Pastoral Player may no longer be the force of old, but the veteran campaigner showed he still retains plenty of enthusiasm after swooping late to land the Bombardier Brighton Mile Challenge Trophy on Wednesday.
Having plied his trade at Group race level in his younger days, the Hughie Morrison-trained 11-year-old turned back the clock when teaming up with regular rider Charlie Bennett to land the feature contest at odds of 16-1.
The winning jockey said: “He is unreal. He has been a really good horse in my career. He has shown all the enthusiasm at home, but he has just not been firing for whatever reason.
“They went fast and when they came back to him, he got a bit of interest. He was a really good horse in his day and he can still do it now if he wants to turn it on.”
Oli Rix, assistant trainer added: “It’s brilliant and it shows if you look after these horses, they do reward you. He has been there longer than most of the staff.”
Tom Marquand took the riding plaudits at the Sussex track after claiming a treble initiated by a two-length victory aboard Big Baby Bull (5-4), which was the first of three winners on the card for Richard Hannon, in the European Breeders Fund Novice Stakes.
The winning rider said: “I’m on track for hopefully reaching the 100 for the year, which is my aim. It is a long way to the end of the year, but it is pointing in the right direction.”
Of the winner, he added: “He did it very well as he didn’t enjoy the track or the ground, but he picked up really smartly.”
Elysium Dream took full advantage of a return to calmer waters having finished sixth at Goodwood last week to provide Hannon and Marquand with more glory when taking the Marathonbet Sportsbook/EBF Fillies’ Handicap by two and a quarter lengths.
Tom Ward, assistant trainer, said of the 11-10 winner: “The drop in grade helped and she seemed to handle the track. It would be nice if we could find a little bit of black type in the end.”
Shoyd (9-1) opened his account at the 10th time of asking to complete Hannon’s haul in division two of the Racing Welfare Handicap, while the Tony Carroll-trained Imbucato (11-2) provided Marquand with his final winner in division one of the seven-furlong event.
George Scott praised the skills of rider Jason Watson after he galvanised Bright Saffron (15-8) to glory by half a length in the Ann Ryan 50th Birthday Celebration Selling Handicap.
Victory came at cost for the 3lb claimer, who later completed a double on the Amanda Perrett-trained Tinto (11-8) in the Download The Marathonbet App Nursery Handicap, after he picked up a two-day whip ban.
Scott said: “He has got the world at his feet and he has got a bright future, as he showed today by getting that filly up. This race has been the plan since Yarmouth so we are delighted.”
The daughter of Champs Elysees was knocked down for 6,000 guineas to Royston handler Clare Hobson.
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