Emmaus digs deep on Leicester return to score for Roger Varian

Tue 17 Oct 2017

Emmaus displayed admirable courage for a horse of so little experience when making a successful return from almost a year on the sidelines in the Wreake Handicap at Leicester.

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It is nearly 13 months since the Roger Varian-trained grey made a successful start to his career over the course and distance.

He rounded off his juvenile year by finishing fourth behind top-class colt Al Wukair in a Listed event at Deauville last October.

The son of Invincible Spirit had plenty on his plate on his belated reappearance in the Wreake Handicap, but the 10-1 shot knuckled down tenaciously for Andrea Atzeni to get the better of 2-1 favourite Sir Dancealot and Ryan Moore by a nose.

Atzeni said: "Obviously it's a great training performance. The guys have done a great job to get him ready.

"It wasn't all about today - today was just the start.

"We've always liked him. I remember when I had a sit on him in March I thought he could have been one of our nicest three-year-olds.

"Unfortunately something went wrong with him and he hasn't run until now, but patience has paid off in the end.

"Hopefully he's got a bright future."

The seven-furlong contest was one of two £25,000 handicaps on the card, with several familiar names contesting the Racing UK Autumn Sprint Handicap.

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Just Glamorous, Green Door, Goldream and Mirza were all in there pitching deep inside the last of five furlongs, but the David Evans-trained Gracious John (10-1) held them all at bay under John Egan.

Egan told Racing UK: "This lad is a very good horse.

"I thought he was a very good two-year-old and he lost his way a bit. He ran out with me in Chelmsford one day, but still wasn't beaten very far.

"As I said to the owner before the race today, some sprinters lose their form but they never lose that ability.

"He's coming back now and hopefully he'll do what he promised to me one day and win a real good race."

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