Sunday 18 March 2018

Hoofalong surges to Sprint Cup success

Mr Lupton ridden by Jamie Spencer (left) wins The 888sport Charity Sprint, ahead of Dancing Star ridden by David Probert, at York. Photo: PA
Mr Lupton ridden by Jamie Spencer (left) wins The 888sport Charity Sprint, ahead of Dancing Star ridden by David Probert, at York. Photo: PA sportsdesk

Hoofalong powered to victory under 5lb-claiming apprentice Nathan Evans in the £100,000 William Hill Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh. The six-year-old, co-owned by golfer Lee Westwood, landed the spoils in a typically competitive renewal of the five-furlong handicap.

Last year's winner, Red Baron, was quickly away from his low draw and moved over towards the favoured stands rail, with Thesme also prominent.

Thesme went on after Red Baron cried enough but Hoofalong, trained by Mick Easterby, found the best turn of foot and hit the front inside the final furlong. Sent off at 16/1, he asserted to go on and score by a length-and-a-quarter from Thesme, with Duke Of Firenze a length-and-a-half back in third. Just half a length away in fourth place was the 3/1 favourite Kimberella.

Speaking from York, Easterby said: "I'm in shock. When I was watching I thought it was him coming through, but I couldn't believe it. Chubby Chandler (co-owner) likes to have a bit of a go at me for not having winners, so this one's for him. We might have a look at the Stewards' Cup."

There was a minor sting in the tail for Evans, who picked up a two-day ban for careless riding.

Meanwhile, Mr Lupton carried top weight to victory and benefited from a perfectly-timed Jamie Spencer ride to win the 888Sport Charity Sprint at York.

With £100,000 on offer it was understandably ultra-competitive and the pace was frenetic early on, with Sign Of The Kodiac taking them along. At halfway, favourite Udontdodou looked to be travelling strongly, but it soon became apparent he was on the wrong part of the track with Dancing Star hitting the front.

Andrew Balding's filly shot clear and looked to have it in the bag, but Spencer had conjured up a brilliant turn of foot from the Elnadim gelding, coming from last to first to claim a second big pot, having already won a sales race at Doncaster in his short career.

Mr Lupton (10/1) won going away by half a length, with Ikerrin Road third and Venturous fourth.

Spencer said: "He's a grand horse, he just didn't handle the track at Newmarket last time. We thought getting him back on a flat track would be a big advantage to him. It was a deep race, we probably had a bit of an advantage being drawn where we were, but at the end of the day he's carried 9st 7lb against unexposed horses.

"Like all good horses, they feel they're not going as fast as you'd like them to, and today he's shown he's probably a Group horse. He's one to look forward to and, not surprisingly, Richard has trained him to perfection."

Threat Assessed, meanwhile, gave Clive Cox a timely triumph ahead of Royal Ascot when the colt's late lunge saw him bag the For Horse Racing Handicap.

Dommersen and Frankie Dettori appeared to have gained a winning lead when striking for home at the distance, but Paul Mulrennan had other ideas on Threat Assessed and forced his mount up in the final couple of strides to prevail by a head.

Cox, who saddles ante-post favourite profitable in Tuesday's King's Stand Stakes, said of the 12/1 winner: "He was very much at home on the stiff uphill finish. He broke his maiden well at Chepstow, but didn't get away with the ground - which was a bit quick for him at Haydock."

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