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Kevin Ryan grabs third Gimcrack since 2005 at Ebor Festival
WITH the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival and the Betfair Malton Stables Open Day now behind us, horseracing has a spell where the sport moves quietly before building up to the St Leger Festival at Doncaster in three weeks time.
It is rare to find an Ebor meeting with no winners from Sheriff Hutton’s Mick Easterby, Great Haboton’s Tim Easterby or Malton’s Richard Fahey, but Ryedale did provide the leading trainers with Hambleton’s Kevin Ryan, and Nawton’s David O’Meara in the north, sharing the honours with three winners apiece.
Ryan began the meeting with a bang when his four-year-old Bogart won the first race on Wednesday, the Symphony Group Stakes – a handicap over the rather odd distance of five furlongs and 89 yards, with Neil Callan on board.
He had to wait until Saturday for his next success when he repeated last year’s win in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes with Astaire, again ridden by Callan.
Judging by the names, one gets the impression that someone at the Hambleton Lodge stables is a fan of old Hollywood movies.
Astaire was quickly out of the stalls and led from start to finish and withstood strong challenges from Wilshire Boulevard and the Fahey-trained Parbold in the final stages.
Callan said: “Kevin seems to pick one out for the race every year – they might have to start calling it the Kevin Ryan Gimcrack. This is a lovely horse. I can’t praise him enough. He had to do it the hard way and make his own running. He’s a classy horse and he’s got a big future.”
Astaire is Ryan’s third Gimcrack winner – he won with Amadeus Wolf in 2005 as well as Blaine last year, but he still has some way to go to match the record of William I’Anson Jr, who sent out seven winners from Highfield House in Norton between 1881 and 1903.
Hot Streak completed an Ebor Day two-year-old double for the Hambleton trainer when he won the Julia Graves Roses Stakes, ridden by Jamie Spencer.
Ryan said: “When he won his maiden race here some people said he didn’t beat much, but he can only beat what was there on the day. He has improved a lot for that and I thought he might handle the ground but he was still very green.”
• THE successes of Nawton trainer O’Meara, meanwhile, make a regular but far from boring appearance in these pages almost every week.
When Sharaarah, ridden by David Nolan, won at Musselburgh last week it was his 100th Flat winner of the year and in the next few days O’Meara quickly notched up eight more. Considering that since he started training in 2010 he had registered 142 winners to the end of 2012 it looks as if he could possibly match, or even surpass, that score in 2013.
Young apprentice David Bergin set the ball rolling at York and landed the biggest prize of his career when he gave 25-1 shot Mont Ras a really polished ride to win the £75,000 Clipper Logistics Handicap by a length from Windhoek.
The 5lb claimer, in his second season with O’Meara, set off in front and was never headed and kept enough in reserve to hold off his challengers.
O’Meara, who also saddled fourth placed Frog Hollow, said: “We ran five in the race but Mont Ras has done really well this year, already winning three times. I thought David gave him a very sensible ride.”
Kieren Fallon then got the ride on 8-1 shot Dutch Rose in the seven furlong fillies’ handicap and they battled on in the final furlong to win by a neck and complete an O’Meara double.
Stable jockey Danny Tudhope, who had lost that ride due to suspension, was back in action the following afternoon and was quickly back in the winner’s enclosure with a fluent win on Chancery in the Sky Bet Handicap, who was making it three wins from his last four runs.
“He won going away and can now progress to something better,” said O’Meara.
That success was O’Meara’s tenth on Knavesmire this year and puts him three ahead of William Haggas and four ahead of Fahey in the race for the York trainers’ championship, which has been won by Fahey for the past seven years.
Further wins for the Nawton handler came over the weekend with Handsome Ransom claiming a 25-1 success at Newcastle, while David Nolan won on Omanome at Hamilton, Tetbury at Beverley and Monakova at Ripon.
Win number 108 arrived when Ryan Moore was victorious at Epsom on Fattsota.
• THE weather, which produced two real downpours that changed the going at York, relented on Sunday for the Betfair Malton Stables Open Day.
I spoke to Tim FitzGerald, chairman of Malton Racing Association, on Monday afternoon and he told me that although figures had not been finalised the number of visitors appeared to be slightly up on last year.
He wryly remarked this seemed to be pretty good considering that the A64 had been closed in both directions at some time on Sunday.
Ironically, I later discovered that at the time Tim and I were talking the A64 was again closed – in both directions.
My own observations of the facilities were very positive. Gary Witheforde’s demonstrations of ‘Natural Horsemanship’ attracted large audiences at Tim Etherington’s Wold House stables, while the appearance of old chasing favourites Monet’s Garden and Mister McGoldrick at Norton Grange attracted their fan clubs.
The park-and-ride system of bus transport around Norton and out to Fahey’s yard was practical and well supported and Malton market place, with its cafes and restaurants, provided a real centre for the event.
The afternoon racing forum was quite simply a triumph. The Milton Rooms were packed, with people standing around the sides and back of the hall, to hear words of wisdom, spiced with humour.
I doubt if would be possible to get a better panel than that of Jack Berry, David Elsworth, Jim McGrath, Mike Cattermole and John Francome.
• ALTHOUGH Fahey was unsuccessful at York’s Ebor meeting he did have four winners on Bank Holiday Monday, including another Ripon success with Supplicant in the Champion Two Year Old Trophy.
Norton’s Brian Ellison notched up a double on Monday at Cartmel with Ocean Club and It’s A Man's World – a first winner for stable conditional jockey Gary Lavery.
Jason Hart, apprenticed to Sledmere trainer Declan Carroll, had a treble at Newcastle on Monday including two wins for Tim Walford, while York’s Jake Butterfield reduced his claim to 5lbs with two wins for first season trainer Kristin Stubbs.
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