Viking goes down a storm
Viking Storm enhanced his chance of a run in the Ebor by skipping three lengths clear in the Paul Kelleway Memorial Handicap at Lingfield.
Trainer Harry Dunlop, who feels he is starting to make real progress in his sixth full season, had given his four-year-old a mid-term break and he duly made mincemeat of what looked a strong field for a weekday event.
Viking Storm (14-1) settled it very quickly turning around the home bend and it was simply a case of Paul Hanagan keeping an eye out for dangers in the final furlong.
"He's a big horse so he was always going to improve and he showed a really impressive turn of foot," said Dunlop.
"He loves fast ground and we haven't had that, which is why we used the all-weather.
"He's in the Ebor, and I think he can go between a mile and a half and a mile and six furlongs. I don't know if he'll get in, or if he's good enough, but he has got that turn of foot."
Reflecting on his season, the youngest member of the Dunlop training clan said: "We struggled last year but we've had a few winners and it's great when things go right.
"The two-year-olds, like Sir Patrick Moore, have been flying the flag and it's nice to have something to look forward to."
Godolphin's Royal Empire proved exactly what the market fuss was about with an encouraging debut victory in division one of the Lingfield Park Ladies Evening 21st July Maiden Stakes.
The grandly-named son of Teofilo, who cost 200,000 euros as a yearling and went off the 5-4 favourite, accounted for Gold Edition with a touch of nonchalance to finish two and a quarter lengths clear.
"He ran well for a first start and will improve," said jockey Mickael Barzalona.
Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor's representative Tony Garth said: "He's a nice little horse and had been working well, so we were expecting something. He'll get 10 furlongs, no problem."
Niger was a similarly warm order for division two but the 6-4 favourite needed to work quite hard to land the odds with Centrifugal fighting him all the way to the line.
Jeremy Noseda's chestnut had shown significant improvement from his debut when just edged out at Wolverhampton last time and winning jockey William Buick said: "I thought he battled on well. He was game."
Bin Suroor's Godolphin colleague Mahmood Al Zarooni got in on the act in the British Stallion Studs Supporting British Racing EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes as 15-8 favourite Sugar House and Ahmed Ajtebi charged past Spicy.
"I think she won by experience," said Al Zarooni's travelling head lad, Andrea Mascolo.
Fresh from saddling Baileys Jubilee for a Listed success at Vichy on Tuesday, Mark Johnston passed through Surrey for a winner on his way back to Yorkshire.
Courtesy Call (9-4) had Neil Callan to thank for a cunning front-running ride on the final circuit of the Lingfield Park Owners Group Handicap.
"He had been running well over slightly shorter but he stays well," said Johnston.
"It was a messy race and the lead was chopping and changing but Neil started winding the pace up with half a mile to go and stole it a bit.
"The horse was in the sales last week but was lame beforehand and luckily for us we took him out."
Johnston's runner Ghost Train was pipped on the line by Take A Note (7-2) in the Racing & Music Nights At Lingfield Park Handicap.
Kaiser Wilhelm (5-1) needed every ounce of jockey Stevie Donohoe's strength to reign supreme over Silver Six in the Breathe Spa At Lingfield Marriott Handicap.
"He had a tongue-tie on and I think the all-weather surface has helped him," said Donohoe.
"I think Mr Cole (Paul, trainer) was frustrated with him, as apparently he works all right but wasn't putting it all in on the racetrack.
"He's a nice, well-bred horse and gelding him might help."
Callan doubled up when taking the concluding Ladbrokes Game On! Handicap on the Gay Kelleway-trained Jordaura (16-1).