Owen Burrows’ resurgence continued apace as Laraaib bounced back to form in the Stella Artois Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot.
A promising sort last year, he returned to action with a pleasing run behind subsequent Prince of Wales’s Stakes and King George winner Poet’s Word.
However, with the stable out of form, he badly disappointed on his next two starts and was sent off at 11-2 for this retrieval mission.
Sporting blinkers for the first time as he returned from an 86-day absence, Laraaib travelled sweetly in the hands of Jim Crowley and knuckled down gamely to beat Mark Johnston’s Communique.
The gritty Communique, searching for a sixth win of the season, did not go down without a fight but there was half a length between them at the line.
“Jim was chuffed, he had a nice run around and I was pretty confident turning in,” said Burrows. “Fair play to the second, but I was chuffed to bits in the last half furlong when we managed to pull away.
“I put the blinkers on, not because I think he’s ungenuine, but because he’s laid-back at home and he worked really well in them a couple of weeks ago.
“I thought I’d try to run in them and it’s brilliant that it’s paid off. That’s probably it for the year – he handles a bit of cut but he has won on fast ground.
“Obviously he was under the weather last time at Newmarket, but I’ve always thought he was up to this sort of class.”
Michael Dods certainly has a way with speedy fillies and Intense Romance continues to work her way through the ranks, bringing up her hat-trick in the Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award Rous Stakes.
Intense Romance was only rated 86 three starts back, but two heavy ground wins pushed her up to 96 and every drop of rain that fell was in her favour as she held off Mr Lupton gamely.
Jockey Callum Rodriguez said: “She’s so tough, genuine and loves soft ground and the more rain that came, the happier we were.
“She dug in deep and it was a massive effort.