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Flotus powers back to winning ways in Ripon feature

Flotus bounced back to form with an impressive victory in the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy Stakes.

Joint-trainers Simon and Ed Crisford were winning the Bank Holiday feature at the North Yorkshire course for the second year in succession – while Silvestre de Sousa was back on board for the first time since Flotus was an equally emphatic winner on her debut at Goodwood in May.

The daughter of Starspangledbanner had been partnered by Frankie Dettori and then James Doyle in the intervening months, but finished well beaten on all three starts at up to Group Two company.

De Sousa tracked across from an awkward draw in stall two this time, claiming the stands rail and forging ever further clear to win at 6-1 – by four and a half lengths from the consistent Hellomydarlin.

After her second career victory, Flotus was halved in price by Betfair into 8-1 for the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes over this same six-furlong trip at Newmarket at the end of next month

The key, De Sousa suspects, is to allow her to have her own way and demonstrate her natural speed throughout.

“I think perhaps they’ve probably been trying to ride a race on her, and she’s very ‘on’ and (just) wants to get on with the job,” he said.

“I think it maybe suits her to not complicate things. I just let her be where she wanted to be.

“She’s a really talented filly, and when I won on her first time I really liked her.

“But not every story is a fairytale – so I lost the ride.”

De Sousa was understandably all smiles after renewing the partnership successfully, and extending his 100 per cent record on Flotus.

“I’m glad I’m back on her,” he added.

“She’s a typical sprinter, just likes to get on with the job, and I didn’t complicate things today.

“Drawn two is never ideal (here), especially with speedy horses on your left.

“But she jumped smart, she travelled and she quickened (again) when I wanted her to.

“From halfway, I thought I was a winner.”

Garden Oasis was a brave winner of the Ripon Rowels Handicap as he overcame an over-reach in the final furlong to beat Kettle Hill by a nose in a thrilling tussle to the line.

Tim Easterby’s course specialist was following up his Ripon victory two weeks ago, and also accounting for the runner-up for a second time after a head separated them at York last month.

David Allan challenged two furlongs out this time – and despite sensing the 9-1 shot was in slight discomfort, he was able to eke out the required response to just get the better of William Haggas’ favourite again.

Easterby said: “He’s a wonderful little horse – he really tries his heart out, and he loves it round here.

“The ridges (at this course) and all that don’t bother him.”

Garden Oasis proved himself full of heart as he ran through the pain barrier.

“He struck into the bulb of his heel before the half-furlong pole,” added Easterby.

“Dave said he felt him falter, and thought he’d pulled a shoe off, and it was quite sore when he came in.

“But he’s fine, he’s sound.

“He loves this track, just acts here. That’s a good horse, the second – but he’s really tough and genuine and did really well to win (after over-reaching).”

Garden Oasis just prevailed on the far side
Garden Oasis just prevailed on the far side (PA)

Tom Marquand had to settle for second once more on Kettle Hill, but senses the four-year-old is still improving – and he did not have to wait long for a winner anyway on his trip north, taking the Examworks UK Supporting Wooden Spoon Maiden Stakes on Haggas’ 6-4 joint-favourite Pride Of Priory.

Marquand said of Kettle Hill: “It’s disappointing he didn’t win. He ran a superb race up at York last time, and I thought today would be his day.

“But he had earplugs in, and sometimes it can be a little bit of a lag when you go for them, with them on – and I think, while it helped him relax, it’s probably undone him in the last half-furlong.

“Without a doubt, he’s still improving. We’re still learning plenty about him on the way through, and there’ll be plenty more to come.

“You have to come, whether they’re winners or not. It was a solid run in defeat, and he’s a really nice horse to go forward with.”

As for Pride Of Priory, he added: “This chap, I hope this is the start of his forward progression.

“He’s had a couple of runs on the all-weather, bumping into some speedy types – and he’s not speedy, he’s a lovely galloping horse – so I hope today’s experience will him a lot of good.”

Unbeaten Taj Alriyadh out to double Ripon tally

Taj Alriyadh puts his unbeaten record on the line when he steps up in class for the British Stallion Studs EBF Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy at the North Yorkshire course on Monday.

