True Pleasure continued to make up for lost time after a barren spell at the paddocks when landing her second win on the spin, this time at Ayr.
The mare, who failed to get in foal when retired from racing in 2010, returned to action in January and followed up her Carlisle win nine days earlier with a gutsy success in the Western House Hotel Handicap. The James Bethell-trained six-year-old was always well-placed by PJ McDonald and got on top in the final half-furlong to beat Oratory by a length and a half.
“She actually went to stud and we couldn’t get her in foal,” said Bethell of his 11-2 winner. “She won well at Carlisle and I thought that going back from a mile and one to a mile would suit as she had the race well won at a mile there. We’ll keep her going now and she is likely to turn out again in a fortnight. She takes her racing quite well. We’ll just see what the handicapper does to her now.”
McDonald was one of two Scottish Grand National-winning jockeys to strike on the Flat on the card. He was successful on Hot Weld in 2007, while Graham Lee won on Grey Abbey in 2004. The latter was doing the steering on Goninodaethat (7-1) for Glasgow trainer Jim Goldie in the BetVictor Open Championship 8 Places Exclusive Handicap. The five-year-old pulled hard in the early stages as Strong Man made the running, but the course and distance winner had enough in the tank to challenge hard two furlongs out and go on to score by a length from Strong Man.
Trainer Ed de Giles had earlier enjoyed his first win at the track through Diamondhead (7-2 favourite), who made most of the running to take the Princess Royal Conference Centre Handicap in cosy fashion. Liam Keniry soon had the four-year-old at the head of affairs and was a length and a quarter too good for Beckermet. Goldie completed a double when Grand Diamond (5-1), ridden by Jordan Nason, held stablemate Altnaharra by half a length in the Open Championship 8 Places At BetVictor Apprentice Handicap. Richard Fahey also enjoyed a one-two with Alejandro (7-1) and Our Boy Jack in the BetVictor.com Handicap.
Sennockian Star (5-2 favourite) won the feature Polyflor Handicap in a first-time visor. Joe Fanning had Mark Johnston’s charge in a good position and came in two and three-quarter lengths clear of Able Master. There was little to choose between Ticking Katie (6-5) and 11-10 favourite Broadcaster in the betting and it was close in the race itself as the former just prevailed in the BetVictor 8 Places On The Open Median Auction Maiden Stakes.