Royal Ascot may beckon for “class act” Raadobarg after he completed his hat-trick impressively in the Join Casumo Today Silver Bowl Handicap at Haydock.
Roger Varian’s colt produced a very smart turn of foot under Jack Mitchell to settle matters in very testing conditions, staying on well in the final furlong to win by a length and a quarter from Seasett.
It was a performance which puts the Britannia Stakes on the agenda next month, and Mitchell’s appraisal of the 11-2 winner’s talents underlined those possibilities.
The winning jockey said: “He’s a progressive horse, and he loves those underfoot conditions obviously – I think that’s a bit of a key.
“But he’s got a great mind – you can do whatever you want with him. He’s just improving.
“Obviously it was a big step up in class today, but he’s shown he can participate at that level.”
Raadobarg, in the increasingly familiar Amo Racing Limited colours of Kia Joorabchian, was taking his career record to three wins in four starts.
Asked about the prospect of heading to the Britannia, Mitchell added: “His homework from (his previous victory at) Thirsk has got better and better. He’s a class act in his own right.
“He’s obviously a candidate for that sort of race. He’s got a great mental state to go forward for those big handicaps.
“I wouldn’t be looking to run him on anything with firm in it – he just seems to relish it a bit easier underfoot.”
The owner’s representative Emily Scott voiced a similar proviso, as she confirmed plans.
She said: “Roger (Varian) was hoping he would run well to get in the Britannia, where he should get every yard of the stiff mile.
“He’s relished the conditions – and if the wet summer continues, we hope we can have more success.”
For Varian it was a 1,000th career success and he said: “That is our 1,000th winner in total including international winners.
“It is a great landmark to reach. I owe all of the owners, past and present, a thanks for their support and all the team at home working so hard.”
Oisin Murphy made a flying start to the card, with a double on the board after the first two races.
He completed it on 4-1 favourite Molls Memory, who was held up last early before picking her way through to just deny admirable front-runner Ffion – getting up to win by a neck in the Casumo Horse Racing And Sports Betting Handicap for trainer Ed Walker.
Murphy said: “She relaxed well.
“In the straight it was a little bit tricky, because one group stayed very much far side and the other edged towards the middle, and I just wanted to get a clear, uninterrupted run.
“She found plenty for pressure, and hit the line well. She relishes this ground.
“The trainer had a great York (Dante meeting), and his horses are flying.”
The dual champion jockey was also delighted to be racing in front of a Saturday crowd again, adding: “I am pleased to see the crowds back in – it’s been a long time without atmosphere.”
Classic Lord was a well-backed and determined winner of the opening Casumo Proud To Support British Racing Handicap under Murphy, for trainer Andrew Balding.
The 3-1 shot arrived from off the pace to challenge down the far rail and get the better of long-time leader Mystical Dawn by three-quarters of a length.
The most recent previous winner of the corresponding race was subsequent St Leger runner-up Sir Ron Priestley, in 2019.
Classic Lord has a long way to go before approaching those heights, but Murphy was impressed by his attitude in the very testing conditions.
“We liked this horse last year,” he said.
“He won at Pontefract and Goodwood, and I thought he was a bit better than (his current rating of) 78.
“He’s obviously improved from his run at Chester. He goes through soft ground, and I hope he’ll have a good year.
“He’s a likeable horse – an easy ride, and he stays well. It’s a war of attrition on that ground.”
John Quinn is another trainer with Royal Ascot on his mind after his filly Frankenstella returned to winning form in the Download The Casumo App Today Handicap.
Quinn nominated the marathon test of the Ascot Stakes next, on day one of the showpiece meeting, following 7-1 shot Frankenstella’s length victory from Rajinksy.
Jockey Jason Hart was rewarded for his patience as Frankenstella eventually stayed on best over two miles, and the North Yorkshire handler said: “She was in the process of running a big race at York (last time), and she went between two and just got stopped.
“She’s a big animal, and couldn’t get going again. But she came out of the race well, and we thought this trip, track and a bit of ease in the ground would suit her.
“All being well maybe, it will be the two-and-a-half-mile handicap at Royal Ascot – that’s the next plan.”