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Platform to build on for returning Bell ace

Platform Nineteen made a winning comeback at Beverley after a 648-day absence from the racecourse.

Contesting the two-mile 135th Year Of The Watt Memorial Handicap, the chestnut was running for the first time since October 2019 after injury ended a successful three-year-old campaign that saw him victorious in four successive races.

Now five and clearly retaining both his ability and enthusiasm, the Michael Bell-trained gelding breezed to a five-and-a-half-length victory under Clifford Lee after starting at a price of 5-1.

“It was a fantastic training performance,” said Harry Herbert, racing manager to owners the Royal Ascot Racing Club.

“He was on a very steep upward curve and then injury blighted him.

“He was off for all of that time, since Ascot in 2019, and you never know how they will come back as they obviously change and develop through the absence.

“It was absolutely remarkable to get him back like that, a huge round of applause is due to Michael Bell and all of the Fitzroy House team because it really is extraordinary.”

The five-furlong Taff Sarginson Memorial Handicap went the way of Adrian Keatley’s Twice Adaay, who benefited from the application of cheekpieces to take the contest when piloted by jockey Harry Russell.

The victory was a first for the filly, who has largely been campaigned on the all-weather thus far, and she lost her maiden tag convincingly when crossing the line two and a quarter lengths ahead of Elzaal at 6-1.

“We were delighted with her,” Keatley said.

“She showed potential a while a go, but it’s just taken her a few runs, the track suited today as well as the ground and everything came together.

“I think the draw helped more than the cheekpieces.

“My horses have been running well without winning for a while now, including this one, so hopefully this can be the start of turning a corner as we’ve a lot of catching up to do.”

Division one of the Racing TV EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes was claimed by debutant La Feile (14-1) as she made her first racecourse experience a winning one when registering a length and a quarter victory.

Trained by Richard Fahey and ridden by Paul Hanagan, the Aclaim filly was impressive when beating Karl Burke’s twice-winner Sophie’s Star.

“That was lovely and she’ll have learned a lot from it as well,” Hanagan said.

“They went quite hard early on and she just struggled to find her feet, but once she found the top gear she really motored home.

“To win first time out is a big achievement, she’s still very green and raw so there’s a lot to improve on after today.”

May Blossom was victorious in division two of the Racing TV EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes for Danny Tudhope and David O’Meara, striking at 9-2 to claim her second success by three-quarters of a length.

The Dr Eddie Moll Handicap was won by Tim Easterby’s Ugo Gregory, who went off the 11-10 favourite and duly triumphed under David Allan when crossing the line three and a quarter lengths ahead of Roger Fell’s Medicine Jack.

Clodovea then gave the trainer and jockey combination a quickfire double as the filly struck when evens favourite to take the Racing Again Next Monday Evening Nursery Handicap by a neck from Ben Haslam’s On The River.

The 25th Year Of The Hurn Racing Club Handicap, run over 10 furlongs, went the way of Berry Edge (7-1) for Connor Beasley and Michael Dods, with the Pro Versus Am Female Jockeys’ Handicap then taken by Contrast (7-1) for Joanna Mason and Mick and David Easterby.

Tipperary Sunset still unbeaten and heading for Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot-bound Tipperary Sunset remained unbeaten after a taking victory in the bet365 Continental Two Year Old Trophy at Beverley.

The John Quinn-trained juvenile was a winner on his racecourse debut at Hamilton earlier in May and maintained his flawless record when posting a three-quarter-length success under James Sullivan in the five-furlong contest.

Springing from the starting stalls to gain an advantage from the off, the Ardad colt made all of the running and was never passed as he galloped to a game victory over Robjon at 4-1.

“We’ve always liked him,” Quinn said.

“From breaking him in, he’s a lovely mover, (he has a) nice mind.

Tipperary Sunset enjoys a deserved drink of water (PA)
Tipperary Sunset (PA)

“His early work was good and we thought ‘well we like this one’

“We’ll go to Royal Ascot, it’ll be between the Norfolk and the Windsor Castle.

“He’s progressed, this fella has had two runs and today he’s gone away at the line.

