HE WILL be forever associated with the legend that was Desert Orchid, but veteran trainer David Elsworth has had plenty of success on the Flat and yesterday at Musselburgh his figures from four entries were first, second, first and first.
The last of those wins came in the £60,000 totepool Edinburgh Cup, the richest race of the richest day at the East Lothian track where more than £140,000 in prize money was available.
That sort of money lures the Newmarket trainers north, and Elsworth, pictured right, duly pocketed around £50,000 for his owners, with Dashing Star’s last-to-first win in the Cup rounding off his victory treble.
Despite the race – designed as a handicap for those three-year-olds just below Classic level – being a true test of stamina at 1m 4f 100 yds, they set off at a furious gallop and several of the horses did not seem too happy going round the tight first bend.
Naru led them down the back straight with the Mark Johnston-trained pair Alta Lilea and Blue Wave following him, and Dashing Star in last under Liam Keniry.
Rounding the home bend, backers of Allnecessaryforce knew their fate as the grey did not handle the curve and went very wide under jockey Tony Hamilton. Three furlongs out, Dashing Star was thus left effectively in last place of those still in contention, and up ahead 18-1 shot Naru looked to be hard to catch as jockey Paul Mulrennan cajoled him into staying on dourly.
Favourite Van Percy threatened to catch the winner coming down the outside, but Naru beat him off only for Keniry to steer Dashing Star through the field against the far rails and take the race with a strong late run.
The distances to Naru and Van Percy were two lengths and one-and-a-quarter lengths respectively.
Elsworth said: “I love Musselburgh, I’ve really grown attached to the place. He’s a proper horse, he ran well in the Dante, and he will probably go for the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot.”
Elsworth got favourite backers off to a flying start in the opener, the Bet toteplacepot Now At totepool.com handicap over a mile which was won in good style in a fast time by Llaregyb, the mount of Dane O’Neill.
The strange name will be known to fans of the poet Dylan Thomas, being the fictional town in which Thomas set his drama Under Milk Wood. It was Llaregyb in early editions of the play, though Dylan Thomas actually wrote Llaregub – say it backwards.
The first five home in the second race, the totescoop6 Edinburgh Castle stakes for two-year-olds, all scorched down the fast five furlongs at Musselburgh in under a minute, second favourite Sleeper King forging ahead in the final 50 yards to beat Elsworth’s well-backed evens favourite Justice Day by a head.
Jockey Philip Makin put up one pound overweight on the winner, and was fined £650 by the stewards for wearing a modified safety vest. It was not his first offence.
Trainer Kevin Ryan nominated a tilt at Royal Ascot for the winner, who was having only his second race and who was fourth on his debut over six furlongs on soft ground at York.
Ryan said: “I’ve always liked the horse. The drop in trip suited him, he’s a real professional.”
Keniry started his double with a fine ride aboard Emerging in winning the totepool.com Tradesmen’s Derby handicap over 1m 4f 100 yds.
The only home-based winner of the day was in the sprint, the totepool Mobile Handicap, when Rothesay Chancer just got home with a late lunge under a superbly-timed ride by Graham Lee.
Trainer Jim Goldie said: “We always knew it was a tight handicap. That’s his fourth course and distance win and hopefully he will be here for the big sprint in a fortnight.”
The final two races, the toteexacta Available On All Races handicap and the Try A totetrifecta At totepool.com handicap, both went to the trainer and jockey combination of David O’Meara and Donald Nolan with Classic Colori and Powerful Presence respectively.