The Group One-winning sprinter had to do it the hard way after he was bumped at the start, but the outcome was explosive once Spencer went into overdrive. Smooth-travelling Line Of Reason looked poised to strike once Paul Midgley’s inmate gained a definitive advantage inside the final furlong of the coveted Listed dash. Maarek, by contrast, was towards the rear for much of the five-furlong journey but suddenly sparked into life as a strong field surged for home.
The 5-1 chance was galvanised for one last surge by Spencer and streaked a neck clear of Line Of Reason to give the form a rock-solid look on Beverley’s richest ever raceday. Ridge Ranger stayed on for third place, another length and a quarter adrift of the excellent winner, who will now return to his homeland to contest the Group Two Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh on September 13. A tilt at the Group One Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp on Arc weekend in October – a race he won in 2013 – could then be on the cards.
“It doesn’t do your heart any good watching him, but that’s the way he runs,” said victorious Co Tipperary trainer Evanna McCutcheon. “He’s been a fairytale horse and has taken us to places we could only dream of. Jamie said he was struggling in that ground as he needs more cut, but he’s able to handle it now he’s got older. It’s on to Irish Champions Weekend at the Curragh now. There’s also a race at Newbury in September (Dubai International Airport World Trophy) and he’s also in the Abbaye at Longchamp again. We’re lucky to have him.”
Midgley said Line Of Reason would renew rivalry with Maarek in the Flying Five on Irish Champions Weekend.
Laurence, a gorgeous-looking colt from Luca Cumani’s yard, later stole the show in the £45,000 Play The New totescoop6 Today Handicap. Danny Tudhope’s companion (11-4 joint-favourite) ably accounted for Sealife by a length and a quarter to suggest a rise in grade could be forthcoming. Tudhope said: “He’s a lovely horse and gave me a great feel, even though he idled a bit when he got in front.”