Alfa Kellenic completes hat-trick to give Craig Lidster first York winner

Local trainer Craig Lidster hailed Alfa Kellenic’s latest triumph as the “highlight of my career so far” after the improving filly provided him with a first winner at York on Friday.

The daughter of Havana Grey had won on her only previous turf appearance at Thirsk earlier this month and justified her status as a 9-4 market leader for the British EBF Supporting Racing With Pride Fillies’ Stakes with a two-and-a-quarter length success.

After initially being held up, Lidster’s charge took charge of proceedings entering the last of six furlongs, pulling clear of Flaccianello to complete her hat-trick in fine style in the hands of 5lb claimer William Pyle.

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“She’s a lovely filly, she’s got a future in front of her,” said Lidster.

“It’s my first York winner so there was a lot of pressure on today. It’s a great day for all connections.

“It’s my local track so it’s brilliant. It’s the highlight of my career so far.”

Harry Eustace also looks to have an exciting filly on his hands after 16-1 shot Havana Gila outshone more fancied rivals in the Juddmonte EBF Fillies’ Restricted Novice Stakes.

Havana Gila claimed the Juddmonte EBF Fillies' Restricted Novice Stakes at York
Havana Gila claimed the Juddmonte EBF Fillies’ Restricted Novice Stakes at York (Josh Luckhurst/PA)

The two-year-old is the first foal to come out of With Caution, who was under the guidance of James Eustace – Harry’s father – in the latter stages of her racing career.

It was 6-4 favourite River Seine who led the way for much of the six-furlong contest, but Havana Gila nipped up her inner late on under Hayley Turner to prevail by a length and a half.

“Fantastic,” said Eustace. “She’s the first foal out of the mare and she was very, very tough there. It got very tight on the rail and she’s always been very hardy at home.

“She ran well first time and Hayley has given her a great ride. It’s fantastic, great prize money and breeding a winner for Harold (Nass, owner) is fantastic.”

Ron O was a popular winner of the Seat Unique Handicap, providing veteran trainer Ray Craggs with his first ever victory on the Knavesmire.

The 80-year-old also owns the six-year-old, who is one of only four horses he has in work at his Sedgefield base.

A large blanket would have covered the leading contenders before Ron O got his nose in front for the first time at the final furlong marker, an advantage the 28-1 shot never relinquished as he kept up the gallop to seal a two-length victory and the £36,000 first prize in the feature race on the card.

“I thought we would be out of depth a bit. I’m lost for words, I just thought I was making the numbers up,” said Craggs.

“I’ve never had a horse good enough to run here really. It’s only my second runner here, I didn’t know how to get here!”

Tolstoy rallied from the rear of the field to record a two-length success in the Andy Thornton Hospitality Furniture Apprentice Handicap.

Brian Ellison’s charge (18-1) looked unlikely to challenge for top honours when second from last with two furlongs remaining, but showed a tremendous turn of foot to secure 16-year-old jockey Shay Farmer his first ever victory on only his second ride.

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Apprentice jockey Farmer, who hails from Hawick in Scotland, said: “I was hoping for him to come out and win, but I couldn’t get the opening. He was always flying for me in the end, I couldn’t be happier!

“I’ve been with him (Ellison) since 2021, maybe. It was only for a two-week trial and I started full-time with him in January and really kicked on.”

The Ollie Pears-trained Inconspicuous (14-1) shed his maiden tag in the CGE Yorkshire Rous Selling Stakes under Harry Russell.

The son of Inns Of Court was sold for £29,000 to Gay Kelleway in the auction after the race.

Pears said: “He was a £15,000 yearling, he’s won plenty of prize money and when you start getting up there, you have a fair bit of commission to pay so a good day, we aren’t sad. This horse is going to win more races, obviously.”

Invisible Friend (18-1) returned from a 265-day break to score in the concluding Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Stakes for Kevin Ryan and Rowan Scott.

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