Easy for Arod at Leicester
A review of the action from Leicester, where Derby fourth Arod enjoyed an easy success.
Peter Chapple-Hyam wants to pitch Arod back up into Group One company in the autumn after the Investec Derby fourth enjoyed a confidence-boosting success at Leicester.
Runner-up behind subsequent French Derby hero The Grey Gatsby in York's Dante Stakes before his excellent effort in defeat at Epsom, the Qatar Racing-owned colt brushed aside two decent rivals in Spark Plug and Sir Jack Layden in the At The Races Sky 415 Conditions Stakes at Leicester to earn himself a return to the big time.
The 2/9 favourite travelled through the 10-furlong contest with consummate ease in the hands of Jamie Spencer and had nine lengths in hand over Spark Plug at the line, with Sir Jack Layden virtually pulled up in third.
Arod is likely to return to Pattern level next month, with the Group Two Prix Guillaume D'Ornano at Deauville on August 15 or the Group Three Betfred Rose Of Lancaster Stakes six days earlier under consideration.
The QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on September 13 and October's Champion Stakes at Ascot are potential Group One targets for later in the year.
"We just wanted to give him a confidence booster. He's improving all the time. They couldn't go fast enough for him. He wants a strong pace," said Chapple-Hyam.
"We brought him back to a mile and a quarter as he didn't stay in the Derby. The first three there were probably too good as well so we'll try to avoid them.
"He might go to Deauville next month, but you'd be worried about the way races are run over there as he needs a fast pace. The quicker they go the better he travels and the better he finishes and he loves this quick ground.
"If he didn't go to France we could go for the Juddmonte International at York or we could take the easier option and go to Haydock.
"The Irish Champion Stakes is likely to be his next Group One and, of course, there's Qipco Champions Day, but the ground might be soft by then.
"He's a very good horse this, potentially. He just wants more time."
Paul Hanagan was in double-winning form for his boss, owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, steering Laftah and Mustadaam to victory.
Laftah (9/2) made all the running in the EBF Stallions Breeding Winners/At The Races Fillies' Handicap.
Hanagan felt there was more to come from this lightly-raced filly after her maiden success at Salisbury three weeks earlier and was vindicated as Roger Varian's charge held 4-6 favourite Perfect Persuasion at bay by half a length.
"She got taken on a little bit early on but once I moved her away she was OK then," said Hanagan.
"She gets the trip well and she's a good filly. I thought she would improve from her win at Salisbury. I didn't see a reason why she wouldn't win again."
The Brian Meehan-trained Mustadaam (evens favourite) got his head in front for the first time as he outbattled Conquerant by three-quarters of a length in the At The Races/EBF Maiden Stakes.
Mr Shekells clearly benefited from a gelding operation and a step up in distance as he got off the mark in the At The Races Virgin 534 Nursery at Leicester.
After three unplaced efforts, trainer Charlie McBride took to those measures prior to this handicap debut and was rewarded as Mr Shekells (10/1) knuckled down to business under apprentice Danny Brock.
He saw off the attentions of the top weight and fav ourite Groor, who admittedly was conceding well over a stone in weight, to win by half a length.
"He'll have to go for another nursery over seven furlongs now," said McBride.
"The step up in trip and gelding him have made the difference. It's that straightforward, nothing sinister."
Bishan Bedi (3/1), named after the legendary Indian spin bowler of the 1960s and 70s, trapped the opposition in the Compare Prices At attheraces.com/odds Selling Stakes.
Travelling kindly for Martin Dwyer just off the pace, the William Jarvis-trained gelding was too strong for the odds-on Chess Valley as he opened his account by a length and three-quarters.
"It wasn't a great race. He's won, so hopefully he can build on that now he's got some confidence," said Dwyer.
Bishan Bedi was bought in for 6,000 guineas.
Royal Marskell (7/1) repeated last month's course and distance victory with a gritty display in the Read William Buick's Blog At attheraces.com Handicap.
Alison Hutchinson's five-year-old was produced with a strong challenge by James Sullivan and kept Saint Thomas away by a head.
"He got to the front a bit too soon, but he's very genuine," said Hutchinson. "I'll have to try and find another race for him here."
Consistant (5/2) gave trainer Brian Baugh a winner on his 60th birthday when getting the better of Haadeeth by half a length in the Follow @AtTheRaces On Twitter Handicap under Joe Doyle.
"He's a consistent little horse as his name says. He's deserved that and a tilt at another," said Baugh.
"It's nice to get a winner for the owners and hopefully he can win again."