Two-time champion jockey Paul Hanagan celebrated a maiden domestic Group One success as Mayson won by a stunning five lengths.
Hanagan had won at the highest level aboard Wootton Basset at the 2010 Arc weekend in Paris, but his triumph here for trainer Richard Fahey was a first at that level in the UK.
Mayson had taken the Abernant and Palace House Stakes on the Rowley Mile earlier in the year and was bouncing back from two below-par runs at York and Newcastle on his last couple of outings.
Hanagan, who only this season left his position as Fahey’s stable jockey to become retained rider for owner Hamdan Al Maktoum, suffered a crashing fall here two weeks’ ago and returned to race-riding last Saturday.
Hanagan said: “It’s my first Group One in England - I have had one in France - but that was quite special.
“This is typical of the ups and downs of this game and I have been in the game long enough now to deal with it. Last week I was being stretchered off and this week it is July Cup - you can soon get brought back down with earth with a bump - literally!
“It is a big weight off my shoulders to win this. I have been champion jockey twice and it is nice to get up there and win the top races like this and I have really enjoyed it. That was like riding my first winner all over again. It was such a good buzz and I want more of it now.
“You do get funny results in this ground but I have always thought this was a Group One horse for the future with the way he won the Group races at Newmarket and we have always liked him.
“I don’t really know why he ran badly at Newcastle the other week. I think that his confidence was a bit low - he had a bit of a do in the stalls at York and I think that it just set him back a bit.”
Fahey added: “It is great for Paul, the breeders, the owners and the whole yard. Sheikh Hamdan doesn’t realise that Paul is still my number one! We borrow him every now and again. It’s fantastic.
“I looked at the betting and saw that he was 20/1 which I thought was a total joke as he is a Group Three winner and there were handicappers shorter than him. Strictly on his last two runs he perhaps should have been 20/1 but he is back to his best.
“He got very upset at York two runs ago. He got a hind leg stuck in the stalls for about 20 seconds and he came home not just right. I couldn’t say he was lame but he was stiff. It was then bottomless at Newcastle last time out whereas this is more like soft.
“He is in the Nunthorpe Stakes and I am a little bit worried about going back there after what happened on his last visit but we will get him home and then see.
“It’s tough for three-year-olds sprinters but we felt that he could win the Ayr Gold Cup - I don’t know why he didn’t win because I thought that he was a certainty. It just didn’t go right but he is paying his way now and it’s grand.”
Darley July Cup (British Champions Series And Global Sprint Challenge) (Group 1)
£400,000 added, 3yo plus, 6f, Class 1 12 ran (NR 1,5 & 6)
After a somewhat damp renewal of the Darley July Cup, Europe’s premier sprint race, The Cheka, trained by Eve Johnson-Houghton, came home five lengths adrift of the winner Mayson to secure second.
Eve Johnson-Houghton was delighted with The Cheka’s run and said afterwards: “I am absolutely thrilled with him. Jimmy (Fortune) said before he likes the ground and I said to him you might be pushing it with that - but The Cheka certainly handles the ground. He’s a big strong six-year-old. We knew he couldn’t come from behind so I said to just let him bowl.
“Unfortunately, Mayson just got first run on us but good luck to him - we’ve beaten him, he’s beaten us, that’s the way it is with sprinters but I am really pleased the race has gone to a good genuine tough sprinter.
Fortune added: “He’s run an absolute blinder. He likes the ground and he stays well which is what you need in that ground.”
Society Rock was third for trainer James Fanshawe who commented: “He ran really well. The winner has won decisively but I am afraid it was just a matter of who went well on the ground. I think Society Rock was just getting tired on the ground in the last half-furlong. When the conditions are like this, I think you are just grateful that they have run well.
“He is back on song again - he ran a good race a Royal Ascot but it just getting the stalls right with him and we will keep on working at that because I am really looking forward to the back-end race at Ascot (QIPCO Champions Sprint), that’s the course for him.”
TRAINER PLEASED WITH ORTENSIA
Australian hope Ortensia finished fourth in the Group One Darley July Cup, the third British leg of the Global Sprint Challenge and also part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
The mare’s trainer Paul Messara was delighted with the performance over six furlongs on heavy turf.
He said: “I thought it was a super run as she doesn’t really handle a wet track.
“So coming fourth under those conditions was outstanding.
“If we had had the right conditions, we would have been right there at the finish.
“If she pulls up well, we will go for the Nunthorpe and five furlongs at York will be no problem.”
MAYSON PROVES TEAK TOUGH IN DARLEY JULY CUP
Mayson made most to secure a Group One triumph in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket this afternoon.
The Sectional Timing and Tracking System showed how the four-year-old cut out a strong gallop in testing conditions - and unlike most of his rivals sustained it all the way to the line.
Mike Maher, managing director at Turftrax, said: “Mayson went over 39 miles per hour between five furlongs and three furlongs out, indicating the strong early pace in this year’s Darley July Cup, which is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
“He then maintained that gallop, particularly through the uphill strides of the finish. For the last quarter-mile, not surprisingly he was the quickest horse - and almost half a second faster than any other in the final furlong.
“The favourite Society Rock almost matched the winner’s times for the first half of the race, but he was unable to go on with him, recording a sectional time that was 0.58seconds slower than the winner in the last furlong.
“Neither he nor runner-up The Cheka recorded a faster sectional time at any point than the winner, but both ran creditably in the energy-sapping ground.”