John Gosden is considering a crack at Duke Of Marmalade in the George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes after Lucarno bounced back to winning form on the second day of Newmarket’s July meeting.
Stan James and Coral trimmed the four-year-old to 10-1 and 12s respectively for the Ascot showpiece last this month after he made all under Jimmy Fortune to capture the Princess of Wales’s WBX.com Stakes.
The Classic-winning colt had been put away for the winter following his exertions in the St Leger last September and has taken a while to warm to his task this summer.
After finishing down the field at Sandown, Gosden’s charge took sixth in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud but looked a different beast out on the July course.
Fortune had the 6-1 chance smartly away and went a few lengths clear in the mile-and-a-half test rounding the top bend.
After tracking to the far rail once in the straight, the jockey asked his able partner for maximum effort over a furlong out and crossed the line unchallenged.
Last year’s winner and 2-1 favourite Papal Bull gave chase in the closing stages but was a length and a quarter adrift in second passing the judge.
Gosden said: “The ground is dead so it was a good effort with a penalty.
“He ran in the Leger on September 15 last year and the race is a bit beyond his trip, so we ended his season there.
“He is a horse who thrives on racing and he did very well through the winter. He is a huge bull of a horse and has taken a while to get back into the groove and he is just finding his way back.
“He is coming back to himself but is not quite where I want him.
“There are good races later in the year and I wouldn’t be frightened of an Arc. He didn’t reappear until the end of May as it is a long year and the Japan Cup isn’t until November so the plan was always to be patient with him.
“There is a pretty sharp old horse called Duke Of Marmalade going to the King George but I will consider the race.”
Papal Bull’s part-owners, Gary Patchett and Dave Stack, were philosophical in defeat after the five-year-old stayed on for second.
Patchett said: “Frankie Dettori got us boxed in about two and a half furlongs out, and Ryan Moore felt that if he had got him going 50 yards earlier then he would have got there.
“We are still going the King George according to Sir Michael (Stoute).”
Terry Mills was thrilled with the effort of third-placed Petara Bay and said: “We’re very pleased – that’s the way he’s got to be ridden – covered up and come late.
“There’s a big race in this horse, I can feel it in my water. He’ll go to York, the Arc and everywhere.”