Despite carrying top weight, a whopping 9st 10lbs, MOTAKHAYYEL landed the Bunbury Cup for the second year in a row at Newmarket on Saturday. He became the first horse since Mine in 2005/2006 to win back to back runnings of this seven furlong heritage handicap.
He travelled beautifully into the race under Frankie Dettori and when asked for an effort inside the final furlong he scooted clear to win easily by 3 1/2 lengths! Frankie said “It took me by surprise as I still had a double handful two out but in handicaps he’s very good. Richard called me and told me that Jim (Crowley) was going to York and I couldn’t do the weight on John’s (Gosden) horse. He said to me ‘look, get on this horse because he loves Newmarket’ and he was right. I didn’t expect him to be right! I got a nice run into the race from Hollie and I never saw a horse after that.”
Richard added “He’s a gentleman of a horse and has been for years. He’s such a pleasure to have around and whoever rides him he does his thing. But he’s struggled and is sort of between a rock and a hard place with his handicap mark and running in Listed races. He ran a very good race here in the Criterion Stakes and I watched it on the same screen as I watched him last year. We’ll speak to Angus (Gold) and Richard (Hills) and see what they want to do next.”
This win made it a double on the day as ARDBRACCAN won the opener for Merriebelle Irish Farm under Sean Levey. Having finished runner up on her previous start, this Lawman filly showed a really game attitude to win by half a length and break her maiden at the third time of asking.