Tout Seul earned a crack at the Juddmonte Lockinge Stakes after returning to form with a smooth victory in the totesport Leicestershire Stakes yesterday.
The four-year-old had not won since lifting the Group One Dewhurst Stakes as a juvenile in October 2002, but connections believe he is now back to his best and deserves another chance in top company.
After the Leicester success, a relieved trainer Fulke Johnson Houghton has targeted the Group One Newbury race over a straight mile on May 15.
“I think he’s back to himself and hopefully will be going for the Lockinge,” said the Didcot handler. “This will have done his confidence a lot of good and he’s done it well.”
Tout Seul did finish fourth in the 2000 Guineas and third in the Irish equivalent last season, but he was never quite right after he pulled a muscle when well-beaten in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
“I never got him right after that. I probably got at him a bit quick but I think I’ve got him right now,” Johnson Houghton went on.
The son of Ali-Royal showed he still has plenty of ability by outclassing his rivals in this Listed race.
Moved to the wide outside by Steve Carson to make his challenge, Tout Seul (7-2) swept into the lead just inside the final furlong and won by a length and three-quarters from the fast-finishing 3-1 favourite Polar Ben, with Rockets ’N Rollers a neck back in third.
Carson never lost faith in the horse, saying: “Last year, after his two runs in the Guineas, everybody was doubting him, but the horse is as good as ever.
“He’s done it easily. He idled a little when he got to the front, but he’s just different class from the rest. He could have won on the bridle, but I wanted him to stretch out when he hit the front.”
Frankie Dettori pleased his supporters with a short-priced double on Goodricke and Bayhirr.
Goodricke landed the odds in the "Original" Median Auction Maiden Stakes, but only after giving punters a scare.
The David Loder-trained colt lost several lengths on leaving the stalls, but the 1-5 shot was in front after a furlong and went on to score by five lengths.
“He obviously knew how good he was and gave them a start” said Loder.
The Newmarket trainer believes the horse is Royal Ascot material, but wants to give him at least one more run first.
“He needs to get on line. We’ll find another race as he needs the practice,” he added.
Dettori completed his brace on evens favourite Bayhirr in the Beacon Bitter Maiden Stakes.
The result was never in doubt once Dettori pressed the button three furlongs out, and the Michael Jarvis-trained colt won by two and half lengths despite being eased down close home.
Another hotpot struck when Swagger Stick (4-6) ran out a cosy winner of the Everards Popular Pubs Handicap.
Seb Sanders took John Dunlop’s colt to the front two furlongs out and held the game challenge of Dettori’s mount Nessen Dorma by three lengths.
“He’s certainly improved from last year. He seemed to like the ground today and we’ll see where we go from here,” said the trainer’s son and assistant Harry Dunlop.
Richard Hughes was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary for X-rays on his shoulder after being unseated from Tidy yards from the finish after his saddle slipped.
Willie Supple escaped injury when his mount Park Star stumbled when shying away from the prostrate Hughes.
David Sweeney, who partnered Kingscross, was banned for two days (May 5 and 6) for using his whip with excessive frequency and without giving his horse sufficient time to respond.
Ryan Moore, whose brother Jamie sealed the conditional jump jockeys’ title yesterday, showed his own prowess in the saddle with a superb all-the way win on Icannshift (8-1) in the Pick Everard Handicap for Simon Dow.
The big race-winning team of Johnson Houghton and Carson were denied a double when Phluke was caught on the line and short-headed by Toparudi, trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by 7lb claimer Saleem Golam, in the Perfick Handicap.
Richard Mullen was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary for X-rays on a suspected broken wrist after a fall three furlongs out from Hatch A Plan.