Sweet Lightning landed an emotional success for connections with an emphatic victory in the William Hill Lincoln at Doncaster yesterday.
The six-year-old is owned by Andrew Tinkler, chief executive of the Eddie Stobart haulage company, whose founder passed away this week, and is trained by Michael Dods, who is sponsored by the firm.
Johnny Murtagh, riding his second consecutive Lincoln winner after Penitent 12 months ago, knew his horse had a fitness advantage over most of his rivals having been in action in Dubai.
Murtagh had his mount settled nicely from stall 16 and Sweet Lightning (16/1) swept clear to score by two and a half lengths from Brae Hill (22/1). Dubai Hills (40/1) was third, Axiom (50/1) ran on for fourth with Eton Rifles (18/1) fifth.
"It has been an emotional week and for this to happen has really helped us out," said Tinkler.
"It was a tremendous effort from the horse. I said to Michael there would be plenty of pace on and he could run through them at the end.
"I watched his run over a mile in Dubai and he couldn't get through, but I knew he'd be finishing well today. I'd just like to send my condolences to all the family -- Edward, this is for you."
Dods said: "I was going to give him a break after Dubai, but Andrew wanted to run here and he was proved right and he's done it really nicely.
"We dropped him in trip, but he seems to have thrived on it and he's won cosily in the end. I don't know if I'll give him a break now, I'll probably keep him going. We'll sit down and have a look. The obvious thing would be to look at a Listed race now. He's a fit horse, but he does need a few weeks between his races."
"This is great," said Murtagh. "He's been in Dubai and fair dues to him -- Andrew said the Lincoln was made for him. He settled well and travelled great.
"In Dubai this year his races were very slow and he just wasn't finishing. The strong pace today really helped, a couple of months in the sun did him good.
"It's a very competitive handicap and is a hard race to win. I've been on good horses the last two years.
"I got a lovely run through and never had to move on him really. We were a bit behind at halfway, but I got a nice tow into the race and it was all over a furlong and a half out.
"It's a fitting end to the week for everybody."
Sunday Indo Sport