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Venturous pounces for surprise win in York’s Dash

Venturous battled on gamely to spring a 33-1 surprise in the Sky Bet Dash Handicap at York.

David Barron’s eight-year-old got the better of Music Society to land the £25,000 first prize by a short head, with long-time leader Blind Beggar third.

Venturous was slowly away, but jockey Connor Beasley did not panic and was able to track his way through the field and challenge Music Society in the closing stages.

The winning jockey said: “He’s got stacks of ability – it’s just he’s a monkey in the stalls and likes to get up on his back legs.

“Luckily enough, he went in last – but he was down on all fours when the gates opened.

“He travelled all over them, and it was a case of following the right ones through. I knew the eventual second horse was a big finisher, so I latched on to that one. He took me where I wanted to.

“It was a ding-dong battle from the furlong pole, but he’s very game and determined.

“I had to play a waiting game and play my cards at the right stage. He’s shown there he has bags of ability, and he’s a solid yardstick.”

Tom Scudamore showed he is as effective on the Flat as he is over obstacles with a power-packed ride on Soul Seeker (11-2) to win the Sky Bet ‘Jump Jockeys’ Nunthorpe Handicap for a second time.

Scudamore looked at home as he steered the four-year-old to a neck victory over Son And Sannie in a driving finish.

Successful in this race in 2017, Scudamore continued his lucrative association with trainer David O’Meara and the horse’s co-owners Rasio Cymru – having scored on Stonific for the team in the Betway Summer Handicap Hurdle at Market Rasen a week ago.

Scudamore said: “I was joking with my valet that I’m making this race my own. It’s great it’s worked out again. It’s great for the owners and for David after last week. With 30,000 people here, it’s good.

“I love riding winners. It’s great to come to a track like this and meet the Flat boys as well.”

O’Meara said: “It was grand and it’s the fourth win for this horse this year. He had sound form in Ireland and looked like he wanted six furlongs.

“Now he is a five-furlong horse on fast ground. We learn about these horses as we go along.”

Beasley was given a four-day ban (July 7-10) for using his whip in the incorrect place on Venturous but he hit back by completing a double with a hard-fought win on Dance To Paris (13-2) in the Sky Bet Proud To Support Macmillan Handicap.

Lucy Wadham’s six-year-old stuck to her task tenaciously to deny the rallying pace-setter Ghadbbaan by a neck at the end of the extended two miles.

Beasley said: “She was a very willing partner. They went a lovely, even gallop which suited her. We grabbed the bull by the horns at the three pole and she kept sticking her neck out.”

After his triumph on Bangkok in the Sky Bet York Stakes, jockey David Probert got his brace in the Sky Bet Request A Bet Handicap when steering home Chalk Stream (5-2) in the colours of the The Queen.

The Sea The Stars gelding led all the way and kept on stoutly to beat Eclipse De Lunar by two and a quarter lengths to give trainer William Haggas some compensation after the defeat of Mohaafeth in the feature race.

“He’s not a straight forward horse. He’s a baby still and I think he’ll improve with a bit of time,” said Haggas.

“He got a bit lit up. He’d not seen as many people before but we got away with it and he ran a good race.”

Outside World (6-4 favourite) went one better than on her debut when getting off the mark in emphatic fashion in the Sky Bet Horse Racing In Running EBF Restricted Novice Stakes.

Making all the running, the Mark Johnston-trained filly pulled clear of her rivals to score by four lengths from International Boy under Franny Norton.

“She was unlucky to get beat first time at Lingfield – she was only beaten on the nod. I think she’s improved from that and will improve again,” said Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father.

“She’s a bit highly strung at home and I was a bit worried today with the crowds as well. I think there’s more to come from her mentally.

“She had the Lowther entry before she ever ran so that tells you what we thought of her. I don’t think she beat a lot here today and it would be a huge jump up in class, but she put them to the sword in good style.”

Northern Express (11-2) finished like a train to land the Sky Bet Paying Extra Places Handicap.

Produced to perfection by Paul Mulrennan, Michael Dods’ three-year-old hit the front close home to score cosily by a length and three-quarters from Pagan.

“We thought he needed further. One day here he finished second and then at Chester a few weeks ago he travelled well and kicked on turning in,” said Dods.

“He thought he’d done enough and I said to Paul ride him from the back, drop him out, get him to settle and ride a proper race on him and he’s done it nicely. He’s a nice horse.”

Venturous seeking another victory in Newcastle conditions heat

Venturous bids to secure a fourth victory from his last five starts in the Betway Conditions Stakes at Newcastle on Tuesday.

After impressing on heavy ground at Doncaster in late October, David Barron’s charge followed up over this course and distance a few weeks later, before coming up short when bidding for a hat-trick at Wolverhampton.

However, he bounced back to winning ways at Dunstall Park last month and will be well fancied to add to his tally in this All-Weather Championships Fast-Track Qualifier.

Barron said: “The horse is in good fettle. We’re limited as to where we can go with him now and this was the obvious race to go for, so we’ll hope for the best.

“At this stage there isn’t a plan. He’s done very well. This is obviously a qualifier for the sprint at Lingfield on Good Friday, which is over six furlongs, and he’s arguably better at five.

“That being said, we are in a position with him now where, at his age (eight), and he looks to be in the form of his life, that if he’s fit and well at the time we’d probably run him (at Lingfield).”

Venturous is the highest-rated of seven declared runners. His rivals include the Stuart Williams-trained pair of Tawny Port and Royal Birth, David Griffiths’ veteran Ornate and Exalted Angel from Karl Burke’s yard, who has finished behind Venturous on his last two outings.

“Exalted Angel is in great order and I am looking forward to seeing him run,” said Burke.

“He has been a bit tardy out of the stalls on his last couple of starts, which has left him with ground to make up. I think he would have definitely beaten Venturous at Newcastle had he jumped on terms.

“If he jumps reasonably well on Tuesday and is able to track the leaders, he will run a big race. He is a nice horse on the upgrade.”

A place on All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield on Good Friday is also up for grabs in the Bombardier Conditions Stakes, in which Burke is represented by Born To Be Alive.

Twice a runner-up at Listed level, the seven-year-old returned from a 896-day absence to finish second at Wolverhampton on Boxing Day.

“Born To Be Alive is obviously coming back after an injury. He ran well at Wolverhampton, albeit in a messy race after Mick Appleby’s horse (Big Country) came down,” Burke added.

“He came to win his race and just blew up really, so he will definitely come on fitness-wise, and we have always felt that he is better over a mile rather than a bit further.

“It looks a tough race, but he deserves a crack at it.”

Ummalnar is a major contender for William Haggas and Tom Marquand following a six-length romp in a Listed event at Dundalk in November.

Haggas said: “Ummalnar has been fine since her win in Ireland. This race fits in well in preparation for Dubai at the end of the month – she is heading out there for the Cape Verdi on January 28.

“Beyond that, I would say it is very possible that she will come back here to run on the all-weather.”

Group Two winner Vintager represents Simon and Ed Crisford, after making a winning debut for his new connections at Chantilly last month.

Count Of Amazonia (Marco Botti) and Bless Him (David Simcock) are the other hopefuls.