Ken Nicol: Hawwaam kept his undefeated record in the Tony Ruffel Stakes on Sunday, but had to dig very deep, completing a Grade 3 double on the day for Mike de Kock and Gavin Lerena.
Stream Ahead lived up to his name as he strode off to the vanguard, and was four lengths clear as they turned for home.
Inexhaustible was next followed by Rocky Night, while 1-4 favourite Hawwaam sat fifth eight lengths off the leader after racing unsettled in the early stages. Sole filly Celtic Sea was stone last after being slow away as usual.
The diminutive rank outsider Inexhaustible took it up around 300m out, with Hawwaam seemingly cruising up, while Celtic Sea also made up a lot of ground quickly and was looking threatening.
The script didn’t quite go to plan after that, as the aptly named Inexhaustible refused to go away, and was still a lively challenger well inside the final 200m.
Lerena was forced to give Hawwaam a few cracks, and he eventually prevailed by a hard fought neck. Vontreo finished very strongly for third from a long way back, while Celtic Sea became one paced late and was fourth.
Earlier in a race interestingly run a full second quicker, Storm Destiny had got up in the very last jump to deny a gallant Running Brave in the Grade 3 Three Troika Stakes for the three-year old fillies.
Top weight Return Flight set a reasonable gallop, followed by best weighted Ronnie’s Candy, Dagmar and Running Brave.
Running Brave took it up a full 500m out, as the pacemaker folded tamely, and coming to the final 200m still held a handy advantage.
Meanwhile wider out Storm Destiny, Vistula and Perfect Tigress were all starting to threaten from off the pace.
Running Brave started to shift out under pressure with 100m to go, while Storm Destiny shifted in, causing some Vistula and Perfect Tigress to be forced inwards.
Paul Matchett’s charge still looked a likely winner coming to the line, but Gavin Lerena managed to get Running Brave’s nose down on the line and she won by a short head.
In the final Grade 3 of the day G-Bets Summer Cup runner up Dawn Assault took home the London News Stakes.
After setting the pace the Call To Combat entire was passed by both Al Danza and well supported Pietro Mascagni 350m out, and seemed destined for a minor place at best.
Those two settled down to commence a ding dong battle, and it looked as if Lerena on Al Danza would sweep the features when he poked his nose in front very late on.
Karl Zechner remained hard at work though, and got Dawn Assault back up in the last few jumps to score in thrilling fashion by a short head from the well weighted Al Danza, who recorded her third Graded runner up berth in succession.
A ride-of-the-season contender if ever there was one.