Levitate well placed to rise to occasion
Last year’s winner Brae Hill appeared set to enter the history books as a dual victor under Tony Hamilton, but Levitate, having his first start for John Quinn, came with a late lunge under Darren Egan to deny the Richard Fahey-trained seven-year-old, who had also finished second two years ago.
Brian Ellison’s Global Village absolutely flew home under Martin Lane and nabbed Brae Hill on the line for second. Completing the places was Brae Hill’s stablemate Justonefortheroad.
The well-fancied Eshtibaak held every chance heading into the final furlong but was run out of it close home.
Quinn said: “I was so happy he got in the race this week. He’d been working pleasingly and we thought he’d go in the ground. He had to go up another notch but Pivotals [horses from the Pivotal breed line] tend to improve with age.
“We decided to claim off him with Darren and it was the right thing to do. The 3lb won us the race. The lad had never ridden him but he rode him as we said. We won it [the Lincoln] with Blythe Knight [at Newcastle] and he just got done on the line by Smokey Oakey here as well.
“To win another Lincoln is phenomenal. It’s great for the lads at home as it’s been an awful winter for stable staff.
“It’s the first horse we’ve had for Mr Wentworth [its owner]. We’ve had this horse since before Christmas. The first four home are trained in Malton. It’s good for the town.”
Egan said: “My instructions were to get him across just behind the leaders, I got a bit of luck when he picked up and he stuck his head out to the line.
“I was pretty confident [on the line] but you couldn’t be 100 per cent sure.”
Ellison said of Global Village: “He’s run a blinder. I think his draw (one) has beat him. He was without cover.
“He finished well to show he stays a mile. He had a lot of runs in good races last year so now he has shown he stays a mile we might just pick them this year. We could think of going for the Victoria Cup again at Ascot which he won last year.”
Meanwhile, Davy Russell will miss the Grand National meeting after failing to gain medical clearance from the British Horseracing Authority as a result of the injury he sustained at the Cheltenham Festival.
Russell partnered Lord Windermere to win the RSA Chase on the Wednesday of Cheltenham, but suffered a heavy fall from Un Beau Matin later in the afternoon.
Although he returned to action the following day, Russell had to be taken to hospital for treatment after two rides, when it was revealed he had sustained a punctured lung.
After receiving medical clearance in Ireland, he was back in action on the Thursday after Cheltenham, partnering Rebel Fitz to finish second at Cork, and has four booked rides on the first day of the Fairyhouse Easter Festival today.
However, Russell revealed that he would not be allowed to ride in Britain, where the three-day National fixture starts on Thursday.
His agent said: “He went to London on Thursday to see the BHA’s specialists and they just wouldn’t pass him. He was really looking forward to going over to Aintree.”