TWICE runner-up in the champion mile on All Weather Finals Day, the enigmatic veteran Sovereign Debt finally landed the spoils at the third time of asking to complete a fairytale day for Yorkshire trainer Ruth Carr.
Previously trained by Thirsk’s Dandy Nicholls, the eight-year-old was recently switched to the Stillington stables of Carr who was completing a 379-1 across-the-card treble following two earlier successes at Newcastle.
Salateen appeared poised to land the £93,375 first prize for Nawton trainer David O’Meara before Sovereign Debt’s withering late run under James Sullivan, who was riding the horse for the first time.
It was Carr’s biggest win since she took out a trainer’s licence in 2011 following the death of her redoubtable grandfather David Chapman.
“It’s not very often I’m lost for words, but I kind of am at the moment! It’s fantastic for the owners and for the horse itself, he’s been the bridesmaid so many times, he’s really deserved it,” she said.
“It’s a fantastic day for the yard. Jimmy had him in a really good position early and he’s always stuck his neck out and tried.
“Andrew Mullen would have ridden him if he hadn’t been banned but one man’s good luck is another’s bad luck.
“I was hopeful we were going to peg back the leader, I was a bit worried about him, but we were in front where it mattered.
“I’m not sure how much of the credit I can take for the training, but we got him qualified, we got him here and got him right on the day.
“He’s eight years old but he’s not getting any worse. He’s genuine, he tries and it’s great for us.
“We’re delighted to have a horse of his calibre. A win like this should hopefully raise our profile and it’s a big boost for the staff in the yard.
“It’s a team effort and I think we will just enjoy today for now.”
The winning jockey concurred.
“He’s a very good horse,” said Sullivan. “He travelled round lovely. I’ve watched him through the years and we’re very lucky Mrs Carr got to train him.
“She and the team have done a very good job with him and it’s a great result for the yard.”
Earlier Sullivan’s weighing room colleague Jack Garritty partnered Art Collection to victory at Newcastle before Chaplin Bay followed up.
Off the track since finishing fifth at Catterick in October, the latter was settled in the rear by Garritty who was riding him for luck.
As the pace-setters began to tire, Garritty made a bid for the rail and he got there just in time, holding off Inaam by a neck with the same back to Kalk Bay, who hit the front inside the final furlong.
Another horse trained by Nicholls before his retirement was Kimbrella who claimed Lingfield’s sprint title under a perfectly-timed Paul Hanagan ride.
Now trained by Malton’s Richard Fahey, the seven-year-old made a successful debut for Richard Fahey at this venue three weeks ago.
Gracious John and Mythmaker set a furious gallop from the off and the former was still in front heading inside the final furlong.
However, the more patiently-ridden Kimberella found top gear soon after and got up to score by half a length.
Back in harness, Fahey and Hanagan are likely to be a formidable force this year.
“He’s an absolute dream to ride,” said the winning rider, who was champion jockey in 2010 and 2011.
The Fahey yard also took Newcastle’s feature mile contest when rank outsider Forest Ranger prevailed under Tony Hamilton.
Dual Doncaster winner Rivet will put his Classic credentials on the line in the eagerly anticipated Craven Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.
Bred by co-owner Lester Piggott, the colt – trained by the legendary rider’s son-in-law William Haggas – won the Champagne Stakes and Racing Post Trophy last season.
These successes sandwiched a disappointing display in Newmarket’s Dewhurst Stakes in which the colt was only fifth.
Skipton-born Haggas wants the horse to gain greater experience of Newmarket’s undulations prior to the 2000 Guineas.