Al Shaqab Racing’s Lusail emulated his sire Mehmas when prevailing by a head to win the Group 2 Tattersalls July Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.
The sole representative for trainer Richard Hannon, who saddled Mehmas to win the race in 2016, Lusail had key form having triumphed in a seven-furlong novice contest at the July course last month.
Dropping back to six furlongs proved to be no issue for the two-year-old who broke smartly under Pat Dobbs and took charge of the group that decided to race in the middle of the track as Project Dante was moved to the stands side rail by his jockey Graham Lee.
Left in front as Project Dante faded, Lusail faced an onslaught of challenges from Sam Maximus, Asymmetric and Ebro River, with the last-named once again showing his tendency to hang badly in the crucial moments.
A length covered the quartet as they finished in a bunch but it was Lusail who came out on top, prevailing by a head from Asymmetric with the same distance back to Sam Maximus in third.
Richard Hannon, speaking to Racing TV, said: “I did think he’d won, actually. A trainer usually knows, and I think I’ve only got it wrong a couple of times. I thought he deserved to win – he ran around a bit going to the line.
“It was a big shout to bring him back to six furlongs, but he’s done it very well. He’s come back in trip – he’s extremely relaxed, and I think we’ll take him to Goodwood.
“Whether we go there for the six [Richmond Stakes] or the seven-furlong race [Vintage Stakes], we’ll talk to the [owners] Al Shaqab team and see. He was just working okay in the spring. When I took him to York he hadn’t really come in his coat, and I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing, but he went there and won.
“He still looks like that now, but he’s just like his sire Mehmas in that he’s very honest and chilled out – and he will get further. I don’t think he’s just a two-year-old.”
Lusail is the sixth Group winner sired by Mehmas and was bred by Tally-Ho Stud, who stand the son of Acclamation at their operation in Ireland, out of the winning Diamond Green mare Diaminda.
Offered at last year’s Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale by Tally-Ho, Charlie Gordon-Watson and Al Shaqab went to 160,000gns to secure him.
Elsewhere at Newmarket on Thursday, the Group 2 Princess of Wales’s Stakes went the way of the Mark Johnston-trained Sir Ron Priestley while the Group 2 Bahrain Trophy Stakes was claimed by Godolphin’s Yibir.