sport

Cookie for sharing at York

Connections of Clever Cookie and Ralston Road offered markedly different appraisals after the stayers dead-heated for Listed honours at York.

The Stowe Family Law LLP Grand Cup over a mile and three-quarters provided a finish that is unlikely to be matched for some time on the Knavesmire as the judge ruled parity.

Local trainer Peter Niven was, however, a shade philosophical at the outcome as he felt Clever Cookie did not convincingly stay the trip in a race run at a languid pace from the outset.

So much so that the six-year-old, who just over a year ago was winning a Market Rasen bumper, is now unlikely to run in the Ebor handicap over course and distance in August.

Niven said of the 3-1 favourite: "He'll not go for the Ebor. Graham (Lee, jockey) said he emptied out two out so he did well to dead-heat.

"He's had a hard race and he's probably not got the trip. We might come back here for the John Smith's Cup, but we'll see what the handicapper does with him.

"He's got a touch of class and is a very, very good horse so we'll have to be careful with him."

For Pat Shanahan, trainer of the Irish challenger Ralston Road, the stakes are far higher and more immediate.

The Co Kilkenny handler believes the four-year-old colt will be seen in an even better light over marathon distances, with the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot later this month now upon the horizon.

He said: "The Gold Cup is the plan now. We've always loved him and that's why.

"He's tough and genuine and stays very well.

"He'll probably be better on better ground."

Dutch Rose has earlier won the battle of the York specialists with a plucky defeat of Sirius Prospect in the One Marketing Communications Stakes.

The two horses had knocked off six victories at the track between them, but it was David O'Meara's mare who came out on top to preserve her unbeaten record on the Knavesmire.

Luke Morris gave the 9-1 chance a perceptive ride from the front to keep the on-rushing Sirius Prospect, the 3-1 favourite, at bay by three-quarters of a length.

O'Meara said: "She's incredibly genuine and obviously loves it here, which is good, as it's a great place to love."

Jockey Adam McLean's joy at winning the BetBright Trophy was eclipsed only by those fortunate souls who had pocketed the near-5.5million Scoop6 bonus.

The Derek Shaw-trained Top Boy provided the 22-year-old rider with a breakthrough success on his first ride at York as the 12-1 shot came late and fast to defeat Body And Soul by a neck.

"This is by far my biggest win," said McLean.

"The plan was to get some cover and to produce him as late as possible.

"It was close, but I knew I had plenty of horse beneath me."

Frederik Tylicki offered a similar assessment following Wadi Al Hattawi's victory in the Irish Champions Weekend Stakes.

Godolphin's four-year-old gelding (8-1) had looked set to win tidily once his jockey went for home a long way out, but High Office closed to within a length and a quarter at the line.

Tylicki said: "He handled the ground well and put the race to bed in double-quick time."

Lee later won a second race outright when Mister Universe consolidated upon a good debut second at the Dante meeting in the Yorkshire Regiment EBF Stallions Median Auction Maiden Stakes.

Newcomer Home Cummins showed plenty of promise late on, but Mark Johnston's charge was three-quarters of a length too streetwise as the 11-10 favourite.

Deirdre Johnston, wife of the Middleham handler, said: "Graham gave him a lovely, educational ride as he was out there on his own for a long way."

Joint-owner Clive Washbourn greeted Blurred Vision back to the winner's enclosure like he had just won the Investec Derby rather than the Infinity Tyres EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes.

The William Jarvis-trained colt had to work a little harder than his odds of 4-5 might have suggested, but he was always doing enough to hold Dutch Breeze by two lengths.

"Jarvis is back, Jarvis is back!" boomed Washbourn, in reference to the handler's recent lean spell, before shouting: "Great horse, great trainer, great jockey! Royal Ascot here we come!"

Fellow owner Nigel Gadsby was rather more circumspect, saying: "This was a bit like an open-goal and it was important to hit the back of the net.

"Clive can get a little carried away, but the main thing is that we've won a race with him."

Ruth Carr's San Cassiano (11-1) took the concluding John Wright Electrical Gentleman Amateur Riders' Handicap in the hands of Ryan Colley.