Oisin Murphy strengthened his position at the top of the Flat jockeys’ championship with a Listed-race double at Newmarket, highlighted by victory for Withhold in the Gloriously Simple MansionBet Further Flight Stakes.
Although the former Northumberland Plate and Cesarewitch winner may no longer be the force he once was, the Roger Charlton-trained seven-year-old demonstrated he still retains plenty of ability in landing the mile-and-three-quarter feature usually staged at Nottingham.
Out in front from leaving the stalls, the 5-4 favourite stayed on in tenacious fashion under the reigning champion to cross the line three lengths clear of Dubious Affair.
Assistant trainer Harry Charlton said: “A mile and six is probably short of his best, but he was given a nice ride in that he made it as strong a test as he could, as I think in his old age he is a bit idle now.
“Even when he had 20lb in hand when he won the Cesarewitch, Silvestre (de Sousa) had to ask him to go a mile down.
“It was a slight drop in grade and that will have got his confidence back up. He has really been a star and is one of the good stories in racing.”
A return to Pattern company is likely to be on the cards for Withhold ahead of a potential trip to Australia for the Melbourne Cup, from which he was late absentee in 2018 after breaking a blood vessel.
Charlton added: “We could go and have a look at the Lonsdale Cup at York, but the race at Doncaster which is over two and a quarter miles might be more suitable.
“We will have a discussion with the owner as he may want to go to Australia again afterwards.”
Plenty of big days look to be ahead for the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Katara to judge by her facile four-length success under Murphy in the British Stallion Studs EBF Chalice Stakes.
Murphy said of the 6-5 winner: “Sir Michael liked her coming into the race and she is progressing. Her dam stayed a mile and six, but this filly is not short of gears.
“We will see what Sir Michael wants to do, but she could stay at a mile and a half for the moment. I’m sure Sir Michael will go step by step with her. She could end up getting to a high level.”
Frankie Dettori made his fleeting visit to Newmarket a triumphant one when carrying the colours of the Queen to glory aboard Lightness in the MansionBet Best Odds Guaranteed EBF Fillies’ Handicap.
The popular Italian found himself back among the winners a week on from steering Enable to an unprecedented third King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes for trainer John Gosden, guiding her lesser-known stablemate to victory in the mile-and-a-quarter prize.
Although Dettori’s latest success was relatively low key, it has been a few days to savour for the three-time champion jockey – who celebrated further Group One glory on Tuesday when partnering Gosden’s star stayer Stradivarius to a record-breaking fourth Goodwood Cup success.
The drop back to 10 furlongs was identified as the key to Lightness (11-5) ending a run of three successive seconds and getting her head in front for the first time in her career, according to champion trainer Gosden.
He said: “I think the mile and a half was too far for her last time at Ascot. She had the race won then, just got outstayed. We dropped back to a mile and a quarter and it has played to her strengths.
“She won it nicely and we are pleased to win with her.”
William Buick enhanced his prospects of a first champion jockey title with a 130-1 four-timer which included his 50th winner of the season aboard the Richard Hughes-trained Karibana in the It’s Not Rocket Science At MansionBet Handicap.
Buick said of the 13-8 winner: “It’s nice to ride a winner for Hughesie. The horse travelled very well and it worked out nicely for him. I would be keeping him at seven for the moment as I’m not sure a mile is for him yet.”
The decision to swerve an outing at Goodwood paid dividends for Basilicata (13-2), who provided Buick with leg three of his haul when following in the hoofprints of stablemate Rose Of Kildare to take the European Bloodstock News British EBF Fillies’ Nursery.
Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, Mark, said: “She was in the seven-furlong nursery at Goodwood and the plan had been to run there, but this race cut up and it was worth more. I was worried about coming back to six and she did get done for toe two out, but her attitude and stamina got her back up.”
Ghaly (3-1) moved closer to featuring in Saeed bin Suroor’s team for next year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival after prevailing by three-quarters of a length under Buick in the MansionBet Bet £10 Get £20 Handicap.
Bin Suroor said “He would be a nice horse for the Dubai World Cup Carnival. I think a mile in Dubai will be even better for him. I can see him running well out there. He handles any ground.”
The Charlie Appleby-trained Danilova (4-6) put her previous experience to good use to get the ball rolling for Buick when running out a length-and-a-half winner of the MansionBet Beaten By A Head EBF Stallions Fillies’ Novice Stakes.
Assistant trainer Alex Merriam said: “She has improved for that first run and William was pleased with her. She jumped out well and used that previous experience.”
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