Mission accomplished in Huxley
The sometimes quirky Noble Mission seems to have given up his wayward tendencies this season, as he backed up last month’s Gordon Richards Stakes victory at Sandown, with a dogged win in today’s Huxley Stakes at Chester.
A change of tactics seems to be have been the making of Frankel’s little brother, with connections deciding to make the running with the 5yo at Sandown and again here where he had the unenviable task of having to get to the front from stall eight on the far outside under James Doyle.
Doyle would have to use up plenty of his charge’s petrol from the blocks but somehow managed to get to the front, only to be taken on by extremely keen Ektihaam under Paul Hanagan. The pair would go toe to toe in the early stages, that is until Ektihaam became too unruly, giving Hanagan no option but to pull him back out of harms way, having had a tough time of it with the 5yo hanging badly to the outside.
Noble Mission had withstood his rivals problems but just after hitting the front, he found himself being challenged by Telescope and Ryan Moore, who were keen not to give the front runner a soft lead, as they had done at Sandown where they came off second best.
Sir Michael Stoute’s well touted charge would have to settle for second best again here however, as Noble Mission piled the pressure on at the 2 pole and stayed on gamely under Doyle’s persuasion, eventually coming home a 2 1/4 length winner from Telescope, with last season’s winner Danadana 8 lengths further back in 3rd.
“I’m chuffed to bits with him,” Doyle said afterwards. “He is a solid Group horse and he tries his best. He has been called names and all of that but this is the second time he has been out in front a long way from home and it is hard to fault him on that.”
The winner holds an entry for the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot next month, a race that trainer Lady Jane Cecil says is his main target.
“Over the winter he has just done so well – he just seems better and stronger and we just thought this year that he would find plenty of improvement. James came in to ride him in some work and was surprised that he was so straight forward. He has a lot of faith in him and he gave him a lovely ride at Sandown and again today.
“He is in the Hrdwicke and it is always nice to have a runner at Royal Ascot. He has ran well there before – it is not for sure but I think he will head for there.”
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images
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