Johnston and Norton team up for Musselburgh double

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MARK Johnston and Franny Norton teamed up for a double with Suzi’s Connoisseur and Skytrain at wet and windy Musselburgh.

Suzi’s Connoisseur produced a promising debut to beat Meadway by two-and-a -half lengths in the British Stallion Studs European EBF Median Auction Maiden Stakes while Skytrain scraped home by a neck in the seven-furlong handicap.

Johnston said: “I was pleased with Suzi’s Connoisseur as it wasn’t easy for young horses in these conditions. He’s won nicely but it was made easier with one of the fancied runners pulled out.

“It’s early days to get carried away and I haven’t looked at anything for him but he couldn’t have done it easier. He’s bred to stay further on the dam side so he did well to win over this sharp five-furlongs.”

Graham Lee also recorded a double when scoring on Staff Sergeant and Algar Lad for Scots trainers Iain Jardine and Jim Goldie. Well-bred newcomer Algar, sent off at 20-1, won the five-furlong maiden by two-and-a-quarter lengths and Goldie said: “We’ve got a nice horse on our hands but we weren’t expecting to win today. He’s going to have a bright future 
but I don’t know where we are going to go from here.” Becky Smith was suspended for ten days for her ride on Terenzium, beaten nearly 18 lengths into ninth place in the opening amateur riders’ handicap won by Jan Smuts.

The stewards found that the rider hadn’t made sufficient
effort and her ban dates will be notified to her by the BHA.

The Maiden Stakes, run at Doncaster yesterday, looks sure to throw up a plethora of winners for the 
future but there was plenty to like about the winning performance of Matrooh. Beaten just a length when fourth in the Wood Ditton at Newmarket on his debut, the William Haggas-trained colt was always handy under Paul Hanagan before asserting over a furlong out.

As his dam is a half-sister to Funny Cide, who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in the States, it was no surprise he fetched 550,000 guineas as a yearling. And while he has some way to go to repay that, Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum undoubtedly has a nice horse on his hands as he ran out a comfortable one-length winner over staying-on Stableford.

Hanagan said of the 2-1 fav-ourite: “He was impressive and he’s come on massively from that first run. He was given a lovely introduction by Dane (O’Neill) and he’s obviously improved.”

Hanagan followed up on 
Richard Fahey’s newcomer Canyari (7-4), who showed a nice att-itude to beat Richard Hannon’s Legend Rising in the 32 Bonus At Maiden Stakes.