Encore D’Or will head to Ireland on Friday week in search of Group-race glory after he showed he was in good heart with a battling victory under top weight in the Racing UK Autumn Sprint Handicap at Leicester.
The six-year-old sprinter, trained by Robert Cowell, will sign off for the season in the Group Three Mercury Stakes after beating Mirza by three-quarters of a length.
Haddaf and Mirza set the pace but Jim Crowley had Encore D’Or (4-1) handily placed to make his challenge in the final furlong and quickly stamp his authority on the small field.
[(full)Watch Replay](//) Watch a full replay of Encore D'Or's success at Leicester
Cowell said: “That was a tasty little event with a few horses going into it that were nicely handicapped.
“It was a trappy event and we were delighted with Encore D’Or. He’s had a really good season and he’ll round off with a run in the Group Three at Dundalk in 10 days.”
Crowley had earlier partnered Spirit Ridge (5-2) to victory in the Brock Hill Badger Handicap.
The Amanda Perrett-trained gelding made all and kept Scaramanga at bay by half a length.
Crowley then completed a 191-1 treble when the Charlie Hills-trained Eraad (10-1) opened his account in the British EBF Dormouse Novice Stakes.
Byron Flyer continued his rich vein of form by beating two rivals to complete a hat-trick in the Squirrel Handicap.
The race may have cut up with Dubawi Prince being a non-runner and Rock Steady having to be withdrawn at the start but it was an exciting affair with Byron Flyer and Not So Sleepy serving up a thrilling finish.
Huge Future, the 10-11 favourite, set the pace from Not So Sleepy with James Doyle content to bide his time until the business end on Byron Flyer.
Not So Sleepy set sail for home after Huge Future dropped away disappointingly but Byron Flyer (2-1) loomed large on his outside.
The pair were locked together in battle but Ian Williams’ charge got the upper hand to score by a neck.
“We had no real plan. Speaking to Ian before we thought we’d see what the pace was like,” Doyle told Racing UK.
“We seemed to go a genuine pace until we got to the bend. Oisin (Murphy on Huge Future) just filled his horse up and we got rolling from a fair way out so I was happy to sit in and take a lead.
“It was pretty simple – three runners, a good pace. He settled nicely, quickened up for the lead, pricked his ears a bit and was always in control.
“It’s been a nice story with his fella. He finished second a lot of times and was obviously quite frustrating. This is his third win in a row and he seems to have got a bit of confidence from the first time he won.”