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Outbox all set for Silver Cup

Outbox will aim to build on a career-best performance last time out when he runs in the John Smith’s Silver Cup Stakes at York.

Trained by Archie Watson, the six-year-old was picked up for just 16,000 guineas out of Simon and Ed Crisford’s yard in October and has already won three times for new connections.

He is owned by the Hambleton Racing Syndicate, who have plans of possibly running him in next month’s Sky Bet Ebor back at York.

Outbox beat 2019 St Leger winner Logician on his last outing at Newmarket two weeks ago, and his owners are keen to see how he handles the move back up in trip and class on Saturday.

“I think he deserved that success – it was probably his best performance yet, and he’s just been a star for us,” said Hambleton’s Simon Turner.

“He was a cheap acquisition from the horses-in-training sales, but he seems to be going from strength to strength.

“Having won a Listed race last time out, a Group Three seems the logical place to run him next.

“We have put him in the Ebor, and it will be interesting to see how he goes up a couple of furlongs. We’ve no doubt he’ll stay fine, so we hope he goes very well.”

A return to York may then well be on the agenda.

Turner added: “You’ll probably need to be rated over 100 to just get in the Ebor, so it could be an angle we explore with him.

“There are quite a lot of races to look at for him during that window, but we’re looking forward to running him on Saturday.

“We’re expecting him to run well, and he seems in great form at home.”

Among 12 rivals to Outbox on the Knavesmire is the Hughie Morrison-trained Quickthorn – winner of the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot – while Hukum runs for Owen Burrows, and William Haggas is represented by Ilaraab and Roberto Escobarr.

Glorious Journey strikes Criterion gold

Glorious Journey went one better than two years ago when winning the Close Brothers Criterion Stakes at Newmarket.

While trainer Charlie Appleby was at the Curragh overseeing the Irish Derby win of Hurricane Lane, the handler was also on the mark closer to home in the Group Three.

James Doyle gets a particularly good tune out of the six-year-old, who held off Motakhayyel by a length to win at 9-2.

“I love him to bits. He is a dude and he just turns up. I was a little bit concerned with the going being pretty quick, but he is moving better than ever and he floated going down to the start,” said Doyle.

“We’ve tried Group Ones before, but we are pretty realistic with him and he punches away solidly at Group Three level and he can produce a proper Group Two performance when it all goes well.”

Appleby and Doyle doubled up with Sayyida (6-5 favourite) in the Close Brothers Fillies’ Handicap.

Classic winner Logician was sent off the 5-6 favourite for the Close Brothers Fred Archer Stakes but could finish only second to Outbox.

Hollie Doyle was able to take up the running on Archie Watson’s Outbox some way from home but Rab Havlin appeared to have the move covered on Logician.

However, he could not get by the 6-1 winner and while he closed to within a length again at the line, Logician never looked like going by.

Outbox and Hollie Doyle had too much for Logician
Outbox and Hollie Doyle had too much for Logician (Mike Egerton/PA)

Charlie Turner, spokesman for the owners Hambleton Racing, said: “He has been solid all year and run some solid races and he deserved this Listed race today.

“After running him on soft ground at Ascot and Newbury, Hollie said he needed it a bit quicker. We were confident today even though we were up against Logician.

“He is a tough horse. I’m not sure where we are going to go from here. I was hoping we might look at the Ebor or something like that, but Archie will make that decision where he will go.”

For 2019 St Leger hero Logician, the future is less certain.

John Gosden, who trains the horse with son Thady, said: “He was desperately ill. His life was saved by the Newmarket Equine Hospital as he nearly died of peritonitis so it is probably slightly a miracle he has come back to racing. He won his comeback race last year then he lost his action at York in very heavy ground.

“We will consider what we want to do. That (retirement) is obviously a possibility. He has done nothing wrong here, but the old Logician would have won this for fun.

“He has come back and tried hard and I like the way he was closing at the end and I’ve no doubt (with) a little bit further he might have got there, but that is not the point. We will re-group on him.”

Doyle doubled up on Mark Johnston’s Mr Excellency (4-1) in the Close Brothers Handicap.

Richard Hannon’s maiden System caused a 22-1 upset in the Maureen Brittain Memorial Empress Fillies’ Stakes.

Second on her debut to a promising type in Alflaila, she took a huge leap forward to win the Listed contest, which featured several fillies who had run at Royal Ascot.

Two of those, Desert Dreamer and Cachet, were in the firing line deep inside the final furlong but System and Pat Dobbs flew home to win by a neck and three-quarters of a length.

Martin Hughes, joint-owner, said: “That was a pleasant surprise. She ran well at Salisbury behind what they think is a good one there. We thought we had a chance and the yard didn’t ignore it but the market did. I’m quite pleased with that outcome.

“She looks like she will get further as she finished well and was staying well. She is a lock away for three.”

Maureen Brittain’s husband, Clive, a former stalwart of Newmarket, was a rare visitor to present the trophies.

Hannon had already made it on to the scoreboard as Anghaam (5-2), a daughter of Guineas winners in Frankel and Natagora, showed a pleasing attitude in winning the Close Brothers Asset Finance Fillies’ Handicap.

Richard Hills, assistant racing manager to winning owner Shadwell Estate Company, said: “She is a beautifully-bred filly.

