Monday 20 November 2017

Putra hits heights for Varian

Keith Hamer

Sri Putra has found the top level a step too far but he showed Group Two races are well within his range by lifting the Sky Bet York Stakes on the Knavesmire yesterday.

Placed three times in 11 attempts in the highest grade, the six-year-old entire retains plenty of enthusiasm for the game and wore down the well-backed Afsare for trainer Roger Varian. The winner's stablemate Pekan Star cut out a steady early pace but two furlongs out the Kieren Fallon-ridden Afsare swept powerfully to the front.

He drifted across to the stands rail, however, and Sri Putra, wearing blinkers and a hood, challenged to his left under Neil Callan, finding plenty for pressure. Afsare did not go down without a fight but the 9/4 favourite was a neck adrift at the line, with Side Glance third.

Varian said: "He deserved to win a race like this. He's run some great races against the likes of So You Think and he's placed in the Eclipse and the Prince of Wales's Stakes.

"He had a race like this in locker, but it all had to work for him and it did today. If the race is run quick horses come back to him and that suits his style."

Dimension could be bound for the Park Stakes at Doncaster in September after he rewarded trainer James Fanshawe's faith by winning the sportinglife.com Handicap.

Beaten favourite for the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, the four-year-old was sent off the 4/1 market leader and broke the seven-furlong course record as he galloped home by half a length from White Frost under Tom Queally.

Elsewhere, Maureen emphatically made amends for her unfortunate defeat at Newmarket with victory in the Princess Margaret Juddmonte Stakes at Ascot.

Richard Hannon's filly was all out of luck in the Cherry Hinton Stakes, starting slowly and having to be switched before closing to just a neck behind Sendmylovetorose.

All went according to plan in this Group Three prize, with Richard Hughes having a smooth passage through the race and pushing the 5/6 favourite two and a quarter lengths clear of Sandreamer.

"I know people have said she's small, but she's a good mover and a good-looking filly," said Hannon's son and assistant, Richard jnr.

"If she is just a two-year-old, she's one of the best two-year-olds around. She'll probably go on to the Lowther Stakes and then the Cheveley Park."

At home, Drumlister made all for a cosy success in the 2m3f handicap chase at Wexford. Paul Townend gave the 5/4 favourite a confident ride as he jumped well at the head of affairs.

Arthur Moore's charge had his rivals struggling after the second last and Townend could afford to take it easy in the closing stages. Best Of Bocelli chased in vain, going down by two-and-a-quarter lengths.

Jack The Hat ran out a convincing winner of the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle.

Noel Lawlor's charge was making his first start since running at Limerick last Christmas but showed no signs of ring rust. Gareth Malone sent the 14/1 shot on from long-time leader The Rattler Obrien on the bend before the straight.

The Dr Massini gelding stayed on strongly from the last to post a five-and-a-half length winning margin over 20/1 shot Maduma.

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