Hello Youmzain inflicted a shock defeat on red-hot favourite Calyx in the Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock.
On the back of what was a brilliant return to action at Ascot at the beginning of the month, the John Gosden-trained Calyx was unsurprisingly all the rage for the six-furlong Group Two contest against three rivals.
Sent off the 2-13 favourite, Robert Havlin – deputising for Frankie Dettori, who was in Ireland to ride Too Darn Hot – appeared to have matters in control after initially getting a bump on leaving the stalls.
The previously unbeaten Khalid Abdullah-owned three-year-old loomed large two furlongs out, as Royal Intervention gave way, but did drift to his left when asked a question and it quickly became apparent he had a fight on his hands.
In contrast Kevin Ryan’s Hello Youmzain strode on relentlessly and in the end won going away, by three and quarters lengths.
Adam Ryan, assistant to his father, said: “At the end of the day, we can’t be afraid of one horse. It would be too soon to write (Calyx) off – but we’re just delighted with ours.
“We had to try the Greenham, to see if he stayed – you only get one crack at these Classics. It was pretty clear he didn’t (stay), so this was the next logical step.
“He’s won two Group Twos now – all he’s going to do is keep improving. He’s been like that since day one – the more racing he gets, the more he’s going to mature. We hope there’s plenty to come.
“He’s still learning the game. He’s in that (Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot) – it’s the logical step.
“Let’s enjoy today, we’ll have a chat with the owners and everyone involved.”
He added: “We’re lucky to have an owner like Mr Jaber Abdullah, and I’m delighted for (jockey) Kevin (Stott) as well, he puts a lot of hard work in.
“For a young lad to get on a nice horse, that’s important as well.”
Havlin said of the beaten Calyx: “He travelled lovely through the race, (but then) I could feel he wasn’t going to pick up. I gave him a couple of squeezes in the ribs – there was nothing there.
“I asked him to quicken, and he almost ran like a horse having his first run.
“He stuck his head up. (But) one thing you can say is he’s not had a hard blow.
“I rode him 10 days ago, and he absolutely flew. There’s not a horse that’s given me that feel since Kingman.
“But we’ll get him back, have a look at him, and hope there’s something we can iron out.”
Gosden was at the Curragh, where he told Racing TV: “I don’t think he was very happy on the ground, it was very quick up there.
“He rolls his knee and likes to get his toe in – I could see he was uncomfortable on the ground two out. That was no surprise.
“The bump set him alight and the ground – not a great combination. But the winner has won well.
“We hoped a little rain would come, but it didn’t and I don’t think he particularly enjoys that type of ground.”