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Epsom round-up: Royal Scotsman claims Diomed Stakes honours with Breege and Persica also notching wins

Royal Scotsman returns to winning ways by making all to win the Betfred Diomed Stakes at Epsom; a bunch finish to the Princess Elizabeth Stakes sees Breege take the honours; Richard Hannon and Sean Levey strike in the opener with Persica

Royal Scotsman ridden by Jamie Spencer on their way to winning the Betfred Diomed Stakes at Epsom
Image: Royal Scotsman (right), ridden by Jamie Spencer, eases home in the Betfred Diomed Stakes at Epsom

Royal Scotsman returned to winning ways by making all to win the Betfred Diomed Stakes at Epsom under a fine ride from Jamie Spencer.

Spencer bounced Paul and Oliver Cole's charge, who was third in last year's 2000 Guineas, out of stall five in the Group Three contest over a mile and half a furlong and the 17/2 chance settled well in front.

He then pulled clear in the straight for an emphatic two-and-a-quarter-length success ahead of the staying-on Royal Dubai, with Highland Avenue a length further back in third.

Royal Scotsman had trailed in 25 lengths adrift of Audience when returning to action in last month's Lockinge at Newbury but bounced back to his best form with a bang here.

"We've always thought a lot of this horse. He probably had a good chance in the Dewhurst and was unlucky, he probably had a very good chance in the Guineas and was unlucky," said Oliver Cole.

"After that there were a couple of disappointing runs, he had bone bruising and then in the Lockinge he cocked his jaw when he came out the stalls.

"The plan was always to go forward today so he can relax in front. These Gleneagles horses are quite highly strung and if you get into a tussle early on, it costs you at the end. It proved that at the end of his two-year-old career and his three-year-old career, but he's done that very well and I couldn't be more happy.

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"In the back of my mind I thought he might let us down again, but he really didn't."

On future plans, he said: "Maybe he will go to the Sussex Stakes now. He has an entry at Ascot, but I think that will come too quick. Now we've got the hang of him, hopefully there is fun to be had."

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Breege on top in Princess Elizabeth Stakes

A bunch finish to the Princess Elizabeth Stakes saw Breege take the honours for John and Sean Quinn with Jason Hart in the saddle.

There were plenty of hard luck stories in the Group Three event despite there being only eight runners, but Breege had the run of the race and edged home by a neck ahead of Chic Colombine and Royal Dress.

The favourite Running Lion faded after making a run up the far rail and then had nowhere to go as she stayed on in the closing stages.

Breege ridden by Jason Hart on their way to winning the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom
Image: Breege battles to victory under Jason Hart in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes

John Quinn said of Breege: "She's a filly that was running at the highest level last year, she was placed at Royal Ascot and just touched off in the Whispering Angel at Glorious Goodwood.

"She ran well all last year and ran really well on her comeback this season at Goodwood, beaten two short heads, but people have started suggesting she didn't want to win.

"We didn't think that, we thought she was just unlucky and today she gritted it out. She really battled and she's got her head in front again.

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"It's wonderful to win a race named after the late Queen at this wonderful track.

"As long as she is OK she will run in the Group Two fillies' race at Royal Ascot, the Duke of Cambridge, all being well.

"You couldn't say she didn't deserve this so we're delighted."

Persica takes honours in opener

Richard Hannon and Sean Levey struck in the opener as Persica won the Hong Kong Jockey Club Lester Piggott Handicap.

The 9/2 chance was always at the front of affairs in the 1m 2f contest and kept on well in the closing stages to repel the challenge of the well-backed favourite Portsmouth, who was unable to make the most of getting a dream run up the far rail after racing in mid-division, by two-and-a-quarter lengths.

Persica ridden by Sean Levey on their way to winning the Hong Kong Jockey Club Lester Piggott Handicap at Epsom
Image: Persica, ridden by Sean Levey, stays on strongly to win the Hong Kong Jockey Club Lester Piggott Handicap ahead of Portsmouth

Redhot Whisper edged out Blake for third place, three lengths further back.

Hannon is now keen to send the son of New Bay to Royal Ascot where a move into group company could be on the cards depending on the impact of the handicapper.

"I've always thought he was a very nice horse and he is clearly improving," said Hannon.

"He was unlucky at Newbury last time, but he did it well today. He's a little bit fragile mentally and I didn't think he would love it here today with the proximity to all the people. But he was able to do it his way in front and I'm very pleased.

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"He will go to Royal Ascot, and what race now, I'm not sure. There's three options and we will see what the handicapper does, one option could be the Hampton Court.

"He might well have been flattered by the way he got to the front and controlled the race but nevertheless a winner on Derby day - it's not the Derby but it feels like a big one."

Blue storms to 3YO "Dash" success

A high draw proved to be the key to the Betfred 3YO "Dash" Handicap over five furlongs as Blue Storm prevailed.

Rossa Ryan came from behind and weaved his way through the field on the Gemma Tutty-trained 8/1 chance, who was drawn in stall 20 out of 20, to win by three-quarters of a length ahead of Sturlasson, drawn 17, and Due For Luck, drawn 19, with Hollie Doyle fourth on Enchanting.

Tutty, who was making her first trip to Epsom, said: "He's been so settled at home, almost lazy and then when you see him at the track he gives us an easy time as he's so fast.

"The long-term plan has been the Palace of Holyrood House at Ascot, we thought we'd come here and run well on the way but to win is obviously fantastic. Rossa is keen on the plan."

Dream Composer calls "Dash" tune

Dream Composer produced a strong finish under Joe Leavy to snatch victory in the Aston Martin "Dash" Handicap which was also run over the minimum trip.

Ryan, fresh from his win in the previous race, made a beeline for the stands' rail on Democracy Dilemma and was in charge for much of the contest until being collared close home as 5lb claimer Leavy brought James Evans' charge through to score at odds of 6/1 from stall seven.

Hollie Doyle was always prominent on Looking For Lynda but had to settle for third place from stall one, while the well-fancied Clarendon House stood up as they left the stalls to ruin his chance.

Leavy, who was having his first ride at Epsom, said: "It's amazing, honestly absolutely amazing. For it to be in the Dash as well - I don't think there's a race in England like it! It was fast, it was furious, but it really suited my lad. He's a bit lazy early doors, but he stays very well.

"Once he had his daylight, he came home well. Coming into the half pole I thought I would take a lot of beating, I thought I had Rossa beaten. I know the horse as well, which is probably a help. Every time I ride him, we get better as a pair, so to come to Epsom and win a Dash is just huge."

Meanwhile, Oisin Murphy got a win on the board when he powered the Andrew Balding-trained Relentless Voyager to victory in the Long Shot Northern Dancer Handicap over 1m 4f.

The 7/1 chance took charge around two furlongs from home and always had too much in hand as he saw off Ziggy and Asgard's Captain.

Trainer David O'Meara won the closing race at Epsom with the top-weight for the second day running as Misty Grey got up close home to win the JRA Tokyo Handicap, completing a double for jockey Ryan as well.

Misty Grey (7/1) pegged back Mr Wagyu in the dying strides with Apollo One in third after making much of the running.

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