MORANDO gave Silvestre de Sousa a first victory since returning from injury as he ran out a cosy winner of the Group 3 Property Raceday Targets £3M Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot.
The three-time champion jockey endured a spell on the sidelines following a fall at Chelmsford in August and after returning with a couple of unplaced rides in Berkshire on Friday, he was soon back in the winner’s enclosure.
Morando was sent off the 2/1 favourite for De Sousa and trainer Andrew Balding after winning a Group 3 at Chester earlier in the year and finishing a narrow second at the same level last time.
The six-year-old never really looked like disappointing his supporters in this 12-furlong heat though, asserting his authority in the straight to run out a six-length winner over Sextant.
Bolted up! Morando absolutely loves soft going, and produces a commanding display to win the Cumberland Lodge at @Ascot – a first winner back from injury for the champ @SilvDSousa ?? pic.twitter.com/dyVmcUxmlv— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) October 5, 2019
De Sousa said: “It is good to be back with a winner. This race is special and this horse won at Chester in the same ground conditions, and we got touched off last time by a three-year-old.
“He is tough and just loved the going. I spent my time off just working in the gym and changing nappies!
“It is a mental thing as much as a physical thing when you are injured, and fair play to Sir Peter O’Sullevan House and the people there, who have helped with the rehabilitation. They have great facilities there and I have had a lot of support from friends.
“They helped me come back very quickly. I would love to get 100 winners (this season) – there are only seven left now.
“Hopefully I will be retained by (owners) King Power next season. Things could have gone better this season, but I don’t think it has been too bad. We have a lot of horses to look forward to.
“Khun Aiyawatt ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha is a gentleman and his father was a gentleman. I am so proud to work for such a nice family. Fair play, he has continued his father’s vision and I hope the family will continue to be successful.
“I am off to Hong Kong to ride in the winter, but obviously I am flexible with King Power and will be available when they need me. We still have a lot of two-year-olds to come out before the end of the season.”
Winning trainer Balding added: “He is a high-class horse in this ground, he travels very well on it, which is big help. The choice is between the Prix Royal Oak or going back to the St Simon.”
Roger Varian’s string is in fine fettle at present and the Newmarket handler brought up his 100th winner of the season when Cape Byron ran away with the Group 3 John Guest Bengough Stakes.
Andrea Atzeni’s mount won the Victoria Cup here on his reappearance and followed that with a fine weight-carrying performance in landing the Wokingham, before having his colours lowered in the July Cup.
He had shown his wellbeing when third in a York Group 2 last time, and was back to his best on a track he loves, cruising to a two-length success from Donjuan Triumphant, with Keystroke sticking on for third, a neck further down.
Winning jockey, Andrea Atzeni, said: “He loved that ground. He has obviously won on the soft ground before, but that is a different type of ground.
“It is dead and tacky, and we were not sure if he would go on it. But we thought if he’d act on it, he would have a very good chance, as he had been working well at home. There is a good chance that this might be his last run of the season.
“All the winners today have come up this stands’ side, because the ground is a bit rough on the far side with all the racing on the Round Course, and so I just kept it simple, really, and came up this side.
“Mind you, he is a very uncomplicated horse to ride. He jumps, travels and picks up, and he loves it here – I think he is three from three here this season.
“It is great for the boss, Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum, to have these sort of winners on a busy weekend.”