Mizzou puts down Gold Cup marker
Luca Cumani's fast-improving stayer Mizzou put down a marker for the Ascot Gold Cup with a winning reappearance at the venue in the Longines Sagaro Stakes.
After getting off the mark at the second attempt at Pontefract last July, the four-year-old son of Galileo claimed handicap wins at Doncaster and Haydock before being narrowly denied on his final start of 2014 in the Listed Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot in October.
Stepping up in class and distance on his return, Mizzou travelled sweetly in the hands of William Buick and was nudged along to close down the leaders from the home turn. The pacesetting and race-fit Forever Now would not go down without a fight, while Vent De Force was being produced with a challenge before being hampered.
However, Mizzou was the winner on merit, passing the post two lengths clear, with Vent De Force beating Forever Now for second.
After seeing Mizzou break the two-mile track record, the winning trainer's wife, Sara Cumani, said: "He's a lovely horse and Luca has always had a lot of faith in him. He's been telling everyone over the winter that this is his Ascot Gold Cup horse. William (Buick) said he would not want the ground any livelier. They went a decent a pace and that suited him.
"He's a really kind, genuine, honest horse. He will go to Sandown now for the Henry II Stakes and then to the Gold Cup."
Later, Henry Candy's exciting sprinter Limato kept his unbeaten record intact with an authoritative success in the Pavilion Stakes.
The gelded son of Tagula struck four times during a tremendous juvenile campaign and although Candy revealed his stable star was "not quite as brilliant on the gallops as he was last year", there was no evidence his powers had waned in this Group Three contest.
Paddy Power make Limato the 5/2 favourite (from 7/2) for the first running of the Commonwealth Cup, a Group One three-year-old only sprint at Royal Ascot.
Candy said: "He was very rusty and he's had a real good blow after that. I've not been able to get him fit at home as he's not been doing much. James was quite forceful early on and the penny then seemed to drop. That would have sorted him out both mentally and physically, but I was dreading today, as he'd not been showing anything like last year."