The progressive Hamada maintained his unbeaten record this season with a decisive success in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury, and underlined his Melbourne Cup claims in the process.
The Charlie Appleby-trained 7-4 favourite took up the running from stablemate Walton Street inside the final furlong under James Doyle, who shut the door on Silvestre de Sousa, who attempted to challenge between the Godolphin pair on Raymond Tusk.
Doyle subsequently received a two-day ban for careless riding aboard the son of Cape Cross, who was recoding a fifth successive victory, having started the season on a handicap mark of 87 when scoring at Wolverhampton.
In the end, Hamada had two and a half-lengths to spare from Raymond Tusk, with Walton Street a similar distance back in third under Adam Kirby.
After the Group 3 victory, Appleby’s assistant Alex Merriam said: “Definitely Australia is the plan now. We are very pleased with that. James said he saw it out well and that the ground was just on the soft side for him. He thought that Australia would suit him well.
“Walton Street has finished third there, so he has probably booked his place (on the plane to Australia) as well, then there is also Cross Counter. We will weigh up the options this week and see what Charlie wants to do.”
Richard Hannon was pleased with the performance of Raymond Tusk, who will now be targeted at next month’s St Leger at Doncaster.
The runner-up’s trainer said: “It was a super run. He was just a bit gassy. He lost a lot of weight when he came back from Scotland after winning the Listed race up there, but I knew he would improve for that and we had to get some weight back on him.
“He slightly did a bit of the donkey work and was slightly softened up by the other Godolphin horse. He got in bit of trouble and still ran on to be second. The trip is no problem and we will absolutely go to the St Leger. I think the interference will have done him good experience-wise and hardened him up. It was the ideal run.”
In the day’s feature, Sir Dancealot defied a 3lb penalty to run out a comfortable winner of the Group 2 Ladyswood Stud Hungerford Stakes.
The David Elsworth-trained four-year-old was following up his success in the Lennox Stakes and looked to put in a career-best effort, swooping to lead under Gerald Mosse inside the final furlong and easily draw clear.
Longtime leader Dream Of Dreams held on for second with Breton Rock grabbing third. The 15-8 favourite Gustav Klimt could finish only fifth and was subsequently pushed out to 20/1 for the Haydock Sprint Cup by Genting Bet.