Michael Stoute has Sea Moon “back on track” after the one-time Derby fancy returned to action with a win in the Give Generously To Macmillan Handicap at York.
Regally bred, the colt is related to Derby and Arc hero Workforce and St Leger winner Brian Boru – and it is the Doncaster Classic that could be a possible target later in the season.
Ryan Moore missed the kick on the 4-6 favourite and was one of the first jockeys to start niggling away in the 10-furlong contest.
After 228 days off the track he was entitled to be a little rusty and he showed a willing attitude to reel in Godolphin’s Flag Officer and win going away by a length and three-quarters in the end.
Moore said: “He’s been off a long time and was a bit slow getting going. He was slow out of the stalls and the pace wasn’t that strong.
“It took a while for the penny to drop, he hasn’t really had a race before, and we just ground it out.
“He’s got potential, but still has a fair way to go.”
Owner Khalid Abdullah’s racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said: “He will be running over a mile and a half next and there is plenty of stamina in his pedigree.
“He learned a bit today, he was in a proper race and put it to bed. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he could develop into a St Leger horse in time.
“He was slow to come to hand in the spring, but Sir Michael did what he does best and gave him all the time he needed. He’s back on track now.”
Stan James.com cut the winner to 10-1 from 16s for the world’s oldest Classic on September 10.
Moore and Stoute were also on the mark with Confront (8-1), who was dropped into handicap company for the first time in over two years.
Workforce’s galloping companion, he hit the front some way out and held on by half a length from Sarrsar.
“I think he enjoyed having horses to follow for a change,” said Grimthorpe.
“He had a wide draw, but did it nicely in the end.
“He slightly lost his way last year, but he faced some stiff tasks.”
Kevin Ryan’s Lexi’s Hero (20-1) took full advantage of a good draw in the feature Bond Tyres Trophy.
Jamie Spencer bounced his mount out of the stalls against the near-side rail and never saw another rival.
With all the fancied horses drawn out in the middle of the track there were plenty of hard luck stories for the likes of Forjatt and Majestic Myles, and Marco Botti’s Acclamazing had to make his challenge widest of all.
The latter ended up dead-heating for second with Cocktail Charlie but were a length away with Swiss Dream fourth.
“He’d become a bit lazy in his work so I told Jamie to bounce him out and even if he felt like he was going a stride too quick to kick on,” said Ryan.
“He had to make his mind up for him, but he’s a talented horse.
“He’s run his heart and soul out there so he’ll have a good month off now. We’ll see what the handicapper does but I imagine it will be a Listed race next.”