3 minute read
Ben Curtis delivered Zoffee with a well-timed challenge to claim top honours in the Jenningsbet Northumberland Vase at Newcastle.
While a narrow winner at Carlisle a month ago, Hugo Palmer's charge had far more on his plate in this £75,000 consolation for the Northumberland Plate and was priced up accordingly at 16-1.
But the six-year-old, who has also won over hurdles and fences, could be spotted travelling strongly early in the straight and the further he went, the better he looked – ultimately coming home with just over two lengths in hand over Haveyoumissedme.
Curtis said: "I was in a lovely position going into the first bend, but I got shuffled all the way back so I made the decision to move out.
"I had a clean run and got behind the third horse (Mellow Magic), who brought me into the race lovely. We set sail and the rest is history.
"He has plenty of ability and they turned him out here in great shape. To be fair to Hugo, he said beforehand he'd flourished since Carlisle and I think that showed today.
"Winners every day are good, but the big ones are even sweeter."
Raatea (11-2) threw his hat into the ring for next month's Coral Stewards' Cup at Glorious Goodwood with a clear-cut victory in the Pertemps Network Handicap.
A close-up third on his seasonal reappearance at Newmarket in April, Julie Camacho's sprinter had since finished down the field on the Rowley Mile and at York.
But ridden by Jason Hart, Raatea bounced back to form with a two-length verdict over Be Proud, seeing Coral trim his Stewards' Cup odds to 16-1 from 33-1.
"He disappointed at York, but I'm not sure it's his track," said Camacho.
"It (Stewards' Cup) is a possibility. We'll go home and discuss it with Martin (Hughes, owner) and see where he wants to go with him. He wants a race with some pace, I think that's very important to him."
Hollie Doyle steered the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Arabian Warrior to success in the opening Racing Welfare Handicap.
Sporting a visor for the first time, the 3-1 favourite took over the lead halfway up the straight and was always doing enough thereafter as he passed the post a length and three-quarters ahead of Midrarr.
Doyle said: "We didn't go massively quick and he was always travelling well.
"He has had a tendency to not really finish his races out, but today the step back in trip helped.
"Saeed has given me my fair share of rides and it's nice to ride a winner for him."