Trainer David O’Meara on course to retain Knavesmire crown

Itlaaq wins the Skybet Supporting Air Ambulance Stakes at York Racecourse for Sheriff Hutton trainer Mick Easterby

Itlaaq wins the Skybet Supporting Air Ambulance Stakes at York Racecourse for Sheriff Hutton trainer Mick Easterby

First published in Sport
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DAVID O’MEARA appears to be on an inexorable journey towards a second straight top trainer’s championship at York Racecourse after Alejandro (15-2) displayed true grit to win the Skybet Best Odds Guaranteed Stakes.

The five-year-old, ridden by David Nolan, fought out a thrilling duel with Alfred Hutchinson inside the final furlong, and was even overtaken, before putting his head down and getting back up by a neck.

“He won here last month and he is a really tough horse,” the Nawton trainer said following the seven furlong showdown, which brought up his eighth York victory of the season.

“He loves this ground and it is his sort of trip. He was also given a great ride. David has ridden 20 winners for us and we were his biggest provider last year.

“We love using him when Danny Tudhope can’t ride and he comes and rides out for me so he is well up on what goes on (at the yard).”

Itlaaq (3-1 fav) brought a smile to Sheriff Hutton trainer Mick Easterby’s face after winning the Skybet Supporting Air Ambulance Stakes.

Easterby said he had wondered whether his son of Alhaarth would stay two miles but the eight-year-old was dogged under rider Kieren Fallon and was a short-head too good for See And Be Seen.

Kleo (2-1 fav) got punters’ day off to a winning start when streaking clear to win the opening Skybet Money Back If Favourite Wins EBF Stallions Fillies’ Stakes.

Cosmic Halo, trained by Fahey, hit the front at about three furlongs but Kleo, trained by Luca Cumani and ridden by Daniel Tudhope, dismissively swept his rivals aside with a furlong and a half remaining to power home by three and three quarter lengths.

The victory pushed Tudhope to the summit of the York top jockey championship – Kleo being his sixth Knavesmire success of the 2014 campaign.

William Haggas, who won the Skybet Dash with Muthmir, notched another winner half an hour later when Valley Of Fire (9-2) struck in the sportinglife.com My Stable Tracking Service Median Auction Maiden Stakes.

The juvenile, ridden by Andrea Atzeni, crossed the line in tandem with Fingal’s Cave and Gurkha Friend at the conclusion of the six furlong sprint.

A nose, after the judge deliberated over a photo, separated Valley of Fire from Fingal’s Cave with Gurkha Friend a further nose behind.

The two-year-old could return to York next month for the hugely valuable DBS Yearling Sales Stakes at the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

Indescribable (15-2) gave Middleham’s Mark Johnston a winner in the closing Skybet Supporting New Beginnings Nursery.

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