sport

Hanagan takes it to the Max

Time waits for no man, as the old saying goes, which might explain why Tim Easterby was quick to plan for next year with York winner No Poppy.

Such is the breathless nature of horseracing, being able to appreciate the bigger picture is essential.

Few handlers in the north are better at playing the long game than Easterby, who is already considering the first big prize of the 2013 Flat season for No Poppy following her striking victory in the Acorn Web Offset Handicap

The Great Habton handler is never one for wild eulogising about his horses, but clearly spots something in this four-year-old filly if he sees her as a potential contender for the Lincoln at Doncaster next March.

Sent on her way a relatively unconsidered 11-1 chance, Easterby was first to accept the contribution made by wise young rider Adam Carter on a drenched Knavesmire.

While most of his more experienced weighing-room colleagues made a beeline for the near rail, the 5lb claimer patiently stayed central along the track.

This helped Easterby's inmate gain a slender lead inside the final furlong, after which she was not overly pressed in beating Credit Swap, the 2010 Cambridgeshire winner, by a length and a quarter.

No Poppy poignantly carries the esteemed silks of Easterby's mother, Marjorie, who died last month.

"She was given a great ride," said the Great Habton handler.

"I told Adam to stay away from the rail because I didn't think that was the place to be.

"She loves that ground but I'm not sure if we'll put her away now - this has been a good year for her.

"Whether we get into the Lincoln, I don't know, but we'll probably have a look at something like that next year."

Connections of Godolphin's Prince Siegfried revealed far sunnier aspirations than a visit to Doncaster after his accomplished success in the Garbutt & Elliott Conditions Stakes.

Mickael Barzalona's companion improved as the four-runner encounter unfolded, and kept on earnestly for a length-and-a-quarter verdict over market rival Mijhaar.

Tommy Byrnes, representing trainer Saeed bin Suroor, said: "There's not a lot of options for him now, so we'll probably go to Meydan.

"He likes that heavy ground - this is his time of year."

Champion jockey Paul Hanagan also praised Polski Max's ability to handle the testing conditions after the partnership struck in the opening TSG Nursery.

Thirty-four millimetres of overnight rain had left the ground heavy, soft in places - a factor which was attributed to the Richard Fahey-trained colt inflicting a neck defeat upon Shahdaroba.

"That soft ground was massively important to him - he goes through it so well," said Hanagan.

Educate, conversely, was thought unlikely to appreciate the mud in the Parsonage Hotel And Spa Handicap, but still came from last to first under a determined Jamie Spencer.

"He came here in brilliant form, but we were worried about the ground," said Danielle Fowkes, assistant to trainer Ismail Mohammed, who was having his first runner at York.

Similarly redoubtable qualities were illustrated when the Mick Channon-trained Shrimpton (7-2) built up an unassailable lead in the Brittains EBF Maiden Stakes later on the card.

Michael Channon, the Berkshire trainer's son and assistant, said: "There's always a plan around the corner, but I'd have thought that would be it for the year."