Invincible Molly (red cap) helps Rossa Ryan get closer to a season milestone (JTW Equine Images)
By Tom Williams/JTW Equine Images
Rossa Ryan made the trip to the Knavesmire all worth it as he doubled up on Saturday courtesy of Invincible Molly and Politico at their Autumn Saturday meeting.
The victories took him closer to 150 for the season as he notched up winners 142 and 143 in quick succession on a day where some excellent performances entertained the masses of frankly the North of England’s signature racecourse.
Invincible Molly took advantage of the omission of Staincliff from the declared runners to open her account in the Jigsaw Sports Branding EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes, defeating Glory Hyde by one and a quarter lengths.
Had Staincliff been in the field, they surely would have gone off favourite after an excellent second by 1 length at Sandown Park last week. However, they were declared a non-runner due to not eating up in the morning, so the task became easier for the eventual winner.
Travelling nicely at the rear, the winner was produced just shy of two furlongs out and made steady progress to take the lead inside the final 100 yards to take a comfortable win and start the day off well for his pilot.
Just over an hour later, Politico proved too hard a nut to crack and made every yard of the “Happy 60th Birthday Angela Clark” Nursery Stakes to provide Rossa with a double and score nicely for trainer Charlie Johnston. Having been seen not to best effect on soft ground, the firmer surface on Saturday was exactly what was needed by the son of Blue Point to get back into the winner’s enclosure, denying the Richard Fahey trained Up The Jazz by half a length at the line.
Speaking afterwards, the winning trainer stated that it was “a lovely ride” from the jockey and that he had “toughed it out really well”.
Not a bad way to spend a Saturday, is it?
The most comfortable win of the day was easily the victory of Palamon in the jogsawsportsbranding Stakes. Whereas every one of his rivals went to the middle and near side of the course, Alec Voikhansky took his mount to the far side of the course and kept them apart from their rivals. It proved to be a work of genius from the 5lb claimer, as his mount easily swept aside the opposition to score by 6 lengths in easy, comfortable fashion.
It was also not just the horse’s first win, but the rider’s first win at York, and in the process he was notching his 31st win of the season. He only requires 9 more winners to drop his claim to 3lbs, but whether any are as easy as their maiden win at York remains to be seen, on what was “a lovely afternoon” according to the winning jockey.
It was not a lovely day for trainer Ed Walker, who pulled out English Oak on an owing to the ground. However, sine this had not changed since they were declared two days earlier, the trainer was fined £140 as a fixed penalty.
Aphelios had to dig deep to take the Jigsaw Sports Branding Handicap, but they duly obliged for Daniel Muscutt and trainer Michael Appleby after a sustained battle with Quest For Fun down the main straight of York’s famous straight.
Always prominent, they went for home about 2 furlongs out in a bid to put it to The Turpinator at the head of affairs. They did not however expect Quest For Fun to turn up and attempt to spoil the party, but they managed to outmuscle the rival and take the prize by a neck, the pair a further 2 lengths in front of the field.
The most valuable race on the card was the £60,000 Vickers.bet Handicap over 5 furlongs, and in typical Knavesmire fashion it was a furious cavalry charge that notable Yorkist King Richard III would have been proud of. And just like the famous King, Vintage Clarets was firmly at the head of affairs when it came down to the wire as they tenaciously dug deep to take the feature ahead of persistent challengers Wen Moon and Manila Scouse.
A King’s Standard could have covered the first 4 home in this contest, as is typical of competitive sprints that the course produces. A return to the Knavesmire next month for the Coral Sprint Trophy may now be on the hands for the winner, should connections decide this route.
The Stewards did note that James Sullivan, jockey of Good Earth, had had to resort to two attempts to remove the blindfold at the beginning of the race. The jockey explained that it had simply slipped through his hands as he attempted to remove it at the starter’s command.
The longest race of the day also produced the winner with the longest odds as September Power struck a 40/1 surprise in the New To York Rio Brazilian Stakes. The 6 year old left a poor run at Chester well behind as they took the two mile contest in good style, searing the opposition with steady progress from the rump of the field and taking close order from a furlong out to deny Marbuzet close home.
The race was not without drama, as Red Force One was pulled up by jockey Andrew Mullen as he felt his mount was not right, but a post race inspection failed to reveal any abnormalities.
If anyone did back the winner at that price, maybe they should pay a visit to the new Steakhouse in question to spend their winnings….
The final race of the card was the Neil Atkinson’s 60th Birthday Celebration Stakes, run over one mile and four furlongs. Early attention was on the Charlie Johnston-trained French Invasion, especially as the owners are Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, normally seen to good effect with their National Hunt horses.
However, this was a disappointing affair as they struggled in the conditions and were never a threat, the trainer’s representative stating afterwards that the horse would prefer a sounder, firmer surface. Instead, it was down to Two Brothers and Rathgar to fight it out in the finale, both seeking a return to form after disappointing previous runs.
Both rivals came from the rear of the field when making their challenges, and began to slug it out down the home straight. In the end Two Brothers managed to pull out more and scored by three-quarters of a length to Rathgar, in the process denying Daniel Muscutt a double on the day.
Post-race, Sweet Fantasy’s performance was queried by the stewards, to which the trainer Ralph Beckett’s representative reported that the filly stopped quickly. An examination of the filly revealed no abnormalities, and this and the explanation from the representative was noted.