Veteran jockey Pat Eddery has ridden some blinders in his time but his victory on Splendid Era in the Littlewoods Bet Direct AW Owners Championship Novice Stakes at Lingfield today must rank among the most remarkable.
Splendid Era, trained by Barry Hills, was leading on the bend into the straight when, despite wearing a cheeklink bit, he hung violently right and forfeited many lengths.
Eddery finally straightened the Green Desert colt with the race seemingly lost, but galvanised his mount to get up in the final strides and score by a neck from the 13-8 favourite Grand Passion.
“By the time I could get him on an even keel we were 12 lengths down. He made up the leeway only in the last half furlong,” said Eddery. “He is a cracking colt and will improve.”
Hills’ travelling head lad John Burrows said: “What a fantastic jockey to do that at 50 in December.
“This is a fine big horse with a lot of speed. He should start off next year at Thirsk and Chester.”
However, Eddery was banned for a day (December 13) for careless riding because Splendid Era had interfered with Harlot in the race.
But it was certainly not Tony Culhane’s day.
The jockey, who found himself in hot water earlier in the year for dropping his hands at Pontefract, was banned for six days (December 13, 14, 16, 17, 18 and 20) after passing the post first on Alchemist Master in division two of the Attheraces on Sky Channel 418 Handicap.
His mount was disqualified and placed last and Paul Cole’s Siena Star, ridden by Neil Callan, who finished second a head away, was promoted to first, with Aswan upped to second and George Stubbs hoisted to third.
Culhane was found guilty of careless riding in that his mount had interfered with Cut Rate, who in turn interfered with Siena Star.
The busy stewards also decided to refer Callan to the Jockey Club for irresponsible riding of a minor nature on Siena Star after he had interfered with Water Of Life.
Callan has been suspended for a total of 19 days for interference in the last 12 months and is already scheduled to appear before Portman Square tomorrow having been referred following his ride on the same horse here last month.
Brilliant Red is no back number at nine and trumped the youngsters in the Littlewoods Direct Rated Stakes, scoring by a length from Kepler, six years his junior.
Trainer Jamie Poulton said: “I’ve had him four months, as I get sent a lot that need patching up. There is a lot of ability still there. I’ve been taking him down to Lancing Beach, schooling him over hurdles and he’s also been hunting.”
The 12-1 shot was well ridden by Ian Mongan, who said: “There was plenty left at the end and he will get further than this 10 furlongs.”
Deeper In Debt made the most of his number one draw to lead all the way in the first division of the mile handicap.
At one time, Paul Doe on Jon Akehurst’s gelding had an eight length advantage over the field, yet they had to fight to hold on by a head at the end from favourite Lygeton Lad.
Akehurst said: “You’ve got to be drawn one to make all here and my boy was super fit. I might drop him back to seven furlongs after that.”
Neil Pollard on Sollar Bay was banned for a day (December 13) for careless riding.
Shield, winner of the Bet Direct at Lingfield maiden stakes, is entered in next year’s Vodafone Derby and did nothing wrong under Eddie Ahern, who had a happier time than when riding a finish too early at the track last week.
Gerard Butler’s good-looking colt led into the straight and stretched away for a seven length victory over Alumni News.
The trainer said: “He almost fell asleep between the five and seven furlong poles, he was so relaxed, but did it nicely in the end.”
Ahern went on to take the closing betdirect.co.uk Maiden Stakes for Butler with Treculiar, who beat Dance In The Sun by a short head.
Another Glimpse, who goes well when fresh, came back from a 139-day break to take the Lynhurst Press Classified Stakes for Brook Sanders and Richard Quinn, getting home by a neck from Dunedin Rascal.
Sanders said: “Although he was third over a mile and a quarter in a maiden first time out this year, we thought this six furlongs would suit him. He was jumped out and ridden, which was ideal”.
Steve Carson, who rode the runner-up, was suspended for two days (December 13-14) for irresponsible riding of a minor nature.
The Fred Gibson Memorial Amateur Riders’ Handicap went to Gary Moore’s Haafel, ridden by Eamon Dehdashti, who had landed his first winner at the course last week.
Haafel had a length and a half to spare over It’s Your Bid at the line.