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Hurricane Lane storms back to winning ways

Hurricane Lane defied a thunder storm to stamp his class on the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket.

The chestnut looked to have the world at his feet two years ago when winning the Irish Derby and the St Leger and going close in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

His four-year-old season was something of a write-off, however, as he was only third in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot before being well beaten in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

Kept in training with the aim of returning to Paris for the Arc, those ambitions looked a long way off when he finished last of seven at Newbury in the John Porter Stakes last month – his first start after an absence of 293 days.

Weak in the market for most of the day, he was eventually backed into 2-1 with West Wind Blows sent off the even-money favourite.

Fitted with cheekpieces for the first time by Charlie Appleby, the result was never in any doubt with William Buick sending him on fully half a mile from home.

With stamina no issue, Hurricane Lane powered clear and was six lengths to the good from West Wind Blows who just pipped Global Storm for the runner-up spot.

Appleby’s charge was cut to 7-1 from 20s by Betfair for the Coronation Cup at Epsom.

Appleby said: “A few people might have thought we were being a bit selfish wanting to run him (as a five-year-old), but he showed us his old demeanour throughout the winter and into the spring.

“Newbury was disappointing, but it was a big ask for him in heavy ground and Will just said he felt like a different horse today. He said he was sluggish at Newbury and today he just floated along.

“Everyone was obviously asking the question ‘why did he get beat’ and asking why we were coming back so soon, but he showed us what he could do midweek with the cheekpieces on and fair play to the team, they said he couldn’t get beat today.

“I have to thank His Highness Sheikh Mohammed for allowing us to keep this horse in training. When you have a horse that has given the team as much as he’s given then of course you feel for them and want them to carry on doing it. I’m delighted for everyone.

“We could look at the Hardwicke in the summer, if the ground was right. I’ve always said I wanted to work back from the Arc, which might be a bit bold, but we’ll see.”

Buick said: “It was absolutely brilliant and full credit to Charlie and the team. We were brave to bring him back here 13 days after Newbury and he has had a lovely experience on his doorstep.

“This is the Hurricane Lane that we know so it is lovely to have him back winning like that. There were a lot of question marks for sure, but everyone was happy with him at home.

“I think all the information and knowledge everyone had of him was that he was in tip-top order. We were probably hopeful of that performance as we thought he was back to his good three-year-old form.

“It was brilliant when I pressed on into the lead and you couldn’t have asked for anymore of him.”

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