Ed Crisford was delighted to see Without A Fight stamp his class on the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Grand Cup Stakes at York.
The five-year-old won in handicap and Listed company in the autumn and kicked off his 2022 campaign by finishing a head second to last week’s Coronation Cup hero Hukum at Meydan.
He subsequently failed to land a telling blow in the Dubai Sheema Classic on World Cup night, but made a pleasing return to British soil when third in the Group Three Al Rayyan Stakes at Newbury last month.
Stepping up in trip but down in class for this one-mile-six-furlong Listed contest, Without A Fight was sent on his wat at 4-1 in the hands of Andrea Atzeni as he conceded 3lb to each of his five rivals.
The five-year-old was never too far off the pace set by Kemari and knuckled down well to prevail by a length and three-quarters from the strong-finishing John Leeper.
Crisford, who trains Without A Fight in partnership with his father, Simon, said: “It was a great run and he did it really well.
“They went so slow early and nobody really wanted to go forward, but once he got into a rhythm he settled lovely and he showed his class today, winning with the penalty.
“He quickened away lovely and hit the line really well. Now that he’s won over a mile and three-quarters, it does open up a few more options, so we’ll see.”
Betfair introduced Without A Fight at 14-1 in their market for the Ebor back at York in August, but Crisford is in no rush to firm up plans.
He added: “I think he’d be top-weight in the Ebor, so we’ll just have to see where we go.
“There are no immediate plans. We’ll just have to sit down with Sheikh Mohammed Obaid.
“He’d have plenty of weight in the Ebor, but that is obviously an option. There’ll be plenty of options for him moving forward and hopefully we’ll have a fun year with him.”