Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
A four-midable day for de Sousa
4:46pm Friday 11th October 2013 in Sport
THE new week started with a competitive card at Pontefract and Silvestre de Sousa was the jockey to follow, riding an excellent 196/1 fourtimer on Dullingham, Party Royal, Statutory and Aglaophonos.
Statutory, trained by Mark Johnston, was the star of the show for the Brazilian rider with an admirable staying performance in the Phil Bull Trophy Conditions Stakes.
The three-year-old only made his racecourse debut on this track in July, but has been kept busy since and was having his ninth start after finishing second to Caucus in a two-mile Listed race at Newmarket.
Afterwards the winning rider said: “He put the race to bed in the last mile. He travelled well and was the class horse in the race.
“I’d love to ride him again. I think he’s one of the horses for the future. He’s a lovely horse and could go anywhere.
“It was the first time I’d ridden the horse. He’s got a lot of scope and the older he gets the better he will be. You could think about going for the Gold Cup next year.”
Johnston and De Sousa had earlier teamed up successfully with Party Royal in the £40 totepool Package Handicap.
The race was dominated by stallion Royal Applause who also sired the runner-up African Oil in a thrilling finish.
De Sousa’s spree started on the Charlie Abbleby-trained Dullingham, who got off the mark at the fourth attempt when lasting out the mile and a quarter well in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes.
De Sousa kicked the Godolphin- owned colt into the lead over two furlongs out and the 2/1 favourite stamped his authority to win by three lengths from Liberty Red.
Aglaophonos, co-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, brought up the four-timer with a twoand- a-half length verdict over Unknown Villain in the claimer.
Focusofourthoughts battled out victory in the nursery for PJ McDonald who was at his strongest on the Ann Duffieldtrained youngster to come out on top by half a length from Baars Causeway with Instant Attraction just a head away third.
“He improved a lot from his first to his second run and he has improved again,” said Duffield.
“He’s very game, loves a bit of juice underfoot and he’s on the upgrade. He’s not a very big horse so we probably need to win what we can while we can.
“He stayed on well and PJ said he thought he’d get further, while we’ve got some rain around he probably needs to run again once more before the end of the year.”
At this time of the year focus turns to the jumpers and locals will be delighted to here Grand National hero Auroras Encore could make his seasonal reappearance in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby next month.
The Sue Smith-trained 11- year-old was a 66/1 winner at Aintree in April, but was unable to repeat that performance in the Scottish equivalent at Ayr a fortnight later.
With a chase rating of 148, opportunities will be limited for Auroras Encore this term and Smith’s husband and assistant, Harvey, has confirmed the gelding could line up in the feature event of Wetherby’s season on November 2.
He said: “We love having runners at Wetherby. It is a very good and fair track.
“Auroras Encore has come back from his summer break in great form and he could start off in the Charlie Hall Chase if all goes well.”
Racing returns to Wetherby with the annual Spinal Research Charity Raceday next Wednesday on October 16.
Tomorrow all eyes will be on the Betfred Cesarewitch and there is a fair chance of the prize going back to Middleham as Mark Johnston and Phil Kirby both have live chances.
Johnston’s main hope may be Oriental Fox who will have the assistance of Johnny Murtagh.
Murtagh, who has enjoyed a number of big Saturday winners this season including Educate in the Cambridgeshire, and Oriental Fox combined to win the Cesarewitch Trial at Newmarket last month coming home three and a quarter lengths clear of Body Language, having travelled well throughout.
Kirby is hoping Platinum can continue his rapid progress up the ladder from a four pound higher mark than his Haydock win, regular rider Russell Kennemore.