Newmarket trainer Tom Clover continued his fine start to the season with his first ever double at Haydock on Tuesday.
Sent off at 40-1, the Iffraaj gelding still had ground to make up at the furlong pole, but stayed on powerfully and did not need to be hard ridden to get up and account for Vape by half a length.
It was then the turn of Celsius, who is quickly turning into a course specialist as he made it three wins from three visits to the Merseyside track in the Betway Handicap.
Ridden by Andrea Atzeni, the 100-30 favourite powered up the stands rail to beat Acclaim The Nation by half a length.
Clover said: “That’s our first double, so it’s great.
“Rogue Assassin was ready to go just before lockdown and had done some nice work. He’s been ticked over and it was a nice surprise really.
“He’s always gone quite well, but he was a big price and on paper it didn’t look a bad novice. It’s nice, as he was still a bit green but saw it out great. He travelled slightly in snatches early on and there’s no doubt he’ll sharpen up a huge amount for the run.
“We had a good draw, but Cieren gave him a lovely ride. He had a nice position the whole way through and taught the horse a huge amount.
“My late father-in-law (Michael Jarvis) trained Iffraaj and it’s nice to have an Iffraaj winner.”
He said of Celsius: “I was surprised when he ended up being quite a big price last night. He hated the ground at Ascot at the back end of last year, he couldn’t get his feet out of it and nothing came from off the pace there.
“He’s got a turn of foot, good to soft that has been rained on is fine for him, he just doesn’t want that horrible, gluey ground.
“He’s three from three at the track and has really matured from three to four – mentally he is much more switched off at home. He was keen to get on with things as a young horse and he’s able to settle well now.
“I always thought he might be more of a six-furlong type and now he settles he might get an easy six. He did it a shade cosily and didn’t have much of a blow after the race. I’m really pleased, as I’ve always had a lot of faith in the horse.
“You’d love one day to see him end up in a Stewards’ Cup, that sort of thing. Maybe not the main race, but that sort of easy six at Goodwood could suit him well. There’s the Portland at the back end if he gets up high enough, five and a half at Doncaster might be all right for him.
“I wouldn’t have thought we’d be brave enough to go to the Silver Wokingham (at Royal Ascot), having won over a normal five to go a stiff six might not be too clever when we’ve worked quite hard to settle him. Hopefully there’s a nice little 0-95 somewhere we can look at.”
The pair made it four winners for the yard since racing resumed in Britain last week, much to Clover’s delight.
He added: “The owners have been paying for two and a half months without any racing and it’s nice to knock in a few winners. It’s terrific to repay their loyalty. It’s nice to have a nice start.”
There was a double for Atzeni, too, as the Ed Walker-trained Cap Francais dropped back in trip to some effect in taking the Betway Casino Handicap.
Highly tried at middle distances last year, the Frankel gelding was winning over a mile for the first time since his two-year-old days.
Having starred with a 9,593-1 four-timer at the track on Monday, Richard Kingscote wasted little time in getting on the scoresheet again, winning aboard Devious Company for Tom Dascombe in the Read Andrew Balding On Betway Insider EBF Maiden Stakes.
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