A review of the pick of the rest of the action from Investec Oaks Day at Epsom
Last Updated: 06/06/14 5:44pm
Farraj powers clear to score at Epsom
Roger Varian's Farraaj secured his first victory on turf in getting on for three years with a smart display in the Investec Wealth & Investment Handicap.
Last year's Winter Derby winner got a beautiful tow into the straight from pacesetting duo Soviet Rock and Salutation and as the pair began to falter, Farraaj was sent to the front by Andrea Atzeni.
The only horse able to go with him was Air Pilot and they had it between them heading into the final furlong.
Farraaj always looked to be doing enough, however, and the well-supported 13-2 chance passed the post with two and a half lengths in hand.
Clon Brulee was seven lengths away in third.
Atzeni, who rides Kingston Hill for Varian in the Derby, said: "He jumped and travelled well. They went a nice gallop which really helped. I hit the front quite a long way out but I couldn't pull him up after the line."
Varian said: "It really suited him today, he's been crying out for a truly-run race and they went quick. He has a good turn of foot on his day and it shows the ground is drying out, as he'd like that.
"That might not suit Kingston Hill in the Derby, but hopefully we'll get some rain before then."
Looking to future plans, Varian said: "We were going to go for the Wolferton at Royal Ascot, but it depends how much he goes up. He's going to probably have to step back up in class now."
The winner was cut to 14/1 from 20s by Sky Bet for the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot.
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Abseil justified favouritism to give James Doyle a double on the afternoon in the Investec Mile.
With a Yarmouth victory sandwiched by two creditable placed efforts this year, the four-year-old was a strong 5/2 market-leader for this competitive handicap ahead of a potential trip to Royal Ascot later in the month.
Abseil was a little keen in the early stages of the extended one-mile contest, but he was still full of running as he moved towards the front two furlongs down. Red Avenger and Velox came through on the far rail to throw down a serious challenge, while Llanarmon finished with a wet sail down the outside of the field.
Both Red Avenger and Velox were squeezed up by the winner, who held on by half a length from Llanarmon Lad, with Red Avenger a length and a quarter away in third.
Doyle said: "The occasion got to him a bit today, he was very lit up, going to the start he had his eye on the fun fare in the middle of the track.
"He was a bit the same in the race, he raced with the choke out a little bit early, he rolled down the camber as well. He's very inexperienced so this should stand him in good stead. He's definitely going the right way, he's inexperienced and I'm sure he'll progress."
Owner Khalid Abdullah's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said: "He was quite gassy and he's still an inexperienced horse. He had a few injuries when he was younger, which stopped him, but hopefully he'll keep improving. The penalty he gets there should qualify him for the Royal Hunt Cup.
"He's got a Group One pedigree and we always have ambitions but we got held up with him early in his career so we'll just see how we go."
Sky Bet make the winner 6/1 favourite from 8s for the aforementioned handicap at Royal Ascot.
The post just came in time for That Is The Spirit to keep his unbeaten record intact in a thrilling climax to the Investec Surrey Stakes.
David O'Meara's three-year old was the 5/4 favourite following a couple of taking performances at Doncaster at York and he once again adopted a front-running role under Danny Tudhope.
He quickened a couple of lengths clear at the furlong marker and Tudhope could have been forgiven for thinking the work was done, but Parbold finished with a rattle and the two flashed by the post almost as one.
Thankfully for favourite-backers, That Is The Spirit was called the winner by a nose.
O'Meara said: "This was the quickest ground he's run on and the best race he's been in, but he's done it again.
"He's still quite green and likes to get on with it. I'll have to talk to the owner about it, but the Jersey is an option, we'll see how he comes out of this. We have a lovely horse and hopefully we can get it right with him."
Tudhope said: "He didn't really handle the track very well in the last furlong and a half, I thought I'd won easier than I did but the second horse flashed home and luckily we got away with it. I was impressed with his attitude."
Almargo spreadeagled the field in the concluding Investec Asset Management Handicap under a well-judged front-running ride from Silvestre de Sousa.
Mark Johnston's 7/1 shot had failed to get seriously competitive on his three most recent turf outings, but was in the mood for his latest appearance, leading the field from the outset and kicking clear from the home bend.
The closing group were unable to sufficiently bridge the gap and although he was beginning to tire late on, Almargo was good value for his one-and-three-quarter-length victory.
Favourite Kafeel and 33/1 outsider Suzi's Connoisseur were second and third respectively.
Johnston said: "He's obviously a very speedy horse so the ground drying out helped. He'd run a couple of times on soft ground and it's great to see some good weather for a change for horses like this.
"He had a good draw and handled the track, it's tough but the same for all, that's what makes it great. I think seven furlongs is absolutely ideal for him. I don't think there's anything for him at Ascot, he's only rated 83."