Tarooq takes Cleves honours
Tarooq stormed up the far rail to claim a thrilling renewal of the Compare Bookmakers At bookmakers.co.uk Cleves Stakes at Lingfield.
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A Fast-Track Qualifier for the big All-Weather Championship Finals Day card back at the Surrey venue on Good Friday, Graham Gibbons got a lovely split around a furlong out to power into contention
Rivellino had put down his challenge around the same time as always-prominent pair Ballista and Ladies Are Forever gave way, but it was the David Barron-trained Tarooq who had the edge by a head, with fellow 5/1 co-favourite Hoof It flashing home best of all to be the same distance away in third.
Tarooq, who broke the six-furlong Polytrack record at Lingfield in December, came close to his own record with a time of 1m 8.94s, just 0.19s outside his best mark.
Gibbons said: "Tarooq loves it at Lingfield and he knows his way round. They didn't really go a million miles an hour for the first furlong and then took off up the hill, so I got him at it a bit coming down the hill. We always know that he is going to finish his race.
"They went a million miles an hour when he broke the track record here last time, which teed up the race for him, but they didn't go off quite as hard early on today. Coming on the inside is the shortest way around.
"He is definitely worth his place in the line-up on finals day. He is going to be taking on pretty much the same horses and will take a bit of beating."