Gulliver makes York travels well worth it again

David O’Meara’s Gulliver won a second successive Coral Sprint Trophy when defending his crown in decisive fashion at York.

The six-year-old gelding defied odds of 20-1 to run a commanding race under Martin Harley, striking from the middle of the field with a furlong left to travel and soon gaining a comfortable lead over the field of 21.

David Loughnane’s 9-2 favourite Tranchee strove to close the gap but could not catch last year’s victor, with Mark Johnston’s 28-1 shot Desert Safari finishing third.

“He’s a wonderful horse,” O’Meara said of Gulliver, who carried 9st 7lb to victory – from a 2lb higher mark than last season.

“He won this race last year and he was a couple of pounds higher this year so we weren’t sure if he was maybe a few pounds too high to win it again, but he’s a fantastic horse and he seems to like it here.

“I didn’t think he liked this ground until he won this race last year, on this same ground. Ever since then we’ve known he goes on anything.

“I don’t know what we’ll do with him next, we’ll see, he might go abroad through the winter.”

Mick Channon’s Nastase was a game winner of the Listed Rockingham Stakes, triumphing at odds of 25-1 under David Probert.

The two-year-old son of Sixties Icon came home a neck ahead of William Haggas’ Light Refrain, who ran loose to the start after parting company with jockey Danny Tudhope.

Stepping back up to a favourable trip of six furlongs, the colt remained on the far side of the track and eventually closed in on the runner-up and Simon and Ed Crisford’s 15-2 chance Legal Attack.

A photo finish had to determine the outcome of the one-mile Coral Racing Super Series Nursery Handicap, with Roger Fell’s The Flying Ginger prevailing by a head from Ralph Beckett’s Galah.

A 25-1 chance, The Flying Ginger put aside a previous poor effort on soft ground to claim a second career win under Ben Curtis.

“He’s well ahead,” said Curtis of Fell’s approach to training juveniles.

“He lets them learn their trade and by the third run they know what they’re doing. He lets them progress that way.”

Fell observed that the filly had strengthened and improved since her last run at Newmarket, when she finished runner-up to Mystery Angel.

“She’s come on,” he said.

“Since that run on the Cambridgeshire card, when the winner won it quite easily, she’s really come on.

“She’s good, she’s very good. Cieren Fallon (who rode her at Newmarket) said she’d definitely get black type.”

Popular hurdler The Jam Man collected a first victory on the Flat when taking the Coral Backing Prostrate Cancer UK Handicap Stakes.

The Ronan McNally-trained seven-year-old, who has won nine races over both hurdles and fences, is more frequently seen at jumps tracks and contested the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

Well able to stay the two-mile trip and cope with the soft ground, the 4-5 favourite reeled in leader Solo Saxophone to emerge victorious under Franny Norton after a photo finish.

“I knew I had it,” Norton said of the outcome.

“It was a slog for me, when I saw Paul (Mulrennan, on Solo Saxophone), I knew I had a bit to do. But I only had eight stone two and I was on a jumper so it was about just getting to the line.

“I always knew I’d get there but I did think I was in a little bit of trouble.”

The Jam Man is a yard favourite for McNally, sharing a special bond with his schoolboy work rider – the Armagh-based trainer’s son, Kian ‘Tubbs’ McNally.

Elswhere on the card, Ilaraab justified his status as 3-1 favourite in the Coral Beaten By A Length Free Bet Handicap, his fifth consecutive victory having been beaten only once when seventh of 10 on his racecourse debut in June.

The three-year-old battled through from mid-division to take up the lead inside the final furlong, holding off runner-up Asheq to triumph by three-quarters of a length.