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ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND – Two races after the same connections were victorious with Defoe in the Hardwicke Stakes (G2), the combination of owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum, trainer Roger Varian, and jockey Andrea Atzeni struck once more with Cape Byron in Saturday’s crowded Wokingham Handicap on Day 5 of the Royal Ascot meet.
Breaking from the barriers as the 3/1 stateside favorite, Cape Byron raced in the middle of the track while not pressing Watchable‘s early pace. With a little over 2 furlongs remaining, Atzeni angled Cape Byron out into the clear and commenced a rally to the front.
Taking over command just outside of the final furlong marker, Cape Byron dug deep and outkicked his trailing foes to win the 6-furlong sprint in a final time of 1:11.72.
“Cape Byron did it well,” Atzeni said. “We were very hopeful coming into the race. He has lots of pace but also stays very well. The thing with him is that he’s probably a 7-furlong horse, but he doesn’t always get a good pace over that trip. Over 6 furlongs, he is usually guaranteed a good gallop and that is what he needs.”
Tis Marvellous was able to just beat Danzeno by a head for second placing, with Raucous a neck behind them. The rest of the 28-horse field crossed thusly: Summerghand, Gunmetal, Perfection, Lake Volta, Hay Jonesy, Vanbrugh, Intisaab, Watchable, Stone Of Destiny, Southern Horse, Spring Loaded, Foxtrot Lady, Sir Maximillian, Fighting Irish, Soldier’s Minute, Cenotaph, Marnie James, Bacchus, Straight Right, Baron Bolt, Gifted Master, and Corinthia Knight.
Alba Power, Merhoob, and Recon Mission were non-runners.
Cape Byron’s win was his second straight in as many 2019 starts, having taken the Tote Victoria Cup here on May 11. The 5-year-old gelded son of Shamardal improved his career record to 13-4-3-1.
“I have to thank Mick Denaro, who rides Cape Byron in most of his work,” Varian said. “He fed me an idea even before Cape Byron won the Victoria Cup. He said he hadn’t had such a feel from a horse since he rode Laddies Poker Two, and he said he thought I was running him over too far. Mick sowed the seed, and when he won the Victoria Cup, he traveled so strongly that you almost wished it was a 6 1/2 furlong race, so we knew this was his race. It just worked out lovely.”
Cape Byron returned $8.60 to win and $3.40 to place, Tis Marvellous brought back $9.20 to place, and Danzeno paid $3.40 to place.
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