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‘Sprint King’ David Nicholls lands a marathon Knavesmire battle with Be Perfect
SESSAY trainer David Nicholls may need a new nickname.
‘The Sprint King’, renowned for his ability to saddle winners at the sharpest of distances, watched on in delight as Be Perfect lived up to his name in the marathon Coral Backing Macmillan Cancer Support Stakes at York Racecourse.
The four-year-old’s victory, with Chris Hayes in the saddle, might have been something of a shock to the bookies – who returned him at 20-1 – but Nicholls said his son of Street Cry had been crying out for a longer trip.
Theology was pushed clear of the field at the business end of the two mile, two furlong contest, but Be Perfect hunted him down and won cosily by a length-and-a-half.
Nicholls said: “That wasn’t a sprinter was it? He is a grand horse. Everyone said he wanted to go further. He is in the sales at Newmarket but we will have to see.
“He is great natured, great to deal with and you can imagine how I feel. I feel like I have won the Nunthorpe.”
Only a dramatic manoeuvre from Mushir denied Ollie Pears his biggest winner as a trainer in the Listed coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes.
The Norton trainer’s No Leaf Clover looked on course to win the best part of a £45,000 prize after striking for home entering the last quarter of the six-furlong contest.
But Mushir (11-2) loomed large on the wide outside and came through to take Knavesmire glory by a head.
The two-year-old was boxed in after a furlong and, piloted by Dane O’Neill, switched from the rail to get into a position to bear down on No Leaf Clover well inside the final furlong.
O’Neill said: “We were pretty tight in there and didn’t look like getting a run. It was a drastic manoeuvre but it had to be done.
“When I got in front I thought I was going to win by half a length.
“It is only his second start and it was a big difference from his first run at Kempton (last month). Hopefully he has got a future.”
Mass Rally (14-1) was an impressive winner of the Coral Sprint Trophy – but trainer Michael Dods’ joy was tempered with disappointment for Boroughbridge rider Paul Mulrennan.
The six-year-old, who won on Knavesmire in May, was last at half-way before being moved to the left by jockey PJ McDonald.
He stretched away after catching Hallelujah inside the final furlong on his way to a length-and-a-half success over Seeking Magic.
Mulrennan, on board Mass Rally for his spring York success, has ridden the horse in all his races this season but is sitting on the sidelines after suffering a bad fall at Musselburgh last month.
“I am disappointed for Paul. He has ridden him all the time and he would have ridden him on Saturday but he was injured,” said Darlington-based Dods.
“I spoke to the owner and Richard Hughes was the type of jockey I would have liked to use (if he was available). But PJ was the obvious choice.
“We will go to Ascot on Saturday now and take a chance and go for a big race.”
Some expensive young horses were on show in the Join coral.co.uk For A £50 Free Bet EBF Maiden Stakes and it was Patentar (3-1), who cost 220,000 guineas as a yearling, who asserted to beat Supersta by two-and-three-quarter lengths.
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