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Candy pays tribute to ‘brilliant’ Limato on retirement

Henry Candy paid tribute Limato after confirming the retirement of his stable stalwart.

It is six years since the Tagula gelding rounded off an unbeaten juvenile campaign with victory in the Two-Year-Old Trophy at Redcar, a performance his trainer hails as “absolutely extraordinary”.

The following season yielded Group Three and Group Three triumphs, before he bagged his two Group One wins in 2016 with victories in the July Cup at Newmarket and the Prix de la Foret at Chantilly.

A proud Henry Candy with Limato and Adam Kirby after victory in the Criterion Stakes earlier this year
A proud Henry Candy with Limato and Adam Kirby after victory in the Criterion Stakes earlier this year (Edward Whitaker/PA)

There have been ups and downs during the subsequent four years, but Limato proved he was no back number in the summer when successfully defending his crown in Newmarket’s Criterion Stakes.

“He’s been a big part of the yard for a long time,” said the Wantage handler.

“I suppose his July Cup victory was probably the outstanding performance, but I thought his run in the Two-Year-Old Trophy at Redcar as a juvenile was absolutely extraordinary.”

Having finished fifth in last month’s Park Stakes at Doncaster, Candy had hoped to see his eight-year-old bow out by bidding for a third win in the Challenge Stakes on Friday, but he was ruled out due to a bruised foot.

Time has now been called on a glittering career during which Limato won 14 of his 33 starts and earned over £1.4million in win and place prize-money.

Candy, who has also trained top-class sprinters like Kyllachy, Airwave and Twilight Son, added: “Limato would have to be way up there – when everything was in his favour with the ground and everything, he was brilliant.

“He had a pretty amazing strike-rate and a fantastic turn of foot.”

Challenge Stakes hat-trick aim for Limato

Henry Candy is targeting a third win in next month’s Challenge Stakes at Newmarket for his stable stalwart Limato.

The Tagula gelding claimed the seven-furlong Group Two in both 2017 and 2018 and found only Mustashry too strong when bidding for the hat-trick in last year’s renewal.

He has been raced sparingly as an eight-year-old this season, but made the perfect comeback when registering his 14th career victory in the Group Three Criterion Stakes at Newmarket in June.

However, he will return to the Rowley Mile on a recovery mission after finishing a slightly disappointing fifth in the Park Stakes at Doncaster – a full five years after winning the Doncaster contest.

“He just ran a bit flat at Doncaster,” said Candy.

“He’d been prepared for four other races beforehand and not run in them, because as everyone knows by now he doesn’t want soft ground.

“He’s been in great form since and all being well we’ll head for the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket next month.

“We just have to hope the rain stays away.”

Limato primed for Park Stakes mission

Henry Candy’s veteran Limato is aiming for a second win in the bet365 Park Stakes at Doncaster on Saturday – five years after his first success.

Now an eight-year-old, Limato showed he was as good as ever when winning his only race of this season to date, the Criterion Stakes at Newmarket.

While Candy is assured he is as good as ever, the stop-start nature of the unusual season has not been helpful.

“Conditions should be perfect on Saturday, which is a relief as it’s been a long summer of abortive attempts,” said Candy.

“It was a long time ago (77 days) when he won. He’s been ready for four races since, but they’ve all been too soft.

“This looks a very hot race, obviously Wichita looks the main danger but there are two or three others that will take a bit of beating.

“I think he’s well, he should run well and he didn’t look to be getting any slower at Newmarket.”

Aidan O’Brien’s Wichita will be ridden by Frankie Dettori with Ryan Moore at Leopardstown for Irish Champions Weekend.

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“It’s great to pick up these rides for Aidan. He has so many talented horses and you know you’ve got a chance whatever you’re on when you ride for him,” Dettori told his Sporting Index blog.

“Wichita is a very interesting ride. The question mark is the return to seven furlongs, but I think that should be ideal.

“He’s a fast horse that ran well over a mile – second in a Guineas and a close third in the St James’s Palace – and we think this trip will really suit him.”

William Haggas’ mare One Master has won the Prix de la Foret for the last two years, but Haggas fears a hat-trick bid may be scuppered.

“We’ve got three weeks until the Foret and with the Covid situation, who knows where we’ll by then?” he said.

“We’re very happy with her, this is a suitable race and we decided we’d let her take her chance.”

Roger Varian’s Royal Ascot winner Molatham was fifth behind Pinatubo in the Prix Jean Prat last time out and now takes on his elders.

Varian said: “Molatham is in great form and we’re looking forward to getting him back on track.

“I don’t think he ran his race in Deauville, but it still wasn’t a bad run.”

In the bet365 Champagne Stakes owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum holds a strong hand with both Albasheer and Mujbar taking their chance.

The Owen Burrows-trained Albasheer could not have been more impressive on his debut over the same course and distance.

“He’s always looked a nice horse at home, he’s a good-looking, strong horse who is well-bred by a very good stallion (Shamardal). From what we can see we hope he’s a very good horse,” said Angus Gold, the owner’s racing manager.

“He did have the option of the Listed race at this meeting, but he worked very nicely the other day and Owen was happy to let him take his chance in this.”

Charlie Hills’ Mujbar was well beaten on debut but bolted up next time at Newmarket when winning by seven lengths.

“Mujbar beat a horse (Marlay Park) who had finished behind Minzaal so we’ve a bit of a line on him. He looked a good, galloping horse to me at Newmarket,” said Gold.

“They’ve always thought a bit of him, he’s out of a good mare in Madany who has produced Massaat and Eqtidaar and he worked very well on Tuesday to the degree that Charlie was happy enough to go for this – he said he thinks he’s decent so let’s have a look at him in the Champagne.

“We’re never afraid to run them against each other, one has run twice the other just once and you never know until you run them. There’s only a month left of the season and we’re running out of big races.”

Richard Hannon’s Chindit and Tom Dascombe’s Devious Company are others with strong claims.