Karl Burke enjoyed a one-two in the Betway Kachy Stakes as Spycatcher struck late to land the Listed Lingfield contest.
The trainer had a trio of entrants in the six-furlong sprint, including last season’s victor Exalted Angel and the in-form Lord Of The Lodge, but it was Spycatcher who wound up most fancied of all when sent to post at 3-1.
Though not the sharpest of the nine-strong field out of the stalls, the four-year-old was ridden wide around the bend by Clifford Lee and found himself a clear passage to mount a late attack and edge out stablemate Lord Of The Lodge.
The latter horse was beaten by a neck, with Exalted Angel further back in sixth after a troubled passage through the race.
“I wasn’t the quickest out of the stalls, I got a little bit wiped out but I knew there was a lot of pace in the race and he’s a big finisher,” Lee told Sky Sports Racing.
“I felt like I couldn’t really go with them early doors and I thought, coming round the bend, that I was half struggling but he picked up.
“All three of the horses in the race of Karl’s are good horses, this lad’s been working really well so I had plenty of confidence coming into the race.
“I’m thrilled to get a Listed race, I’m delighted.”
Options remain open for Spycatcher, who has now sealed his qualification for the All-Weather Championships Final Day and could join Exalted Angel at the Newcastle fixture on Good Friday.
Of the latter horse, Burke’s daughter Kelly told Sky Sports Racing: “Cieren (Fallon) was just saying that it was nightmare race for him but he ran well.
“With Spycatcher I’m not sure (of future plans), he needed this run to get to the final. I think Lord Of The Lodge is hopefully going to Super Saturday (in Dubai) and Exalted Angel will go to the final as well.
“It was really hard to pick one, literally all three could have won. They work together a lot, Spy did a really good piece of work the other week with Lodge. I ride Lodge all the time, and our assistant James rides Spy.
“He did quicken really well, I thought Lodge might just be a bit flat but then coming into this week he’s been bouncing back really well.
“We didn’t know which out of the three, luckily Cliff, being our stable jockey, picked the right one. It was a hard decision for him because he’s won on all of them.”
Richard Hannon’s Fancy Man was a smart winner of the Listed Winter Derby Trial, striking at 9-4 with a convincing two-and-quarter-length success under Sean Levey.
The colt won his first start on the all-weather at Lingfield in September after a string of placed performances in Group races on the turf throughout the summer.
“It’s his first run for a long time and he would have needed that,” Hannon said.
“We took him to Kempton last week and he worked very well so we decided to give him a run here to build him up hopefully for either the Winter Derby or the Emir’s Sword in Qatar.
“He’s a different horse now. Adrian McCarthy, it’s all credit to him, he’s riding for us now and since he got on him he hasn’t pulled and that’s been the making of him.
“He was still a bit keen but they did go slow and it was his first run, so he was entitled to be a bit gassy.
“There was a frustrating period with him trip-wise, where he’d go along on the bridle and then wouldn’t go and win the race, or couldn’t, he looks like he’s over that now and doing very well.
“He’s actually won it very well, he’ll come forward a lot from that.
“He would have needed this run before he went anywhere and it’s done exactly that.”