The Karl Burke-trained colt earned the right to go for this Listed contest after completing his hat-trick when successful over the same course and distance in this month’s Hornblower Stakes.

Burke believes his experience of the track will be a plus as he takes on stronger company.

“He ​worked very well on Friday, and fingers crossed he goes there with a good chance. I think it’s a big advantage, having had that run there already,” said the North Yorkshire trainer.

“He has surprised us really. He’s a very uncomplicated horse at home – he just does what you ask him.

“He won very well first time up and then he went back to Catterick quickly just to win a bad race, but he keeps answering every call we ask of him.”

Mot And The Messer is the other course-and-distance winner in the field.

Tom Dascombe’s charge trotted up by five and a half lengths, which set him up for a place in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting.

Trainer Tom Dascombe believes Mot The Messer is up to Listed class
Trainer Tom Dascombe believes Mot The Messer is up to Listed class (Julian Herbert/PA)

He disappointed over the seven furlongs there, but bounced back when making all the running back at six at Chester.

“We always thought he was at least up to this level,” said his Cheshire trainer.

“We ran him at the July meeting, and he didn’t show up. Hopefully he will on Monday.”

Atomic Lady is a course winner over the minimum distance, and has proved effective over the extra furlong with victory at York in July.

The Tim Easterby-trained filly also went close to landing the valuable sales race on the Knavesmire this month – when she was beaten only a neck by the Dascombe-trained Ever Given.

Atomic Lady (right) represents trainer Tim Easterby
Atomic Lady (right) represents trainer Tim Easterby (Maftin Rickett/PA)

“She ran a cracking race at York. She’s in good form – I think she’ll run well,” said Easterby.

Hellomydarlin is Group Two-placed, having finished third in the Prix Robert Papin at Chantilly.

The George Boughey-trained filly also ran a tremendous race when third of 20 in a hot nursery at York’s Ebor meeting.

Syndicate owner Nick Bradley said: “We’re rated 102 now. We’re in the right race. She ran well in the Papin and she ran a very good race at York. I think it was a career-best.

“We will go hopeful and expecting that she will finish in the first three.”

Martyn Meade is giving Object his chance at Listed level, after the Aclaim colt stepped up considerably on his debut to win a novice event at Newmarket.

“He improved enormously from his first run,” said the Manton trainer.

“He seems to have grown up, and the penny’s dropped, so we thought we’d throw him in the deep end – and we’ll just see how good he is.

“Obviously it’s a big ask, but I think he’s handy horse. Ripon, hopefully, should suit him – so we’ll throw the dice.”

Justanotherbottle fills Great St Wilfrid void for Ryan

Justanotherbottle provided Kevin Ryan with a first ever win in the William Hill Great St Wilfrid at Ripon.

Ryan, who made his name earlier in his career by winning big sprint handicaps like the Ayr Gold Cup, had surprisingly failed to land the biggest race of the season at one of his local tracks.

The Hambleton handler reached for the blinkers for the first time for the seven-year-old, and they clearly worked the oracle after a few recent below-par runs.

A winner of the Catterick Dash off 96 last season, his marked had dropped to 92 after six winless runs this season and he barely saw another rival.

Drawn near the rail, his case was helped when habitual front-runner Abate stumbled coming out of the stalls.

That allowed Kevin Stott to grab the rail on the 18-1 chance and from there he could control the race, kicking clear with a furlong to run.

The favourite Lampang, one of six runners for Tim Easterby, and stablemate and last year’s winner Staxton led the pursuit on the far side – but Justanotherbottle was always in command.

Stott was able to ease off close home and he came a length and a half clear of Golden Apollo, another Easterby runner, with Gale Force Maya and Intrinsic Bond taking minor honours.

Ryan was absent at a wedding, but Stott said: “He’s come down the handicap a bit, but he’s a little bit older and wiser now.

“He had blinkers on for the first time and this performance shows he’s still got it.

“I think the blinkers were a big part of it, given he’s older and wiser, so he needed a bit of help. But he’s shown he’s still got plenty of ability.

