RYAN COLLEY enjoyed a fairytale end to his riding career when fulfilling a lifelong dream to win at York Racecourse.
The 21-year-old, a stable lad with Stillington trainer Ruth Carr and who lives just yards from the track in South Bank, steered San Cassiano (11-1) to success in the John Wright Electrical Gentleman Amateur Riders’ Stakes in front of a crowd of thousands on Knavesmire.
It was the youngster’s last appearance on a racecourse as a jockey – at 6’2” he believes he is now too tall to ride on the Flat.
And Colley, the son of former York rugby league player Mick, was naturally thrilled following his half a length victory over I’m Super Too.
San Cassiano set the pace at the head of the field and, asked to quicken with two furlongs left to travel, kept on well to the finish.
“He’s my favourite horse in the yard,” Colley said. “I grew up going to Millthorpe School and I still live in South Bank. It has always been my dream to ride here.
“I worked here in 2009 as a groundsman after work experience before I went to racing college and to ride a winner here is something special to say the least.
“He’s (San Cassiano) an automatic. He does it all himself. He knows what he is doing in front. I just drop my hands and he knows what pace he wants to go at. It’s got nothing to do with the way I ride him.
“This won’t set in for weeks. My first ever ride was my only other winner so it will take a while – especially at a track like York so it is something special.
“This is going to be my last ride. I wasn’t even going to ride this until about two weeks ago when I saw the race was in the books and I politely asked Ruth if I could ride San Cassiano.
“It is credit to the owners and to Ruth for putting me up and I never thought I would win it. She’s the best boss to work for. She is so trusting and gives you a lot of freedom.
Carr added: “This is fantastic for us and he gave him a really sensible ride. He has fulfilled a lifelong dream and this is a very big deal for us. He is such a great lad in the yard.”
David O’Meara looks in no mood to give up his crown as York Racecourse’s top trainer.
Dutch Rose bagged her fourth win at the track for the Nawton-based trainer and handed him his third Knavesmire victory of the season.
The 9-1 shot, now five-years-old, has now won in each of the last three years at York and led coming into the home straight of the seven furlong The One Marketing Communications Stakes.
She held off a serious challenge from Sirius Prospect, who pressed her right to the line before succumbing by three quarters of a length, as the £25,000 contest reached its climax.
O’Meara hailed his “tough” mare and said his desire now was to achieve some Black Type with the daughter of Dutch Art.
Recording his third win on the track this season, O’Meara said: “Luke (Morris, jockey) gave her a smashing ride and he was allowed to roll along up there. She’s incredibly genuine, isn’t she?
“She obviously loves the ground. The thing now would be to get her a bit of Black Type. We ran her at Redcar last year and she ran okay but missed out on it.
“It would be great because she has been a grand filly for us and that would just top it off.”
Mister Universe (11-10 fav) led from pillar to post in the Yorkshire Regiment EBF Stallions Median Maiden Auction Stakes.
The juvenile, trained by Mark Johnston at Middleham, ran a little green in the six furlong race but jockey Graham Lee had little to fear from those behind – winning cosily with three quarters of a length in hand over Home Cummins.
Said the trainer’s wife Deidre: “He had been out in front a long time on his own. Graham set a really nice educational ride. He was just beaten last time out and did nothing wrong here.
“He is a lovely horse. We wanted to get the maiden under the belt and see where we go from here.”