WINTER came early at Newmarket’s autumn meeting on Friday when the Great Habton-trained Winter Power looked a real class act when trotting up in the Godolphin Academy Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes, a Group 3 event over five furlongs for juveniles, writes Colin Russell.

Beforehand it looked a pretty competitive event, but the Tim Easterby-trained raider fairly routed her rivals to follow up her win in the Listed Shadwell Stud/EBF Stallions Harry Rosebery Stakes at Ayr last month.

Owned by King Power Racing, the daughter of Bungle Inthejungle was sent off at 10-1 to follow up in one of the strongest 5f juvenile events of the autumn, but she belied her odds with some ease.

Partnered by former champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa, who is retained by the owners, she travelled strongly through the race and once asked for her effort she quickened clear in a matter of strides to win by three lengths from the favourite Method.

Although the race has only Group 3 status, it is often a stepping stone for some of the best sprinters for the following season, so the Great Habton--based Easterby will go into 2021 with a really strong spiriting hand as he also has Art Power, who is another owned by King Power Racing and showed he was verging on top class when finishing fourth in last month’s Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock and will bid to reverse the form with the winner Dream Of Dreams in Saturday’s valuable Champions’ Sprint at Ascot.

As for Winter Power she has proved quite a bargain having been bought for 90,000 euros as a yearling last year. Although it took her three runs to get off the mark, and she ran disappointingly behind the Nigel Tinkler-trained Ubettabeleiveit in the Flying Childers at Doncaster in September, she has thrived since then and her record is now four wins from nine outings.

Easterby landed a notable across-the-card double with his two-year-olds on Friday as the well-regarded Showalong was also successful in the Racing To School EBF Novice Stakes at York where he was ridden by David Allan.

His win was much more expected for he was sent off the 15-8 favourite despite a slightly disappointing run at Ayr on his previous start.

Dropping back in distance from six furlong to five furlongs proved no problem for he raced up with the pace from the outset and stayed on strongly to hold the late run of another Ryedale horse, Shalaa Asker, by a length and a half.

Now owned by Mount Pleasant Racing, the winner was bought by his trainer for 40,000 gns at Newmarket last October and will be an interesting one to follow next season.

Upper Helmsley trainer David O’Meara was another Ryedale trainer in great form last weekend as he sent out a notable double at York’s two-day meeting, landing both sprint handicaps, taking the competitive Parsonage Hotel and Cloisters Spa Handicap over five furlongs on Friday with Muscika and following up with Gulliver in Saturday’s Coral Sprint Trophy Heritage Handicap over six furlongs on Saturday.

Both horses had been regularly campaigned in 2020 for this was Muscika’s 11th race, and he produced his best form of the year, drawing away with some ease in the last furlong to score eased down by a length and a half in the hands of the promising apprentice Angus Villiers.

His two wins in 2020 have both been on the Knavesmire but he is pretty versatile performer as well fer his first success of the year, back in July, was over six furlongs on good to firm ground, but on Friday he proved just as good when racing over five furlongs on soft ground.

Gulliver is no stranger to York, for 12 months ago he rounded off his season by winning the Coral Sprint Trophy on the second day of York’s final meeting, and on Saturday he did just the same race, though this time he did it far more easily.

With Martin Harley stepping in for regular rider Jason Hart, who went to Chelmsford, Gulliver travelled with his usual gusto and coming from off a strong pace, a tactic which suits him so well, he went to the front with a furlong to race and strode clear to win by a cosy two and a quarter lengths.

Although it was his second successive win in the race he was sent off at 20-1 and it brought his career tally to eight wins from 52 races with career earnings of nearly £311,000.

Afterwards his trainer said: “He is a wonderful horse. He won this race last year and was a couple of pounds higher this time and we weren’t sure if he was just too high to win it again, but he’s a fantastic horse and he seems to like it at York.

“I don’t know what we’ll do with him next, we’ll see, he might go abroad during the winter.”

Another trainer having a fine year is O’Meara’s next door neighbour Antony Brittain who started 2020 with a succession of all-weather winners, and after a slight lull, he is now back in the same form with a current strike-rate of 21 per cent winners to runners and is on the verge of beating his personal best of tally of 28 winners which he achieved in 2019.

After two winners the previous week, Traveller scoring at Newcastle and International Law winning at Wolverhampton, he made it four winners for the month with a double at Southwell last Tuesday.

The five-year-old Puchita was the first to score when she gained her fourth career success when taking the Southwell Golf Club Handicap Hurdle, her apprentice rider Angus Villiers having to drive her right out to win by a neck. She was perhaps feeling those exertions when three days later, despite starting favourite at 7-4 she could finish only third over the same course and distance.

Brittain’s second winner, also ridden by Villiers, was Thawry in the Sky Sports Racing on Virgin 535 Handicap over a mile and a half and it was a much more convincing success.

Despite starting at 10-1 he absolutely routed his field, coming home by eighth and a half lengths and will take plenty of beating if he runs over the same course and distance with a penalty on Thursday.

Although his Acklam Express was very disappointing when tailed off behind Winter Power in the Cornwallis Stakes at Newmarket on Friday, Langton-based Nigel Tinkler landed a couple of decent winners last week.

The first was the in-form Cmon Cmon at Newcastle on Wednesday. He had broken his duck when winning over Newcastle’s seven furlongs last month, and although he faced a stiffer task this time, he prevailed once again under regular rider Faye McManoman though it was a close call for he got home by just a nose from Deolali with the Peter Niven-trained Hurstwood another nose back in third.

Tinkler’s second winner last week was Imperium Blue, who had his first run for him at York on Friday. Although had won a novice event at Ripon for Jamie Osborne on his previous start, he was sent off at 25-1 for York’s Langleys Solicitors Nursery Handicap but belied those odds to score by a length from the Newmarket-trained Hey Mr.

Another successful Ryedale trainer was Norton-based Adrian Keatley who raided Newmarket with Wobwobwob on Saturday. His decision to go south reaped a handsome reward as the juvenile made it two wins from just five outings when making nearly all the running to land the Dubai Nursery in the hands of champion jockey Oisin Murphy.