Ilaraab makes it six of the best

Ilaraab took his winning streak to six with an impressive performance in the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Jorvik Handicap at York.

The William Haggas-trained four-year-old ended the 2020 campaign with victory over the extended 10 furlongs on this course in October, and showed he was still on the upgrade when destroying this field of seasoned handicappers.

Tom Marquand had the son of Wootton Bassett in the last half dozen as Sam Cooke made the running with My Frankel and Glasses Up in the front rank.

Sam Cooke was reeled in at the business end, and Raymond Tusk hit the front, but llaraab (7-2 favourite) made relentless progress down the outside and was soon in control.

He bounded clear in the final furlong to score by three lengths from 40-1 runner-up Raymond Tusk. Throne Hall was half a length away in third place, with Win O’Clock fourth.

Marquand said: “The ground is drying out, and it could almost do with a sprinkling of rain to loosen it out a little.

“You wouldn’t know where the ceiling is for this lad – you couldn’t say he was putting it all on the line to get in front there.

“It wasn’t as if he got there on the bridle, and I almost expected him to do that. I’d only had the chance to win on him once, but he’s always impressed me in that he’d just do enough to win. I guess that is why he has won six on the bounce and still doesn’t look fully exposed.

“It’s a blessing that he’s got that trait, really.”

Haggas was not at York but said: “I don’t know what we’ll do with him next.

“I think the Hardwicke would be too big a jump straight away and the Tapster (at Goodwood) is too close. I’ve just got to dot a few I’s and cross a few T’s.

“Ground is important to him I think, today’s was as quick as he’d want it.”

Trainer Richard Fahey celebrated his 3,000th British winner on Tuesday evening at Ayr and carried his good week forward when 14-1 shot Mr Lupton won for the fourth time on the Knavesmire in the Churchill Tyres Handicap – giving the trainer his 150th victory at York.

Now an eight-year-old, Mr Lupton has mixed it with some of the best sprinters around down the years but has always enjoyed the cut and thrust of big handicaps.

He had only four of the 18 runners behind him with a little over a furlong to run, when Bielsa hit the front, but he quickened up well under Paul Hanagan.

Woven, Danzan and 125-1 outsider Zargun all still had a chance – but Mr Lupton eventually won going away by a length. Danzan beat Zargun a nose for second. with it all getting a bit tight close home.

Fahey said: “Fantastic. He’s a wonderful horse. He’s an absolute legend.

“It was great to get the 3,000 up – and now it’s great to have a winner here.

“I tipped it on the radio this morning, so I’ll be a hero!

“He’s getting too old for Group races. I’ll probably stick him in he Wokingham and see what happens.”

Reflecting on his 3000-winner milestone, Fahey added: “It wasn’t really until this morning I realised there are a lot of trainers I hold in very high esteem and have a lot of respect for and aren’t on the list.

“We’ve just got to carry on. I was still up at 10 to 4 this morning, so it makes no difference.”

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