sport

Metal takes International

Heavy Metal (33/1) provided Mark Johnston with successive wins in the Longines International Stakes at Ascot.

The Middleham handler sent out Galician to win the valuable seven furlong handicap at a big price 12 months ago and the four-year-old struck wearing the same colours of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.

The son of Exceed and Excel defied a 3lb penalty in tremendous style as he got home one length ahead of Dont Bother Me (16-1), with the well-backed Watchable (10-1) another neck away in third and Heaven's Guest (20-1) fourth.

Belgian Bill was gambled down to 6-1 favourite but was slowly away and could never get competitive.

Galician ended up running at Glorious Goodwood in the Betfred Mile, in which he was fourth, and Heavy Metal still holds an entry in Friday's big handicap.

Johnston said: "I like this race! This horse is not far off getting back to his best.

"It was a tough race, but he came here with just a 3lb penalty and is a very good horse, or at least he was a very good horse.

"He was a very good two-year-old but lost his way at three - there's no secret in that - dropped a long way down the handicap but has been steadily climbing back up for a while now. He's in peak form now and the only surprise to me was that he was such a longshot.

Winning jockey Joe Fanning, who was also completing a double in the race, added: "He was a good two-year-old but lost his way as a three-year-old.

"He won at Brighton this year and that seemed to get him back to his old form. I was cantering on him two (furlongs) down. "

Johnston stated his intentions to send Heavy Metal to Goodwood. He said: "We know he's got a chance of getting in now, and there's no reason why he shouldn't go.

"We'll have a chat and think about things.

Sky Bet cut the winner to 16/1 from 25s to complete a hat-trick in next week's at Glorious Goodwood.

Dont Bother Me failed by a length to pull off a long-term plan by trainer Marco Botti.

"We'd planned to come for this race for a long time and you just need luck in these races," said Botti. "He's tough and tries his best but he was given a high rating when he came over from Ireland - if he had been rated a bit less then he would have won.

"It was a big run and we'll see what the handicapper does - we may have to go for Listed races next. He has enough speed to drop back to six furlongs but I thought they just went a fraction too quick when we tried him over that at Royal Ascot."