“He’s well worth his chance (over a) stiff five, Jimmy (Sullivan) said he wasn’t stopping, the ground was fine and he’ll handle better ground as well.”

Sullivan credited the winner’s swift start as one of his key attributes, saying: “He jumped very quick and I was always holding onto him, so he had the best chance.

“When something came to me at the finish, he kept galloping to the line.

“For two-year-olds, they need to be able to jump out, especially on a sharp track when they have a good draw, so when he jumped and made a length out of gates it was one box ticked.”

The jockey then secured a quickfire double when taking the bet365 Handicap aboard 7-1 chance Byron’s Choice for trainer Michael Dods.

Byron's Choice brought up a double for James Sullivan
Byron’s Choice

The six-year-old began to chase the race leader, Mark Johnston’s 2-1 favourite Sibaaq, in the final furlong and was eventually able to cross the line a neck ahead of his rival.

Sullivan said: “He went through the race very well for me, he’s a grand big horse and I think he handles the conditions very well.

“Obviously he had a bit of weight to carry and I think having a bit of size helped him, they went a solid gallop and brought a bit of stamina into it and he stayed nicely.

“He’s a big horse and he covers a lot of ground, I was always confident in the last furlong that he’d get to the front.”

Trevolli struck as the 4-6 favourite to take the bet365 Median Auction Maiden Stakes for Phil Kirby and Ben Curtis.

Trevolli got favourite-backers off to a good start (PA)

The three-year-old was beaten by half a length at Redcar earlier in the month on what was his first run for the trainer after leaving the care of Adam West, a performance he built on at Beverley to score by a head from Taylored.

A photo was required to split the first two past the post, but Kirby’s gelding just prevailed after being ridden prominently from the off.

The Each Way Extra At bet365 Handicap then secured Curtis a double as he steered John Mackie’s Colony Queen  (7-1) to victory – and he made it a treble on the day when taking the concluding Bet Builder At bet365 Handicap aboard Bawaady (15-8 favourite) for Sir Michael Stoute.

Poet’s Lady provided Kevin Stott with a double when the filly triumphed in the Price Promise At bet365 Handicap for David Barron.

The jockey had already enjoyed success in the Hilary Needler Stakes aboard Lady Ayresome and returned to the winner’s enclosure with Barron’s filly after the duo justified their status as 2-1 favourites.

Registering a length-and-a-quarter victory, the four-year-old was ridden behind the race leaders until the final half-furlong before passing Fox Power to cross the line first of the field of nine.

Lady Ayresome scores Hilary Needler victory

Lady Ayresome found an extra gear at the finish to run out a cosy winner of the Hilary Needler Trophy Fillies’ Conditions Stakes at Beverley.

All eyes were on Kyber Crystal, who had chased home impressive National Stakes winner Ebro River on her debut, but she was never able to get in a blow in the five-furlong affair.

Lady Ayresome (11-2) was already a winner over the course and distance last time, but she was drawn highest of the 11 runners on this occasion, with Kevin Stott getting her away smartly before tacking over towards the far rail.

He settled alongside Jilly Cooper before giving the Kevin Ryan-trained Lady Ayresome the signal to go on a furlong from home, with Guilded swiftly setting out in pursuit down the middle of the track.

However, when Guilded got to Lady Ayresome’s quarters, the winner kicked again, eventually coming home three-quarters of a length clear, with Jilly Cooper sticking on for third, a further three and three-quarter lengths behind.

Betfair offer 20-1 about Lady Ayresome’s chances in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot next month.

Stott said: “She was very tough, she stole a length and I had to either get her out or take her back. Obviously with the experience of winning here, she knew the track.

“She jumped really good and we’ve come across and got a nice lead – we got to the front a bit too early if anything, as she was just pricking her ears a bit a furlong down.

“Fair play to her, she’s very tough and she’ll get a bit further.”

Ryan’s son and assistant Adam added: “She’s taken a step up when we’ve asked her, so there’s surely something round the corner for her, but let’s get today over and done with first.

“She enjoys the stiff finish there, so I’d say she’s a filly that’s going to get six furlongs. Let’s get past today, but she’s obviously a filly that’s worthy of a crack at something better.

