Fresh from celebrating his 3,000th British winner on Tuesday evening, Richard Fahey saddled his 150th success at York when stable favourite Mr Lupton won the Churchill Tyres Handicap.
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.
“That’s great to get 150 here. I’d like to get it again – but that probably won’t happen,” said Fahey.
“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.”
“To do it with Mr Lupton is nice. He’s been a legend for us and has won some big races. He loves it when they go quick up front.
“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.”
Ilaraab had earlier taken his winning streak to six with an impressive performance in the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Jorvik Handicap.
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.”
Marquand doubled up aboard the Adrian Keatley-trained Wobwobwob in the Sky Bet Handicap.
Third at Newmarket’s Craven meeting on his latest outing, the 7-1 shot went a couple of places better with a three-and-a-quarter-length verdict over Northern Express.
Keatley said: “We’ll take our time and see what the weather does, but first of all we’ll see what the handicapper does.
“One day he might be one for the Lincoln or something like that.
“He needs cut in the ground, so the handicaps over seven furlongs and a mile at the start and end of the season might suit.”
Bryan Smart was emotional following the victory of Project Dante (7-2) on debut in the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes.
The Showcasing juvenile sported the colours of the late Reg Bond, with whom Smart went back a long way.
“He’s a lovely horse and he’s been very professional since we got him,” said the North Yorkshire trainer.
“When Reg was still alive he told me to go and buy him some nice horses. I did – we’ve run two, and they’ve both won (Bond Chairman the other), and we’ve two more to come.
“We’ll wait and see about Ascot – there’s a lot more to come from him, he looked a bit porky in the paddock. He’s tough, which is what you need in a two-year-old. That looked a hot race.
“We were all in tears. Reg and his family left me for a time, and these are the first ones since they came back.”
Flyin’ Solo made it two from two on turf when running away with the Conundrum HR Consulting Handicap.
David Menuisier’s four-year-old, who had won one of his four starts on the all-weather before last month’s Newbury success, outshone his 18 rivals.
Leading two furlongs out in the hands of Rossa Ryan, the 3-1 favourite scooted clear and was not hard pressed to score by two lengths from Propriety.
Ryan said: “From his maiden when he won, he would probably be unbeaten, but his next two runs on the all-weather caught him out.
“His transition to the grass has gone really well. I always thought he would be better on the grass.
“David thought a mile and a quarter might be a bit short. The last day we got away with it. Over a mile and a half, you’ve seen the true horse.
“He travelled super. I was able to put him where I wanted, but I had to do it the hard way. I had to go the long way round, but he’s going the right way.”