Lib bounces back in thriller

Libranno, out of sorts when flopping in the Duke of York Stakes last month, returned to near his best to shade a three-way photo in a thriller for the Bathwick Tyres Cathedral Stakes at Salisbury yesterday.

Richard Hannon’s four-year-old, formerly a top-class juvenile and a dual Group Three winner last year, had come back with excuses after that poor run at York.

Hannon gave the colt a nice break after he produced a bad scope, and that patient approach paid off as Richard Hughes urged his mount home from Our Jonathan and Definightly in what proved a particularly rough race.

While the winner and Definightly had every chance and duelled for the final two furlongs at the head of affairs, there was interference between Our Jonathan and Artistic Jewel that caused further interference to Eton Rifles.

In the end it was by only a neck that the 13-8 Our Jonathan favourite was denied, with Definightly, who did not have the ground in his favour, a further head away in third.

The stewards enquired into the incidents and also considered the improvement in form of the 7-1 winner, who was ordered to be routine tested.

Hughes, who was completing a double, believes his mount might have had too busy a time of things last year.

He said: “He ran in nearly every one of the top sprints and was fourth in the July Cup, but after running at York last month he scoped terribly, so he’s been given plenty of time to get over that.”

Hughes initiated his brace on Hughie Morrison’s Quiz Mistress in the Bathwick Tyres Handicap.

The 7-2 favourite had run below expectations at Epsom, where the track was against her.

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