YORKSHIRE trainer Tim Easterby and jockey David Allan’s season to remember continued when Mattmu sprang a 25-1 surprise to make virtually all the running to land the William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon.
Though the Great Habton team have not looked backed since Snoano’s equally unexpected win at Royal Ascot, this victory was an improbable one because the horse had been retired to stud last summer.
A dual Group winner early in his career, Mattmu could not attract any mares so was put back in training and, after a prep run at Doncaster, showed his old class with a convincing success in this historic handicap.
The aforementioned Allan had the five-year-old quickly out of the stalls and made a beeline for the far rail and kept up the gallop to score by three-quarters of a length from Pipers Note.
Next month’s Ayr Gold Cup is the target. Easterby said: “You wouldn’t believe it but he couldn’t get one mare at stud in Malton – not one.
“He’ll go back to stud and we might send him to Ireland as he always ran well over there.
“I wasn’t 100 per cent confident he was right enough to win. I’d been building him towards Ayr but the simple fact is he was a Group horse in a handicap.
“He doesn’t need soft ground. Good ground is fine for him but he doesn’t like Ascot. We’ve mucked him up before taking him there.
“It will be the Ayr Gold Cup next and then we might take him to France before he goes back to stud.”
Allan said: “He’s a hard horse to judge at home because he’s lazy.
“I had the choice of which side to go as I was drawn in the middle.
“But even though it looked like there was a bias in the consolation race, I was on the far side and there was just no pace so I didn’t think there was much in it.”
Austrian School looks a colt with a future after making a winning debut.
A half-brother to Tiger Roll, a dual Cheltenham Festival winner, Mark Johnston’s Derby entry is all about stamina.
Jockey Franny Norton said: “He’s very green and raw but he came good when it mattered.
“I couldn’t pull him up. He’s a lovely horse and I like it when they are like that – it means there is more to come. We’ll see more of him, that’s for sure.”
Middleham-based Johnston and Norton enjoyed further success with Lake Volta and Katebird.
On a good day for Yorkshire yards, Kevin Ryan’s Teruntum Star returned to winning ways in the William Hill Silver Trophy, a race marred by the fatal injury suffered by the sprinter Jack Dexter.
Jockeys Nathan Evans and Rachel Richardson were taken to Harrogate District Hospital for further treatment after a nasty incident in Ripon’s penultimate race.
Evans was riding Mount Rock, who was fatally injured, when he appeared to clip heels with the horse in front of him, bringing down Richardson on Just Hiss.
It was confirmed yesterday that Evans, who had ridden 38 winners this year, had fractured his pelvis, and will now miss the rest of the 2017 season as a consequence.
However, Rachel Richardson was discharged from hospital relatively unscathed.
Her trainer, Tom Easterby, said: “Rachel is OK.
“She’s sound, she just has a few bruises.
“I think she’ll be riding out in the morning.”