Sweet success in Sagaro Stakes
Progressive mare Sweet Selection made a flying start to the new campaign with a comprehensive victory in the Longines Sagaro Stakes at Ascot.
Hughie Morrison's charge won four races in 2016, rounding off her season with a tremendous display in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket in October.
The five-year-old had more on her plate on her reappearance in this Group Three contest, but looks to have improved again judged on the manner of this success.
The 15-2 chance was always well positioned in the hands of Silvestre de Sousa, with stable companion Nearly Caught giving her a lead for much of the two-mile journey.
Sweet Selection committed for home coming off the final bend and galloped all the way to to the line for a comfortable one-and-a-half-length verdict.
De Sousa was completing a hat-trick on the afternoon having early struck gold aboard Frozen Angel (12-1) and Prosper (5-1).
Prince Of Arran finished strongly to beat Nearly Caught to the runner-up spot and deny Morrison a one-two but St Leger winner Harbour Law finished last.
Morrison said: "If you saw Sweet Selection work on Friday, you would think 'why are we running her'?
"Obviously she's come back a bigger, stronger and better mare this year.
"She travelled well and was obviously in the right place at the right time and she's picked up like she's never picked up before in a race.
"We'll go for the Gold Cup (at Royal Ascot) now. Whether we run again in between, probably not. We'll probably just get her right for the day."
The Summerdown-based trainer was also pleased with the performance of Nearly Caught, adding: "We might run him in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown (May 25), or we might run him in Germany on Sunday week.
"Both horses are an absolute pleasure to train. I'm just very lucky I have all these great stayers."
Prince Of Arran's trainer, Charlie Fellowes, said: "He's run such a good race, but I'm gutted to finish second. Second is sometimes the worst place to finish.
"I just wonder whether a slightly stronger pace and a bit more give in the ground maybe could have helped his cause, but he was staying on all the way to the line, although he was never going to catch the winner.
"I'm delighted that he's shown that he's not just an all-weather horse."
Asked about a return to Ascot for a tilt at the Gold Cup, the trainer added: "We'll see how he comes out of it, but we wouldn't run before then.
"If the owners want to come back we will, as he definitely stays."