All-weather horse of the year Eccentric could have booked a ticket to America after giving trainer Andrew Reid his first Group winner in the totepool Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor.
Reid has ambitious plans for the versatile four-year-old, the first being a 400,000 contest in northern Kentucky on September 17 following his smooth victory in this Group Three contest.
Carrying the second colours of owner Gary Tanaka, who was also responsible for the third Fruhlingssturm, Eccentric made a beeline for the far rail under Darryll Holland.
After overhauling Polar Jem, Eccentric held Ladbrokes St Leger hope Hattan, who raced on the other side of the course, by three-quarters of a length.
Before this, Eccentric’s win in the Listed Winter Derby at Lingfield had been Reid’s biggest training success but as this was a Group Three, it marked a new milestone for him.
After greeting his 7-1 winner, Reid said: “We must consider the new race at Turfway Park which is on a brand new Polytrack course, but I’m especially keen to persuade the owner to let me run him in the Japan Cup Dirt in November which is the one I really want.
“I shall also think seriously about letting him take his chance in the Cambridgeshire.”
There were some anxious moments for Reid beforehand when Eccentric had to have his front shoe replaced down at the start, but the gelding proved a model patient and came back like a fresh horse.
Reid added: “He’s so versatile and is quite an amazing horse. It’s a shame that we lost the mare when she was in foal but we do have a full sister to look forward to.”
Ladbrokes took a positive view of Hattan’s run and cut the Clive Brittain-trained colt from 50-1 into 33-1 for the Leger.
It was hats off to Holland in the Ian Hutchinson Memorial Handicap when he donned the silks of the Queen to complete a 95-1 double on the Andrew Balding-trained Banknote (11-1).
The Listed Letheby & Christopher August Stakes produced a masterful display of jockeyship from Richard Hughes, whose canny tactics to slow the pace on leader Orcadian and then kick on again over two furlongs out reaped handsome dividends.
The combination also made a dash for the far rail and never looked like being reeled in, although Counsel’s Opinion finished well to narrow the gap to two and a half lengths with the favourite Frank Sonata a further two lengths behind.
This was trainer James Eustace’s first winner for 42 days and he now hopes that Orcadian can repeat his 2004 triumph in the St Simon Stakes at Newbury.
Revealing that his 10-1 winner is likely to go to the Horses In Training Sale at Newmarket, Eustace said: “The cut in the ground helped him even though it wasn’t nearly as soft as when he won the St Simon last year.
“He will probably go back to Newbury but every time I watch him walk round the paddock, I can see him doing the same at Cheltenham.
“He’ll probably go to the sales and he looks an ideal horse to go jumping with as he’s very sound.”
Hughes sensed victory once he got to the intersection, saying: “I got a lovely rhythm from him which is the key to the horse and he really picked up at the crossing. Once I got that rail, I knew he wouldn’t get beat.”
Apprentice Colin Haddon was taken to hospital for precautionary X-rays after being thrown from Half Pint Bill at the start before the John Gale Birthday Selling Stakes.
Haddon was attended by paramedics and it was several minutes before he was able to sit up and be placed in the waiting ambulance.
The race went to the Mark Usher-trained No Overtime (8-1) who beat Bathwick Prince by a length and a half in the hands of David Kinsella.