Ranch Hand ended a lengthy losing streak when showing his battling abilities to secure a tenacious success in the Jockey Club Rose Bowl Stakes at Newmarket.
The Andrew Balding-trained Dunaden gelding stuck to the task well over two miles in the Listed contest to gain his first victory in more than a year.
Having raced in the last pair for much of the race, Ranch Hand forged on just outside the furlong pole before defeating last year’s winner Withhold – who was in front of him last time out – by half a length, to complete a double for champion jockey Oisin Murphy.
Balding, speaking away from the track, said of the 15-2 winner: “He is a home bred and I’m delighted to have won a Listed race with him.
“He was beaten by Withhold last time, but in fairness it is probably the first time he has had his conditions this season. Two miles with give in the ground is what he wants.
“He has shown a fair level of form on the Flat and I think we will now go jumping with him as he will be a lovely hurdler.
“We used to keep the odd jumper in the yard, we’ve not had one for a little while now, but it was something everyone was keen to do.”
Lost In Space initiated Murphy’s brace and a double for trainer John Gosden when completing a hat-trick of victories with a four-length success in the Bentley Motors Nursery Handicap.
Gosden said: “He is a lovely little horse that has knocked up a hat-trick. He has done nothing wrong.
“He will be going to the sales in October at Tattersalls. He is a lovely horse to race in Hong Kong or America.”
Grand Bazaar (4-7) returned to winning ways to make it two for Gosden, and provide the concluding leg of a double for William Buick, when running out a two-length winner of the Federation Of Bloodstock Agents Handicap.
Gosden said: “He has been running well in big races and this one rather cut up, which I was surprised about. They just went a bit hard at Ascot last time. He is a genuine horse that tries hard. He might well come back for the Old Rowley Cup, but he could go further.”
Buick got the ball rolling aboard the Charlie Appleby-trained La Barrosa (4-7), who claimed the Group Three Tattersalls Stakes by a length.
Royal Champion earned quotes of 33-1 for next year’s Derby with William Hill and Betway following an impressive length-and-a-quarter debut success in the Rossdales EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes.
Roger Varian, winning trainer,said of the 100-30 shot: “He travelled into it nicely today and I think he got to the front plenty early enough for his first run. He probably got tired up the hill and a bit lonely, but I thought he did it pretty well.
“We expected good things from him and he has made a nice start. Hopefully it’s a start he can build on and be one of our nice three-year-olds to look forward to next year.”
Atzeni was also successful aboard Zoran (6-4 favourite) in the Newmarket Challenge Whip Handicap.
Lady Of Aran provided trainer Charlie Fellowes with his first winner in 47 days when opening her account for the campaign by a head in the British Stallion Studs EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap.
Fellowes said: “I’ve been on the cold list for a long time – too long. They’ve been running so well, they’ve just been unlucky.
“She always gives 120 per cent and Georgia (Dobie) gets on with her brilliantly and she really runs for her, so that was lovely to see. I’d love to get some black type with her.”