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Robert Winston rides Gracia Directa to Summer Stakes victory
INSIDE knowledge helped York jockey Robert Winston bag a big Knavesmire prize.
The Osbaldwick rider steered Gracia Directa (14-1) to the £55,000 Group 3 tyregiant.com Summer Stakes at York Racecourse with a half-a-length victory over the fast finishing Sioux Rising.
The four-year-old was German trainer Dominik Moser’s first ever runner outside his own country and, when looking for the right pilot to negotiate his filly’s York trip, it was to Winston he turned.
“We don’t know England and we don’t know York,” said Moser, who is based near Hannover. “We searched for a jockey that knew York and that’s how we found Robert.
“We are very happy. It’s a big step from a little race in Germany to England. We hoped for the first three but she won and it is better. She is an improving filly.
“I think we will come back to England. We looked at this race beforehand and said if she wasn’t good enough she would stay in Germany. We will have many races here now.”
Gracia Directa came to the front with two furlongs remaining and was hard pressed by the fast finishing Sioux Rising close home, but had enough in the tank to stay in front.
Winston said: “She travelled really well. The instructions were to sit second or third and then eventually take a lead and I probably went a bit too soon.
“She is a decent filly and she is even better than she has shown.”
On claiming another York winner, he added: “Unfortunately I have to go to Chester (today) so it is nice to get this winner. It’s great when you are racing for better prize money and York is one of the best tracks in the country.”
Winston doubled up in the next race when Mayfield Girl (8-1) gamely won the Haylin Stakes for Warthill trainer Mel Brittain – York’s first nursery handicap of the season.
Leading from half-way, she finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Great Habton handler Tim Easterby’s Blue Lotus.
Brittain said: “She handled it well. Last time out she ran a bit flat but it was a much better run. I’m very pleased and she will probably go for another nursery.”
Easterby wasn’t kept out of the winner’s enclosure for long and soon grabbed his own double, along with stable jockey David Allan.
First, the Great Habton trainer’s Bollin Greta (16-1) took the Caravan Chairman’s Charity Cup by a neck from A Boy Named Suzi.
“She really was spot-on,” he said. “She can be a bit free and she just has to be ridden right. It all came right in this. I’m delighted with that.”
Then, Hazelrigg (6-1) prevailed in a photo finish over Secret Witness in the Racing Plus £1.20 on Saturday Stakes.
“We took the eye-shield and the blinkers off and just put a hood on because David felt he couldn’t see the horses coming to him,” added Easterby.
“He came out of the stalls well and, although it’s not very scientific, it worked well. I am always delighted to get winners at York.”
A stellar day for North Yorkshire trainers was completed when Dutch Rose (11-4), trained by Nawton’s David O’Meara, won the Livwell Apprentices Stakes.
Elsewhere, Miss You Too (4-5 fav) showed signs of greenness but had too much class for a small field in the opening Cakemark EBF Maiden Stakes.
A four-length win over Woody Bay was gained for trainer, and former England footballer, Mick Channon despite rider Matthew Davies employing a blindfold at the start, the juvenile refusing to settle and wandering over the track.
Dubai Prince (5-2) won the Ken Hodgson Memorial Stakes for Godolphin.
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