Impressive two-year-old hands Hambleton trainer his first group winner in Britain Bill Bridge at York KEVIN RYAN yesterday celebrated his first group winner in Britain when his two-year-old Amadeus Wolf was a convincing winner of the prestigious Group Two Scottish Equitable Gimcrack Stakes on the second day of York's Ebor Festival.
Ryan, who trains at Hambleton, near Thirsk, also handles Palace Episode, who had won a two-year-old race on the opening day of the meeting and he now has two likely contenders for next season's 2,000 Guineas.
Amadeus Wolf was his 58th winner of the season and provided consolation for stable jockey Neil Callan, who had missed the ride on Palace Episode due to suspension.
"I don't like to compare the two," said Ryan of his star two-year-olds. "But Amadeus Wolf was better today than at the Royal meeting. He has been going well at home and today he confirmed what we have thought of him."
Amadeus Wolf was beaten by Red Clubs in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot at York and took full advantage of the 5lb advantage he had from that race to reward those who backed him down from 9-1 to 7-1.
In the Totesport Ebor itself, Alan Munro rode a perfectly-timed finish to earn the 11-1 chance Sergeant Cecil a place in the history books.
The six-year-old became only the fourth horse to complete the long-distance handicap double of the Ebor and the Northumberland Plate and Munro deservedly earned the praise of trainer Rod Millman as another piece of history was made – the unsaddling of the winner and the presentation ceremony taking place in front of the packed stands rather than the usual venue in the parade ring.
The new chairman of York Race Committee, Nicholas Wrigley, told the Yorkshire Post in an exclusive interview on the eve of the Ebor meeting he was advocating such a change to improve the spectacle for the paying public and they responded yesterday by giving Munro and Sergeant Cecil a tremendous reception.
The colt emerged late from the bunch after the long-time leader Jagger had run his race and Munro cruised alongside Grampian and Carte Diamond before smoothly accelerating clear for Sergeant Cecil to confirm that he has not only stamina in abundance but also a turn of foot.
The day's Group One race, the Yorkshire Oaks, had a false start. One set of starting stalls, in which 10 of the 11 fillies were housed, failed to open when the starter pressed the button and only Aunt Julia, on her own in the second set of stalls, emerged.
The problem was quickly solved and the race started at the second time of asking with the German filly Iota going for home a long way out only to be hauled back by Kieren Fallon on Dash To The Top but they in turn were overhauled by Godolphin's Punctilious and Kerrin McEvoy.
Punctillious had started favourite for this race as a three-year-old but could only manage fourth place; this time she dominated the closing stages and was going away when the line came.
Yorkshire race-goers in the usual massive Ebor-day crowd had an early cause to celebrate when the four-year-old Realism, trained at Malton by Richard Fahey and ridden by 3lb claimer Tony Hamilton took the day's opening race, the Motability Supported By Royal and Sunalliance Handicap.
Hamilton followed his instructions to the letter, pushing Realism to the front three furlongs out and the rest of the field were unable to strike a blow as Realism galloped them into submission.