Ryan Moore provided Aidan O’Brien with a first Chester Cup as he delivered Cleveland (6/1) to perfection to land the feature race of the Chester May Festival.
The staying handicap success took Moore’s tally for the week to eight, having landed the Huxley Stakes earlier on the card with Solid Stone.
In another ultra-confident ride, Moore was burrowed up the inside on Cleveland who stepped up significantly in trip for handicap debut.
Torcello (80/1) made the early running under Franny Norton but was swallowed up around the final turn as favourite Coltrane (9/2jf) picked up the lead under Rob Hornby.
But all the while, Cleveland and Moore were ticking off rivals before being taken to the outside and unleashing a run in the final two furlongs.
It proved to be a race-winning manoeuvre, sweeping past in the final 100 yards to win by a neck, with Rajinsky (6/1) running well back in third.
After the race, the winning jockey said: “To be fair to Aidan, he’s always had a lot of faith in this horse. He’s still a little bit of a baby but he had to be brave when I needed him and he picked his way through and I always felt I was going to win.
“I just needed to find the gaps and the space and maybe it wasn’t a strong Chester Cup but you’d have to be delighted he’s done that on his fifth start.
“Our horses have been running great and they have been all year and there’s plenty to look forward to.”
Moore masterclass on Solid Stone
Moore provided another tactical masterclass to deliver Solid Stone (4/1) to success in the Group Two Huxley Stakes.
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.
Moore hailed his mount after the race, saying: “He races a little bit lazy but he stays going very well and he’s honest.
“This horse is very consistent. It’s the third time he’s won a Group race now so we’re delighted.
“He was disappointing in Saudi – we thought he’d run well there – but he’s back on track now.”
Beasley comes from last to first
Earlier on the card, Baryshnikov (5/2) 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.”
The opening ICM Stellar Sports Earl Grosvenor Handicap went the way of Red Mirage (6/1) 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.”