Ekhtiyaar stars for Varian

Ekhtiyaar (right) wins the bet365 Handicap Stakes

Ekhtiyaar (13-2) came out on top after a thrilling climax to the bet365 Handicap at the July Festival at Newmarket.

Roger Varian's charge travelled well in the middle of the pack before being switched to the far side of the track by Jim Crowley and he powered home to get up and beat Tommy Taylor by a head.

Ultimate Avenue was only half a length further away in third, just a head in front of Golden Apollo in fourth.

Crowley said: "The ground was probably a bit too quick for him at York, but today he travelled nicely.

"I just had a little moment waiting for a bit of room, but we were lucky the gap opened and he picked up nicely.,

"He was one of the last horses off the bridle. He's slightly better with a bit of cut in the ground. That drop of rain has just taken the sting out of it."

Varian said: "We're learning about this guy, and his three wins have come with some cut in the ground. Maybe the ground is a bit dead today and this stiff six really helped him.

"He has a good mind and he's shown twice here now that he is very tough, and he didn't get the clearest of runs today.

"Hopefully he is still progressing. There's no firm plans, let's enjoy today. I think Goodwood over six, if the ground is quick, might not be the place to go. If it came up easy, as it sometimes can do, it might be worth taking a look at.

"I think he might be one to look forward to next year as well."

Spring Cosmos made a successful debut with a smart performance in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes.

Charlie Appleby's filly was always travelling within herself at the head of the group that raced down the middle of the track in the hands of William Buick and never looked in serious danger of being caught.

The 9/2 chance passed the post a length and a quarter ahead of Indicia, with Anna Nerium a close-up third.

Appleby was completing a double following the victory of Hawkbill in the Princess of Wales's Stakes.

Appleby said: "The filly has done well. She is a breeze-up filly and we just gave her a break to let her fill up. Her work has been nice and straightforward at home.

"I said to William let her get out in the lead. I was confident when she hit the rising ground that she would see it out strongly. William said he would not worry dropping back to five. I see no reason why she wouldn't get further.

"We didn't have any plans today we will let the dust settle and see where we are next week."

Shamshon lunged late to land the five-furlong John Deere Handicap for trainer Stuart Williams and Jim Crowley.

Third at Sandown six days ago, the 7/1 shot picked up really well once in the clear to mow down his rivals and get up in the shadows of the post to beat 33/1 shot Top Boy.

A Momentofmadness was third.

Crowley was completing a double following his earlier victory on Ekhtiyaar in the six-furlong handicap and the champion was not finished there.

Beat The Bank forged clear under him in the Robinsons Mercedes-Benz Sir Henry Cecil Stakes.

The Andrew Balding-trained three-year-old won his first two starts at Dundalk and on the Rowley Mile, but was well-beaten in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.

He bounced back in some style to take Listed honours, stretching three lengths clear of Forest Ranger.

There was an emotional twist to the outcome as the winning groom looked after the mighty Frankel, trained by Sir Henry Cecil, in his racing days.

Balding said: "Sandeep Gauravaram who looks after the horse looked after Frankel, so it is great to win his race. I think Henry organised that to be honest."


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