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Cheka warrants rise in class

The Cheka may return into Group One company after narrowly missing out on a comeback victory at the Curragh on Sunday.

Eve Johnson Houghton's five-year-old looked every inch the winner of the Group Three Big Bad Bob Gladness Stakes, only to get caught by Lolly For Dolly in the dying strides.

Although frustrated to miss out by a narrow margin, Johnson Houghton believes such an encouraging seasonal reappearance bodes well for the future.

"I thought he'd won it. We're obviously thrilled with him, but there is a lot of difference between first and second, even if it's a short head," said the Oxon handler.

"The winner had obviously had a run this season, and I think that made a big difference as well.

"But we have to be pleased with our horse, he's run a blinder, he's in great form and hopefully we'll have a very good season with him.

"I think he likes softer ground, but it was heavy on Sunday and I'm not sure he really liked that. He went through it but I think the winner enjoyed it more.

"I'm not sure where he'll go next. He's in the Lockinge, so he might run there, and he's also in the Duke of York over six furlongs.

"Seven (furlongs) is really his trip, but there aren't many races he can run in over that distance. I think he'd be more likely to go up to a mile than go back.

"He's definitely got a good race in him."

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