Ancient Cross takes totepool Stakes

Ancient Cross takes totepool Stakes

The opening race on totesport Dante day at York saw a local winner as Mick Easterby's Ancient Cross landed the totepool Stakes this afternoon.

Sent off at 10-1, the seven-year-old arrived on the scene travelling beautifully in the hands of Graham Gibbons.

From his draw in stall nine Gibbons worked his way across to the rail and held off the late challenge of Falasteen to win by half a length, with Racy in third.

"I only gave my half-share in him away a few days ago," said Easterby.

"It's hard to find a horse good enough to run at the big meetings and hopefully it will be worth it in the long run.

"I've no idea where he'll go next."

Ritchie Fiddes, one of the winning syndicate, added: "We weren't sure if five furlongs would be too sharp for him, but he just got touched off over five at Ascot last year so we had a bit of hope."

Yorkshireman Dandy Nicholls later claimed the totesport 0800 821 821 Hambleton Handicap with St Moritz (15-2).

A £100,000 (€114,533) purchase out of Mark Johnston's yard, the five-year-old was winning his third race of the season from just four outings for the Thirsk handler.

Having been out the back early on, the trainer's son, Adrian Nicholls, bided his time before shooting up the rail to beat Mont Agel and Dance And Dance by a head and a neck respectively.

"He cost an awful lot of money and I don't know if he's paid for himself yet," said the trainer.

"The owner is a local man and this means the world to him. Adrian gave him a great ride.

"I don't know what's next, we'll have to see what the handicapper does, but the Royal Hunt Cup will be out."

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