Bryan Smart’s bid to land a first British Classic received a boost at Newmarket when Misu Bond survived two sessions with the racecourse farrier to land the banshahousestables.com European Free Handicap.
The clumsy colt contrived to lose one shoe in the pre-parade ring and then another down at the start.
But kept cool by Smart and rider Tony Culhane, the 5-2 favourite had no problems in the race itself and was staying on strongly to hold the late challenge of Jeremy by a neck.
Smart admitted to having had a small ante-post interest at 100-1 about Misu Bond winning the Stan James 2000 Guineas back at the track next month and drew hope from the performance of 100-1 chance Monsieur Bond, a desperately-unlucky sixth in the race three years ago.
“He was only beaten a couple of lengths and this horse is as good as him,” said the North Yorkshire-based trainer.
“He is a very clumsy horse and he actually managed to spread a plate twice, something I can’t say happens very often.
“The farrier has done a fantastic job and I have to say thank you to him but I thought he would run well today.
“I thought a lot of him last year and I was devastated when he got wiped out in the Mill Reef but I think we can forget that now.
“He won the big sales race at Redcar and we were hopeful that he would train on this season – he looked the type.
“I bought him for 80,000 Euros as I liked the look of him and he had a decent pedigree. I like his sire and usually have a few Danehill Dancers.
“He’s a bit thick and it didn’t surprise me when he stood on himself and pulled his shoe off again but luckily his lass spotted it straight away and we were able to get it sorted. He’s a bit of a goon but believe me he’s decent.”
Stan James and Bet365 are best-priced at 50-1 about Misu Bond’s 2000 Guineas prospects with Ladbrokes, William Hill and VC Bet just 33s.
Runner-up Jeremy caught the eye on his seasonal bow, staying on after being held up towards the rear for much of the race.
Jockey Mick Kinane got to work on him over a furlong out but was just unable to rein in the eventual winner.
Stoute said: “I’m pleased with him – he ran very well. He’s very consistent and goes on any ground.
“He looked as if he would get a mile but there aren’t any immediate plans.”
Roger Charlton was also pleased with the effort of Advanced, who was a further length-and-three-quarters back in third.
He said: “I’m delighted with that. He has ran a good race and finished well. We’ll look for another seven-furlong handicap.”