Passion And Glory benefited from a confident ride from Hollie Doyle to win the Davies Insurance Services Gala Stakes at Sandown on his first run since March.
Saeed bin Suroor’s six-year-old was a Group Three winner at Goodwood last season and went on to finish within five lengths of subsequent Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Torquator Tasso in a German Group One.
Busy early in the year out in Dubai, and he also ran in Saudi Arabia, he was conceding race fitness to some classy rivals which included William Haggas’ 2020 Champion Stakes winner Addeybb.
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As Victory Chime set a fairly sedate pace, Doyle was content to sit handy and was in the box seat throughout.
Her husband Tom Marquand tracked her on Addeybb but when Passon And Glory (5/1) kicked for home, the eight-year-old Addeybb could not quicken as well on ground faster than he likes.
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In the end Regal Reality came through to claim second, beaten a length and a half, with Addeybb close behind in third.
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Doyle said: “Down in trip, he (Bin Suroor) said the ground might be a bit quick, but he seemed to handle it fine.
“It is just good ground, maybe the quick side of good. He jumped well and travelled well and I just let him use himself, being his minimum trip. I was a bit worried, fitness-wise, where he was at, but he hit the line well enough and has had a good blow, so he will really come on for the run and will be a really fun horse for the year.
Addeybb's connections pointed to the quick ground at Sandown as the reason for defeat in the Gala Stakes
“I did think he might get a bit tapped for toe, so that is why I went out to make the running and Rossa (Ryan, aboard Victory Chime) gave me a lead. That’s why we took him on early enough before I got headed and got done for toe. I was a bit worried I had committed a bit soon, not knowing how the fitness levels were, but we got away with it.
“To be fair, from my position, not a lot got into it, really. It obviously looked a good renewal with horses like Addeybb and some good Group horses in there.
“Saeed’s horses are running ever so well. I had a winner for him on Saturday and I’ve got another for him tomorrow, so it is great he is giving me some rides.”
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Connections of Addeybb were in no doubt the multiple Group One victor was scuppered by the going.
Maureen Haggas, wife of trainer William, said : “It was the ground. We thought it might catch him out, but he is a big boy now and he needs a bit of ease in the ground.
“It wasn’t a bad run, by any means, but he is much better with a bit of easy ground. It will come.
“The problem has been there hasn’t been much rain about. There hasn’t been much anywhere. It will come, I suppose. He has got no penalty, so has lots of options – we’ll go anywhere it rains!”