Champs Elysees four-year-old Withhold (4g Champs Elysees-Coming Back, by Fantastic Light) looked a future Group-race performer when landing one of the biggest gambles of the year at Newmarket on Saturday.
The Roger Charlton-trained gelding – carrying the colours of famed gambler Tony Bloom – was backed into 5/1 favouritism for the Cesarewitch, one of the season’s most-competitive handicaps.
But under a bold front-running ride from Silvestre de Sousa, Withhold toyed with his 33 opponents as he forged further clear in the finish to win by three and three-quarter lengths.
“It was a demolition job, really,” smiled Charlton after the race. “It doesn’t normally work, but this one has. I think Silvestre gave him a very enterprising ride, to have him up there from a wide draw. He’s a very nice horse and winning these races are very memorable.
“He’d proved he stays two miles. I thought if we didn’t run him he wouldn’t go up in the handicap, so we waited until three weeks ago.
“I think he is a good stayer and why wouldn’t he end up being a player in Group race? The way he has won that looks like he ought to win more races. He has absolutely demolished them.”