ALCAEUS took his tally of handicap victories this year to six at Musselburgh yesterday and looks a smart prospect for a decent staying prize or two in 2014.
Trained by Sir Mark Prescott and ridden by Luke Morris, the 15-8 favourite stuck on gamely to beat Cosmic Sun by half a length in the Thomson Holidays Handicap.
Morris said: “He hated the dirt in the Swedish Derby last month and was much happier back on quick turf. He’s done it well and has nothing but progress all season – he started off on 57 and was rated 90 in this race. He’s only three and has the scope to improve into a really nice staying type next year.”
Dougie Costello rode his second winner of the Flat when William Muir-trained Gulland Rock took the Royal Scots Club Nursery.
“I’ve been riding out for William and he said he would be give me a few rides,” said Costello. “That’s two winners from 45 rides plus a few short-head defeats! There will be more rides coming over jumps shortly but I’ll be keeping going on the Flat too if the opportunities keep coming along.”
Keith Dalgleish, who recently became a dad for the second time, saddled a one-two in the juvenile maiden when 25-1 chance Neuf des Coeurs pipped stablemate Porthos Du Vallon by a neck.
At Newmarket on Saturday, meanwhile, Sky Lantern and Vorda enjoyed impressive victories.
Sky Lantern notched up the fourth Group One success of her career in the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes, displaying her electric change of gear once again under Richard Hughes as she beat the lightly-raced Integral.
The race had been billed as a rematch with Elusive Kate after the pair locked horns in the Falmouth, but John Gosden’s filly failed to fire on the quick ground leaving Sir Michael Stoute’s Integral to tackle Sky Lantern before eventually going down by a length.
“Fillies like this don’t come along very often and when they do you’ve got to make the most of them,” said Richard Hannon’s son and assistant, Richard jnr. “She’s a very special filly being Hughesie’s first Classic winner and we all love her.
“The owner lives in Hong Kong and that is where he wants to go. Whether we look at something like the QEII at Ascot as well, we’ll have to see.”
Philippe Sogorb’s Vorda ran out an impressive winner of the Connolly’s Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes, taking her tally to four wins in five starts.
Her only defeat came at the hands of American speedster No Nay Never in the Prix Morny on her previous outing but she was sent off the 11-8 favourite to regain the winning thread.
Olivier Peslier delivered Vorda with typical panache to pass Princess Noor, who was cleverly ridden by Johnny Murtagh, to deliver a first Group One triumph for former jockey Sogorb.
He said: “I knew straight away she was a good filly as she did everything so easily, from February I knew she was really good. She stood out from the rest. I knew she was better than average but I didn’t think she was a Group One filly.
“We will take her to the Breeders’ Cup and see if she stays a mile out there. She’s bred for speed so that will be the test.”
Today, Mark Johnston is looking for a big run from his handicap debutant Dawn Calling in the feature race on Hamilton Park’s final card of the season.
The Joe-Fanning-ridden colt is one of 16 declared for a wide-open looking Download At Free Bets App freebets.co.uk Handicap.
“He won his maiden at Catterick very well and has a huge amount of speed. He made all over 7f that day and is coming back in trip but I’m hoping he is still improving and will run very well again.”
Seven of the field have winning course form at the Lanarkshire track including top-weight Master Bond, bottom-weight Lothair and Economic Crisis who is returning to the scene of her three career wins.