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Horse Racing: Weekend Review

A big weekend of action on both sides of the Irish Sea saw Aidan Keeley land glory in the bet365 Cambridgeshire with his first ever Newmarket ride.

There were Group 1 wins for Lezoo and Blackbeard, while Europe's richest two-year-old race went to Galeron and connections confirmed the retirement of star stayer Stradivarius.

We take a look back at the weekend's big racing stories, with all of the UK and Ireland action available on our Sports Live Streaming platform.

Majestic lands Cambridgeshire glory

Trainer Mick Channon was isolating on Saturday and unable to attend the races at Newmarket, but he would have been toasting a standout performance as Majestic swooped fast and late to win the bet365 Cambridgeshire.

Well-backed favourite Mujtaba for William Haggas and Jim Crowley couldn't sustain his challenge late on, while the likes of Savvy Victory and Bell Rock were emerging up the centre of the Rowley Mile to bid for glory in the first of the major autumn handicaps at Headquarters.

It was Majestic that ran them all down late, however, swooping on the near side to win by a length and a quarter. It was quite the moment for you rider Aidan Keeley, capping his first appearance at Newmarket.

"It's a thrill to ride here at all, but to do so on a big day and to have a winner, a Cambridgeshire winner, I just don't know how to put that into words," he admitted post-race.

Quirky Blackbeard lands Middle Park win

He can be quirky before the racing gets under way, but there's no disguising the talent of Blackbeard once the stalls are opened.

Aidan O'Brien's colt had won a pair of Group 2s in France prior to Saturday's Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

He was unruly as the horses were being loaded, but put up a professional display in the race itself to hand Ryan Moroe his first Middle Park win, with old adversaries The Antarctic and Persian Force filling the frame behind him.

Blackbeard is now a 12/1 chance to win the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket next season and his trainer has no fears over his mindset.

"He's hardy, he's not a wimp and he just starts stamping his feet if you start asking to stand in the same place too long. He's very genuine and it's his way of saying he's ready, and we don't disagree with him," said O'Brien.

Lezoo turns on the style for Beckett

Earlier on Saturday, Lezoo won the Cheveley Park Stakes for William Buick and Ralph Beckett.

After four runs in little over a month in June and July, which included Listed and Group 3 successes, as well as a close second in the bet365 Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket, trainer Beckett gave Lezoo a short break with this race in mind.

She delivered in style, running down Meditate inside the final furlong for a fully merited win, with Mawj - the horse that handed Lezoo her only defeat at Newmarket in July - behind in third.

Beckett admits his first appraisal of the filly was all wrong, with Lezoo now trading at 8/1 for Classic glory in the 1000 Guineas next term.

"She doesn't show up at home really, and before she ran for the first time I told the owners she would win a novice and that would be it - it just shows how wrong you can be," said Beckett.

"She just did one easy piece of work last week on the grass and worked well, so she's obviously just very, very good."

Galeron hits Curragh jackpot

Winning owner Gary Robinson, a plumber by trade, could scarcely believe it after watching Galeron win the Goffs Million at the Curragh, pocketing the first prize of €611,000 in doing so.

Trainer Charlie Hills was landing the biggest pot of his career in securing the richest two-year-old race in Europe, and connections revealed they'd been targeting this contest for a year.

"I'm only 18 months into racehorse ownership," said Robinson. "Last October I was sat at Newbury with Charlie Hills having a pint and we were looking at the horses he had, and he said he had a horse that's qualified for next year's Goffs Million.

"I didn't really understand what the Goffs Million was at that stage, but we set out to run him here.

"This morning we were saying that anything better than ninth would cover the cost of bringing him here and he's won!"

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Lordan's Cesarewitch masterpiece on Waterville

Waterville was sent off as favourite in Sunday's Irish Cesarewitch, but he looked a forlorn hope as a field of 30 turned into the home straight.

Wayne Lordan's mount was sat last in the field, seemingly stuck on the running rail with too much ground to make up and a sure set of traffic problems to overcome.

However, Lordan wasn't panicking on the Aidan O'Brien runner and, after making ground up the rail, he pulled to the outside with a furlong and a half to run, flying home to deny Willie Mullins' Echoes In Rain and win the most valuable Flat handicap in Europe.

"He's a horse with an awful lot of ability and back in the winter we thought he was our Derby horse, but he has just been very backward mentally. We gave him time to mature," said O'Brien.

"Wayne gave him the most incredible ride. He kept calm and kept nursing him and nursing him from a long way back and delivered him right on the line. It was unbelievable.

"He's a massive horse and next year he's going to be something different."

Music stops for Stradivarius

Owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen called time on one of the most popular horses of recent years on Monday when he announced: "The music has stopped for Stradivarius."

The John Gosden-trained inmate won four Goodwood Cups, three Ascot Gold Cups, three Lonsdale Cups and the Doncaster Cup twice in a career that spawned £3,458,968 in prize money.

His final start saw him denied a neck behind Kyprios in his bid for a fifth Goodwood Cup in July and, after a minor setback, his owner admitted the time was right to pull stumps after an incredible seven seasons of racing and 18 Group-race wins.

"He has been trotting and cantering, but it has taken longer to get over the bruised foot than we thought," Nielsen said. "We felt it would be unfair to ask him to come back again as a nine-year-old next season after his enforced time off.

"It has been a fairytale from start to finish. Until this setback he had never been medicated and had never missed an engagement through injury.

"He had great presence when he went to the races, which the crowds loved, and his overall soundness was rare to see in any horse - never mind one of his age. He is a tribute to John Gosden, who has trained him so brilliantly for so long."

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