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Mr Lupton adds York landmark to Fahey celebrations

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 ridden by Tom Marquand (left) streaks clear to win the opener
Ilaraab, ridden by Tom Marquand (left), streaks clear to win the opener (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

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.

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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.”

Wobwobwob streaks clear at York
Wobwobwob streaks clear at York (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

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.”

Ilaraab makes it six of the best

Ilaraab took his winning streak to six with an impressive performance in the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Jorvik Handicap at York.

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.

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“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.”

Trainer Richard Fahey celebrated his 3,000th British winner on Tuesday evening at Ayr and carried his good week forward when 14-1 shot Mr Lupton won for the fourth time on the Knavesmire in the Churchill Tyres Handicap – giving the trainer his 150th victory at York.

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.

Fahey said: “Fantastic. He’s a wonderful horse. He’s an absolute legend.

“It was great to get the 3,000 up – and now it’s great to have a winner here.

“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.”

Reflecting on his 3000-winner milestone, Fahey added: “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.”

Mr Lupton heads Ayr Gold Cup field after Irish win

Ante-post favourite Mr Lupton is among a maximum field of 25 declared for the QTS Ayr Gold Cup on Saturday.

Richard Fahey’s well-seasoned sprinter showed his well being when taking a 22-runner handicap at the Curragh last weekend. He will race from stall 11.

Stone Of Destiny (drawn 19), winner of last week’s Portland Handicap at Doncaster, bids to complete a big sprint double for Andrew Balding that was achieved by his father Ian with Lochsong in 1992.

David O’Meara has four runners, headed by top-weight Gulliver (20). Young Fire (4), Cold Stare (21) and Arecibo (25) while Major Jumbo (16), Hey Jonesy (8) and Bielsa (22) make up Kevin Ryan’s three-strong team.

Staxton (15), trained by Tim Easterby, made the cut thanks to a 5lb penalty for winning the Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon.

Richard Hannon’s Lexington Dash (1) was the last of the 25 to get in.

Group One winner Addeybb is set to face six rivals in the Jordan Electrics Doonside Cup.

The William Haggas-trained gelding won twice at the top level in Australia earlier in the year and was second to Lord North in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

The six-year-old drops back into Listed company for the first time since the Royal meeting in 2019 and has a 7lb penalty to concede.

Lord Glitters, trained by David O’Meara, is the other Group One scorer in the field, having lifted the Queen Anne Stakes last season while Fox Chairman and San Donato have form at Group level.

Rose Of Kildare gave Mark Johnston his first Scotty Brand Firth Of Clyde Fillies’ Stakes success 12 months ago and the Middleham trainer relies on Perfect Times this time.

A competitive field of 15 includes Umm Kulthum, She’s So Nice and Scarlet Bear, who were third, fourth and fifth respectively in the Group Two Lowther Stakes at York.

Scarlet Bear has since finished third in the Group Three Dick Poole Stakes at Salisbury earlier this month when Illykato was fourth.

Fozzy Stack’s Sloane Peterson is the sole Irish raider.

Cayenne Pepper too hot for Blandford rivals

Cayenne Pepper was rewarded for a string of consistent efforts with a stylish victory in the Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford Stakes at the Curragh.

Jessica Harrington’s filly had shown smart form as a juvenile and went on to be fourth in the Fillies’ Mile.

This year she had been second in all three of her runs, including the Irish Oaks, but had been beaten at a short price in the Give Thanks Stakes most recently.

Dropped back to 10 furlongs on this occasion, though, Shane Foley always looked in command.

He tracked Amma Grace into the straight before taking up the running over a furlong out and his mount powered through the line to take the Group Two honours by four lengths at 3-1. Aidan O’Brien’s Magic Wand was a disappointing favourite.

Assistant trainer Kate Harrington said: “That was the true Cayenne Pepper. She got a good tow into the race and was really impressive.

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“We had a lot of issues with her in the spring and today was the first day she looked well and strong.

“She’s in the Prix de l’Opera, but I think Alpine Star goes there. She’s got an invite for the QEII at the Keeneland and she could stay over there for the Breeders’ Cup.

“It’s sad that Jon Kelly (owner) wasn’t around to see her, but he’ll be up there looking down on her. He passed away a week after the Oaks. It’s lovely for her to win, but it’s a bit emotional.

“We might go to America with her for Sarah (Kelly to see her, providing everything is OK.s Cup.

“We’ll let the dust settle and see how she is this week.”

There was a British-trained success in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Bold Lad” Sprint Handicap, with Richard Fahey’s Mr Lupton lifting the valuable pot.

Fahey’s charge had won a Group Two at the Curragh last May, but had been winless since and largely out of sorts.

He hinted at a return to form last time out when third in the Great St Wilfrid and the well-backed 11-2 favourite streaked clear with a furlong to run.

Lil Grey kept him honest home before fading into third, with Blairmayne running on into second, beaten half a length.

Fahey said: “He’s a wonderful horse. He’d lost his way a bit, but at least it gave him a chance to come back to handicaps and we’re delighted with him – he’s a star.

“All going well the plan is to take him to the Ayr Gold Cup next week. We were going to go straight there, but the prize-money on offer today took over – it was a good prize to win.”

Fahey and Keane then doubled up when Shark One Two (20-1) won the Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes.

It was a fourth winner of the weekend for Keane.

“Talking to Richard he was a little bit bullish and he was right. He quickened up well and you couldn’t be happier,” said Keane.

Sonnyboyliston then defied a 13lb rise in the weights to round off a great weekend for Johnny Murtagh in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Northfields” Handicap, under Billy Lee.