Ripon held the usual pre Ebor traditional starter course as the top sprint handicappers did battle at the Garden Racecourse in their flagship Great St Wilfrid.
For fans of racing this was the place to be on a sunny afternoon albeit with a few grey clouds that peered over without feeling the need to drench the punters,also this was the only course that had no need for a pop concert apart from the traditional brass band bringing back memories of the much missed Terry Wogan with continual renditions of The Floral Dance!
Yorkshire kept the prize in the county as Bryan Smart and Connor Beasley got the edge in a thrilling finish to the Great St Wilfrid on the 7yo Nameitwhatyoulike who made all and just held off from Intisaab and Baccarat in a thrilling finish,making only his third start of the season he loves the place and all roads could now lead to Scotland for the big 6f Ayr Gold Cup, for Connor this was a much deserved success after his appalling injuries sustained at Wolverhampton last year.
In the consolation race joint top weight Roudee just got his head up on the line for Tom Dascombe and Richard Kingscote,the return to a straight 6f seemed to work the oracle here as he just got the better of Mishaal and Rex Imperator, he is likely to be in the mix in the big sprint handicaps over the next few seasons.
Tim Easterby rarely goes home empty handed and Rachel Richardson’s decision to stay up the inner on the ever game mare Brekable proved the right choice in the 1m handicap,a winner at Carlisle two starts ago she is consistent at this level and her mark of 87 looks set for a step into the 90s,she stayed on gamely just three parts ahead of Abushamah.
Phijee maybe a phonetically spelling of his South Sea Island counterparts followed on from his namesakes win in the Rugby Sevens in a well known sporting festival currently taking part in South America but this William Muir trained 2yo landed the Ripon Hornblower in workmanlike fashion and could come back here for a crack at the 2yo Trophy over the Bank Holiday,just edging out the filly Madam Dancealot he is a tough type who looks to just do enough.
The opening race of the afternoon,a 2yo maiden auction had a wide open look to it and went the way of the useful looking Robben Rainbow from David Barron’s yard who clearly had learnt a lot from his debut run at Hamilton and ran on quite costly here,he does hold an entry at York on Thursday in a sales race.
Trainer Michael Bell had a nice winner in the fillies handicap over 1m2f with the consistent Bocking End running out a nine length Victor over Lincoln Rocks,going in off 77 she looks sure for a fair hike from the handicapper and connections will no doubt be trying to gain some black type for this Bill Gredley owned filly.
Richard Fahey went home in the last race on a winner with Theos Lolly digging in to land the 1m4f handicap and in the process doing the bookies a favour by beating 6/5f Icefall by 1.5 lengths, a winner over 1m at Pontefract this season he was unlucky here two runs back and seems to stay this trip well
Stoney Broke,3yo filly came last in the 1m2f handicap but she is still learning and can be forgiven here.
Fendale,4yo was fifth in the consolation race and deserves his day soon