Henry Cecil had doubts about running Sayadaw here yesterday with underfoot conditions officially described as good to firm but run him he did and the 6-4 favourite obliged with a one and a half lengths success over Clever Clogs in the opening Caroline Strachan 30th Birthday Maiden Stakes.
Richard Quinn gave the office to the Darshaan colt entering the final quarter mile and although Clever Clogs loomed in his shadow for a while, Frankie Dettori's mount was always fighting a losing battle as the winner landed the mile and a half event in cosy fashion.
"He thought he'd done enough and then quickened up again. He's a backward horse but this was encouraging," Cecil said. The trainer also saddled the third horse home, Timber Ice, who was six lengths behind the first two.
Cecil had to settle for the runner-up spot in the next when his 5-6 favourite, Play That Tune, was surprisingly outgunned by the 16-1 outsider Zither under a strong ride from champion jockey Kieren Fallon.
The pace in the race was set at breakneck speed by the John Gosden-trained Air Adair but when his tank emptied it was left to the principals to battle it out to the line with Zither always in the ascendancy to win by two lengths, with seven back to third-placed Scotland The Brave.
"That was a bit of a surprise," said winning trainer Richard Hannon's representative, Taffy Williams. "They all cut each others throats and then Kieren pounced. He's some jockey isn't he?.
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- Frankie Dettori