Improving Prince strikes again
Artful Prince continued on an upward curve with victory in the Coca-Cola Handicap at Ayr.
The James Given-trained three-year-old was recording a second successive win after being well-beaten in his five previous starts having been transformed by a gelding operation and the application of blinkers.
Given an enterprising ride by Graham Lee, the son of Dutch Art followed up a Yarmouth effort in tremendous style, making most of the running as he scored by four lengths from Mash Potato, with another 12 lengths back to Las Encinas in third.
"All last year he was a big baby and then this year he started off with a three-year-old colt attitude," said Given. "Once he became a three-year-old gelding his attitude changed and he's going from strength to strength.
"He's turned the corner and is improving hand over fist. It's one of those questions that one day you would ask if the headgear is necessary. Now he has learnt how to race does he still need it, but do you change a winning theme?
"He is in on Friday at Nottingham and I would imagine with that he is going to go up considerably more than a 6lb penalty. There would a fair chance that if he is in reasonable order he may turn out quickly there."
Given doubled up when Royal Bajan (10/1) came down the stands rail to make all under James Sullivan in the Kopparberg Cider Handicap.
Richard Fahey also enjoyed a double with Flighty Clarets and Spirit Of The Law, both owned by the Matthewman One Partnership.
Bottom weight Flighty Clarets (10/1) got up in the shadow of the post to claim the Woodford Reserve Handicap after Lee Topliss galvanised the filly to come through the pack and grab Roker Park for a neck verdict.
George Chaloner's 5lb allowance helped Spirit Of the Law (7/2) take the feature Caledonia Best Handicap by three-quarters of a length.
The four-year-old pounced late on to deny Fort Belvedere with Kashmir Peak just a head away.
Fahey was delighted to give the owners a brace, saying: "It's great for the owners. They've had a bit of a quiet time. I've trained them over 50 winners and they've had two today so that will keep them happy.
"Flying Clarets hasn't been straight forward but hopefully she has turned the corner now and it was a nice race for Spirit of The Law to win."
Hala Hala (16/1) stepped up considerably on her debut run to get off the mark in the EBF/Tennent's Lager Maiden Fillies' Stakes.
The Michael Bell-trained youngster learnt plenty after beating just one home at Newbury and powered past Charlotte's Day in the final 100 yards to score by a length under 3lb claimer Willie Twiston-Davies on his only ride of the day.
Lucy Bee (18/1) showed tenacity to outpoint Lil Sophella in the Jeremiah Weed Handicap.
Keith Dalgleish's filly had failed to trouble the judge in three previous starts this term but battled on stoutly to score by a neck in the hands of Tom Eaves.
Silver Rime produced a neat turn of foot to defy top weight in style in the Courvoisier Handicap.
The 7/2 favourite, trained by Linda Perratt, quickened to lead a furlong out for Phillip Makin and went on to score by a length and three-quarters from Irish raider Star Links.