Classic form came to the fore in the valuable Harrogate Water B Corp Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot as St Leger runner Scope returned to winning ways.
While the Listed race represented a drop in class from taking on Hurricane Lane and company, connections will have been left wondering what might have been given how much on top he was in the closing stages.
At Doncaster Ralph Beckett’s charge completely blew the start and from then on was always on the back foot, eventually staying on with purpose to finish sixth.
This time he also had plenty of ground to make up when William Haggas’ Chalk Stream, who had been improving rapidly in handicaps, shot 10 lengths clear at halfway.
Whether that was by design or unintended, Chalk Stream was still the one to catch with a furlong to run – but it soon became apparent that his early exertions had taken their toll.
By then Scope (13-8 favourite) and Rob Hornby were in full flight and the Teofilo colt from the family of Oaks winner Look Here powered away to win by seven and a half lengths.
“The family are slow learners, particularly out of this mare (Look So), not so much those out of Look Here who tend to latch on quick, but this fellow’s siblings have always taken a bit of time to work out what is required,” said Beckett.
“Because this lad missed the summer because of an issue I was always rushing a little to get him to the Great Voltigeur.
“He came out of that well, though, so I was keen to go to the St Leger and that was the right thing to do. But unfortunately he was slowly away there. He was better again today.
“I might have a think about the Prix Royal-Oak for him, it’s not until three weeks on Sunday so that wouldn’t be impossible.
“All the family handle soft, the Efisio comes out in them all, but then the ground was pretty quick in the Voltigeur and he handled that fine.”
Tom Marquand admitted it had not been the plan to go so far clear, but his mount clearly has plenty of ability.
“He’s a bit of a character. He’s done well this year, but has never been straightforward,” he said.
“The step up in trip and the stalls being in front of the stands probably just accumulated to the race being run that way.
“He’s done really well and the winner was obviously coming out of the Leger, which wasn’t a bad run. He’s done well to hang on to second.”