Caius Marcius pleases favourite backers at Perth

Franny Norton rides Permian to glory in the Betfred Dante Stakes at York. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Franny Norton rides Permian to glory in the Betfred Dante Stakes at York. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
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Caius Marcius, ridden by Craig Nichol, was a well-backed winner of the feature race in front of a 6,000-plus Ladies’ Day crowd at Perth.

Sent off the 13-8 favourite, the Greystoke raider came home two and three quarter lengths ahead of Verona Opera in the Investec Wealth And Investment Management Handicap Hurdle.

Winning trainer Nicky Richards said: “There are some nice races for him later this summer here and at Market Rasen. He needs a good even gallop and we may even try him at 2m 4f at some stage.

“I was fairly confident today although a few of mine have not been running great as we were getting over a bad batch of hay.”

Stuart Crawford is dreaming of Scottish National success after Brian Hughes brought Baby Bach home in front in the DM Hall Novices’ Chase. The Irish trainer said: “When we bought him I thought he might make up into a Scottish Grand National horse one day. He’s got a long way to go but you’ve got to dream and it’s a race I’d love to win.”

Crawford sealed a 15-1 double when Richard Johnson landed the toteexacta Pick The 1st And 2nd Race Handicap Chase with Don Franco. The champion jockey had earlier initiated his own double with success on Enzani in the opening toteplacepot Six Places In Six Races Maiden Hurdle.

Meanwhile, despite being withdrawn on the morning of the Betfred Dante Stakes, Cracksman had his Investec Derby claims boosted when Permian ran out a clear-cut winner of the York trial.

A Group Two race in its own right, Middleham trainer Mark Johnston and owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum had to pay £12,000 to supplement Permian to find out if they had a Derby contender on their hands.

That question was answered in the affirmative and now they will need to stump up £85,000 to run in the blue riband at Epsom on 3 June, which for the first time in many years has no stand-out contender.

While Aidan O’Brien’s 2000 Guineas winner Churchill is thought unlikely to step up in trip, he is nevertheless still 5-1 co-favourite with stablemate Cliffs Of Moher and the John Gosden-trained Cracksman.

The latter failed to turn up with Gosden fearing the ground had gone too soft. However, having beaten Permian in the Epsom trial last month connections will now be more confident. Observers were less than impressed with Cracksman at Epsom, but with Permian since winning at Newmarket and now York, the form has a different perspective.

At Hamilton today, Sir Chauvelin faces seven rivals as he bids for a slice of history in the PDM Mains To Drains Braveheart Stakes. Jim Goldie’s 
gelding tries to land the mile and a half handicap for the second year running following his 7-1 victory 12 months ago.

No horse has won the Braveheart Stakes twice and the Renfrewshire trainer said: “It’s a race that has been won by some good and progressive horses and hopefully he can go close again. He’s in good order and is unbeaten in two visits to the track. Yorkidding was in front of us in the Chester Cup but we had a bad draw and we fancy him turning the form round.”

Also in the field is Ed Dunlop’s Amazing Red, a half brother to Red Cadeaux, winner of this race in 2011 before amassing nearly £5 million in earnings.

Sam Missile, another trained in Newmarket, is a rare Hamilton raider for James Fanshawe and Keith Dalgleish is double-handed with Kensington Star and Corton Lad, third last year.