Mutakayyef pulls clear of Dutch Connection in the Summer MilePICTURE: Getty Images
in Summer Mile victory
Report: Ascot, Saturday
Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile Stakes (Group 2), 1m, 4yo+
THE William Haggas-trained Mutakayyef made it two from two for the season when landing his first Group-race success in the Summer Mile at Ascot.
Eight of the ten runners were virtually in a line inside the final two furlongs, but Mutakayyef was able to stretch two-and-a-quarter lengths clear from Dutch Connection under Dane O'Neill. Gabrial stayed on into third.
The pace had been expected to be feverish, but though Custom Cut and Toormore ensured a fair gallop the field could not be strung out and only Blond Me, who had missed the break by ten lengths or more, and Battle Of Marathon failed to stay around for the reckoning.
Against that backdrop, the manner in which Mutakayyef and O'Neill pulled clear was especially remarkable. It was also a timely big-race win for O'Neill, who returned from almost two months on the sidelines with a back injury only on Wednesday.
Mutakayyef's emergence as a Group-quality miler has been a long time coming. In ten starts before he reappeared this season, he had never been out of the first three, including from seven starts in Listed and Group 3 races, but had only a maiden win to his name, and Haggas has now been rewarded for his patience. The gelding operation he underwent before his reappearance has also allowed him to make big strides.
Maureen Haggas, William's wife, said: "One, we have got the trip right and two, gelding him has been a good move. He just seems to have grown into himself and matured.
"He is a nice horse. William has always loved him but up until last time he had only ever won a maiden. He had been second or third in lots of nice races but never really done it until now so his faith has been vindicated."
In the aftermath of the performance he was trimmed to 14-1 from 16s for the International Stakes at York by Paddy Power.