“He jumped really well and we had a good draw anyway, sometimes the first-time blinkers give them a bit of a shock and they really travel and he’s done that today.”

He went on: “Inside the two-furlong pole I was still on the bridle and these sprinters, when on song, they are very fast and he’s shown plenty of speed today.

“We’ll have a word with connections to see where he goes and I’m delighted for Mr (Steve) Ryan who is a big supporter of mine.”

Ryan, who owns the winner in partnership with Martin Tedham, said: “He was a very cheap horse when I bought him and he’s been an absolute hero.

“I’ve got two runners in the Gimcrack this week, Gis A Sub and Spitting Feathers, so it could be a big few days.

“I retired in March, I went to the sales and spent more than I should have, the last of which was Gis A Sub, hence his name! He could turn out the best, though.”

Taj Alriyadh has Ripon return on the agenda

Karl Burke is planning a return to Ripon on Bank Holiday Monday for Taj Alriyadh as the juvenile maintained his unbeaten start to a promising career in the William Hill Ripon Hornblower Conditions Stakes.

Most winners of the contest end up in the Listed Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy – and Taj Alriyadh will certainly not look out of place as he took his record to three wins from three races.

After two wins at Catterick, Burke’s Mehmas youngster had clearly failed to catch the imagination of some as all the pre-race talk concerned Robert Cowell’s Dynamic Force, who had been so impressive on his debut at Ayr.

However, the money came late for Clifford Lee’s mount Taj Alriyadh, and he ended up being sent off the 11-10 favourite in a field of four.

As the market suggested the top two dominated, but Dynamic Force never really looked like reeling in the winner, going down by a head.

“He’s got a little deformity on his off-hind hock and I imagine that put a lot of people off at the sales (cost £19,000),” said Burke.

“He doesn’t overdo himself at home, he’s not a flash worker – although he had shown ability going into his first run.

“Cliff said he always felt he was holding the second and he only just does enough, he’s never going to go and win by five or six lengths.

“I’d imagine we’ll come back for the Listed race at the end of the month, that was the idea coming here today, to see how he handled the track, and that looks the obvious step.”

Mark’s Choice (20-1) clearly benefitted from another wind operation since his last start as he ran out a cosy winner of the William Hill Silver Trophy Handicap.

Twice a course winner for Ruth Carr, he was registering his second Ripon win for Sam England under Cam Hardie.

Considering the general consensus is you need to be near a rail on the sprint track, Hardie worked wonders from stall 10 to get a gap up the favoured stands side.

He was also a poignant winner, as England explained.

“It’s really quite nice as one of his owners died this week,” he said.

“He’s a lovely horse and it’s nice he did it for his owners. I’m really proud of him

“His wind was just bothering him so we had it tightened up again and it’s clearly worked.”

It had been a mixed couple of days for Hardie.

“I lost a race I won at Wolverhampton last night and also dislocated my thumb, so it’s nice to win a decent race today. It’s the ups and downs of racing I suppose,” he said.

Knight Rider was picked up for just 22,000 guineas after two unplaced runs for Joe Tuite and sent to Kevin Philapart de Foy in Newmarket.

James Fanshawe’s former assistant wasted no time in stepping the son of Decorated Knight up in trip and the well backed 7-2 chance came a length and a half clear under Paul Mulrennan.

“It was a very good performance, the step up in trip really suited him,” said Mulrennnan.

“He wasn’t doing a great deal in front, but the further he went the better he went so I wouldn’t be surprised if he got further in time.

“He jumped and travelled like a dream, I felt I was always in the right position.”

Tim Easterby rarely leaves Ripon without a winner and Garden Oasis (9-2) provided it on this occasion in the Visit attheraces.com Handicap.

Easterby credited his daughter, Emily, with the success.

“I’d love a yard full of horses like him, he’s wonderful. He’s down at Emily’s yard and she does all the work with him,” he said.

“He’s very uncomplicated, the more you complicate it the worse he runs. He’s tough, and he likes it here and he goes on pretty much any ground.”

Roger Varian’s Ms Ghandi (100-30) opened her account at the fifth time of asking in the William Hill Pick Your Places Handicap under Eoin Walsh.

