Willie Mullins' Max Dynamite storms to victory in Lonsdale Cup at York
Max Dynamite left his rivals standing as he stormed to an impressive victory in the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup at York.
The dual-purpose performer, who warmed up for the Group Two race with an outing in the Galway Hurdle, produced a career-best to floor some of the best stayers in the business and hand Willie Mullins another major prize on the level.
Having raced alongside stablemate Simenon for much of the race, the 8-1 winner travelled effortlessly into contention in the hands of Frankie Dettori to range up to Mizzou hitting the final two furlongs, as long-time leader Big Orange weakened out of contention.
Although the two moved clear it was soon apparent there was to be only one winner, with Max Dynamite, carrying the colours of Rich Ricci made famous by the likes of top National Hunt performers Faugheen and Annie Power, bounding into a clear lead.
He crossed the line four and a half lengths to the good of the Luca Cumani-trained Mizzou, with Hidden Gold a further length back in third.
RaceBets cut Max Dynamite to 20-1 from 66-1 for Melbourne Cup.
Dettori said: "Willie Mullins is a legend and wearing these colours means a lot.
"He gave me a dream ride, I don't know which one I'll ride in the Gold Cup next year!
"I knew he'd get me to the line and he won very well.
"He beat some very good horses very easily, you've got to think of the Gold Cup next year.
"I think the ground was key as he likes to get his toe in and sometimes it can be very quick ground in Australia"
Ricci said: "I'm not used to this Flat lark, I feel a bit silly in my hat and linen suit!
"Willie is a genius, we thought he might improve, he needed to find a few pounds and he did.
"We've talked about Australia so we'll see what mark he gets.
"As a gelding we're not bothered about the breeding side.
"This horse was highly rated on the Flat in France. He's not the best hurdler, but he nearly won a Galway Hurdle.
"It's great to have these horses and it's great to have them with Willie. I don't have many on the Flat, so I'll enjoy today."
Cumani said: "He got his revenge on the Gold Cup horses, but when the winner went past him I wondered 'where did that come from'?
"He ran a cracking race. He won't go for the Melbourne Cup, but maybe next year.
"We'll look at all the Cup races here, Doncaster perhaps and then, hopefully, the big one on Champions Day."
Saeed bin Suroor said of Hidden Gold: "She's run a big race. To finish third in a Group Two, we are happy with that. We might take her to the Doncaster St Leger meeting for the Park Hill Stakes.
"One-mile-six-plus is the best distance for her, and faster or good ground."
Peter Niven said of the fourth, Clever Cookie: "Two and a half out I was happy, but he didn't pick up like he normally does. I don't why. Maybe I was too soft on him after Ascot because he came back a bit light.
"Take the winner away and he's not been beaten far at all and this was as good a stayers' race as there is. We've beaten the Ascot and Goodwood Cup winners, but only finished fourth.
"He could still go to Ireland (for the Irish St Leger) or Doncaster. They are both at the same time. We'll make a decision nearer the time."