The likable two-year-old found an extra gear at the finish to run out a cosy winner of the Hilary Needler Trophy on the Westwood under jockey Kevin Stott whose big race double on the concluding day of the Royal meeting last year has taken his career to new heights.
Lady Ayresome was already a winner over the course and distance last time, but she was drawn highest of the 11 runners on this occasion, with Kevin Stott getting her away smartly before tacking over towards the far rail.
Stott settled alongside Jilly Cooper before giving Lady Ayresome, trained by Hambleton by Kevin Ryan, the signal to go on a furlong from home, with Guilded swiftly setting out in pursuit down the middle of the track.
However, when Guilded got to Lady Ayresome’s quarters, the winner kicked again, eventually coming home three-quarters of a length clear, with Jilly Cooper sticking on for third.
She will be entered at the Royal meeting and Thirsk-based Stott said: “She was very tough, she stole a length and I had to either get her out or take her back. Obviously with the experience of winning here, she knew the track.
“She jumped really good and we’ve come across and got a nice lead – we got to the front a bit too early if anything, as she was just pricking her ears a bit a furlong down. Fair play to her, she’s very tough and she’ll get a bit further.”
Ryan’s son and assistant Adam added: “I’m delighted for the Riverside Racing Syndicate, they’re all local to our area and it’s great to have a horse win like that. She’s such a game filly, wherever she goes you know you will get your money’s worth.”
As her name – and the name of the 20-strong Riverside Racing ownership syndicate, together with red and white colours – suggests, Lady Ayresome belongs to a group of avid Middlesbrough football fans.
Some were present on the Westwood as the track welcomed back crowds for the first time since the autumn of 2019. ITV Racing cameras were also present with former jockey Mick Fitzgerald fulsome in his praise of the track.
Syndicate spokesman Graham Frankland said: “We came here more in hope than expectation, but she stuck her head out for us. If we went to Royal Ascot, it would be a dream come true to have a runner there. We started off with nothing two and a half years ago and this filly has given us something to really look forward to.”
Meanwhile, John Quinn’s Tipperary Sunset is also on course for the Royal meeting after taking victory in the bet365 Continental Two Year Old Trophy. Springing from the starting stalls to gain an advantage from the off, the Ardad colt made all of the running and was never passed as he galloped to a game victory over Robjon under James Sullivan.
“We’ve always liked him,” said Malton-based Quinn. “From breaking him in, he’s a lovely mover. His early work was good and we thought ‘well we like this one’. We’ll go to Royal Ascot, it’ll be between the Norfolk and the Windsor Castle.” Sullivan credited the winner’s swift start as one of his key attributes, saying: “He jumped very quick and I was always holding onto him.”
The jockey then secured a quickfire double when taking the bet365 Handicap aboard Byron’s Choice for trainer Michael Dods.
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