Andrea Atzeni enjoyed the perfect send-off ahead of his imminent move to Hong Kong as he steered Lezoo to Listed success in the JenningsBet Hopeful Stakes at Newmarket.
The Classic-winning rider is signing off after a 16-year stint in the UK, having decided to switch to the Far East for an initial six-month period.
Ahead of the new season at Sha Tin kicking off on September 10, Atzeni made one final visit to the July Course for four rides, the last of which was Lezoo in the feature event of the afternoon.
Last season’s Cheveley Park Stakes heroine was the 7-4 favourite to complete an across-the-card treble on the day for trainer Ralph Beckett and part-owner Marc Chan following the earlier victories of Angel Bleu in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood and Kinross in the City of York Stakes on the Knavesmire.
Dropping in class after being well held in the 1000 Guineas and the Commonwealth Cup earlier this season, Lezoo showed her ability to beat the 2021 Sprint Cup winner Emaraaty Ana by a neck.
Atzeni, who flies to Hong Kong on Sunday, said: “I half expected it (the win) and that’s why I’m not surprised, but when I picked up the ride on this filly I said to my agent ‘I’m happy to leave after that as otherwise I’m only going to get upset so I might as well leave on a high’.
“It is a big move, and it is hitting me more now, not so much in a shock way as I’m really excited and looking forward to it.
“It is a contract for six months, but it could be for six years.”
Of Lezoo, he added: “I thought she had a very good chance. She is obviously getting a bit of weight off the older horses. It looked like the perfect race on perfect ground.
“That big heavy shower we had made the ground very loose, which she probably didn’t appreciate as much as she would quick ground as she was wheel-spinning a little bit.
“She got the job done and it was great to get her head in front again.”
Tom Ward will step Woodhay Wonder back up in grade following her 14-1 success in the £100,000 Tattersalls Somerville Auction Stakes under PJ McDonald.
Third in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes over the course and distance on her latest outing, the daughter of Tamayuz went a couple of places better with a half-length verdict over Geologist.
Ward said: “She was still quite green in that race (Duchess of Cambridge Stakes) and the small field didn’t quite suit her. Today has helped with the big field and with there being plenty of pace.
“She has always shown a lot at home, but she has never really been in a position where she has had a truly-run race and today was the first time you got a chance to see what she is really all about.
“She has got Group Two black type and I’m hoping she will win a Listed or a Group Three at some stage.
“The Dick Poole at Salisbury in two weeks, if it doesn’t come too soon, we could look at, but there are plenty of races at the end of the season for her.”