“I think she’s a filly that probably does want a bit of ease in the ground, hopefully she’ll get get six furlongs in time but we’ll just enjoy today before we make any plans.

“I’m delighted to for the Riverside Racing Syndicate, they’re all local to our area and it’s great to have a horse win like that.

“She’s such a game filly, wherever she goes you know you will get your money’s worth.”

As her name – and the name of the 20-strong Riverside Racing ownership syndicate, together with red and white colours – suggests, Lady Ayresome belongs to a group of avid Middlesbrough football fans.

Syndicate spokesman Graham Frankland said: “We came here more in hope than expectation, but she’s a game filly and she stuck her head out for us.

“We’re very happy that she’s got to this stage and we’re hoping that it hasn’t finished yet, that she’s got more to come.

“If we went to Royal Ascot, it would be the Albany (over six furlongs). It would be a dream come true to have a runner there. We started off with nothing two and a half years ago and this filly has given us something to really look forward to.”

Beverley boost for Kyber Crystal

Kyber Crystal heads to Beverley for the Hilary Needler Trophy with a timely form boost after her Doncaster conqueror Ebro River ran away with the Listed National Stakes at Sandown.

Connections of Kyber Crystal felt a little hard done by after going down by a length two weeks ago – because the winner hung repeatedly to the right, taking her with him.

However, it was still a most encouraging run from the Adrian Keatley-trained youngster against a rival who proved when he doubled his tally on Thursday evening that he is clearly talented.

“We were very pleased with her debut,” said Niall O’Brien, a director of owners Ontoawinner.

“We did feel a bit sore afterwards, because we thought had Ebro River stayed in a straight line when the filly came to make her run she probably would have won the race at Doncaster, but she got a bit intimidated by him.

“He was hanging right. He hung again last night at Sandown, but he has obviously got a fair old engine on him.

“She ran well on her debut, and we go there with a good draw – we’ll be handy and we hope for a big run. Hopefully she can step forward.”

Hester Prynne and May Blossom give David O’Meara a decent hand too on Saturday.

Both juvenile fillies have winning form, with Hester Prynne victorious on her only start to date over the course and distance at the beginning of the month.

May Blossom got off the mark at Pontefract on her second attempt – and although she disappointed in the Listed Marygate Stakes at York, she was hampered on leaving the stalls.

O’Meara expects both fillies to handle the ground, which is likely to be testing after Wednesday’s meeting was abandoned because of waterlogging.

“May Blossom won well at Pontefract, but I don’t think she gave her running at York for whatever reason,” said the North Yorkshire handler.

“She got a bump coming out of the stalls and got behind. I’d like to think we’d see a lot better from her. The ground should be OK. She’s by Mayson.”

“Hester Prynne won nicely there over the course and distance. I think she’ll find the ground fine.”

Lady Ayresome is the other course-and-distance winner in the field, having struck five weeks ago following an encouraging debut at Redcar.

Trainer Kevin Ryan is represented in both feature two-year-old races at Beverley
Trainer Kevin Ryan is represented in both feature two-year-old races at Beverley (PA)

Her trainer Kevin Ryan is expecting a good run from the daughter of Kodi Bear in a competitive 11-runner field.

“She’s a nice filly and she did well last time. She shouldn’t mind the ground and has track form,” he said.

The Thirsk-based trainer believes Ryan’s Party will show that he has improved for his debut when he lines up for the other good two-year-old race on the card, the bet365 Continental Two Year Old Trophy.

“He ran a lovely race first time and will have come on for the run,” he said.

“It looks a strong race, but he’s in good form.”

The John Quinn-trained Tipperary Sunset, who got the better of Ryan’s Party by a length at Hamilton two weeks ago, renews rivalry.

Quinn said: “I’m very happy with him.

“He did well to win – he made all and was strong at the line at Hamilton. I’m hoping for a big run.”

Tom Dascombe is hoping Mercurial vindicates his decision to bypass the National Stakes at Sandown.

The son of Prince Of Lir, who won this race in 2016, confirmed the promise of his debut second at Bath last month when getting up close home to deny his stablemate Russellinthebushes at Chester.

“He was a winner last time out at Chester, and it was a toss-up whether to run him in the National Stakes or at Beverley,” said Dascombe.

