Summerghand swoops late to win Abernant Stakes

Summerghand finished with a flourish to deny hot favourite Oxted back-to-back victories in the bet365 Abernant Stakes at Newmarket.

The Group Three contest proved a springboard to Group One glory for Roger Teal’s Oxted last season as he successfully moved from the Rowley Mile to the July Course to win the July Cup.

Down the field in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint in Saudi Arabia on his latest appearance, the five-year-old was widely expected to bounce back to back to winning ways on his return turf – but odds-on backers had their fingers burnt by David O’Meara’s stable stalwart Summerghand.

With Ryan Moore taking over in the saddle from the sidelined Cieren Fallon, 8-13 chance Oxted travelled strongly for much of the five-furlong contest before battling his way to the lead inside the closing stages.

However, he was unable to resist the late charge of 7-1 shot Summerghand, who followed up his victory on All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield less than a fortnight ago by three-quarters of a length under Danny Tudhope.


Tudhope said: “It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s getting better with age, a lot of David’s do, especially sprinters.

“He’s a top-class sprinter and the visors have helped him as well the last two runs.

“The way the race panned out was perfect, he loves having cover and passing horses.

“He likes something to aim at, but in the big handicaps it just never fell right for him. The visors just seem to sharpen him up.”

Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Hamed Rashed Bin Ghedayer, said: “He’s been beautifully trained, he can’t do much at home, I’m sure, but he just needs a fast gallop and something to aim at.

“Sometimes it doesn’t go right and with a small field it’s a bit apprehensive, but it looked like we just had one to beat today.

“Bigger fields do suit, but then you need the luck to get a run.

“His form suggests he’s improving, I just think like most horses, as they get older they get over their problems and get stronger.”

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