Dascombe mounts dual assault on Great St Wilfrid

Tom Dascombe was pleasantly surprised to find both his entries in the William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap made the cut for the Ripon showpiece on Saturday.

The Cheshire trainer had one certain runner in top-weight Brad The Brief – but expected Lincoln Park to be going for the consolation race earlier on the card rather than the big one.

Dascombe had already booked apprentice Kieran Schofield for Brad The Brief and has snapped up fellow 5lb claimer for Lincoln Park.

“I was expecting Lincoln Park not to get in the main race but as it turns out we’ve got two very good claimers on,” he said.

“They’re both solid handicappers, solid horses, and they both want a bit of ease in the ground. We’ll have to see what happens. Any rain wouldn’t hurt them.

“Lincoln Park has been in great form. He won over seven and a half and he’s just a tough, honest horse.

“We thought we’d bring Brad The Brief back in class and look for his ground. I think his ultimate aim will be the Ayr Gold Cup.”

Lincoln Park lost out by a nose to Mr Wagyu at Haydock last month before winning his last two starts and he renews rivalry with John Quinn’s charge.

Mr Wagyu took the Stewards’ Cup consolation race at Goodwood in tremendous style to set up his bid for the Great St Wilfrid.

“It had to be a career-best last time out. Sometimes these sprinters look like they get quicker as they get older and it looks like he’s one of them,” said Quinn.

“This horse was a nice horse in his younger days, but then he lost his way a bit. He’s come back better than ever this season.

“He’s now into races that are harder to win but the prize-money is great, which helps the job greatly.”

Staxton bids to win the Great St Wilfrid for the second year running
Staxton bids to win the Great St Wilfrid for the second year running (Simon Cooper/PA)

Last year’s winner Staxton heads Tim Easterby’s six contenders.

“I can’t believe it. I didn’t think three of them would get in,” said the Great Habton handler.

“Staxton is in great form and working well. He ran a good race at Goodwood.

“Lampang is in good form too. Every time he’s run it’s rained. He goes on soft ground, but is better on good.

“Music Society likes a bit of juice in the ground so if it’s quick he might not go on it, but it should be good ground.”

Tim Easterby has six runners in Ripon's big sprint
Tim Easterby has six runners in Ripon’s big sprint (Simon Cooper/PA)

“Boardman is maybe a soft ground horse. He’s dropping down to six and we hope to run him in the Ayr Gold Cup, all being well.

“Manigordo likes fast ground and looks to be drawn well. Golden Apollo was a touch disappointing at Doncaster, but there was no gallop on for him. He should run well.”

Richard Fahey feels Mr Lupton may not quite be the force he once was, but he was third behind Staxton in this race 12 months ago.

Mr Lupton tries to improve on his third in the Great St Wilfrid last year
Mr Lupton tries to improve on his third in the Great St Wilfrid last year (PA)

“He’s not the horse he was, but he’s still carrying a rating of 103,” Fahey told Sky Sports Racing.

“He’s been rated between 100 and 113 for the last six years of his life. I think he did dip down to 98 once, funnily enough when he ran in the St Wilfrid and finished third.

“I don’t know if he can be competitive off 103, but we’ll see.”

Mr Wagyu on course for Great St Wilfrid test

John Quinn’s improving sprinter Mr Wagyu has been given the all-clear to add to his laurels in the William Hill Great St Wilfrid at Ripon on Saturday.

The six-year-old began the season with a rating of 70 on May 1 and his win at Goodwood last time out has seen him put up to a career high mark of 99.

Goodwood was his fifth win of the season, and a 13th in all, and Quinn now has his sights set on the highlight of the season at Ripon.

“We’re happy with him, he’s come out of Goodwood very well and we’re intending to run him,” said the Malton handler.

“This horse was a nice horse in his younger days but then he lost his way a bit. He’s come back better than ever this season.

“Of course it gives you great satisfaction when that happens, it’s great for everyone in the yard – the lads and the lasses have done a great job looking after him.

“I don’t know where it’s come from, this improvement. He wintered well and we were happy with him but I never thought he’d do what he’s done – but we’re delighted.”