“We decided on Beverley, and Hayley (Turner) has won on him, so she’s kept the ride. I hope he runs really well.”

The six-strong field is completed by Mark Johnston’s Musselburgh winner The Gatekeeper, Richard Hannon’s Brighton scorer Robjohn and the Richard Fahey-trained newcomer Straits Of Moyle.

Waterlogged Beverley and Gowran abandon cards

Wednesday’s meetings at Beverley and Gowran have both been abandoned because of waterlogging.

Following further rain overnight, on ground already described as heavy, Beverley’s eight-race card was cancelled just before a scheduled 7am inspection.

Confirmation on the course’s Twitter account read: “Racing Cancelled today. Further 3mm rainfall since 4pm yesterday, and with more rain forecast today, no chance of improvement ahead of this afternoon.”

Gowran has been hit by more than 50mm of rain in the past few days, and the decision to call off this evening’s scheduled meeting was taken just after 8am.

Newton Abbot’s jumps fixture was already abandoned – leaving three remaining cards, at Hamilton, and evening meetings at Wolverhampton and Warwick.

Longlai impresses in Beverley victory

Richard Hannon’s Longlai kick-started his season with a win as he enjoyed a comfortable success in the Westwood Handicap at Beverley.

Partnered by Silvestre de Sousa, the 5-1 shot took up the lead with a furlong and a half left to cover, passing the 16-5 favourite State Of Bliss and pulling away as Kevin Ryan’s Darvel attempted to close the gap.

Eventually crossing the line two and a half lengths ahead of the latter, the recently-gelded three-year-old – who was returning from an absence of 215 days – seemed to appreciate the quick ground and was unchallenged at the line.

“He went very well,” De Sousa said.

“He’s done it well in the end and went away to win – I think this is the ground he likes and he really quickened.”

Division one of the Racing Again On Monday 3 May Fillies’ Restricted Novice Stakes went the way of the Ryan-trained Lady Ayresome, who claimed victory on her second racecourse start when prevailing under Kevin Stott at 11-4.

The two-year-old was fifth over the same five-furlong trip on her racecourse debut at Redcar earlier in the month and built on that to triumph by a length and a half ahead of David O’Meara’s Wee Loch Lass.

Division two of the same race was claimed by Mark Johnston’s Out In Yorkshire, who struck at the first time of asking when coming home a length and three-quarters ahead of Archie Watson’s Pure Charmer to succeed at 4-1.

Ventura Flame and Callum Rodriguez emerged the victors after the judge was called upon to decide the outcome of a four-way photo finish in the five-furlong Beverley Annual Badgeholders Handicap.

The 18-1 chance finished just a short head in front of Paul Midgley’s Van Gerwen, with Bryan Smart’s Debawtry a further short head behind and the Roger Fell-trained 2-1 favourite Dapper Man a neck behind her.

The victory was a return to form for the Keith Dalgleish-trained filly, who was previously unplaced in three start this year.

Ed Bethell’s Blu Boy made light work of the Racing TV Handicap, posting a four-and-a-quarter-length victory under a 6lb penalty.

The three-year-old was a six-and-a-half-length winner at Newcastle last week, and was officially ‘well in’ on the Westwood after his rating was raised from 60 to 72 following that success.

“He looked as though he was going to be very disappointing as we paid quite a lot of money for him this time last year,” explained Bethell’s father James, who handed his licence over to his son last year.

“We’ve cut (gelded) him and it seems to have made a hell of a difference.

“We had to come here because he was put up 12lb after his last win – we’ll have to see if they put him up again and decide where to go next.”

The Bethell yard in Leyburn is enjoying a spell of good form recently, with Blu Boy’s triumph the fifth win from the stable’s last eight runners.

“It’s a bit of a purple patch,” Bethell said.

“And long may it last.”

Regal Mirage took the 10-furlong Rapid Lad Handicap for Tim Easterby and David Allan, tallying this fourth win at the track after claiming his last success in last year.

The seven-year-old has been out of the placings since, but bounced back to form at 3-1 when wearing cheekpieces and returning his favourite course.

