Jockey Richard Hughes called an audible early in the running of the Petros Rose of Lancaster Stakes (Eng-III) and the decision gave Juddmonte Farms' Kentucky-bred Notable Guest a free-running victory at Haydock Park Saturday.
Trailing the five-horse field during the early stages of the 10-furlong, 120-yard event, Hughes decided the pace was too slow and gradually pushed the 4-year-old son of Kingmambo
to the lead by the midway point. Coming under pressure in the final quarter-mile, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained 5-1 hope Notable Guest kicked away to defeat the 4-6 favorite David Junior by three lengths.
"The plan was to sit him in behind and get him relaxed, but the pace they were going I said 'I am not going to win from here' so I let him slide along," Hughes told Racing Post
. "When I picked him up in the last two he really flew, he wasn't stopping. He is relaxed now and he is going the right way."
David Junior, bred by Al Appleton, was a victim of the pace, trainer Brian Meehan said.
"There was a muddling old pace and that was what has beaten him," he complained. "There was no proper gallop, Hughesie has slipped them and fair dues to him. I wouldn't be worried about it. He is going forward all the time, and he is only a baby."
Welcome Stranger ran third, 1 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up, and Opening Ceremony was well back in fourth. The final time was 2:17.7 on a good to firm course.