charlie Hills-trained Khaadem trying blinkers for the first time.

The five-year-old is also looking to snap a losing streak having not won since lifting the 2019 Stewards’ Cup.

Hills said: “He worked well in blinkers the other day so we thought we may as well give him a go in them. He ran over seven furlongs last time and I think he did see it out, but with the blinkers on we thought it best to bring him back to six furlongs.

“It has been a frustrating season, but he has run some nice races and he looks great while he has kept his condition better this year than last year. He has finished fourth in a July Cup and a Diamond Jubilee Stakes so he can be competitive at that sort of level.”

Royal Scimitar has not got his head in front since winning on his racecourse debut last July, but trainer Clive Cox feels he has had excuses.

Cox said: “He is a top-of-the-ground horse and where we thought he would stay further, he has proven most productive back over six furlongs. He was unlucky at the Shergar Cup meeting last time as the ground was on the easy side and he fluffed his lines at the start.

“This is a big step again but he looks great and he ran well over course and distance at the July Festival behind Blackrod, who has since won at York, so I would be hopeful he runs well.”

Royal Crusade was fifth in the Hackwood last time out for Charlie Appleby, but has subsequently been gelded.

Appleby said: “It is his first start since he has been gelded and he has taken the operation well. Hopefully we can now get back on track to where we were as a three-year-old with him.

“His work has been nice and hopefully he can use this race a starting point to returning to some sort of form.”

Ten runners are set to contest the six-furlong heat with Summerghand and Mums Tipple other key names in the mix.