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Last Updated: 26/05/11 8:55pm
Workforce beats Poet to win the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown Park
Last year's Derby and Arc winner Workforce made the perfect start to his four-year-old career with victory in the Piper Heidsieck Champagne Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown.
Racing on rain-softened ground, Ryan Moore on the even-money favourite was happy to sit off what looked a stiff pace set by the enterprisingly-ridden Poet, who was a long way clear of the pack at one stage.
Clive Cox's Poet still held an advantage two out and while Workforce soon picked him up when asked with Moore using his stick just once, he had to battle fairly hard to finally get the better of the argument by a length at the line, the pair 11 lengths clear of Jan Vermeer in third.
Winning trainer Sir Michael Stoute said of the Khalid Abdullah-owned colt: "I was very pleased.
"He has taken a lot of getting fit this time around because he has developed so much. I was delighted to get him here tonight on ground he enjoys.
"I was a little concerned when they turned in, but he did it well in the end.
"I really want to give it a lot of thought (future plans) and have a sit down with Ryan first of all.
"I'm sure Prince Khalid would like to be informed of our thinking so there's no rush."
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Abdullah, said: "He has done very well physically and he has the right to come on on his pedigree.
"The thing about it was he kicked when he wanted him to do. Poet was going away but he picked up well. For a horse that's a bit rusty he's done it like a class horse, like the class horse that he is.
"We'll see how he comes out of it and where Sir Michael wants to go next. It's a pretty limited programme, but a nice one.
"I don't think there's any reason why not to go back to Ascot - probably several things contributed to the run in the King George last year and it wasn't just the ground or the track."
Moore, who declined to be drawn on comparisons with Aidan O'Brien's So You Think, said: "He was a little bit sleepy in the stalls and the race was a bit messy, but I never felt like he was going to get beaten at any stage.
"He made up the ground very easily on Poet, then had a bit of a look around and I had to give him a smack.
"He's a bit bigger but his character hasn't changed. He has always felt like a horse with more to come, nothing has been asked at home and we didn't ask an awful lot more tonight."
Sky Bet responded to Workforce's victory by cutting him to 9/4 from 5/2 for the King George at Ascot in July. But he remains unchanged at 4/1 for a second successive Arc victory at Longchamp in October.