The Sky Bet Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival began at Ripon on Saturday and Ben Linfoot was on hand to enjoy the racing.
After the rain came down in Ripon, turning the ground from ‘Good’ to ‘Soft’ in 24 hours, I feared the worst. But I did my bit for the Sky Bet Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival by bringing an umbrella and a cagoule to Yorkshire’s Garden Racecourse, guaranteeing an afternoon of fun and sunshine – funshine – for everyone.
And despite the rain, and despite the card beginning with a seller, the crowds flocked in. You could probably run just about any level of race on a sunny Saturday in Ripon in July and they would come, and they did, but I’m doing a disservice to a card that had some really good racing in the middle of it, including another victory for Tim Easterby’s Mukhayyam in the .
Ex-Sir Michael Stoute, ex-Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, Mukhayyam ultimately disappointed for his old connections but he’s on a real roll now. His purple patch began in June with a couple of seconds here at Ripon and at York, a track where he got off the mark for the season just eight days ago, and he followed that up with a terrific victory on Saturday afternoon.
The son of Dark Angel took up the running as soon as he could under David Allan, who dictated the pace thereafter and kicked on when challenged by Fleeting Visit in the straight. The eye-balling from the Eve Johnson Houghton-trained gelding seemed to spur him on, and he found more for a decisive three-and-a-half length success.
“There could be a race at Goodwood,” Easterby said afterwards. “He’s just a really nice horse that takes a lot of getting fit. We fancied him for the ladies’ race at York [when second] and we forgot to tell Emily [Easterby] to kick him out of the stalls. He doesn’t necessarily need a bit of cut.”
Sent off a relatively unfancied 14/1 chance, the daughter of Kyllachy revelled in the soft ground off a strong pace set by Richard Fahey’s Royal Diplomat and she ran out a good winner. Easterby wished he’d put her in the Two-Year-Old Trophy at Redcar, but he didn’t, so we await future plans.
Trained by Roger Fell, he was winning his first race since scoring at Dundalk on his second start for Jessica Harrington in the March of last year. Judging by how he took this off top weight, it won’t be his last victory for his syndicate of owners.
One of those, Tony Chard, couldn’t hide his delight in the winners’ enclosure afterwards, and given the front-running tactics worked a treat here it’s no surprise connections are eyeing up a trip to Chester for his next run.
He said: “It was a fantastic win and a great ride from Tony Hamilton, we’re absolutely delighted. He’s the first horse I’ve ever owned and I love the horse to bits. He’s the most good-looking horse you’ll ever see, he looks a picture and the heart on his forehead is just a delight.
“I think he would’ve won without [first-time cheekpieces], he’s a very good heart and he never gives in. He’s not a quickening horse but today’s instructions were go out and make all. He does love Ripon and we’ll look for another race here, but we might just see him at Chester next time.”
My day ended by picking the best turned out for the Handicap and the prize went to Ryedale Rio who looked much the best, although he couldn’t handle the pressure of looking good as he finished last in the race itself.
Winning the contest was Granny Roz on her handicap debut and she made the most of her good rail draw, making all under Ben Curtis. Her connections weren’t there to pick up the prize, but Bow Belles’ owners, still giddy from their surprise success earlier – and they assured me it was a surprise to them too – received the trophy on their behalf.
Ripon Eyecatcher – Jacbequick
The winner was the recipient of an excellent ride but Jacbequick went well on the soft ground in behind and was a little short of room at a crucial stage.
He kept on nicely for second once in the clear and his trainer should be able to find another race for him off his current mark, especially when the emphasis is on stamina over 10 furlongs, while it wouldn’t be a surprise if a step back up in trip to a mile and a half is on the agenda soon too.