Poet’s Dawn then gave the trainer a quickfire double when taking the Hurn Handicap under Ella McCain at 16-1, before the closing contest of the day, the Thank You NHS And Volunteers Novice Stakes, was taken by Chris Dwyer’s 11-10 favourite Enthused to provide De Sousa with a brace.

Aljady continues winning spree for Cowell

Aljady finished with a flourish to claim his fourth victory of the season in the feature race at Beverley.

Having lost his form for Richard Fahey towards the end of last season, the five-year-old changed hands for 42,000 guineas in October – and has been completely reinvigorated since joining Robert Cowell and being campaigned solely over sprint distances.

Since making a successful debut for his new connections at Haydock in early June, Aljady has added wins at Windsor and Sandown to his record, as well as finishing a close-up seventh in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood.

Cowell’s charge was the 11-10 favourite for his latest assignment in the Eddie And Violet Smith Conditions Stakes – but it was not plain sailing for the market leader, with rapid older sprinters Caspian Prince and Ornate ensuring the pace was strong.

Aljady was under pressure to keep up racing inside the final couple of furlongs, but came home strongly in the hands of Charles Bishop to get up and beat Orvar by half a length – with Caspian Prince just over two lengths away in third.

Cowell said: “He’s a very good horse who was showing plenty of potential before we even ran him this year, so I’m not surprised he’s got to the lofty rating he has, to be honest.

“Both myself and Tom Morley loved him at the sales and were surprised to get him for the price we did.

“He keeps improving, he’s adaptable over five and six furlongs and handles fast or soft ground – he’s an owner’s dream.

“I think he deserves to go into black type company now, and we’ll probably look at the Rous Stakes at Ascot (October 3) next.”

Charlie Fellowes wins at Beverley
Charlie Fellowes wins at Beverley (Tim Goode/PA)

The George Scott-trained Charlie Fellowes finally got his head in front for the first time in the opening Beverley Annual Badgeholders Novice Auction Stakes.

Named after Scott’s friend and fellow Newmarket-based trainer, the equine Charlie Fellowes has proved frustrating to follow – filling the runner-up spot on three successive occasions before this appearance on the Westwood.

However, the 13-8 market leader broke his duck in some style – making most of the running and passing the post with seven lengths in hand under Paul Mulrennan.

Scott said: “He has been pretty consistent and he has been unfortunate to bump into various horses at various times. He was slightly mugged at Ripon by what could be a nice filly (Setantii Girl).

“We put some cheek-pieces on him, and he has put in a solid display. He is clearly improving and hopefully he will carry on.”

Fellowes trains a two-year-old named George Scott, who has failed to win in two starts to date.

Scott added: “Charlie and I are great mates, and we decided to set up a podcast (Off The Bridle Podcast) where we knocked a few ideas around – and one of them was to buy each other a horse and name it after the other person.

“We filled the syndicates up through listeners and existing owners who wanted a share for the entertainment value, while we each retained a share ourselves.

“Charlie loves to talk, so it is lovely to have the bragging rights! He is always giving me grief and he has slightly had the upper hand over the last couple of years with better quality horses, so this is a small win over him.

“At the end of the day, us trainers are all in it together – and to have a bit of camaraderie like this is a good thing. ”

Naamoos comes home clear
Naamoos comes home clear (Tim Goode/PA)

Naamoos justified cramped odds of 4-11 in the Racing To School ebfstallions.com Novice Stakes for trainer Mark Johnston and jockey Joe Fanning, before Roger Varian’s 2-7 shot Valyrian Steel and David Egan carried the same colours of owner Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa to success in the RFM Equinephotos Novice Stakes.

James Bethell’s Idoapologise (11-4) also obliged for favourite backers in the Eddie Moll Handicap under Kevin Stott.

Apprentice Faye McManoman, meanwhile, was seen to good effect aboard the Nigel Tinkler-trained Not On Your Nellie (12-1) in the Churchill Tyres Handicap.

Mick Easterby’s Casilli was a 14-1 winner of the Churchill Tyres A Great British Brand Handicap, with David Allan doing the steering, and the Brian And Jason Merrington Memorial Handicap went to Mick Appleby’s 7-2 favourite Double Reflection, under a fine ride from Josephine Gordon.