A review of the action from Pontefract
Last Updated: 17/08/14 5:38pm
A review of the pick of the action from Pontefract where Paul Hanagan made a triumphant return to action.
Paul Hanagan warmed up for the four-day Ebor Festival when landing a double on his comeback from injury at Pontefract.
The dual champion jockey had been determined to test his fitness in time for York, where his rides include Taghrooda for his boss Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum in the Yorkshire Oaks, after damaging his arm in a horror fall at Goodwood on July 29.
And he made a successful return on Imshivalla (5-2) for trainer Richard Fahey, for whom he used to be stable jockey, in the CGC Events For Conference & Banqueting Handicap.
He made all of the running as the three-year-old filly swept to her third win over a mile at the course this season, beating Lockhart by two and a half lengths.
"I'm just glad to be back," said Hanagan. "I've done as much as I could, but I was very sore. There's only one way of getting it right and that is by riding.
"The last couple of weeks have been difficult but I've been in this game long enough to know what happens. I'm looking forward to York now."
Fahey's assistant, Robin O'Ryan, said: "This horse likes the hill here. Once a filly starts improving you never know when they're going to stop. It's helped her going up to a mile and letting her bowl along. She seems to relish it."
Hanagan enjoyed a 100 per cent return on the day when steering Hesbaan (10-11 favourite) home in the totepool Supporting The Sport You Love Maiden Stakes for his main patron.
He had the Marcus Tregoning-trained gelding to the fore to register a straightforward two-and-a-quarter-length verdict over Flawless Pink.
"He's done it well and it was a valuable maiden. The prize-money's good here," said the trainer.
"He's a nice, sound little horse. He's been a bit unlucky."
Fahey had earlier struck with Grandad's World (3-1 favourite), who made a winning debut in the British Stallion Studs EBF Trevor Woods Memorial Maiden Stakes, storming away under Tony Hamilton to score by three and a quarter lengths from Canny Kool.
The Richard Fahey-trained youngster came with a rattling run under Tony Hamilton to lead inside the final furlong after Charlie Lad and Canny Kool had set the pace to storm away and score by three and a quarter lengths.
Canny Kool kept on for second, with Robin Park putting in tidy work at the finish for third place, a further length and three-quarters away.
Fahey's assistant, Robin O'Ryan, said of the 3-1 favourite winner: "We've always liked this horse and he did it well. Tony was impressed with him.
"I'm sure he will get further, but he's won nicely at five (furlongs) so why change it? We'll take him home and see where we go next."
Aramist (7-1) wore down the long-time leader Asteroidea to run out a ready winner of the totepool Home Of Pool Betting Handicap.
Asteroidea had all her rivals at full stretch except for Aramist, who got on top in the last 100 yards to win by three lengths under Ben Curtis for trainer Alan Swinbank.
"It was no surprise he got beat at Chester last time as the course didn't suit him and he needs give in the ground," said Swinbank. "I'll try to find a race for him over a mile and three-quarters and he'll make a lovely hurdler for someone."
Beat The Shower (15-2) gave a timely boost to stablemate Clever Cookie's bid for the Betfred Ebor when winning for the first time for three years in the St John Ambulance Handicap.
Peter Niven was delighted the eight-year-old finally got his head in front again to confirm his horses are in good form ahead of his stable star's run in the big York handicap on Saturday.
Robert Winston produced the eight-year-old on the wide outside in the straight to take up the running and win by two and three-quarter lengths from Precision Strike.
"He's been knocking at the door. He snapped his splint bone and had to have an operation," said the Malton trainer. "He's had a few issues but he deserved to win again. This is the seventh race he's won now.
"I'm pleased for the horse - he's a little favourite of mine. He was racing off 76 at one time and looked like being a half decent horse."
Looking ahead to York, Niven said of Clever Cookie: "We're in form. Everything's spot on and I'm looking forward to it."
Henry Candy maintained his excellent run of form by sending Valonia to Yorkshire to win the EBF Stallions Highfield Farm Flying Fillies' Stakes.
The veteran Oxfordshire trainer has been flying this summer and Valonia (100-30) appeared suited by the return to six furlongs as she was smartly away under Harry Bentley and disputing the pace with Spinatrix, who finished second in the Great St Wilfrid Stakes at Ripon on Saturday.
Those two kept the battle up right the way to the line, with a neck separating at the post, while 33-1 outsider Mu'ajiza ran a blinder to finish a close third.
Candy said: "It was a great run at Goodwood (fourth in a Group Three). It was just the last 100 yards that did for her there.
"I just got her ears stuffed with cotton wool and that seems to have taken the edge of her. She's a bit lively and can get very hot.
"That was the plan. I'll have to have a word with David Redvers and Sheikh Fahad. I'm sure we'll find something else over a stiff six or an easy seven."
Michael Dods said of Spinatrix: "I didn't decide to run her until this morning. I thought she's in good form so we'll bring her out.
"She's run a blinder. We've not had a lot of racing with her because of the ground and then there's not a lot of races coming up for her before she goes for the Ayr Gold Cup."
The closing Nova Display Handicap went to the in-form Poyle Vinnie (7-2 favourite).