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KESSAAR claimed glory in the feature £75,000 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

The John Gosden-trained colt led for virtually all of the six-furlong contest for two-year-olds and found plenty for Frankie Dettori after being briefly headed by True Mason (3/1, Karl Burke/Ben Curtis) entering the final furlong to score by two and three-quarter lengths in the Group Two contest.

Kessaar had previously captured the G3 Sirenia Stakes at Kempton Park and a step up to G1 level now beckons for the son of Kodiac in the Criterium International at Longchamp, France, on October 28.

Gosden, winning the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes for the first time, said: “We didn’t know if Kessaar would handle the soft ground, but it won’t worry us again.

“The Criterium International used to be a mile, but they’ve dropped it to seven furlongs and we are all going to Paris.”

Dettori added: “We knew Kessaar handled soft, but weren’t sure about this. He showed good courage too, as the other one passed me. He finished the race and isn’t just a six-furlong horse.”

Burke has his eye on Ascot’s G3 Cornwallis Stakes for the runner-up and said: “True Mason a high-class colt and he loves that ground. He just got outstayed by a better stayer on the day.

“Ben thought it was a matter of how far, and so did I, but he just couldn’t get away from Kessaar and then in the last half furlong he’s gone away from us.

“I was thinking of the Middle Park if he won, but the Cornwallis looks the ideal race for him now. It would be nice to win a Group race before we put him away.

The afternoon’s incessant drizzle proved just what the doctor ordered for Derby disappointment Young Rascal (William Haggas/Jim Crowley, 5/2), who got back to winning ways following a pulsating three-way battle in the G3 Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup, run over 1m 3f.

The lightly-raced three-year-old, a maiden winner at Newbury in April, got up on the line to beat Mirage Dancer (Sir Michael Stoute/Ryan Moore, 2/1F) by a short-head, with a further half-length back to the 2017 winner Desert Encounter (David Simcock/Harry Bentley, 4/1).

Other winners on the second day of the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend included Mr Lupton, Buzz, Politicise, King Ottakar, Temple Church and Jackpot Royale.



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