City Streak finished with a flourish to claim top honours in the John Guest Racing Handicap at Ascot.
With a total prize fund of £45,000 up for grabs, the mile and a half contest was the most valuable of six races on the eve of Saturday’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes card.
City Streak, a winner at Chester earlier in the season for trainer Andrew Balding, was a 6-1 shot to complete a double on the afternoon for jockey Jason Watson.
Gaassee looked likely to oblige as the 11-8 favourite after moving smoothly towards the front end, but his effort soon petered out and it was Watson’s mount who came home strongest to score by three-quarters of a length from Max Mayhem.
Watson, earlier successful aboard David O’Meara’s 11-2 shot Pearl D’Or in Chapel Down Handicap, said of City Streak’s win: “It was a messy race, beforehand there was no pace on paper really, and I wanted to be sat a bit closer than what I was, but it came to a point where we were four deep and I ended up slotting in and being out the back off a slow gallop.
“Nothing really went right for us, but being used to running over shorter distances than this, when they tried to sprint turning in he was able to keep tabs on them and he had enough left at the end.
“I’ve won on him before and I’ve always quite liked him. He’s a lovely, big, scopey animal.”
Roger Teal’s Blazeon Five (17-2) came out on top in an attritional John Guest Racing Brown Jack Handicap.
The two-mile contest was run at a sound gallop from the start by the pacesetting Pledgeofallegiance, who raised the stakes further when kicking clear a long way from home.
That bold move took its toll as he weakened out of contention from the top of the straight and in the end it turned into a straight shootout between Blazeon Five and Temporize.
The latter was the chaser and was making ground all the while in the final furlong, but Blazeon Fire just lasted home to claim victory by a head under Jack Mitchell.
King Eagle, the 6-4 favourite to complete his hat-trick for Nicky Henderson, was a disappointing fifth.
Teal told Sky Sports Racing: “When she won here last time (in May) she fought all the way and she just doesn’t know when she’s beaten – she’s so honest.
“She pulled a few lengths clear, but she’s coming back off a bit of a lay-off so she went for her girths about a furlong out, but she wasn’t going to let that other horse by.”
Panarea justified cramped odds in the opening John Guest Racing British EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes.
Closely related to the top-class Pinatubo, Charlie Appleby’s filly was the 8-11 favourite for her debut and quickened smartly to see off Rawaasi by three-quarters of a length in the hands of William Buick.
“She’s obviously beautifully bred and it was lovely ground to have her first run on and a nice track,” said the winning rider.
“She’s got plenty of pace and she was just a little bit green, which she was entitled to be, but all in all I think everybody will be very happy with that.”
The William Haggas-trained Alhambra Palace (2-1 favourite) fairly bolted up in the Slingsby Gin Handicap, powering almost five lengths clear under David Probert.
Maureen Haggas, assistant to her husband, said: “I think he definitely enjoyed the ground, although it is drying out.
“He’s been a bit unlucky and a bit babyish and finally he’s getting it together.
“He’s definitely improving and learning, which is the most important thing.”