Athos aimed at Melbourne again
Mount Athos underlined his credentials for a return trip to the Melbourne Cup with a tenacious victory in Newbury's JLT Aston Park Stakes.
Marco Botti's charge (7-2) prevailed under Jamie Spencer by a length from the running-on Forgotten Voice, having outgunned the well-backed Battalion before two out and then easily holding off a strong challenge from third-placed First Mohican, who was a further nose adrift.
The Dr Marwan Koukash-owned gelding was third to Fiorente in the 'race that stops a nation' last November, beaten less than three lengths.
Botti's wife and assistant, Lucie, said: "He runs very well fresh, but I think the key is the ground as he doesn't want it too fast.
"He is very straightforward at home, a pleasure to deal with and the long-term plan is Melbourne.
"He has a big heart and tries very hard and we haven't really got a plan beforehand except the Goodwood Cup."
Royal Ascot could beckon for Cannock Chase who quickened clear in the manner of a smart performer a furlong out under Ryan Moore to turn the Betfred London Gold Cup into a procession.
The 11-4 chance received a warm welcome from punters afterwards, having mastered the other joint-favourite Windshear by a length and a quarter with Extra Noble three-quarters away in third.
Trainer Sir Michael Stoute was not present, but assistant Owen Burrows said: "He has got a Group Two entry at Ascot (King Edward VII Stakes) but Ryan said it might just be quick enough today and we'll have to bear that in mind for the future.
"Ryan said look after him because he's pretty smart. We'd like to think he'd progress beyond handicaps and this race often throws up a good one doesn't it?"
Bronze Angel was the best-backed horse of the day and it looked like the money might be right when he kicked on two furlongs out in the Betfred Astronomical £10 Million Scoop6 Today Handicap.
But it was not to be as the Hughie Morrison-trained Chil The Kite, an 8-1 chance, galloped past him under George Baker half a furlong from home to win by two lengths from Fort Knox with Dream Walker half a length away in third.
Morrison said: "He's won a Listed race over a mile and ran over a mile around a bend in Dubai, which is similar to today. Maybe a straight course is the answer."
It was a typically fine waiting ride from Baker, who steadied his mount on leaving the stalls and travelled at the rear of the field for much of the way before moving nicely into contention after Bronze Angel had made his move.
Riding his 1,000th career winner, Baker said: "He'd been over in Dubai for the winter and was disappointing over there, but dropping back to seven furlongs has been a big help to him. I had a lovely smooth run through and he's a high-class horse on his day.
"He's got the form in the book and he did that well."
Andrea Atzeni's trip to the Berkshire track for one ride paid off as he took the Betfred Play £10 Million Scoop6 Today EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes on Luca Cumani's Connecticut by three-quarters of a length from Smiling Stranger.
Atzeni gave his mount (3-1) the office after the three-furlong pole from the long-time leader, who stayed on into second after a sustained duel through the closing stages.
Favourite Mange All (11-4) was another two and a quarter lengths back in third.
Matt Cumani, son and assistant to the winning trainer, said: "He's an exciting horse, actually.
"We'll probably give him a bit of time, but it looks like he might get a mile and a half although not straight away.
"This is his second race that has looked quite good and the first one worked out well."
Paul Cole and Luke Morris teamed up to win the JLT Asia Maiden Stakes with Skaters Waltz (11-1) in a three-way go with Telefono and Between Wickets, the three horses being separated by just two necks.
Richard Hannon struck gold with Olympic Glory in the feature JLT Lockinge Stakes and went on to secure a 15-1 double when taking the Follow Scoop6 At totepoolliveinfo.com Fillies' Handicap with Aertex (11-2), who was partnered by Richard Hughes and won by three-quarters of a length from Token Of Love.