Adam Farragher feels Lordship has not stopped improving yet after William Haggas’ inmate landed his fourth success of the year in the £100,000 William Hill Finale Handicap at York.
A winner at Chepstow, Yarmouth and Haydock in the summer, it perhaps looked as if the handicapper had him in his grasp when only fourth in the Melrose at the Ebor meeting and fifth in a valuable event at Haydock.
Racing on soft ground for the first time, Farragher thought it would bring about improvement and it certainly did, as Lordship got the better of a duel with Andrew Balding’s Urban Outlook, who was chasing a hat-trick, by a length and a quarter.
“He’s been a big improver from one run to the next. He ran a super race in the Melrose and that form is red-hot,” said Farragher.
“Coming here today I thought the dig in the ground would bring out a bit more in him, I’ve been saying that since the start. It’s extreme here today, probably heavy, but he stuck it out well.
“I got him rolling early because I could see David (Probert) travelling well and I didn’t want him to get away.
“I wouldn’t know where his ceiling is to be honest, he’s improved with each run.”
The British EBF £100,000 Final went the way of Kevin Ryan’s Apiarist, who broke his maiden at the fourth attempt.
Back in August he had been beaten a head by Richard Fahey’s Sailthisshipalone and on 1lb different terms there was little to separate them again.
The pair pulled clear of the favourite Grey Cuban, with Apiarist (28-1) and Tom Eaves prevailing by a neck.
“He’s a horse we’ve always liked but it’s been slow progression. He went too quick (over a mile) last time so I told Tom to take his time today,” said Ryan.
“He’s a big, raw horse and he’ll make a lovely three-year-old. It was a nice prize to win today. He’ll probably start back at the Dante meeting like most of ours.
“We’ve had a good year. I base it on prize money now, I used to be a numbers man but the big winners give you the appetite for the job.”
David and Nicola Barron’s Pilgrim (15-8 favourite) was not winning out of turn in the William Hill EBF Novice Stakes.
Rated 83 after four good efforts, he was kept honest throughout the final two furlongs by Tim Easterby’s Elegant Call but eventually pulled a length and a half clear with the promising John and Thady Gosden-trained newcomer Gamekeeper in third.
David Barron said: “I was worried about the ground I must admit, at this time of year at the end of the season, it’s very tiring.
“Joe (Fanning) said he wasn’t in love with it but he was good enough. The handicapper can’t go too mad, so we’ll hopefully look at some of the nice sprint handicaps next season.”
Copper Knight was unable to win the race named in his honour, the Copper Knight – Winning Most Horse At York Handicap.
It went the way of Ben Haslam’s consistent Wen Moon (100-30 favourite) under Jonny Peate.
Ryan secured a double when Irish Nectar (4-1) swooped late to win the Parsonage Hotel And Cloisters Spa Nursery Handicap while Hafeet Alain (13-2) quickened up smartly in the William Hill Autumn Mile Handicap.
Connor Planas has struck up a good relationship with Ed Walker’s seven-year-old and said: “He’s got a good turn of foot in that ground. He did the same the last day at Goodwood but I got there too soon.
“Hopefully Ed can find another race for him because he clearly loves that ground.”
Oso Rapido was first past the post in the closing Visit Irish Bloodstock Sales With ITM Apprentice Handicap but lost the race in the stewards’ room after he was judged to have caused interference to runner-up Thunder Roar.
Just a nose separated the pair at the line and after reversing the placings, the stewards also banned Oso Rapido’s rider Andrew Breslin for two days for careless riding.