Homegrown wins dominate opening day

CLEVER COOKIE could return to York for the John Smith’s Cup and the Ebor after leading a Yorkshire cavalry charge on day one of the Dante festival.

The success was a first on the Knavesmire for former jump jockey Peter Niven who trains at Malton – while the horse’s jockey, Graham Lee, rode 1,000 winners under NH rules.

After disappointing in the Scottish Champion Hurdle, Niven switched the horse back to the Flat and revealed: “I mentioned the Ebor for him 16 months ago.”

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Veteran trainer Mick Easterby took the Infinity Tyres Stakes with Aetna, whose jockey Graham Gibbons later completed a double aboard Mignolino for Thirsk handler David Barron.

Easterby had threatened to retire at the Ayr Gold Cup meeting last year but is still going strong.

“The licence is still in my name but my son David does as much as me, we fall out every day but the next morning it’s forgotten,” said the Sheriff Hutton trainer.

A trip to Royal Ascot may be on the agenda for That Is The Spirit after winning for Nawton trainer David O’Meara and jockey Danny Tudhope, The Yorkshire Post’s new columnist. The horse travelled smoothly to justify O’Meara’s faith.

“This is part of his education and he’s come through it well. He’s got a lot of natural ability and is potentially the classiest horse we’ve had,” he said.

There was a fifth Yorkshire-trained winner on the day when Streets of Newyork took the finale for Malton’s Brian Ellison.