“She is not short of speed as both her mother and father won a Guineas. She had a bit in hand there and there is more to come. ”

The Gosdens’ Inspiral was sent off 2-1 joint-favourite for the Close Brothers Maiden Fillies’ Stakes and showed a very smart turn of foot to win by a length and a half.

“She is a Frankel out of a filly that was second in a 1000 Guineas (Starscope) so she should stay a mile. I think for experience we will probably take another small step before going up in grade,” said Thady Gosden.

Hollie Doyle up and running for new turf campaign

Hollie Doyle’s turf campaign got off to a winning start as she steered Outbox to a comfortable success in the Unibet Conditions Stakes at Doncaster

The six-year-old moved to Archie Watson’s Lambourn stable in December and scored for the first time for his new yard when taking an all-weather handicap contest at Wolverhampton in early March.

He followed that success up with another over the same mile-and-a-half trip on Town Moor, starting as 4-5 favourite and leading at a steady pace before quickening to record a length-and-a-quarter victory over Raymond Tusk.

“He had it easy (in front), but he still galloped away and he’s done it nicely,” Doyle said.

“It’s a very a strong headwind, but when you’ve got it that easy you can step up and make the running.

“It’s great to get a turf winner under the belt as it’s always a frustrating time if you can’t get that first win in.

“Our horses are absolutely flying and it’s just great for the yard as well to get off to a good start.

“He’s really grown in confidence and physically he’s doing very well, he could be one to look forward to.”

Tamborrada remains unbeaten after claiming his first race on turf, the 10-furlong Unibet Handicap.

Trained by Charlie Appleby, the Dubawi gelding has scored twice on the all-weather already this year and notched a hat-trick in running out victorious by a neck under James Doyle.

Starting as 10-11 favourite, the three-year-old was locked in a final-furlong battle with Mark Johnston’s Annandale, also a twice winner, and eventually held off his challenger to triumph by a neck.

Tamborrada got his head in front at Doncaster under James Doyle
Tamborrada got his head in front at Doncaster under James Doyle (Mike Egerton/PA)

“We went a fairly even tempo and he just struggled to get his act together earlier on,” Doyle said.

“Whether that was the slightly tightening ground, I’m not sure.

“I wasn’t confident throughout and (Annandale) built into it nicely, as the Johnston horses do, they knuckle down well.

“We got into a bit of a scrap and he just edged ahead.

“He’s still learning, he had a bit of a look at the signs and took his foot of the gas late on but I think there’s plenty still to come from him.”

Sidelined jockey Andrea Atzeni missed another winner as the Kevin Ryan-trained Throne Hall triumphed in the 32Red Casino Handicap for stand-in pilot Kevin Stott.

Atzeni was forced to self-isolate after a passenger on his return flight from Bahrain tested positive for Covid-19, leaving PJ McDonald to take his winning ride aboard Artistic Rifles in the Spring Mile on Saturday.

This time Stott was the beneficiary, steering four-year-old Throne Hall to a one-and-three-quarter-length success on his first run since being gelded.

“He’s still a big, big baby,” the jockey said.

“He’s got a bit of growing to do, but he’s a very nice horse.

“He’s done well over the winter and he’s got loads to do yet, but going forward he’s something to look forward to.”

A gelding operation seemed to make all of the difference for Tahitian Prince too, as he shed his maiden tag when taking the seven-furlong 32red.com Handicap at 14-1 for Richard Hannon and Sean Levey.

Tahitian Prince (right) initiated a double for Richard Hannon
Tahitian Prince (right) initiated a double for Richard Hannon (Mike Egerton/PA)

The four-year-old had run six times without a win, but cheekpieces seemed to have brought about some improvement when he was fourth last time out and he was game on this occasion to edge past 4-1 market leader Dirty Rascal and prevail by a neck.

“He’s been hard work,” Levey said of the horse.

“But he’s come here with the cheekpieces on again, he’s been very straight and he’s done all the right things today.

“I think we can get a bit more out of him, hopefully.”

The going was good at the South Yorkshire track, but conditions were still testing as runners had to battle against a stern 35mph wind that blew down the home straight.

“I thought I had it all sewn up coming into the two-furlong marker, but I couldn’t believe how long it took me to get to the line,” Levey said of the effects of the gust.

“I thought the matter was done, but he had to dig deep and move across the track a few times.

“It’s hard in the last furlong, especially if you’re going to be out there on your own.”

George Peabody carried the Gredley colours to victory
George Peabody carried the Gredley colours to victory (Mike Egerton/PA)

George Peabody demonstrated his promise when taking division one of the Unibet Novice Stakes, building on the fourth-placed effort he produced when making his racecourse debut in an all-weather contest at Kempton in November.

The George Scott-trained gelding travelled in midfield under Callum Shepherd, shaking off the chasing pack with a furlong left to cover and crossing the line three and quarter lengths ahead of his nearest rival to prevail at 11-1.

Division two of the same race then provided Hannon with a double as the Rossa Ryan-ridden Soundslikethunder got the nod after the judge was called upon to split two Nightofthunder colts.

Running for the second time after finishing seventh on his debut last July, the three-year-old was level with stablemate Lexington Knight from the two-furlong pole onwards, with the latter just losing out when a photo finish deemed them to have crossed the line a short-head apart.