Passenger breaks course record with Huxley win

The unexposed Passenger demonstrated sharp improvement to land the Group 2 Huxley Stakes at Chester on his four-year-old debut, breaking the course record in the process.

PASSENGER (white cap) winning the Huxley Stakes at Chester in England.
PASSENGER (white cap) winning the Huxley Stakes at Chester in England. Picture: Getty Images

Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Passenger won the Wood Ditton on debut as a three-year-old and followed up with a close third in the Group 2 Dante Stakes. Disappointing in the Epsom Derby, he returned for one more outing in 2023 – taking the Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes by a short head from the more experienced West Wind Blows.

Ridden by Richard Kingscote, the son of Ulysses took time to hit his stride before sitting up with the leaders in the early stages of the race. There was limited room with two furlongs to run, but Kingscote was able to edge the four-year-old right and he took up the lead in the final half-furlong, beating Israr by one-and-a-half lengths.

In an interview with Sky Sports Racing, Kingscote said: "I had a good chat with Ryan yesterday (about a plan) and we wanted to use Israr for as long as possible really and it's nice when a race goes to plan.

"This lad does battle, but obviously he's still lightly-raced. We had to have a good battle at Windsor last year when I probably got to the front a little early. Today when he went by he didn't hesitate and he put the race to bed really nicely.

"The Dante was a mess, I overcomplicated things and that was always going to be how we rode the race today, it's nice when things go our way."

Paddy Power reacted to the performance by shortening Passenger from 20/1 to 14/1 for the Group 1 Prince of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot, and cut the colt again to 8/1 following significant market support.

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