Desert delight for Hannon and Hughes

An on-the-ball Richard Hughes and Desert Auction spoiled an opportunity for Star Rover to complete a remarkable double at Goodwood on Thursday.

An on-the-ball Richard Hughes and Desert Auction spoiled an opportunity for Star Rover to complete a remarkable double at Goodwood on Thursday.

The David Evans-trained Star Rover won the Lily Agnes at Chester just over 24 hours before he made the trip 240 miles south for the four-runner Empire Property Group International Conditions Stakes.

Star Rover set off quickly with 5-4 favourite Grand Zafeen hot on his heels but Hughes had a gameplan and stalked the pair before stealing his opportunity hard up the rails at the furlong marker.

Desert Auction (11-2) drew ever closer, eventually taking the £14,000 (€15,691) juvenile prize by a neck.

Grand Zafeen relegated Star Rover to third, who was conceding upwards of 9lb to the field for his previous unbeaten run of four.

Trainer Richard Hannon reported: "Hughesie felt they were going to go very quick in front so he just hoped he could sit in behind and hope they were going too fast. And they did."

Hannon added: "I'd say he wants further but I'm not sure he's definitely a Royal Ascot horse really."

Hughes had earlier demonstrated another side of his talents with a cool piece of tactical front-running on John Hills' Eastern Empire (11-1) in the Pioneerpoint Maiden Stakes.

John Gosden's 8-13 favourite Jesse James could never quite get on terms and was beaten three-quarters of a length by a gelding whose previous third to Crown Choice at Kempton is now looking decent form.

"It's nice to see another Hills getting a chance," said the trainer, whose father Barry and brother Richard are on such a fertile run.

"Richard gave him a peach of a ride and he's still a green horse. Dubai Destinations get better as they get older but he's going the right way."

The Khan brothers decided to return Caprio to Jim Boyle from Tom Dascombe and were rewarded at the first instant as the 15-2 shot deprived old favourite The Tatling in the Novocapital Handicap.

Cossack Prince (5-2) followed the example of Golden Sword in the Chester Vase by stealing a healthy advantage early on and coming home comfortably under Paul Doe in the Gateway Project Services Handicap.

"We claimed him for five grand from Brian Meehan before Christmas and he has paid for himself now," said trainer Laura Mongan.

"All he can do is lead. He tried that over two miles over hurdles but couldn't get away with it.

"He was 10lb better off on his all-weather form and just needs to do some growing up - he'll still be OK over hurdles too."

The blue and yellow colours of Christopher Wright, who combined with trainer Paul Cole to win a French 1000 Guineas many years ago with Culture Vulture, were carried to victory in lesser circumstances through the progressive Charlotte Point (7-2) in the Dallas Churchill International Fillies' Stakes.

Pat Cosgrave, on the unplaced Iasia, was given a two-day careless riding ban (May 21 and 22).

Epsom will not feature on the agenda of Derby entry Tactic, despite a fairly accomplished performance as even-money favourite in the London And Regent Maiden Stakes.

Trainer John Dunlop said: "He won't go there, but we're pleased with that. He stays well and would get further, but the ground was a bit fast for him today."

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