Ryan Moore provided another tactical masterclass to deliver Solid Stone to success in the Group Two Huxley Stakes, making it a seventh win on the week at Chester.
The six-year-old gelding was a comfortable three-length winner of the Group Two for Sir Michael Stoute but that doesn’t tell the full story of the race.
Moore galvanised his mount in the early stages, pushing him up to challenge frontrunner Majestic Dawn and Rob Hornby before settling behind his rival.
That in turn lit up Majestic Dawn, exerting too much energy whilst providing Solid Stone with a perfect slot into the race.
And whilst Frankie Dettori’s Megallan was toiling in behind, Moore quickened away to land the spoils with outsider Certain Lad taking second at the line.
That victory took Moore’s Chester tally to seven for the week, with Sky Sports Racing analyst Kevin Blake saying: “Ryan Moore is playing chess this week – the other lads are playing checkers!
“It looked like Majestic Dawn was going to get an easy lead but when Moore fired Solid Stone out at the start, he wanted to get onto his quarters and get him over racing before getting into the box seat.
“That’s high-level stuff. He’s been putting on a masterclass all week – that was magical stuff.”
Earlier on the card, Baryshnikov and Connor Beasley came from the rear of the field to land the Deepbridge Handicap in good style for trainer David Barron.
Despite needing to navigate traffic throughout, he weaved a passage through to run out a ready winner from Cap Francais in second, and Restorer back in third.
Winning rider Beasley said after the race: “You need all the luck in the world to get the splits round here on a horse like him but they came at the right time and he delivered nicely.
“He’s a dude of a horse, does everything in his stride and he’s got plenty of ability. Hopefully he’s on an upward curve and should be plenty of fun to be had this season.”
Red Mirage holds on to land opener
The opening ICM Stellar Sports Earl Grosvenor Handicap went the way of Red Mirage for David Probert and Andrew Balding, holding off the late charge of Boosala and the in-form Ryan Moore.
The line came just in time for the four-year-old who got the verdict by a nose, with a further half-length back to Revich who didn’t get much luck in running with a tricky passage through for apprentice Harry Davies.
Probert said after the race: “He was quite progressive as a three-year-old and just lost his way but he’s finally relinquished that and there’s hopefully more to come from him.
“He seems a happy horse and he’s moving as well as ever. We were just worried about the ground going against him but it’s just dried up enough and he seemed to handle it well.”
Sky Sports senior analyst Jamie Lynch also added: “This horse lost his mojo with Mark Johnston so he was a well-handicapped horse joining that top team [Andrew Balding]. He’s proved it not once but twice.
“That was the perfect case of a Chester race. One of fine margins, one of positioning, pace and hard-luck stories for others.”