Hamada shows git to strike in York opener

Latest news from the opening day of York’s Dante Festival where Hamada won for Godolphin.

Hamada got the better of Crowned Eagle in a thrilling climax to the Sky Bet First Race Special Jorvik Handicap at York.

The Charlie Appleby-trained Hamada was the 5-2 favourite for the first race of this year’s Dante Festival, having made a successful return from an 18-month absence at Wolverhampton less than three weeks ago.

Crowned Eagle cut out much of the running and although he looked booked for minor honours when joined by Hamada entering the final furlong, the latter knuckled down admirably to set up a grandstand finish.

There was little to choose between the pair as the line approached, but it was Hamada who poked his head in front where it mattered in the hands of William Buick.

Buick: “I’m delighted in my fellow. He’s grown up all the time. He’s going the right way.

“I thought I had finished my race when I went past the eventual second horse, but he came back to me and it was a good fight to the line.

“He stays well and he’s got that bit of a kick as well.

“We think he’s quite a nice horse in the making. He looked quite promising when he won his maiden as a two-year-old. Charlie (Appleby) has taken his time with him. Hopefully this is only the beginning.”

Appleby told Press Association Sport: “I’m pleased with that. He had a good racing weight, which was helpful.

“Obviously he’ll go up for winning but it will be Royal Ascot next for him. The Duke of Edinburgh looks the obvious race but we have a few for that already so it will be a case of splitting them all up.

“We’ll see what the handicapper does and make a decision.

“That was good racing ground, so he can handle that, and we were confident that he’d taken a good step forward from his first run for two years.”