Henry Candy’s patient approach with Limato paid major dividends this afternoon as the four year old gave the trainer a first success in the Group 1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket.
A field of 18 went to post for an intriguing and particularly strong renewal of this summer classic.
As the stalls opened, Arod broke quickly on the far rail, along with Eastern Impact and Cotai Glory.
Settling down, the Breeders’ Cup winner Mongolian Saturday went on from Don’t Touch and Arod, with Eastern Impact and Suedois showing plenty of speed.
Racing to the two furlong pole, Mongolian Saturday came under pressure and Limato struck the front on the far side, going two lengths or more clear.
His turn of foot proved devastating and nothing could close, despite the fact that he veered violently across the course as he met the rising ground in the final half a furlong.
Limato has been tried over longer trips so far this season but the drop back to six furlongs proved the catalyst to a sensational performance as the colt oozed class by travelling powerfully before quickening away with an instant change of gear.
The winner drifted right in the closing stages but had enough of a break on the field for it not to matter and he the Paul Jacobs-owned four-year-old provided jockey Harry Bentley with his first domestic Group 1 success.
In behind, Suedois battled on gamely to hold on to second place, with Quiet Reflection in third and Profitable fourth.
The winning trainer said: “He’s very exciting, it’ amazing to watch.
“The Park Stakes over 7f last year was exciting but to do it over six was sensational.
“Harry’s first comment was ‘I can’t wait to ride him again!’ He must give the jockey some special feel.
“It was absolutely electrifying, horses like him make the job easy.
“This horse is not easy to saddle up at all and it took a very long time today. He’s getting worse unfortunately, he cannot bare anything underneath his stomach and he was just about on the floor today when we were saddling him up.
“The only problem with him is that when he hits the front he can go all over the place, which he did, but he had so much in hand that it didn’t matter.
Candy isn’t ruling out the possibility of stepping his charge back up in trip for a tilt at the £1m Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, saying: “I wouldn’t rule out a tilt at the Sussex Stakes, I think he gets a mile. We are short of six furlong races for the moment so the Sussex is an interesting option.
“I thought he ran a cracking race in the Lockinge given the ground wasn’t right and a lot of our horses weren’t right.
“I’ve been training him to stay, although you wouldn’t think it on what he did today. I’ve been trying to teach him to settle as much as possible.”
In modern times, Thatching failed in the Sussex Stakes behind Kris, having triumphed at Newmarket, but Chief Singer pulled off the double in 1984.
O’Meara has Hong Kong plan for Suedois
David O’Meara is hatching a long-term plan to take Darley July Cup runner-up Suedois to Hong Kong at the end of the year after finishing two lengths behind impressive winner Limato.
O’Meara said: “It was a great run. He is a horse who appears to be getting better. He was bought at the Arc sale last year by Joe Foley and Nick Bradley and he was a big old price today. He was probably over-priced really, because he was only beaten three-quarters of a length at Ascot and only beaten a length in the Duke Of York.
“Again, he has confirmed he is right up there (with the top sprinters). Limato is obviously a very special horse, but he has beaten the rest of them fairly I think.”
When asked about a possible tilt at the Hong Kong Sprint Cup, O’Meara added: “I think he is a horse who can travel. He is a gelding and seems to handle any ground. He is very versatile. I am not ruling it out. The Prix Maurice de Gheest (at Deauville) might be a race for him, but I am delighted with today’s run.”
Quiet Reflection saw her five-race winning streak stretching back to last season ended, although she went down fighting.
Trainer Karl Burke was thrilled with the performance of the three-year-old, who was a head further back in third.
He said: “We are absolutely over the moon. This proves she is a very high class filly. Roll on the autumn and the Haydock Sprint Cup.
“We will be frightened of nobody on genuine good ground.
“She will strengthen again and will have at least two weeks without a saddle on now – just have a little rest and catch her breath before preparing her for an autumn campaign.
“At the moment, I’d say Haydock, followed by QIPCO Champions Day. You’d have to think that if the last couple of years are a guide, we’ll get decent ground.
“But fair play to the winner, who is a superb horse on that ground and it is a superb training performance by Henry Candy.
“But we have a lot to look forward to.
“I don’t think we’ll go abroad with her this year. There is every chance if she is sound, she will stay in training next year. There has been a lot of people chasing her, but now her paddock value is there whenever we want it.
“It hasn’t been discussed, but I’d love to be going into next year with her.
“It would be fantastic and then we could plan a proper campaign abroad with her.”
Burke was quick to praise the ride given by Dougie Costello. He added: “It was a superb ride. I was very pleased with that.
“I just felt she was a couple of lengths further back than ideal and today, against those older horses, I didn’t want to be giving those two lengths away. But he gave her a superb ride.”
Clive Cox was full of praise for fourth-placed Profitable, ridden by Adam Kirby.
The trainer said: “Full marks to Limato. That was impressive. Adam rode him very sensibly in order to try and get the six furlongs as well as possible.
“To finish fourth, he has clearly finished his race off. I still think he is better over five in all honesty, but to say he didn’t get the trip would be nonsense.
“He has run a really nice race and we are really pleased with him.
“The Nunthorpe at York is the plan now. He is very adaptable and he has coped with softer ground that I thought possible.”