Kingsgate Native will bid to become one of the oldest sprinters to win at Royal Ascot after he landed the Betfred Temple Stakes at Haydock for a second time.
The eight-year-old had been on a long losing run since taking this Group Two race three years ago, when he was trained by Sir Michael Stoute. He was a dual Group One victor for John Best at two and three, and is now with sprint specialist Robert Cowell, having been unsuccessful at stud along the way.
Kingsgate Native (14-1) showed his younger rivals a clean pair of hooves as he held the strong-finishing Swiss Spirit by a neck with Reckless Abandon a head behind in third.
“He’s quirky and things have to fall right for him. He was as cool as a cucumber out there,” said Cowell.
“He still showed a flash of brilliance last year and he’s been training like a very good horse. He’s shown it on the track and I’m absolutely thrilled. We’ll have a chat about what to go for at Royal Ascot.”
Shebebi is likely to be in Mark Johnston’s Royal Ascot team after he shrugged off all-comers to make every yard in the betfred.com Silver Bowl.
The 12-1 shot kept finding for Liam Jones and got home by a neck from Newstead Abbey with Mocenigo another neck away third.
Johnston said: “I got him during the winter from John Dunlop and he had a reputation for being badly behaved going into the stalls.
“Obviously Royal Ascot would have to be on the cards after winning a race like that.”
Apprentice David Bergin was banned for 28 days (June 8 to July 5) after briefly dropping his hands on Classic Colori with victory in sight in the Betfred “Still Treble Odds” Handicap.
Classic Colori made smooth progress to challenge the 7-2 favourite Albaqaa a furlong out and looked as though he could hit the front whenever he wanted.
However, Bergin eased off and while he asked his mount for an effort in the last few strides, he was a head down at the line.
Cathy Gannon got Van Percy (2-1) up in the very last stride to lift the Betfred TV Handicap after Andrew Balding’s gelding was trapped on the rail.
“They got out of jail. He’s a smashing horse and he tries hard. He might go to Musselburgh next Saturday if he’s OK,” said Balding.